11-14-04 - I hit Iowa with The Trout Hunter...
Waters Fished: MP's Secret Stream, French Creek
Fish Caught: 4/12
Outing Date: 11-14-04
Weather: Mostly Cloudy
Air Temp: 50's dropping to upper 30's
Water Temp: N/A
Water Level: low
Water Color: gin clear!
Fish Species: Brown Trout
Pattern Fished: Tucker Nymph, Chicago Leech
Pattern Color: tried the leach in purple as well, but black was
Fishing Quality: tough
Harris, aka. "The Trout Hunter" (in my book) had the
trout itch, I'm out of work and had gotten to fish the tribs all
week...it was time to go INLAND! SW WI is CALOZED (closed for those
who couldn't figure that out)...there's only one place I know where
the trout season is 24/7/365 - IOWA!!!! [-Matt Tucker of OzarkChronicles.com
was quick to remind me that there's also Missouri and Arkansas -
"D'oh" on my part] Len had been dying to see some of the
"big fish" water in IA.
Surprisingly, I was AHEAD of schedule (that almost
never happens) so I phoned Len and we rearranged our meeting place
to be the Cabela's in Prairie Du Chein. While waiting for Len to
arrive, I got to hang with Todd (don't know which one but he's a
member) which was a nice treat.
We had MANY options but limited time. Around 11:00
AM we crossed into IA, originally heading for French Creek. However,
something in my gut said "check the secret stream". Sure,
it's a big detour, but it IS the Secret Stream for a reason. I KNOW
it holds REALLY BIG TROUT!
Len and I hit the secret stream...I tend to be
a methodical trout angler whereas Len's a spinning guy...after a
couple tosses in a pool he's generally on to the next one, not interested
in coaxing a bite but instead interested in covering lots of water.
I can tell ya now, Len saw more of the Secret Stream in one day
than I have in 2 years!
While we were both successful in landing trout
(I was 1/6 personally) things were slow. I attribute much of my
failure to the fact that I was fishing 4lb fluorocarbon tippet in
truly crystal clear water. I had MANY, MANY follows from fish but
the follows never turned into bites. True to form, the Secret Stream
was holding at least one big fish that day..I saw his head, a good
6" long, poke out all too briefly from underneath a bankside
On our way to French Creek I managed to dig up
my 2lb...it definitely made a difference. We hiked in to the first
pool on my list, one where I have seen many mammoth browns cruising.
Len took the first cast and instantly hit a brown...unfortunately
a smaller one around 11". In short order I spotted at least
one in the 24" category, and several in the 16-18" size
were also holed up.
All the fish we encountered had one thing in common;
they were all TIGHT TO THE BOTTOM. While Len disappeared downstream,
I worked the pools methodically, having to add splitshot to get
my dual Tucker Rig down to the bottom. Very little in the way off
luck...2 missed hits.
It was already getting dim; I wanted to perhaps
catch up with Len so I started downstream. Somewhat surprisingly,
I found several browns holding in the riffles. Being a relatively
heavily pressured C&R stream, French Browns in the riffles didn't
make for any less challenging quarry. At most I'd get a couple drifts
past them before they'd spook off (and alert the neighboring trout).
I continued downstream until I happened upon the
only other angler we saw that day, patiently working one of the
deepest pools (so deep it was turquoise blue). I had not found Len,
yet I didn't want to pass this angler and possible disturb him,
so I headed back upstream to the starting spot.
This time I changed up my offerings to a Chicago
Leech (having lost my last Tuckers) and it made a world of difference.
In short order I had back-to-back fish landed, ultimately going
3/4 this time before casting into overhanging branches and losing
my last #8 black Chicago Leech.
A switchup to Purple was wholely ineffective. Perhaps
I had pounded the pool sufficiently already, or perhaps purple was
too gaudy. I knew Len had to leave around 4:30...it must have been
around that point already, my breath was now readily apparent in
the air, when I headed back to find him waiting (he didn't know
how to get back to PDC). Len had personally landed at least another
trout. So while it was a slow, tough day, it sure beats sitting
inside LOOKING at a trout stream in...oh lets say Richland County,
WI?!!!?! And I think this trip helped Len to reconsider IA as a
place to fish...he saw at least one of the big boys today. Just
'cause you see them, even if you're Len, doesn't mean you're gonna
Yup, for those whining about the close of WI's
Inland Trout Season - NAH NAH NAH NAH NAH, get an IA license or
wait until March! Fall Trout in IA gets my two thumbs up anytime!