9-05-05 - Iowa still holds surprises.
Waters Fished: North Bear Creek, Bloody Run
Outing Date: 9-05-05
Air Temp: mid 80's for the highs
Water Temp: N/A
Water Level: Normal
Water Color: Clear
Fish Species: Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, Brook Trout
Pattern Fished: Beadhead Nymphs (including the Tucker), Hoppers,
Pattern Color: Hoppers in Tan & Brown, Nymphs in Olive, Chicago
Leech in Black.
Fishing Quality: Surprising
Initially Renee and I had plans to drive south
to fish the Turkey, Bear Creek and Richmond Springs, and then head
through Dubuque to return home. We got in the car, drove through
Waukon and on down south. After about 45 minutes of driving, it
hit me. @#$T%! All our camping gear was still back in Dorchester!
Considering we didn't get an early start, it was
probably already after 1:00 PM by the time we got things squared
away in Dorchester. I was completely uninterested in started our
long drive south again, so instead we decided to fish locally. Considering
we had already been on the Waterloo and South Bear, and considering
I haven't fished the North Bear much this year, we decided on the
To my surprise, unlike so many other times I've
driven past, today there was no one at the North Bear! We immediately
headed for the spot where I simply whacked the shit out of the fish
a couple weeks back. This time the fish were UNCOOPERATIVE!
With our skin boiling sweat, we sought shelter
from the sun in the forest. I took Renee up to Bart's favorite pool
and had her work on her roll cast. Frustrated at first, it turned
out to be a good move for Renee - she had 2 on the bank before I
had even landed my first. Thankfully, I did manage both a brown
which flopped back in the water before it's photo-op, as well as
a small rainbow.
Once the bites slowed, we headed upstream, deeper
into the forest. I suggested that Renee go upstream to a nearby
bend while I worked my favorite small depression in the middle of
a flat run.
Well, as always, there were at least 10 rainbows
and a brown or two running around. For the most part, they bit well
but too many came off quickly. By the time I had hooked most every
fish in the pool I had only brought one to shore. RATS!
As many of you know, if you hit one of those spots
where just about every fish has struck your fly, the action stops
pretty quickly. Frustrated, I tied on a Chicago Leach. Things were
about to change.
My sour luck in landing instantly turned into a
catch fest! Doing something as simple as drastically changing my
offering brought another round of even more aggressive, battering
hits at the end of my line. I banked fish after fish, most all flopping
back into the water long before my camera was ready to take the
first shot. I easily landed 4-6 fish here before deciding I simply
MUST go up to Renee and get her on the leech!
Renee may not believe me, but honestly, this weekend
simply illustrates the fact that so much of trout fishing is being
in the right spot at the right time, and that's largely a matter
of LUCK. While switching Renee's dropper fly to the Leech got her
some renewed interest and a hit or two, it hardly produced the results
I got less than 25 yards downstream. We tried and tried again, but
her trout were less than willing.
Frustration will drive even the best of us to throw
in the towel, and our time had come. On the walk out I caught notice
of something as we crossed the stream...what used to be a flat pool
seemed to be blocked up. I tried to get Renee to come upstream but
she was ready for the AC. So I went solo.
What I found is a beaver dam that has widened and
deepened the pool, as well as created some deep pocket water on
the downstream side. In one of the pockets I found a LARGE wild
brown, a stocker rainbow, a few yearling browns as well as a smattering
of chubs. All of this in a pocket smaller than my shower! I even
managed a couple hits before having to throw in my towel to seek
the comfort of air conditioning myself!
It was probably close to 4:00 PM when we got on
our way home. I thought this was it even though I tried to convince
Renee (who admittedly DID want to catch more trout on her last day)
that maybe we should try one more spot. Initially she panned the
idea...I guess she was more eager to get home and be well-rested
for work on Tuesday.
However, as we neared McGregor, Renee suddenly
brought up the idea of hitting one last stream again. I was surprised
indeed! We had already passed many of the streams I would have liked
to show her, but Bloody Run was still "on the way". I
warned her that my experience at Bloody Run hasn't been anything
spectacular. We agreed on 30 minutes of fishing at most, and then
we'd resume our drive home.
We first stopped at an access point where I had
fair luck my last time out. Somehow, this time, I couldn't find
my way back to the hole...everything was overgrown. We got back
in the car and headed deep into the county park to the campground.
After getting out and scouting a bit I was almost ready to get in
the car and leave. As usual, I didn't see squat in Bloody Run other
than duckweed, watercress and algae.
Now thoroughly convinced that this was a waste
of time, I turned towards the car and heard a loud horn...a freight
train was approaching. The train would block our exit from the park
for an indeterminate amount of time. I chuckled...I guess we'll
be fishing Bloody Run afterall.
Renee and I turned back around and headed for the
stream. As we hiked, I noticed a fallen tree and said, "I bet
there's a fish under there, you should try it." Renee declined,
being more enticed by a couple riseforms downstream.
It only took TWO CASTS with the leach and a nymph
to produce a massive take. Whatever this was, it was HUGE...well
at least it felt HUGE on a 4wt! I shouted to Renee who asked, "Should
I come up?".
"YEAH, of course, you gotta see this!".
Heck, I myself hadn't seen it yet, but then the flash in the deep
dark water gave my challenger away...it was indeed big! I had to
drag it through a small channel in the slop to get it to shore,
but when it was all said and done there sat a FAT Brown Trout. FAT
and LONG is more like it. Easily 2-3 lbs, a trout that completely
filled the opening on my net.
Renee was thrilled and more determined than ever
to catch a trout. I continued to slide my flies under the tree,
got another tug and then later placed my flies IN the tree. Game
over for MP - I had left my tippet and leaders back in the car.
So Renee did get a shot at the tree and even got
a hit, but it didn't work out there. She too eventually snapped
off. Renee however was NOT ready to call it a day.
What to do? Well, I still had a fair amount of
leader and Renee was eager to get the risers she had been fishing
over earlier. Why not go back to a hopper?
Well, that was the ticket indeed. A small tan parachute
hopper brought a BEAUTIFUL brown to the surface. It simply engulfed
the fly and dove deep. Unfortunately it got caught up on the slop
to the point where I thought the rod might break trying to free
the fish. I tried to hand line it in, but somehow only got the fly
back. I DO indeed count this as a fish for Renee as I lost it for
her. She didn't, so the fishing continued.
It's a good thing she wasn't ready to give up -
after several more casts the hopper was again NAILED and this time
around we got it in! Wouldn't ya know it, Renee got a BROOKIE! ON
THE HOPPER no less. Renee was ecstatic! OH NO! What have I done?!
I've created a DRY FLY MONSTER!!!!!!
The sun was setting by the time we got in the car.
We were definitely leaving later than we had planned and our "30
minutes" of fishing had turned into something closer to an
hour and a half! Who would have thought though, with all the less
than stellar experiences I've had at Bloody Run in the past, that
on this particular day we'd see such surprisingly good fishing?!??!?!
I'm not going to all of a sudden say that Bloody Run is a PHENOMENAL
fishery, but it definitely moved up a bit in the rankings.
Being the closest Iowa Trout Stream to Wisconsin,
Bloody Run often ends up being the first stream an out-of-state
angler hits....a LOT of WI Trout Fisherman I know have fished Bloody
Run. Most seem less than impressed, but probably 1/4 come back with
fantastic tales of great fishing. I USED to side with the majority,
but perhaps Bloody Run is simply a stream that runs hot & cold!
When it's HOT (er...cold?) I guess it's REALLY GOOD FISHIN!