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5-22-04 - As I drove the Waterloo looking for FAT & his students I stopped to take some pictures including this 180 degree panorama - you can check it out in the 3D Viewer too! (4.2 MB)

I came running across the pasture after hearing explicatives from a good 100-200 yards away....someone had something!

Mick, with what is probably his first fly-rod trout; a feisty put & grow that had put on some size since being stocked last fall.

Jed workin' a bend on the Waterloo...with flows like this every bit of water is fair game to hold a fish.

First rainbow for me and the skunk is off!

Followed up with a respectable #2.

FAT and Stew moved in to bogart my spot...hey we're used to it though...we fish the Root!

A dink, not even a fully fledged dinker, rounds out my catch for the day!

The Waterloo is a rather unique place to fish...you often end up in pastures like the one above Bee Road. Makes for a nice panoramic shot, especially in the 3D viewer.

Bruce and Patty worked the deep run upstream from the C&R Zone.

Meanwhile, down in the "Fly Only" section (technically Artificials Only, Catch & Release Only)...I looked and left it to the school guys.

FAT bangs a hearty wild Waterloo Brown to ensure another day not smellin' like you-know-what.

This is NOT Trout River, this is normally a 6" wide FEEDER CREEK of Trout River!

WOW this is TROUT RUN! HOLY CRAP!

UM, this is normally a FLAT pool!

Look at last week's reports..where we were standing is now under easily a foot or two of water.

How about comparing this picture with Les last week and the 2003 Pet Fly Smackdown (Dec 6) pics.

I think you've gotten the point...right now there is an "excess" of water in Iowa. 8" of rain in some spots.

Twin Springs was even muddy directly out of the spring!

Coldwater Creek...kids were KAYAKING it!

For a second I was hopeful when I saw Mestad Spring, part of the South Bear Headwaters, flowing crystal clear.

NUTS! Not even 100 yards downstream it was still relatively chocolate.

North Bear showed NO hope of being clear on Sunday.

North Bear was just a ribbon of mud flowing through the field.

5-22-04 - Driving in circles...

Waters Fished: Waterloo Creek, Trout River, Trout Run, Twin Springs, West Canoe, Coldwater Creek, South Bear & North Bear
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 good water.

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 Brown.

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 Run.

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 left!

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.

  MP 

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