6-12-04 - Just another muddy day in IA...
Waters Fished: Waterloo Creek, French Creek, Silver
Creek, Trout Run, Twin Springs, Grannis Creek, Bear Creek, Mink
Fish Caught: 2/8 for the day
Outing Date: 6-12-04
Weather: overnight rain ending in the morning, hot most of the day
Air Temp: up to the 80's
Water Temp: Bear was 68F, didn't bother with the rest
Water Level: all streams were up varying degrees
Water Color: Most muddy, Grannis 2 foot visibility, Bear about the
Fish Species: Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout
Pattern Fished: Chicago Leech
Pattern Color: Black Mohair with Red Krystal Flash Tail
Fishing Quality: tough as it has been...
I arrived up in Dorchester around 12:30 AM Saturday
morning and crashed. Somehow, it must have been excitement, as the
second Ken was awake so was I. Early in the AM I hand delivered
his new MP Custom Rod, a Forecast 7' 6" 4wt.
As the morning wore on everyone got up, had breakfast,
and Fred and I started tying like madmen in the RV. Chicago Leech
was likely going to be a pattern we'd again have to call on, as
it had rained periodically overnight and it was likely the streams
would be muddy yet again.
No big surprise, around 8 or 9:00 AM Fred and I
headed out, first to check the Waterloo. If it was muddy, many other
streams would be. I walked up, it was indeed chocolatey. I dropped
a Chicago Leech into the water...it was so bad that if you held
the fly half out of the water you'd only see half of the fly. Yes,
we would not be fishing the Waterloo today.
I had heard rumors that French Creek stayed relatively
clear, even after a rain, so I decided we should check it out. Surprise
surprise, French was a mudpit too. We tried even though we really
knew better. Maybe upstream was the ticket?
HA, even if it was clear (which it wasn't) it was
still recovering from a massive flood. The road was totally washed
out. French had come up easily 100 feet away from it's normal banks.
While an interesting sight, we figured we shouldn't waste anymore
Time to start back for lunch, but on the way we'll
be passing Silver so "what the heck?", right? Silver was
of course muddy as well. Tried a different access than my first
trip there...as downstream this section flowed through grazing land.
It wasn't quite as bad as some other streams (OK, 1" visibility
is better than 0") so we gave it a shot.
I worked downstream and it was clear to me that
the stream was easily up a foot...grass doesn't grow in the middle
of a river usually. All the same I gave it as much effort as I could
bear, took some pictures, and wrote off our morning as a total bust.
After lunch we all decided that heading southwest
might be good....Fred and I made our first stop Trout Run. It wasn't
flowing MUD but it was far from clear, maybe 6" visibility.
Knowing spots that normally hold fish we both again put in good
efforts but came up short.
KEEP MOVING till you find clear water...on to Twin
Springs. We went all the way up and literally fished the whole thing.
It was nice to put that kind of time into the river...the dirty
water (maybe 1' visibility) was keeping most all anglers off the
water save a few who just had to fish (like us). Most of Twin Springs
is high gradient, kinda pocket water, lots of watercress for the
fish to hide under...an interesting place to fish. Very scenic despite
being in the middle of a park. Obviously heavily fished as can be
determined by the well worn paths in the dirt.
I ended up finally getting some luck downstream
in a deeper hole. Fred came down and was content to watch as I lost
a brown and then fouled a rainbow. Out of nowhere Rich and his students
came up from downstream...all they turned collectively was a chub.
As we all chatted, I fouled yet another rainbow.
Obviously I was drifting the good drift, obviously the splitshot
I had added was getting my flies in the right zone, but the water
was dingy enough to prevent most bites.
Oh well, I stuck it out and lost a fair hooked
rainbow, then hooked into something big that popped out. Later on
I found out that as the group went upstream Ken nailed a nice broodstock
rainbow, 20"+, from a pool that we most assuredly had covered
just moments before. Good luck was on Ken's side today!
So what to do? Still both skunked, I we had been
hearing that farther south they had not gotten as much rain. I knew
that a couple streams down there might be running clear...time to
gamble and put in a good long drive.
Next stop Grannis Creek. Sure enough, it was relatively
clear, just enough dirt in the water to hide the deeper holes that
hold fish. I went to the stream with the creel...as Fred pointed
out I must be pretty confident at this point to break out the creel.
I stopped to "relieve myself" and instantly
was swarmed by mosquitos. They were EVERYWHERE. I got bit in places
I can't even mention here (not sure how to shoo away a mosquito
while taking a leak!). I decided I'd have to stick this out.
It paid off, I was whacking as many as 3 simultaneously.
3 MOSQUITOS that is. Man as I sit here writing this I'm still scratching
and itching. Fred of course had the foresight to apply repellent.
Well I did break the skunk with a stream-bred brown.
Not huge, but we were eating trout tonight so in the creel he went.
Shortly thereafter a smaller stocker rainbow came to shore from
the same little hole.
At that point I'd had it...I got back up to the
road and started shouting for Fred. I found him, and literally bathed
in Off's Skintastic. Even my face, closing my eyes and trying to
spray myself (and missing horribly). Eventually I smelled like I
should...totaly reeking of repellent. We headed a bit downstream.
Well, I'd say the repellent lasted about 15 minutes,
until I started sweating again. Bam they were back. At this point
my eyes are stinging from the repellent getting down into them...so
I'm crying while fly fishin'. Even the best spots showed us no additional
luck other than a couple missed hits.
Another jump downstream to the lower access and
we found it had been newly renovated. New paved sidewalks with a
few handicap access platforms. Very nice. Obviously some new bankhides
and riprap were in place.
Even with all this nice work, you need to put fish
in there....I personally came up with one hit that didn't follow
through. As we're getting read to leave, a father and son show up
and start fishing. By the time we're packed up, they're already
back in the car as a dark cloud starts rolling in over our heads.
I joke..."Done ALREADY?" Turns out they had a deal...all
the needed was to break the skunk and they'd go home. Well, miraculously
the father got his fish in the first few casts.
Fred and I kept our fingers crossed as this dark
cloud came in. It was a night and day difference. I thought our
day might be coming to an end, but by the time we got to the highway
we could see more BLUE SKY behind this dark front. It just passed
over and that was that. The wind did kick up a bit though.
At this point I decided I wanted to look at a new
stream in the area. It looked just out of the way enough to make
me wonder. It was temperature sensitive - that could mean that stocking
was stopped as recently as last week, or perhaps, with all the rain,
it had been stopped a month ago or more!
So we get on the road to Bear Creek...it involves
driving almost 6 miles out of your way as there is no direct access.
I'm flying down the typical Iowa 2 lane gravel road, easily doing
the limit at 55 mph when at the crest of the hill I can see that
the road suddenly becomes ONE LANE without any warning. For those
of you not familiar, one lane also usually means LEVEL B road maintenance,
often accompanied by the disclaimer "Enter at your own risk".
These roads aren't exactly friendly to the Bitchin' Camaro.
Well, I eased on the brakes as the grass in-between
the rutts brushed the underside of my car. Fred was behind me...I
took it slow...really slow.
The gradient did nothing but get steeper, the turns
got ever tighter, and the rutts in the road got nothing but deeper.
This road was as bad as the one we drove into our Garden River campground.
I had to literally think exactly how wide my car was to pinpoint
exactly where I could put it next as I weaved my way further down
Eventually we made it to the bottom and the road
just abruptly ended. No big parking lot, in fact room for maybe
2-3 cars. Oh, and that's a one lane road in and out...not sure how
that works if folks happen to be using it at the same time. I joked
to Fred that I was glad he was there...he could tow me out if need
We looked around and all we can see is trees with
debris at their bases...in some places easily 3 feet up the trunk.
There isn't a stream to be seen anywhere. HMMM. Our only guess it
that, like most IA streams, it runs along the bluff we can see in
As we walked we found more and more debris. Overall
though, the forest floor was relatively swept free, fresh green
undergrowth but few if any saplings. As we walked we could hear
water....we came to a clearing and found ourselves standing on a
vertical bank about 10' high. Laid out before us was a RIVER.
HOLY SHIT HOLY SHIT HOLY SHIT I couldn't stop shouting
as Fred and I both jumped up and down with excitement. High Fives
all around, this little journey had paid off...or had it? This was
too good to be true. We stood around in awe for a minute...then
I decided I must go back and check the map. Maybe this wasn't Bear
Creek, but rather maybe it was a river that Bear Creek feeds into.
It seemed very logical.
I looked and looked, there was no mistake...this
was Bear Creek. Next thought to cross our minds, this must have
been through the worst flooding in the area...and I thought my secret
stream rising 8 feet was bad. This thing easily came up 15 feet!
The debris that was far above the current stream level proved that.
Well, we're here so we might as well fish. The
stream temp was a balmy 68F so between that and the flood, I can
easily admit that the likelihood of trout remaining was slim. However,
a stream of this size might hold Smallmouth.
We fished it for at least an our, working down
the riffle run that was spread out before us. I think we each got
a hit...a hit being your line jumping forward 6" but nothing
being there when you set the hook.
Now I must admit I thought about applying the honorary
status of "MP's Secret Stream #2" to this place. However,
the fishin' overall sucked. I'm not in the habit of keeping a BAD
SPOT a secret. Admittedly I will go back again, perhaps in the fall
when they're back to stocking and the water is cool...maybe then
we'll find some trout. By all means, give it a shot in the summer
if you like and let me know how you do...I'm confident there's something
living in there! But be forewarned...the next time I go back I'll
probably hitch a ride in a 4 wheel drive automobile...catch my drift?
Well now we moved on...it was rapidly coming to
sunset...how many more area streams could we hit?
The answer is ONE....I decided to formally fish
Mink Creek. I'd driven over it last time when we came down this
way to fish Grannis, Glovers, Ensign Hollow and such.
Mink can be summed up as a muddy stream. Lots of
silt..heck a fresh layer several feet deep was deposited with the
recent heavy rains...Fred went in at least to his knees. We didn't
see anything going on...we didn't fish for TOO long as we were a
solid hour from Dorchester and dinner was to be served promptly
at 9:00 PM.
So Mink ended our Saturday with the long drive
back to Dorchester. We cooked up our trout with nothing more than
Tin Foil, Butter, Salt and Pepper. Pretty good, although Fred undercooked
my little brown :(
Maybe, just maybe, if there isn't ANY more rain
overnight, we might find better clarity in the morning!