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6-12-04 - Waterloo was so bad I didn't even snap a good picture - French Creek turned out to be just about as bad.

Fred and I put in some time all the same..you never know!

Despite lack of fish other interesting things kept us going.

We moved upstream to find the area where "Upper" and "Lower" French meet to be a disaster.

A 360° Panoramic shot of the French Creek flood damage. You can view an enlargement by clicking the thumbnail above, or check it out in the 3D viewer!

Next stop was the upper access at Silver Creek. While the main flow was starting to clear up, the feeder creek (at left) was still solid mud.

The area turned out to be rather pretty meadow - another 360° shot for your pleasure. Check it out in the 3D Viewer.

After lunch Fred and I made our way over to Trout Run...totally muddy.

I'm still hopeful...I know where fish *should* be holding.
(Copyright © 2004 Fred Anderson)

Twin Springs held some promise...the water was still dirty but not solid mud!

Check THIS Pig Rainbow out - Ken Follenbee's first trout of the day, possibly the first inland trout of his life, on the first time out with the brand new rod I built for him, on a Chicago Leach I tied up that morning, in a spot that I fished on Twin Springs just minutes before! Congrats Ken!
(Copyright © 2004 Rich Brown)

I finally started getting hookups so Fred watched as I continued to try to break my skunk. Didn't end up happening here!
(Copyright © 2004 Fred Anderson)

FINALLY we find clearer water after driving 30 minutes south to Grannis Creek.

The SKUNK is history with this stream-bred brown.

Followed up all too quickly with a small stocker 'bow.

Fred is in search mode on Grannis..checking out all the little pockets is the name of the game here.

HOLY flood of floods..this was at our parking spot at Bear Creek.

Easily 100 yards through the woods from the first picture above, I get my first look at Bear Creek.

Fred gets ready to do a little fishin....

I love this 180° shot of Bear Creek. Check out the enlargement above or experience it in the 3D viewer.

I look downstream and see that Fred has really been movin...and he's taking my picture.

This is how it looked from Fred's point of view at the same exact moment.
(Copyright © 2004 Fred Anderson)

One more longing look at Bear Creek before we both leave fishless here.

One last stream to check out on the way home...a quick stop at Mink.

Mink, to be fair, didn't seem like much of trout stream. Lots of mud on the bottom.

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 Creek
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 same.
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 here.

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 the hill.

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 be.

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 the distance.

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!

  MP 

 

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