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12-05-04 - Deep in the valley at Bear Creek.

Blaze Orange is still a requirement to be safe this time of year.

Spring Branch was flowing low and clear as well.

There it is, my only fish for the day, a centerpin-caught DINK Rainbow Trout from Spring Branch!

12-05-04 - Pet Fly Post Fish - Break out the Centerpin on these scrawny Iowa Trout!

Waters Fished: Bear Creek, Spring Branch
Fish Caught: 1/2 + 2 foul
Outing Date: 12-05-04
Weather: Nice
Air Temp: 40's
Water Temp: N/A
Water Level: low and clear
Water Color: clear
Fish Species: Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, Brook Trout
Pattern Fished: Tucker Nymph, Trout Crack
Pattern Color: as per pattern
Fishing Quality: tough

It's the day after the Smackdown. Fred and I have concocted yet another hair-brained plan that might pay off big or go bust. We wanted to revisit Bear Creek, the stream we had first found earlier this year. Hopefully, this time, there'd be fish.

After all the PFS participants had made their way out for the day, Fred and I headed south. The plan was to drop my Camaro at the top of the hill; the last trip had been trecherous and that's no exageration. Well, I was watching for the point where the road gets bad and started going downhill on the steep, one-lane road. Surprisingly, I made it all the way down without incident - they've redone the road!

Towards the bottom of the hill, we ran into a hunter who was out for the day chasing deer. He had two buddies up on the ridge and two more at the base. I asked if he minded us fishing at the river; he was more than gracious in saying it wasn't a problem at all, just that we should head downstream to stay away from his buddies and out of the line of fire.

Looking back I almost feel bad we even bothered; Bear Creek was extremely low, clear, and fishless. Fred hiked way downstream only to come up saying that he had found some kind of fish, holding under ICE. RATS!

From here, it was a tossup of where to go. Considering it's on the way home, Fred and I headed to Spring Branch. Just as our fellow Smokin' Tahoe had reported yesterday, it too was low, clear, and not a lot of fish were around. True, I did see all three trout species, but nowhere near the numbers that are normally around the Manchester Hatchery. I'm not sure if they'd moved upstream to spawn or if all the fish had started hitting that magic 14" minimum size for harvest, but whatever the reason, Spring Branch was devoid of fish.

I had been fishing the centerpin all day, in part to show Fred how it worked but also in part just to see if I could get a fish on it! To my surprise my first two fish came in fouled...the float would go down and I'd set the hook...apparently the current had dragged my flies into the sides of the fish. No good!

I finally managed a fair fish landed, a rainbow trout less than 7" in length. Fun but not real fun. I think unless the rivers are up and really flowing, the centerpin is a "bit much" for Iowa Trout, especially on a spring creek small enough to jump over!


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