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7-10-04 - A view from inside the "Bitchin' Camaro" after 3.5 hours of sleep. I'm on the road in a mad-dash to hit the stream...believe it or not it's already like 8:30 AM in these photos.

FAT nears the bend, closely followed by G-Man and T-Bone.

Fat and G-man make it through another daring high-speed turn!

On the gravel and we're still doin' 55 - G-man has to tap the brakes!

7-10-04 - Another weekend in Iowa, but at least this Saturday it didn't rain!!!

Waters Fished: South Bear Creek, North Bear Creek, Waterloo Creek
Fish Caught: 20/45
Outing Date: 7-10-04
Weather: Foggy in the AM, Mostly Sunny, cloudy towards evening.
Air Temp: mostly 80's
Water Temp: didn't take them
Water Level: normal
Water Color: South Bear Muddy - visibility 1', North Bear Clear, Waterloo Muddy - visibility 1'
Fish Species: Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, Brook Trout
Pattern Fished: Chicago Leech & a #16 Wet Fly
Pattern Color: Black was BY FAR the most productive color, 95% of my fish landed took black. The Wet was Black Dubbed Body with Gray Wings, no hackle or tail.
Fishing Quality: This is how it's supposed to be!

FINALLY, it's been a LONG TIME COMING since I've had just a REALLY, I mean REALLY good day on the water. It all started simple enough...I could have left work early but had work to do, even so still got out earlier than expected but had more work to do at home. Ran over to Nardo's house to pick up the last little bit of our Team OC Combo...namely the reel...drove through dense fog and arrived, oh maybe 3:30 AM at Dorchester! Man, and I was hoping to hit a stream Friday night to get in yet another day of fishin!

Someone woke me up way too early and suggested it was way too nice of a day to spend it sleeping. In a 1/2 hungover (without drinking) stupor I slid behind the wheel of the Bitchin' (Fishin') Camaro (more recently dubbed "The White Garbage Truck with IL plates) and did my best to keep up with the high-speed chase...er...race, that ensued as a bunch of sleep deprived anglers drove to the stream.

For the next 45 minutes or so I TIED FLIES. The water was dirty from prior rain and I had NOTHING to fish with. Chicago Leech..my GOD I cannot thank DRIFT and Dan Fisher enough for introducing me to that pattern...I wish the DRIFT guy who invented it would stand up and take credit for it. Such a simple tie...beadhead on a streamer hook, red crystal flash tail, mohair body (I've started making variations in color, the original is black) and that's it! 3 materials, just a few easy steps and the fly is ready to go

Now well armed for what lay ahead (started with an Olive Leech and a Black Gnat variation #16 wet), I added on 4lb tippet (no need for 2lb. today!) and made my way down to the stream. I found Brennon fishing a pool, looked upstream and the riffles beckoned me.

For some reason the riffle water called my name...

My third hookup was my first fish landed.

4th cast I hooked a rainbow out of water no deeper than 12". I guess the warm water has changed some fish behavior...today I WOULD find luck in the fast water! Unfortunately, this 4th cast fish flopped around just inches from the shore and got away.

Moved up just a bit and noticed a nice bend...drifting through there I got another hit...this time a wild brown...and again...same as before....inches from hand it managed to escape!

Brennon (aka. T-bone and formerly BS or B) got into the morning action.

The bend looked big enough, deep enough, perhaps there was another fish holding here? INDEED there was, and maybe 10 minutes into my day I was finally unskunked! Brennon faired well too...his downstream bet had paid off with a rainbow!

Much of our morning was spent working down the South Bear, leapfrogging each other. I started paying attention to pockets in the riffles, heck I was seeking them out. Meanwhile Brennon focused most of his attention on the heads of pools where oxygen rich water would dump in and ideally concentrate the fish.

A climb down a steep bank and I had found myself another little pocket, half the size of my bed. I just KNEW there'd be a fish there. It took a while, longer than I expected, but persistence paid off. Unlike the first fish which had taken an Olive Chicago Leech, this guy took my dropper, a #16 Black Gnat Wet Fly. It was a great fight, jumping and thrashing, this fish did everything it COULD to get away.

I continued downstream, hitting water that B had covered. I spent a fair amount of time on the next pool trying to work tight against a submerged log. This gamble paid off as well, and another rainbow came in!

Still stuck on the riffle water, I fished a pocket here.

You can click for an enlargement above, but the full-sized image in the 3D viewer is much cooler!

The pocket water again paid off after repeated presentations with a nice wild South Bear Brown Trout on a #16 Wet Black Gnat.

Movin' on down, batting cleanup for T-bone I got a small put & grow Rainbow.

Brennon opted to park for a while at the bottom of the riffle that connect this pool and a longer run, so I kept moving. All morning a cloud of big black midges, at least that's the best I can describe them, had been forming over the surface of the chocolate water. As the midges kept increasing, my black gnat became ever more effective.

Things peaked for me just downstream from Brennon...he stayed up at the head and I stayed down at the tail of the run. The fishin' was UNREAL. Almost every cast was a bite...generally on a dead drift. I easily landed 5 rainbows here, as well as losing a BROOKIE! Man did I scream...the triple slam had been within reach and I choked on an 8" fish. UNREAL.

Brennon working the undercut and seams...I would've thought this was a good place to fish too.

Downstream from B, all the fish were on the tail. Big Black Midges were all around, and the fish must have been feeding on them.

Almost every cast another hookup, at least it seemed that way.

Finally the bite "wore off"...back to looking for pocket water, and I found it at the next bend which was immediately prefaced by a short riffle. The bend was more of a pool head, the water more or less spilled into this bathtub shaped pool from the side. Despite low water clarity, you could just tell that there was a shelf at the end of this riffle.

After the action calmed down, I moved to another sharp bend and landed what would be my largest trout of the day, a good wild brown pushing 14-15".

I guess that's not a spot that gets fished too often, because in just a few casts I was totally being rude and obnoxious, heck I was screaming, cursing, going totally nuts! A MONSTER (by my standards ;) Brown had taken my fly. He too, like all the others, had fallen victim to this innocent looking size #16 Black Gnat Wet Fly, a fly I probably tied 10 or more years ago....years before I ever saw my first live trout in the wild!

G-man came down to find out what all the noise was about and I showed him the pics hot off the digital camera! He started fishin' a bit below me, and shortly thereafter I decided that despite this pool looking good, it was in fact done, so I joined up with him on the large pool he was fishin' below.

I sh*t you not, first cast I had a hit that didn't connect. And that was about it for the entire pool. Got another LOOK from a trout at one point, but for some reason this "obvious" trout haven probably gets pretty pounded, and therefore the few fish that remained had likely wised up to the game we were trying to play.

We kept moving, down through a stream crossing. Downstream, riffle water, and again I'm looking for pockets, undercuts, overhanging brush, whatever would keep a trout holding in the fast water. To my chagrin it was all about 6" deep! Keep moving....

Standing on a high bank I got both G-man and T-bone in the shot.

Again, click for an enlargement above or truly experience being there via the 3D viewer.

G-man worked hard but persistence paid off with a nice angry rainbow.

Ah, another riffle leading into a bend-pool....big eddy here! G-man started hooking up repeatedly but kept losing his fish. Meanwhile I landed a few small rainbows, nothing to take a picture of when you're easily 6 feet above the water on a high, sloped bank. Heck most of the fish I landed slid down the bank, off the cliff and into the water below before I ever had a chance to take a shot! T-bone showed up, looked around, and kept moving. Again, he parked just below a riffle in a small pool. Again, I would've probably hit it myself. Yet for some reason, T-bone came up empty handed. As we moved downstream, I even joked that I was going to clean up T-Bone's mess in that pool and catch the fish he left behind...NOTHING was there. Harumph!

I don't know how or why I was fishin' the spot I was, but I was truly surprised/rewarded with a FAT stocker Brookie. The Triple SLAM is done!

Greg shot me with the only brookie landed today.
(Copyright 2004 Greg Posdal)

I must admit there comes a time, even when you're all part of the Pet Fly Smackdown, that you start to feel guilty when you're having a good day and the equally accomplished anglers around you aren't. So I really, truly, felt a bit of guilt when I moved in downstream and started fishin' a tree that G-man had hit and given up on after losing a fly. I too came close to losing my rig, but instead witnessed the sharp tug on my line. "SET THE HOOK" raced through my mind....the fight was on, another big one!

This fish had PLENTY of room to run...I had to work to keep it from diving under the tree though. Thank GOD I had opted for 4lb tippet today...2lb this fish would've snapped me off. But I got it in, dropped it in the mud (talk about a splat) a few times, and when the dust finally settled I had a NICE brookie! TRIPLE SLAM COMPLETE BABY!

Well on that note we all decided it was time for LUNCH...we went back to find FAT and the boys, I cleaned some fish and we ate. Personally feeling rather proud of myself having gone 9/21 so far....No time to lose even though we kinda sat around for an hour...it was now 1:00 PM and PLENTY of fishin' lay ahead!

So we spent all morning in dirty water, why not cross the road and hit North Bear which was already running clear? We opted to fish low, down by the confluence of North & South. When we got there, I nailed a fish right away. G-man and T-bone headed towards the confluence; FAT, Chief and Duke went upstream and I batted cleanup (again). This time, the fish were few and far between, and for the most part were definitely skittish in the bright sun.

We moved over to North Bear...first few casts I got a small stocker Bow.

FAT working some fish holding in a deep cut on the left.

Fat had the heathens with him today...so he spent a lot of time tossing non-fly gear.

As we moved up FAT would point out fish, I'd sometimes find them, sometimes they'd be gone. Eventually I did manage a hookup when I walked up to where Rich had been and noticed some surface feeding activity below. FAST, I mean FAST strips brought pounding strikes...missed the first one but nailed #2. As we kept going upstream, we just couldn't find any fish. What to do? Turn around and go downstream to the confluence.

Pulled this 'bow from about where FAT was standing two pictures ago.

Lower North Bear was pretty, but the fish were sparse and skittish.

I guess this is the "big Bear" or something...just downstream from the confluence of North & South.

We got down to the confluence and I even spent some time fishin' downstream from that. All the while no fish seen, no action, no nothing. I was kinda wondering if maybe we'd gone in the WRONG direction. Afterall, upstream a bit on South Bear I had been doin' alright as had the other guys.

Back up to the North Bear, I saw a fish flash, a few presentations later I had'em!

So it was decided that I'd go off to look for our lost boys..G-Man and T-bone. On the way back up the North Bear side I stopped, nailed another quick rainbow I saw flashing in the depths. That last fish put me at 3/5 on the North Bear for the afternoon...not too shabby.

I then looked for a quick escape route and found it on the far side....well, until I started climbing the bank. I got about half way up and shouted "OW"...my exposed knee had come in contact with stinging nettles. THEN I felt the burning all over my forearms. I suggested that maybe FAT and the boys go upstream a bit more when they were ready to get out.

I took a quick walk through the woods, started collecting black raspberries for tonight's desert, and as luck would have it I actually managed to find G-man and T-bone The had only gone up one stocking road crossing. It went down like this...crossing #1 is right where you start. Crossing #2 is a trek through the woods...at best a 2 or 3 minute walk (but it seems like longer). Well, I get to crossing #2 and downstream I see a promising hole....maybe I'll stop a second and fish it before I keep moving in search of the boys.

As I waded downstream I see a bright green fly line coming out of the brush...that's Brennon's line. I make my way down and they're glad to see me...they've spent at least a couple hours just pounding a relatively short stretch of stream (to be fair it winds around a lot). I got a chuckle when Brennon asked if I knew where the stocking road was...they had been looking for it for the past hour. They were only about 100 feet downstream from it ;)

We planned to hit another spot on the North Bear, again, new to all of us. Fat had seem some guys down in the area with a 24" brown. Something tells me the fish are moving upstream in the warmer weather

We arrived and flogged a bunch of water. One real nice hole got split 6 ways....tough to do but we managed. FAT hooked up, I lost a three and landed one, all the while standing in (and sinking in) the mud. Other than that the area warrants no special mention or further details. It wasn't terribly productive, and by about 6:00 it was decided we should head back to the Waterloo, fish till dusk and eat some dinner!

Spooked this guy off a fat carcass roadside.

Fat had done some 'scouting' earlier in the day and found a new South Bear hole to try...it paid of for him.

"Um, I'm knee deep in muck, can someone help me land this?!"

G-man comes to FAT's aid.

T-bone and G-man work the pool to death.

I am very pleased with how this came out...anyone have a handy ID for me?

Oh let me tell you I had been dying to get to a new access we noticed on the Waterloo since early this year. Well, this would be the evening. While the rest of our crew headed on over, I made a detour to the General Store in Highlandville, picked up some Vanilla Ice Cream (to go with the raspberries), replenished my Mountain Dew supply, and stopped over at the Sportsman's in Dorchester to drop it all off in the cooler.

By the time I had arrived, FAT had pretty much had enough of the kids and wanted to start preparing dinner, so it was now just the three of us. Brennon had set up at the head of a nice pool, G-man was working kinda the middle section, so I started lower. We all kinda jockeyed spots a bit, and in the process I hooked MANY MANY fish, adding another 6 (or more) to my total (honestly I kinda lost count and there were also several fouled fish). I continued to pound the pool while G-man and Brennon had long since left.

On to the Waterloo and the Chicago Leech Jiggle'n'Strip technique continues to pay off...

...again...

...and again...

"FUCK YEAH"! Man I realized that there were folks in a trailer not too far away only AFTER I screamed that with all my might. If anyone had heard me and mentioned it I guess I'd say I had screamed "CHUCK, YEAH!" and explained that either Greg or Brennon was "Chuck".

I had tied into a fish of an entirely different class....man this was a different level all together. It started with the huge sharp tug that caused my outburst. "THIS IS WHAT I'm TALKIN' ABOUT"...man Jimmy Houston doesn't even come close to me when I'm in this kind of mood!

Then it cleared the water...all 24" or more of it. That's when I got my first look at the fish I had. It was BIG and DARK BROWN. Um....wait a second...did I see that right? Um....wait, that's not a trout is it...? No time to think about as this monster fish was taking drag, and all I'm fishin is a 3wt. SCII with a Redington CT (it's a pawl-click type drag). Every time I'd make some headway and start reeling up slack the fish would take back all the progress I had just made. No doubt the grinding of my drag could be heard downstream by G-man and T-bone Unlike earlier on South Bear...no one came to see what was going on this time.

And if they had, they would've been somewhat amused, somewhat disappointed, and even after I showed them what I had caught, somehow I managed to totally escape being the butt of any related jokes at the campfire that evening. You see, it turns out a SUCKER had taken my fly. A MONSTER SUCKER, or as I like to refer to it, an INLAND Bonefish.

...and again...wait, that's a SUCKER?!

Figures my biggest fish would be an Inland Bonefish!

A nice stretch of the Waterloo, only opened to the public this year (THANKS to the landowners who made this possible).

After the Bonfish Fiasco I decide to go down and see what G-man and T-bone were up to. I they both tied into a few fish, Greg got a nice wild Waterloo brown. All the while dusk was creeping in...no wait that's not dusk, that's FOG. The fog arrived well before sunset...but sunset DID arrive. We all gave a last ditch effort in the promising pool...I myself lost my last leeches and must thank G-man for bummin' me a beadhead bugger...got my #20 for the day (although the pics totally suck). As soon as I had passed 19 free and clear by making the 20 mark, going 7/16, I cut that bugger off and handed it to B....hopefully it turned a fish or two for him.

G-man is at it again with a wild Waterloo Brown.

Long BEFORE sunset the fog rolled in on T-bone and G-man

Fog everywhere and the sun isn't even down!

Talk about a day...as the sun finally left the sky B was workin' the head of the pool where a good fish had been taunting him all day. I looked upstream and noticed G-man still working the water...

G-man noticed plentiful risers in the riffles after sunset, but man they just would miss the fly every time!

Turns out the fish were on the rise on the seams in the riffles. He was having great luck getting strikes from fish by skittering an Elk Hair Caddis across the water, but they weren't connecting. I suggested dead drifting, but that didn't get the hits! We even tried an "all-stop"...simply holding the fly static and letting the rushing water push it around...no hits there either! Only the skitching of the fly across the surface got hits....but what good are hits when the fish keep MISSING the fly?!

Dinner was fantastic. Fried Trout. Fried Looper (I think I'll be letting those go next year). Fried Crappie (why can't they live in trout streams?). Tater Tots. Labatts' (a G-man essential). All topped off with mounds of fresh, wild black raspberries heaped upon soft yet still frozen French Vanilla Ice Cream.

Did I mention it FINALLY went a day without raining?! This is what IOWA Trout Fishin' is ALL ABOUT!

  MP 

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