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5-6-06 - This where we woke up in the morning - BIG JOE's Riverside Cabin!
(Copyright © 2006 Mike Otte)

5-6-06 - FLY SCHOOL!

Waters Fished: Bear Creek, Twin Springs, Trout Run, Trout River, Patterson Creek
Fish Caught: 4 (3 personally)
Outing Date: 5-6-06
Weather: Sunny
Air Temp: highs around 70F
Water Temp: Bear Creek was 52F
Water Level: high but not blown out
Water Color: Bear was pretty clear, Twin Springs was crystal, Trout Run was VERY dirty and Trout River was visible about 1'
Fish Species: Rainbow Trout, Brook Trout, Brown Trout
Pattern Fished: Various beadhead nymphs, #18-20, Chicago Leach in Black & Brown
Pattern Color: Assorted

So it's an Iowa Fly School but not like you'd traditionally think. Things are up in the air with FAT's Fly Schools this year due to the new job, the moving of the RV and such, so who knows when the next Fish Fat Iowa Trout School will be??! I had Rich's blessing to put together a trip for Mike and Derek....let's all hope that Rich gets to spend more time on the water soon!

Another look at our streamside cabin. It looks small, and well, it is, but it's "big enough".

Mike got a shot of the interior...yeah that's the mess 3 guys can make in less than 12 hours...
(Copyright © 2006 Mike Otte)

Looking to the right on the porch.

The view of Bear Creek to the left.

Once again the Camaro meets with disaster!

Derek is all excited to give it a shot after I call it quits on the nuts.
(Copyright © 2006 Mike Otte)

Mike was up at 6:00 AM, the bird chirping on the branch outside the window by his head, only a couple feet away, was more than he could take! We had spent the night at a place that's new to me, Big Joe's. It was recommended to me by Shawn Boesen. Shawn, the three of us are VERY grateful for that recommendation! Our Riverside Cabin sat on the bank of Bear Creek (not to be confused with Bear Creek to the south in Fayette County, this is the Bear, downstream from the confluence of North and South Bear Creeks). Whatever you do, make sure you find Willow Dr. by coming up on W60, NOT the other way, let alone doing it at NIGHT!

After Mike whipped up a great eggs and bacon breakfast, we meandered outside to start "fly school". @#$@#%!!!! The Bitchin' Camaro had a flat, and we're in the middle of BF NOWHERE Iowa! Well, Derek and I both tried to loosen the lugs and get the spare on, but the darn tool that comes with the car is so USED that it no longer grabs the nuts. NUTS!

While I started Derek's morning of instruction, Mike went off and found Big Joe. Apparently there's a local service that will come fix the flat on the spot?!?! I figured we'd give it a shot!

So both Mike and Derek went through fly school, more or less the same as they'd get at a Fish Fat Fly School with a couple exceptions. 1. No handbook. 2. No Big Fancy Knot Kits. 3. No Video recording of the casting. Honestly it didn't seem to hamper things much...if anything I think I had a bit more attention of out Derek and Mike (who'd already gone through Rich's fly school last year). Less stuff to get in the way, less overwhelming perhaps. In any case, it went smoothly.

Derek puts in his time learning to cast.
(Copyright © 2006 Mike Otte)

Well, just as we wrapped up the basics, Josh from the Farm Tire Service came down and had a look at the tire. Derek and I got around to casting in the wide open grass fields behind the was an ideal setting. By the time Josh came back with a fixed tire, Derek was shooting line and easily getting 40 feet on his better casts. I was VERY impressed with the Farm Tire Service and will be including all the info on the Iowa Links Page - put it in your cell phone if you're heading that way as it's an indispensable service!

It was TIME TO FISH! Derek and I spent some time learning the roll cast ON THE WATER - a definite improvement. Shortly thereafter we all moved upstream..Mike had been having good luck in a bend upstream of the cabin and has already lost a few fish!

Mike's weapon of choice all weekend was the beautiful St. Croix 7' 3wt. that Dave Dyer built for me; he had fished it last year and when he saw I had it in the car this time around he quickly called "shotgun"....who am I to argue? I set Derek up with arguably one of my best casting setups for a beginner, an old trusty Dogwood Canyon 7' 4wt. from Bass Pro - I've done some tweaking and this rod cast as well if not better than some of the "higher end" rods out there. I had my pick of the litter, and opted to go with a cane rod that Ron Caimi had built specifically for Iowa Trout fishing. Just a reminder, I rent out my two Trout Camp cane rods on guided trips, so if you want to try bamboo without making a significant investment up front, you should really give me a call!

Mike has been working this spot for a bit when we show up.

There it is, a nice Bear Creek Rainbow!

Mike and Derek continue to try their luck.

Not to be a showoff, but there's #2 from the Bear on the Trout Camp Rod by Ron Caimi!

My gut wasn't wrong.

We move on and my gut tells me to stop at Twin Springs as we're driving by.

Derek gets a lesson in dapping.

Look at that concentration and stealth - he hooked every fish in the pool and almost landed 2 of them.

One more look at Twin Springs before moving on.

It started off with Derek landing a BIG chub, probably 8". Then I got chubbed too. This is NOT a good start. Maybe it was the bamboo rod, or maybe my experience, but I ended up pulling 2 fine trout from the bend pool on the Bear...meanwhile Mike struggled with missed hits and Derek seemed awful quiet fishing the large pod of fish at the tailout. As the action slowed I suggested we do lunch and head on out to our final destination for the day - Trout River.

Along the way we were driving into Decorah past Twin Springs. It wasn't on my list of things to do, but sometimes you get real lucky there (other times it downright sucks).

Well, I sent Mike off upstream to explore every bend, pocket and channel while Derek and I would take our time. Just a bit upstream we found a deep pool holding several trout. This would require special skills. Was Derek up to it?

Ah, the fine art of dapping. While demonstrating the technique to Derek I hooked up and pulled out a shiny silver rainbow. Derek had made the call, we'd be eating trout for dinner, so this stocker went into the creel. Derek, seemingly intrigued by the creel, ended up being creelmiester for the rest of the day ;)

We spent probably 45 minutes to an hour working the pool. Derek literally had hits from EVERY STINKIN FISH in there! Now that's Iowa Trout fishing. Derek lost a couple on the hooksets (a guy used to saltwater fishing obviously won't be accustomed to letting the rod do some of that work). I recall 2 being on for a while, one almost making it to the net, but ultimately Derek didn't get his first fish there. After the action stopped, we decided to rest the pool and go downstream. A bit larger space, Derek got to use his roll cast, but no luck. Time to go see if the 10 minutes rest had helped, only to find MIKE on our pool! Mike hadn't had any luck on those fish, so I "kicked him downstream" to our other fish while we tried putting a Chicago leach through the pool. Not really any interest...time to call it a day on Twin Springs.

I set Mike and Derek up at a prime spot on Trout Run.

Somehow I'm still the one with the hot hand despite fishing less productive water.

I wanted to pick up a couple trout maps from the DNR, so we stopped at Trout Run. It was JAM PACKED with anglers on this Saturday afternoon. We turned around, but hey, Trout Run has fished kinda well for me in the past. The water was dirty, we switched to buggers. This was a quick drill. Take a cast, step downstream. When we're all back at the bridge, it's time to go. It should take less than 30 minutes.

Well, I was down at the bridge and of course, I get the sharp tug and land a brookie! Meanwhile Mike and Derek make their way down and between all 3 of us we never had another hit. Enough screwin' around, the real destination was Trout River afterall.

We pulled up at Trout River...the first spot had 2 cars and honestly, I've never liked fishing there anyways. The 2nd spot...WTF?! 3 cars?! 2 were from Wisconsin and one from Iowa. We got out and scratched our heads? We got in the cars, turned around and were ready to leave when it hit me - I didn't drive 5 hours to NOT fish where I wanted to fish. I watched the anglers...most were moving downstream, I wanted to go up, and NONE of them were fishing the pools that I would want to fish anyways...they were all bypassing them. WHY NOT...let's go fishing!

FATMATT hooks up on Trout River!


Another quick hookup for FATMATT.

This time Matt holds onto it long enough for the cross-stream photo op.

I hadn't even made it to the river when I heard a shot - "IS THAT MP?!"

"Yeah, who wants to know?"


I sent Mike and Derek straight to the honey hole and huffed downstream 2 bends to see what was going on. Sure enough, there was FATMATT (of PFS 'FAT TRIBE' FAME, single-handed winner of last year's smackdown). FATMATT is from GREEN BAY....

Turns out I guess Matt had told me he'd be out in Iowa this weekend and it somehow slipped my mind. He was out with Tom and Kevin (I hope I got your names correct). He happened to mention that they had landed a small brown (wild) among other things.

While chatting, Matt hooked up with a brookie - time for action shots! Matt doesn't waste time in landing his fish..he had it up on the shore, unhooked and it wriggled free, slid down the bank and back into the water. It only took two or three casts for Matt to hook up again, and this time he walked it WAY BACK AWAY from the edge of the bank.

Things were looking pretty dismal for the guys upstream...they hadn't had a hit. Well, OK, Mike had a sucker. We all slowly worked our way upstream, trying various bends. Derek and I arrived at another sweet spot. I told Derek that if we didn't get anything here we were DONE for the day on Trout River.

Derek rerigs on the bank of Trout River.

I turn around again and Derek has moved's a great shot. Only later do I realize that I've actually confused Matt's friend KEVIN for Derek ;)

THERE IT IS - Derek's first rainbow trout!

Sure enough, the spot and Derek's persistence paid off. A little chromer for Derek's first Iowa Trout...nicely done! We all fished a bit more, then I met up with Matt and chatted a bit more while Derek and Mike tried other good spots that had been producing earlier in the afternoon. When I got back down to the guys, it was clear that they hadn't seen anymore action. Time to go?

Mike got this great shot of the horses, Derek and I.
(Copyright © 2006 Mike Otte)

Derek and Mike work a bend on Trout River.

A proud angler with his catch!

I tried to get FATMATT to come back for dinner, but one look at that face and I understood he NEEDED SLEEP (36 hours straight is a LONG time!)

One last look at Trout River.

Derek works a likely spot on Patterson Creek.

Downstream and it's LOOKS fishy...

Derek making a few last casts on Patterson Creek.

Mike puts the last nail in a beautiful, difficult day of Iowa Trout Fishing.

I figured we'd try ONE MORE RIVER. I thought it might be the South Bear, or the Waterloo, but as we drove it quickly became apparent that we really wouldn't make it to either in time. I ALMOST stopped at Pike Creek, but I had really not been impressed when I checked it out, so I pushed on. Patterson Creek was "on the way" and hey, it's kindof my "namesake stream" so maybe the river god would look upon us favorably.

This was a run and gun...sunset was 30 minutes away. I stopped at the first access point we came just happened to be one I haven't been to before. Very pretty, but we NEVER saw a trout. I saw a rise, but it could have just as easily been a sucker or a chub. When it was finally too dark to see, we called it a night and headed back to Big Joe's for a great Trout dinner.


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