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6-13-04 - Another morning looking for clear water found us on a Put & Grow Stream.

Fred's size in this shot should make the size of this put & grow stream readily apparent.

Whoa, Fred lands a FAT brown about 13".

Another look at that FAT stream-reared Put & Grow brown.

We hopped from pool to pool...this one gave me my only bite of the morning.

Neat little stream, lots of nooks and crannies to check out.

Just one more look at the Put & Grow.

Fred and I were off looking for FAT and his luck so we ended up going back to North Bear to fish a bit.

OK, I saw a print like this just a few months back at Spring Branch. Some folks say bear, others say human fist. Finding the same print twice? HMM.

Got the skunk off with a LONG stocker bow. It was a good inch or two longer than Fred's that puts this one at 14-15".

FAT leaves us a note they'll be on the Sny Magill. We find their cars here and eventually meet up.

Action at our first stop is slow so we bump downstream. First few casts I nail a nice wild brown.

Ken and FAT are apparently batting cleanup today...

Or maybe it's my day for "cleanup"...FAT takes his time on this hole.

After he leaves I step in and nail this stocker rainbow.

Most guys are still trying to beat the skunk today...we head to Bloody Run and in no time I land a smaller wild brown.

Immediately followed up by a second wild brown in the same exact spot. I thought it was the same fish until I got to look at the pictures here at home.

Ken (left) and Rich (aka. FAT, right) both work this section hard.

And meanwhile right upstream I land yet another dinky wild brown.

Last stop for the day, farther upstream on Bloody Run. Looks like they're revamping the stream up here.

HA HA, Ken takes the sweet spot, FAT goes downstream, I step in between them and nail yet another small wild brown!

This sweet little spot didn't cough up a thing!

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. wet flies
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 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 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'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!



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