8-13-05 - McCoy Trout Outing - Day 1
Waters Fished: Waterloo Creek, North Bear Creek,
South Bear Creek
Fish Caught: 5 personally
Outing Date: 8-13-05
Weather: Mostly Cloudy
Air Temp: mid 70's for the highs
Water Temp: N/A
Water Level: ever so slightly up
Water Color: ever so slightly tinged...not quite 100% clear
Fish Species: Rainbow Trout, Brook Trout, Brown Trout
Pattern Fished: Beadhead Nymphs
Pattern Color: olives, browns, both caddis and mayfly types - size
18 and smaller.
Fishing Quality: Excellent
I rolled into Dorchester, Iowa, around 4:15 AM.
I got my bearings and opened up FAT's RV...what the heck happened
in here?!?! It looked like the place had been robbed, but then again,
what was in there that was worth stealing to begin with? Oh wait...Rich
mentioned he was going to tear it apart and refurbish it. I guess
I remember looking at my clock - 4:45 AM. All too
soon 6:00 AM rolled around and the alarm went off. Time to meet
the McCoy's at the Sportsmen's Restaurant. Sure enough...there was
Mike and his two sons, ready for breakfast! With all the junk food
in my stomach from the extended Friday/Saturday drive, I think I
opted to stick to black coffee!
Mike, Mitch and Mason had arrived Friday afternooon
and spent some time on the Waterloo. Sure, they had seen fish but
landing them was another story. The boys were fishing spinning gear,
tossing spinners and small Rapalas. Yes, they can work at the appropriate
times with the appropriate fish (ask Len Harris) but as you all
know I'm a devote fan of the fly. Time to rerig the boys with spinning
bubbles and two-fly rigs!
We drove up to the MN border to find an angler
already parked where I thought we should start. No problem, we'd
passed just about every other access along the way so we bumped
on back downstream. It was the perfect starting point - two pools
to split between three anglers. Mike took my 7' 3wt built by Dave
Dyer and hit the upstream pool; meanwhile Mitch, Mason and I sat
down on the lower pool.
In short order, heck probably first casts, both
boys had hits but failed to set the hook. Mitch was especially lucky
(or unlucky depending on how you look at it) - on one of his first
retrieves his float was pulled under 4 distinct times. We were definitely
in the right spot and Mitch was holding the hot hand.
Well, it turned out that Mason was the first to
convert a strike into a fish landed....a nice way to break the morning's
skunk. As the action in the pools died down I conservatively estimate
that the boys easily had 30 or 40 hits between them. Mike had seen
some action on the upper pool but didn't seal the deal.
We went to the Double Secret Spot only to be chased
out by the cows. Onwards to the Secret Spot (which is anything but
a secret). Turns out this was the access point that the three had
fished the day prior.
This time I made darn sure their luck would be
better. We indeed saw lots of fish...not TONS but definitely a fair
amount to chase. The group kinda leapfrogged from one pool to the
next. I should point out that Mike had specifically booked me to
guide Mitch and Mason...Mike was pretty content to just take a few
pointers and suggestions and brush up on his fly fishing skills.
Turns out my suggestion on a hole produced 2 fish for him while
I worked downstream with the boys.
Ah yes, the boys. Talk about MORE action. Mason
surprised us all with a LARGE brookie that struck from the depths
of a fast moving plunge pool. What both guys lacked in fish-fighting
patience they made up for with downright enthusiasm! Every fish
was either on the bank or off in seconds. Easily another 20 or 30
strikes between the two boys...sometimes nothing more than a pause
of the bubble or a flash at the flies underneath the surface. Everyone
tied into fish!
And that was all before noon. After a filling taco-dip
lunch, the McCoy's opted for a midday siesta. This was the perfect
time to get some personal time in on the water, even though it was
the slowest part of the day.
I opted to check out North Bear Creek, realizing
that I haven't fished it yet THIS YEAR! Yeah, I've driven by it
on more than one occasion, usually to find an RV or a couple tents
pitched at my favorite access point. This time was no different,
but the friendly anglers were taking their afternoon break as well.
I figured I might as well hop in on a likely (but often overlooked)
spot and put in a couple casts.
On my very first drift I watched the tiny gold
bead heads of my flies float under the surface only to stop. I figured
I had gotten caught up in the weeds - when I tugged the line free
it vibrated. Chub? Nope...a very small brown trout would be my first
fish of the trip. I guess I AM the Dinker King!
I don't know...maybe 10 casts in I landed my first
fish, having lost several others in the few casts prior. I worked
the spot for a few more minutes before deciding to get back in the
car and head back for a nap or something.
The boys were simply rarin' to go, but we waited
until around 2:30 before heading back to the stream. This time,
I thought we'd get in a change of scenery and fish the South Bear
Creek. Mitch was still technically skunked - I told them all Mitch
would have first crack at the Hundred Fish Hole. They all had to
ask, "What's a hunter fish?" Ah, yes, um, not hunter,
Hundred, as in one hundred, as in there should be one hundred trout
sitting in this hole. The Rechterman's can attest to that slight
exaggeration of fact (yes, as I write this, their weekend's report
still resides in my brain...soon Paul & Anne!).
We got to the access point only to find a slew
of vehicles present. Hmm...I know this spot has at least a MILE
OR TWO both upstream and down. There is so much good water there
I DID NOT feel I would be stepping on anyone's toes, so we headed
Well, there was some initial frustrations as we
worked from pool to pool. Mitch got set up on the hundred fish pool,
which was today only home to 20 or 30 trout. Usually the entire
tailout was holding fish, so I sent Mason to that little spot in
the hopes that he'd get to fish here too. Mason shouted up that
there was nothing...indeed he was correct. Mike and Mason headed
downstream..meanwhile Mitch patiently stalked his quarry.
It happened - it had to happen - Mitch landed 2
trout within the span of a couple minutes. Finally the beast is
off everyone's backs - there's never a finer feeling! The downside
is that once you get a taste, you want MORE! Sometimes any action
is worthwhile, especially on your first Iowa Trout Trip. I don't
think I've ever seen anyone so happy to land a sucker as Mason was!
We continued downstream past the point where the
stocking road ends and the trail soon peters out. We continued to
the farthest point I've been to on the stream before we doubled
back. Mike took the lead (he wanted a shot at the Hundred Fish Pool).
The boys and I slowly made our way back upstream.
I came up to find Mike working the hundred fish
pool, apparently not having much luck. Casting a fly rod is difficult
here...it spurred me to give a quick demonstration of the tactics.
Of course, while not intending to, I hooked up with nice rainbow.
Mike put in a good effort before moving upstream.
Meanwhile, Mitch had passed us by and found his
own little spot to fish....a small depression I've typically dismissed
as being too shallow and sunny to have a good chance at being productive.
I wish I could describe the battle as vividly as Mitch did...suffice
it to say he cast, a rainbow simply hammered his flies and he ended
up winning. The only help he got from me was a netjob to an airborne
fish still dangling from his line. Mitch was proud and rightly so...guess
he's graduated from being guided ;)
As the summer sun came down on us and heated up
the afternoon air, I suggested we hit a large pool that's tucked
away. It's the kind of spot where all three of them could sit on
the bank and casually fish. Based on it's size, there's really no
advantage here...everyone has an equal shot at fish. I THOUGHT I
knew were the path was to get there but as it turned out, the path
is simply GONE. Without enough angling pressure, the undergrowth
had covered it up. About only a fifth of the way there, I suggested
maybe we give up on this spot and try another. Consider it my bit
of bum advice for the day!
We still had some time to put in so I offered up
a gamble - as some of you know the downtown Highlandville access
can be VERY productive - or - a skunkfest! I formulated a battle
plan for the three anglers...we'd spend no more than 30 minutes
here and if we hadn't landed a fish..we'd move on.
Of course, by 20 minutes tops we'd all given up.
Mike asked me to give it a shot...he definitely had trout in front
of him but hadn't gotten lucky. I said "5 casts". On my
second, I was blessed with a taildancer that shook my flies free.
OK..."10 casts". By 10 I had hooked up at least 2 more
times. "OK, 15 casts". Cast #12 was the ticket...a feisty
little stocker bow came to shore. I reminded Mike that the largest
headache when fishing for the inland trout on light tackle, sans
any kind of float or indicator, is strike detection. I suspect Mike
had many strikes if he was in the right area....he just missed 'em.
Heck, I KNOW I miss strikes all the time.
I took the three down to one last access spot on
South Bear to end their day. I set the boys up on a pool that always
holds fish, and then walked Mike down to one of the most gorgeous
and fun spots on the river. At first it looked devoid of fish, but
after a minute I picked them out and set Mike to the task of fooling
them. My hopes for early success didn't pan out. Mitch came down,
informing me that BOTH he and Mason needed rerigging. Mike to got
enjoy a private slice of heaven while I went back up with the boys.
As the evening drew to a close, Mike once again
asked that I set down my guide hat and put in some casts. I specifically
had mentioned a large brown trout I lost here a few visits back...he
suggested I go for it. BTW, I didn't mention this earlier, but I
should have never clued Mason in on the "Grand Slam" concept.
It was almost all he could think about. Heck, the brookie is harder
than the brown (when we're in Iowa).
My brown was indeed still home but as usual, wasn't
very interested in my offerings. However, 2 rainbows were, and that
pretty much capped off the first day, an EXCELLENT DAY, of fishing
in Iowa! Casey's Pizza was in my future, followed by a brew and
a stogie (thanks Mike) around their campfire. I was so VERY pleased
with everything about our first day together...excellent company
and the conditions couldn't have been more perfect.