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8-15-04 - While waiting for Renee to get up I had a little photoshoot with a treefrog...this frog was like the size of a dime!

Whoo hoo - a wild brown from the Secret Stream breaks the morning skunk for MP!

Love those chunky stocker browns!

RENEE gets in on the action with a great wild brown trout from the secret stream...she's now landed every species found in Iowa and it's only her second day ever trout fishing!

Likely another big fat stocker brown trout for me!

One more surprise wild brown...these things go airborn when you tie into 'em!

Met up with Randy Cochran down at Spring Branch...he picked off a couple browns here.

Whoo hoo - a nice short-gilled Spring Branch brook trout for MP.

Renee works a deep run on Little Mill Creek. Yes, that's the entire creek in that picture!

Check out Little Mill Creek in a 360° Panoramic View. You can get the enlargement above or really have fun in the 3D Viewer.

Randy finds some room to cast on Little Mill.

When the fishin's slow, I like to take photos...here's a few of the best from Randy's casting shots

That line is coming straight towards me!

Randy puts yet another cast exactly where he wants it.

We got to Big Mill late...neat stream! It took 100 photographs just to get this one decent one...actually shot after sunset.

8-15-04 - 2 more new IA streams checked off the "to do" list.

Waters Fished: MP's Secret Stream, Spring Branch, Little Mill Creek, Big Mill Creek
Fish Caught: 1 for Renee, 5 personally
Outing Date: 8-14-04
Weather: Another stunning day
Air Temp: upper 70's
Water Temp: Didn't take it
Water Level: Normal
Water Color: Streams clearing to clear.
Fish Species: Brown Trout, Brook Trout, Rainbow Trout
Pattern Fished: Tucker Nymph, Prince Nymph, Flashback Pheasant Tail Nymph, Chicago Leech, The Black Nothing (black thread soft hackle)
Pattern Color: As per patterns; Chicago Leeches in Olive and Purple
Fishing Quality: Really tough...only the very best streams produced.

Day #2 for Renee and the Fly Rod...this will be interesting! Another late start to the day, maybe heading out around 11:00 AM. Man, something about cold Casey's Pizza just isn't right...you gotta eat it hot I guess!

Well, I had two goals for the day...first Renee needed her first brown trout. While not a true "Triple Slam", it would mean that on Renee's first weekend trip she had caught every species of trout normally found in Iowa! The other goal was to meet up with Randy Cochran who was just now making his way back from Montana Fly School.

My battle plan was simple; we'd hit the Secret Stream for Renee's Brown and then head down to Spring Branch to meet up with Randy. Well the Secret Stream was clearing up rather nicely...I could see the bottom (but not the fish). Renee set up right where she left off the night before; I opted to move around the pool a bit and see if I learn the current holding spots now that spring's floods had rearranged the river.

I remember shouting when I tied into my first wild brown of the morning...3 jumps and it was to the shore. Next it was Renee's turn to hook up...again a NICE brown was on the line and again it got off! Not a great way to start the morning...now grumpy due to insufficient caffine AND a lost fish! I can sympathize, but that doesn't mean I'm gonna stop fishin! A smoke break was in order though.

Renee had been eyeing a brown that was feeding on the surface behind a branch in the water. I had been watching him from upstream too. It wasn't a cast I was about to have Renee try because frankly, I was gonna lose some flies to get this fish!

Several casts later I managed the right one...got to see him rise up, hammer the fly, and come off on the hookset. I figured I had lost my shot.

Well several more casts, one re-rig and another smoke later I figured out that if I took my roll cast, turned it 90 degrees on it's side I could cast into the spot but my line would remain downstream off the branches. The flow was moving downstream from right to left. Imagine a "J" rotated 180 degrees and that's how I had to land my line if I was going to hook up again. I pulled it off and received a POUNDING HIT. I literally DRAGGED that fish out of the branches as he tried desperately to dig in and get free. WHOO HOO...a NICE stocker brown was the result of that effort!

Finally Renee got her casting groove on and started getting some distance rather than just drifting the same line again and again. That small change resulted in a NICE brown, her first, and it happened to be a wild one which means it was a JUMPER! Watching her rod throb with the brown going airborne again and again was the most satisfying moment of the day....well OK, getting this one in the net was more satisfying still!

2 more browns for me and I felt it was time to go. Time goes by fast when you're fishing..it was already 1:30 PM! Invariably we'd be late to meet up with Randy.

We did find him, and as usual Spring Branch was chock full of fish...rainbows, browns and brookies! I rerigged Renee with an indicator and a midge and did the same for myself. Randy was also workin' the midge patterns but with only mild success.

We moved around trying different spots...Randy hit two browns, I FINALLY landed a brookie and Renee had a nice tug that didn't connect...but when you're fishin' #22 soft hackles that's going to happen. For some reason I just got the feeling that we were going to work REAL hard for our Spring Branch trout that day, and I personally was hoping for a bit more action. Randy assuredly was tired of Spring Branch, and Renee is still just a touch impatient (Yes, our first 30 minutes on the Waterloo really spoiled her..can't blame her a bit).

Now you may or may not be aware that I have a goal to fish every Iowa trout stream on the map by the end of 2004. There are a few streams down south of Dubuque that I haven't hit yet...everyone was up for a change of scenery (yes, it's a gamble).

A while later we ended up at Little Mill Creek. The water looked GREAT. Not a big stream at all, compareable to streams like Bohemian Valley Creek over in WI. Little pockets, lot of undercuts, lots of places for trout to be. Plus it had supposedly been stocked recently. I figured this would be a fun evening.

Well, it was a fun evenign on Little Mill..lots of hiking and hitting spots. However, not a single trout was encountered despite hitting a good dozen holes along the stream. Boredom set in and I shot a bunch of pictures of Randy Casting. Disappointed, and watching the sun start to slide down in the sky, we opted to try our luck at the Little Mill's sibling...Big Mill.

Now even though they're only like a mile away from each other on the map, there isn't a direct route. We had two choices...go east or west and cut back. For some reason we went into Bellevue...and got lost. Totally my fault. Randy suggested we try going along 52 to find the road we were looking for...his suggestion paid off and 10 minutes later we arrived at Big Mill Creek.

It's a little bit of a hike back in there...we came upon a very old bridge which afforded a rather beautiful view of the stream as it meandered through a deep cut in the earth. Off the top of my head it's like the Pike River in Kenosha...those certain spots with banks 30 feet high. Bigger water too. This could be fun.

Well, I took like 100 pictures in the post-sunset light and only got 2 or 3 that were usable. Again, fish were NOT readily apparent....Randy and I went troutless here too.

Renee? Well, Mrs. Renee was determined to land one more trout...which she almost did. While I was packing up she got a hit in a deep yet structureless pocket....fish thrashing at the surface...a nice rainbow. Those #22 hooks though, they don't grab a lot of flesh...and this one thrashed his way off Renee's line.

I was ammused, Renee was swearin' like a sailor, it was a great time. I think we stayed until the Bats were crusing inches from our heads before Renee finally threw in the towel on that last Rainbow. I've been there, done that too, I know the feeling and I was glad she was having it too.

  MP 

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