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5-15-05 - Mike lands the first rainbow for the day!

5-15-05 - Fish Fat Iowa Fly Fishing School - Day 2

Waters Fished: South Bear Creek, Sny Magill Creek
Fish Caught: several
Outing Date: 5-15-05
Weather: Partly Sunny at times, overcast mostly
Air Temp: 60's
Water Temp: N/A
Water Level: South Bear - Slightly Up, Sny Magill, a bit low
Water Color: both crystal clear
Fish Species: Rainbow Trout, Brook Trout, Brown Trout
Pattern Fished: Assorted Beadhead Nymphs
Pattern Color: Assorted
Fishing Quality: Improving, Fair to Good

It's another day of Fly School...we really didn't have much we needed to go over again so after a good breakfast we suited up and hit the streams again.

This time around, we hit South Bear Creek in the morning. In short order some of us were having really good luck...including Mike who got the first fish of the morning. I managed to coax a couple out of a deep pool.

A close-up of Mike's Rainbow. My first trout of the morning. My second turns out to be a Brook Trout!
Another stocker bow. Don works the pool where I landed 3 fish earlier. Rich takes a stealth approach to some skittish rainbows and suckers.

The morning progressed slowly...the fish were definitely in. As I headed downstream, Nick hooked up with a fish and fought it hard. When it was a few feet from shore, he set the rod down and proceeded to hand-line the fish in...I'm shouting "NO NO NO". Well, as you guessed, now that there was no shock absorber the fish got away with ease.

Mike and Nick work a productive bend. South Bear is, by all accounts, simply a beautiful place to fish. Nick has just learned not to hand-line your trout.

Downstream I found a few nice browns, the first holding under a stump. He hit twice, coming off both times. Ok, time to move. Upstream a bit in a pool that pretty much holds only suckers I found a MASSIVE brown and spent arguably way too much time trying to get a bite out of him. Got some suckers on the dead drifting midge pattern, but overall, once again, DENIED!

I love running into the farm ducks.

I came back upstream to find Mike hooked up again...excellent. Don had been working the water patiently as had Rich. In fact, Rich had gone to an indicator rig..that's how subtle the takes were.

Well, if the fishin' is so-so it's time to move on...we moved a considerable stretch downstream on South Bear and rerigged. While getting Don set back up, the rest of the crew was already on the water. I thought it was Nick who had hooked up, so I ran downstream to get a picture. gone! Meanwhile Rich was fact everyone was getting hits right off the bat.

Mike with another Stocker Rainbow further down on South Bear. A close-up of Mike's fish. Rich walks in and slam's them!

Don and I set up on a nice bend pool and there, in the gut, lay a large brook trout, possibly a broodstock. In short order Don landed his first fish, then lost his second as it tangled itself on a fallen branch. Darnit. Don was right. We should have MOVED that branch when we got there.

Finally, I happen to be around Don when he lands a trout! A close-up of Don's Rainbow. A little rainbow comes to's not the brook trout I'm hoping for.

I managed a small rainbow but was really really goin' for that brook trout. Rich came back to let us know he was setting up lunch...I told him I'd have to catch that big ass brookie first.

Mike is workin' the bends on the South Bear.
Don shows off his new Morgan Brown Lanyard!

As time wore on we could hear the shouts of frustration from Nick and Mike upstream...heck we making some of those same noises ourselves. As I watched the brook trout in the depths of the pool, I slowly started increasing my pattern size, each time getting more interest and more SUSTAINED interest out of him. The Coup De Grace was when I attached and drifted down a "Flyin'" Chicago Leach. He looked at it, rushed towards it and PUSHED IT with his nose. @#$Q#%^#$^Q#$%^

Well, I put it down there a few more times and thought I saw him crush it...I set the hook and ended up with a fouled brookie. Got him in and released him without pictures or other the thing was 14"+ easily. Definitely a brookie that was stocked in 2004, not this year.

After lunch Mike and Nick had to go. Rich, Morgan, Don and myself headed to Cabelas...I was intent to stock up my trout box with the truly bargain $5.99/doz. flies. $200 in flies later, it was time for a little more fishin'. Rich had to head home, which left Don and I to finish out the day in Iowa.

After some debating, I decided we'd visit the Sny Magill. We dropped in at a usual hotspot and honestly, well, there wasn't much going on. It took some hiking to find fish...the first being a stunningly colored brown trout that whacked my fly not once but twice before being landed. Don had a couple looks out of the pool...I figured we could hit them on the way back again.

Upstream in "no man's land", in so much as there was no obvious path, we found a literal HORDE of trout in a depression. They were active and aggressive...definitely we'd have some luck. The only problem was a branch that overhung their position, sheltering them from most any and all casts.

Don works the holes on the Sny Magill. Wow, look how orange this brown trout is?! I thought it was a brookie until I landed it!

The solution came in the form of literally poking the rod tip into the tree and dapping a well placed fly into a narrow drift that would go underneath the branches and down to the trout. With a bit of practice Don figured it out and in no time was hooked up. As it so often goes, the trout won the battle that time.

While Don took a break, I tried my luck with a much shorter rod...2 hits later and I was frustrated too. What to do? Well, we tried one more of the usual "hot spots" without any luck and called it a day for THIS access point.

Maybe we'd go to Bloody Run? Well, turns out I found a new access location. We pulled right up and saw one or two trout...not what I was hoping for. We continued downstream and found one of the less likely access of those spots where you really have to hike a bit to get back. Figuring it was the end of the weekend on a popular IA stream, I thought this spot would hold more promise than most of the ones we'd been to so far today!

I'd like to say the move "paid off" with tons of fish, but in reality while it was good it wasn't the insane IA stream trout action you hope for. This was new water to me, which was interesting because it gave me a chance to talk Don through the methodology of approaching new water.

Another stocker Rainbow from the Sny Magill. Checkin' out some new water.

I stopped at a likely hole...I though Don would to but he was up and off on his own checkin' out the next one upstream. Sweet...I like to see how folks gain confidence over the weekend.

My instincts paid off with a couple hits and a stocker bow landed. We continued upstream and saw more stunning water. As dusk approached, I felt a tug towards a spot downstream that we could see where we walked in.

Well that "bend by the tree" turned out to be nothing but flat shallow water...not the type of water that has been holding fish. We pressed onwards into the forest and there, around a bend, the stream simply opened up wide.

Don works a dead pool adjacent to the's deep and it surely holds fish. Patiently workin' that pool... Our last stop for the day, a massive pool on the Sny Magill.

There before us was a massive pool, the size one can only dream about and the size that tends to hold monstrous fish. Add onto that the fact that we were in a stretch that likely sees less heart was thumpin.

Don chose to fish the head...from there he could use a standard overhead cast using the tunnel above the stream for casting room. I set to the task of roll casting across to the far side. Bam Bam Bam...3 little wild brown trout later (too dark to photograph them) Don came down and was convinced to try roll casting a bit.

While Don worked on it, I switched up to the Flyin' Leech in the hopes of connecting with a monster brown...heck a monster trout of ANY species would have been nice. It wasn't meant to be however, and as the last bit of sunlight cut across the treetops Don and I decided to end a good day on the water.


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