5-22-04 - Driving in circles...
Waters Fished: Waterloo Creek, Trout River, Trout
Run, Twin Springs, West Canoe, Coldwater Creek, South Bear & North
Fish Caught: 3/14
Outing Date: 5-22-04
Weather: Rained all night, blazing sun in the early afternoon, then
cloudy and back to the deluge by night.
Air Temp: 40s in the am up to upper 70's and back to 60F.
Water Temp: took it at Trout Run - 50F
Water Level: Every stream was HIGH, VERY HIGH!
Water Color: Every stream was MUD!
Fish Species: Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout
Pattern Fished: Chicago Leech
Pattern Color: Black w/red tail.
Fishing Quality: EXTREMELY POOR
Rain Rain Rain Rain Rain.....you get the idea.
I was supposed to head out Friday after work, but between work and
the weather that just wasn't going to happen...instead I drove through
wicked storms, crashed in LC and got to Iowa around noon on Saturday.
It didn't take long to find Rich and the students
from the Fly School...they were on the Waterloo and just getting
ready to hit the water. Speaking of the water, it was like chocolate
milk...visibility was maybe 6-12".
Well I went up and camped my favorite hole while
the students fanned out over the water like locusts...each picking
a spot to cast from. It was actually a really cool site.
In nowtime I'm pulling the Jimmy Houston, whooping
it up 'cause I've hooked into a big brown, easily 16". Rich
asks if I need help, but I opt to skate the fish downstream to a
short bank where I can land it....I'm almost there when the fish
gives one more head shake and pops off!!!!!
Now you know I don't censor the reports....I'm
sitting up there on my high hill drifting a pool that I normally
can see the bottom of, but now it's all mud. Someone breaks the
normal quietness by shouting "HOLY SHIT!". I look around...wondering...did
someone fall in?
Not sure, but I seem Jim scurrying up the far hill
moving downstream...looks like he's in a hurry. I pull in my line
and run 100-200 yards over to find out that in fact, this loud shouting
was that Mike (Mick) had just caught his first trout ever on a fly
rod! SWEET! A nice put & grow rainbow, stocked last fall. Nothing
big, but the first fish of the day! Congrats Mike!
I got some pics and took more on my walk back to
the hole. Time for MP to do his thing..and in short order I had
some more strikes. Now I'm shouting, 'cause I've just hooked into
another big brown. Again, it comes off just as I'm about to heave
it up onto the bank where I'm kneeling!
What is going on?! I keep loosing fish, but then
I realize, I'm fishing BARBLESS today. Why Barbless? Well, I had
to crimp the barbs down on the hooks to get the bead onto the hook
to tie good Chicago Leeches. I don't care what anyone says...barbless,
you lose more fish.
But barbless doesn't mean any less strikes, nor
does it mean that you won't catch ANY fish...I finally broke the
skunk with a decent rainbow. Shortly thereafter, #2 finally came
in. GOOD GOOD GOOD.
Rich and Stew noticed I was doing well, so they
eventually made it up to the pool and we all fished for a while.
The bites had admittedly tapered off, but eventually I managed a
put & grow dinker as well.
It was time for lunch...time to eat...already 4:00
in the afternoon and all of us had been baking in the sun. Yes...sun.
The rain had stopped much earlier, about 7:00 AM, and by now we
had a gorgeous sunny day to enjoy even though the fishing conditions
were far from ideal.
After a "Scooby Doo" sandwich had filled
me up, I started tying Chicago Leeches for everyone else while they
headed down to the Fly-Only water on the Waterloo.
Eventually I made it down to look for Rich around
5:00 PM...the grasses haven't grown up yet so running up and down
the stream wasn't a big pain. Jim, Mike and Jed had gone downstream
into the fly only...Bruce and Patty hung out in the deep spot just
upstream, and FAT and Stew were tearing upstream in search of some
Apparently they found it....I had been talking
to Patty & Bruce when I noticed Rich upstream...it was actually
quicker to drive up there and when I got out, I noticed Rich's rod
is doubled over. I go running across a field...totally not paying
attention to the terrain and lucky I didn't fall at any point. The
effort paid off with a picture of Rich holding a nice wild Waterloo
I then bummed some tippet from Rich for Patty and
Bruce and let Rich know I was going to scout for the remainder of
the day....3/13 (or 14, the last one I'm not 100% sure was a hit)
was good enough considering conditions, but I wanted to find some
clear water, if there was ANY to be had.
I probably didn't really get going until 5:45...made
it to Trout River in record time. I opted to try the closer access
in the forest...got my gear all set and started walking in.
On the path there's a little rocky section that
is somewhat of a streambead; normally there's literally not even
a faucet's trickle of water moving through it, but today it was
a RAGING RIVER! I wasn't wearing any wading gear, nor wet wading
gear, and I tried to size it up...could I jump it? Nope. I then
considered wet wading across, but second thought that maybe, if
this was the FEEDER creek, I didn't need to see Trout River, it
would be a total waste of time. Packed it up and headed to Trout
So now my jaw is on the ground, because Trout Run
is twice as wide as normal...the places we fish from are all underwater.
I keep moving up, checking different spots, and the conditions don't
change....Trout Run is flooded.
Now I know there's a feeder that comes in by the
hatchery, so maybe the spring isn't so bad. Well..the feeder has
washed out the bridge, and the Hatchery...well first off someone's
decided to have a family reunion, so there's tons of people around.
Seiwer's Spring is ROARING...it's actually flooded over onto the
lawn, and even up here visibility is all of 1". The Pools are
anything but...even they are "FAST WATER" today, and the
water temp is 50F. A total bust, I have to keep moving.
If any river might have held promise for clearing
fast, it was Twin Springs. Very small, easy to find the springhead,
which is straight where I went. MUDDED OUT TOO! I expected decent
flows; thankfully they weren't quite as raging as Trout Run but
even her, the spring was totally muddy. The water did show some
signs that in a few days time it might be clear, but for now it
was a bust. I still tried some spots that I knew held fish and thankfully
were relatively calm, but nothing connected. 3" visibility
aside, I probably could've turned SOMETHING if I stuck around. However,
this was a scouting mission.
I continued, now north, and drove past West Canoe.
Two words...forget it!
Coldwater...I thought this big stream might be
more like the Waterloo's current condition. In fact, it was much
worse. I did a bit of offroading in the parking area....almost go
stuck. Ran into some locals who's kids were KAYAKING THE RIVER!
Remember what I did last time I came to a river to find people Kayaking?
I was loosing hope, but figured I needed to keep
hitting headwaters where I could. I was also loosing time, so my
next and potentially final stop was going to be the South Bear.
I actually found the headwaters, small water and
Mestad Spring...which was flowing clear. However, another feeder
was pumping bildgewater into the stream. The first 50 feet or so
one side was clear, once side mud, but after that, just slightly
diluted mud. Visibility again sucked, maybe 6". All things
considered, this was the best I had found so far, so I plunked a
bit in likely spots, but to be honest it's better to scout out a
new section of stream when it's clear!
Almost sunset, and dinner was 8:00. Time to head
back...made the drive over North Bear which again was muddy. Not
much else to say at this point...South Bear was the most likely
spot for tomorrow.
I got back to camp late, but just in time for Sante
Fe Chicken (a FATMAN specialty). Delicious as always. We sat around
the fire and ate a bit and then FAT and I did up the cobbler, cherry/apple/vanilla.
Then our worst fears came true..it started raining
again. Most folks headed straight to bed; Fat, Stew and I stayed
up for Cobbler. Mike came out to let us know that he had seen on
TV severe storm warnings....you get the picture. Any hope of things
IMPROVING for morning had just been dashed...Sunday was going to
be another tough day.