8-19-06 - Iowa is ON FIRE!
Waters Fished: North Bear Creek, Waterloo Creek, Trout Run
Fish Caught: many
Outing Date: 8-20-06
Air Temp: upper 70's
Water Temp: N/A
Water Level: Up
Water Color: North Bear Clear, Trout Run Cloudy
Fish Species: Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, Brook Trout
Pattern Fished: Various Beadhead Nymphs and Chicago Leaches
Pattern Color: Tiny to Medium sized nympsh worked best.
Day 1 of another 2-day weekend in Iowa was all about the FISH! Renee and I kicked off our morning at the North Bear...same place that was absolutely on fire 2 weeks ago.
Well, the fish were still right where they were, but they weren't nearly as willing to bite. I got lucky and landed 2 relatively quickly, which did NOTHING to encourage Renee!
We walked downstream through the slow and flat meadow section and headed into the forest. On a whim, I suggested Renee try plunking a back eddy on the far side of a plunge. As her flies drifted out, she asked how to tell when a fish strikes. I said "Like THAT" just as she reared back with the rod and drove the hook home on a trout! It was a great Rainbow.
We continued to explore, finding a large pool I haven't personally fished before. At the head, I quickly hooked up with a pretty wild brown trout. I wish that type of success had continued.
Instead, Renee and I spent the next hour trying to coax strikes out of fish that must have had their mouths stapled shut! Literally nothing worked, and very little even got interest. Renee walked out with only 2 subtle takes to show for all her effort.
After lunch, we figured we'd give the Waterloo a try. Starting at the northernmost access point, we made it all the way back to Dorchester without finding an unoccupied spot to drop in - I blame it squarely on the forecast turning from junk to stellar! We dropped in below Dorchester, above the "fly only" water, but even that was short lived when we realized that the only way to get where we wanted to go was to wade. Alice gave it a strong try, but quickly decided she wanted OUT of the river!
On our way south, guess what? More folks at the rest of the access points too! This is the first time I've ever seen the Waterloo this PACKED!
We drove south and west to Decorah and Trout Run. For a change we found one of the best pools on the River completely vacated...like vultures we swooped down on the easy prey!
Brown trout were everywhere...most were stockers but there were also at least 2 large broodstock browns in the pool! Renee got her roll cast practice in while I tried everything in my bag of tricks to put my flies in front of a brown that was at least 26" in length...I felt like it was already fall in SE WI!
After losing sight of the larger brown, I moved upstream where I found a good sized brooktrout. I put drift after drift by the fish, missing two takes...meanwhile Renee was hammering fish downstream. It seemed like every few minutes she was either cursing the one that got away or calling me downstream to take a picture!
I DID get one more shot at one of those big browns....I was working my flies upstream along the edge of floating duckweed and watercress....as I neared the end of my retrieve I saw the massive kyped mouth and broad head of a larger brown swing out from underneath and swim up behind my flies to investigate. Unfortunately for me, he wasn't fooled!
When the action slowed down, we headed upstream to the Decorah Hatchery just to see what was going on. Between the springhead and the first bend I counted nothing less than 7 anglers besides myself...I asked a fellow angler if I could bump in upstream for a second and he was more than OK with it. After a few drifts through, I realized that way too much pressure had already been put on this stretch, so I quickly hopped back in the car, thinking we'd be heading northwest to find another stream.
On the way out though, I noticed another access spot was completely empty, and figured we should give it another shot. I set up at the head of the pool and Renee, without instruction, went to the tailout and got right back into her groove, nailing at least 2 trout right off the bat.
We never made it to that "next" stream, instead spending at least another hour right in this 20 yards of stream chasing fish, all of which happened to be eager browns. Several more fish were lost and landed between the two of us, making for one of the best days Renee and I have ever had together in Iowa.