6-13-04 - And another muddy day in IA...
Waters Fished: Iowa Put & Grow, South Bear
Creek, North Bear Creek, Sny Magill Creek, Bloody Run.
Fish Caught: 7/14
Outing Date: 6-13-04
Weather: Sunny all day
Air Temp: upper 70's
Water Temp: didn't bother
Water Level: still up
Water Color: all were murky to muddy except the Put & Grow
Fish Species: Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout
Pattern Fished: Chicago Leech, Tucker Nymph, a couple other misc.
Pattern Color: dark
Fishing Quality: Good for me!
Don't know how, but I slept nice and late...about
8:30 AM before I got up! Rich and his students went through the
last little bit...knot tying. They were going to head out...Rich's
plan was North Bear, Bear Confluence, South Bear.
Yesterday Fred and I had a plan that we didn't
follow through on...a Put & Grow. The couple I've looked at
in the past have been small...likely that means they'd be clear
even if the other streams weren't. Well I think there was a bit
of rain overnight, so more or less Fred and I decided that scouting
might be fun, and perhaps productive.
As always, the Put & Grow shall remain nameless
here. Keeping out the details of how we got there and how we got
access to the stream to keep the stream a bit of a treasure hunt
for those who haven't been there. Basically we hike down to the
stream and find it's pretty tiny but indeed is running pretty clear
(visibility 1-2'). Holes are again easy to distingish...you can't
see the bottom!
Fred had all the luck this morning....4 or 5 consecutive
whacks in the first hole he fished. The last "whack" produced
a FAT brown trout, I mean this thing had a GUT. Olive Wolley Bugger
was the ticket.
We spent a lot of time hopping from hole to hole,
upstream and downstream of our initial access point. We did scare
up a female wood duck and her babies...I didn't know wood ducks
could dive and swim underwater!
So this put and grow was quite fun, however it
was challenging. Tight quarters and thin water meant that fish could
no doubt see you coming. We didn't spook any, but I suspect that
had the water been fully clear we may have seen a few more fish
scurry for cover.
Bends seemed to be "the" spot, as it's
the only type of structure that apparently held fish (based on where
we got our hits). Riffles, Flats, runs, nope, only the bends seemed
to hold biters.
Well we knew that lunch was gonna be around noon;
we'd had our fun and decided to go find FAT and his gang. We followed
his original plan and stopped at North Bear; no luck. On to where
North and South come together...nobody was home! All the way up
the South Bear to town and we still hadn't found Rich. It was only
11:20 or so...we had some time to fish. After examining the South
Bear, it was clear that this week, the North Bear was actually clearer.
So around 11:30 we got in..Fred's first trip to
the North Bear so I kinda guided him to the honey holes and saved
my favorite little dip in the river. Right off the bat Fred got
a bite...after hitting some less likely spots I decided to cash
in my "get off the skunk free" card.
With some persistence it paid off. Visibility was
maybe 6" in most spots..I couldn't see exactly where my little
hole should be but I knew it was there. It seems that in the high
water the fish had moved out of the hole and into the current, as
all my bites came on the seam closest to myself; usually their on
the far side from where I fish.
Well anyway I was getting pretty frustrated, but
finally hooked into a big stocker. When I landed it I realized this
rainbow had a little size to it...later we figured it out to be
about 1-2" larger than Fred's Put and Grow Brown (which was
13"). Yeah, there has been some "disbelieve" on my
measurements...well we taped the brown at 13" and we know that
my 'bow was a bit longer (but not nearly as fat). Say what you will,
like it really matters anyway, it was a good sized stocker.
Oh, and of special note, I noticed another set
of big prints by the stream, right where I normally fish. INTERESTING...maybe
I should start keeping an eye out for bears when I'm in NE IA?
So eventually I found Fred by honking my horn....he
had gotten a stocker out of the bend just upstream from where I
had been hanging out. It was now about 12:30...we were late for
lunch. As I drove along the ridge between North Bear and Dorchester
my voicemail kicked in...we had definitely missed lunch as FAT and
others were already on their way to Sny Magill.
Fred and I stopped to close up shop at the RV and
then headed to Caseys for gas and Pizza...Casey's Pizza is still,
bar none, the best pizza around. Go get some!!!!
Well, finally our luck turned around when we got
to the Sny Magill and found Rich's Bronco and Ken's Saturn. I guess
the other students had packed their bags on this weekend...can't
say I blame them! Well, I figured we'd stick around and hope to
find Fat and Ken.
Turns out Fred lost a brown right away, so when
FAT and Ken and I decided we'd go downstream he stayed back for
a bit trying to turn that fish. I think sometimes ya gotta just
keep moving; in no time at our second access point I hit my first
brown. Lost another. Landed one foul?! I guess in the dark water,
these fish snap at flies and miss, sometimes getting hung up. I
never foul inland trout with this frequency in clear water. In fact
I'm sure I have, but I can't recall fouling inland trout before!?
So Fred made it down, and well kinda hopscotched
around each other from hole to hole. FAT worked a promising bend
but concluded there were no fish there...I joked as I told him he
just "sucked". As he continued to move downstream, my
voice echoed "FAT YOU SUCK" as a landed a rainbow out
of the bend ;)
All in all I was 2/4 on the Sny, Rich was still
trying to get rid of the skunk...I think Ken was too. They decided
one last shot...Bloody Run.
Well we got there, FAT showed us all the access
spot that I hadn't found the first time we went. We dropped in,
Fred booked downstream, I sat pretty much right at the first pool,
and Ken and Rich headed upstream to work their ways down.
Before Fred was even out of sight I whopped up
my first Jimmy Houston of the day as a small wild brown hammered
the Chicago Leech and came to shore. A few casts later, with the
same 1' strip retrieve, another brown of the same year class hit
my fly and came to hand. For a while I thought it might be the same
fish I had just released...the pictures prove it wasn't.
Well the action quieted on that pool...and rather
than flog water I decided to see what Ken and Rich were up to. Turns
out Ken lost a brown, Rich was still SKUNKOLA'd. I walked upstream
to a small pocket and almost immediately caught another small wild
brown. FAT was a bit steamed ;)
We found Fred, it was late for him, 'bout 5:00
PM, so he headed home and the three that remained went upstream.
Something is going on in the Campground area...it was closed off.
Immediately downstream access was still there, but I guess Rich
has been there before and noted that the whole stream had been "rearranged".
It was clear that some work was being done in this section...looks
like it's being redirected, maybe channelized a bit to create a
fast run above a slower pool (thus adding oxygen to the water and
keeping temperatures down a bit more).
Well, FAT directs Ken to what is obviously the
first place any trout fisherman would start. FAT goes down to the
slow water. I look around...where should I fish. Well, I set up
right between them...just takes a few casts and BAM another small
wild brown. Rich is dyin' and givin' me grief.
By the time he makes it to the end of the flat
Rich's luck finally changed. He must have been so determined that
he literally WILLED a 6" brown onto his hook. Big cheers for
the FATMAN and the skunk has left the building.
Well, I'm not sure Ken ever got the skunk taken
care of, but it was about 6:00 and time to head back to good 'ole
WI. Dinnertime too, so we stopped at the Fennimore Casey's for a
piping hot pepperoni (yes, that's Casey's twice in one day for me...it's
that good). I tried to convince my two compadres that we needed
to fish more...Castle Rock is just "right over there"...I
tried and tried but no willing biters. Ah, I guess I needed to go
home and do some rod building anyway!