7-6-03 - Independence Weekend in Iowa, Part III
Waters Fished: Waterloo Creek, Turkey River, Sny
Magill, Bloody Run, North Bear Creek
Fish Caught: 0/1 personally, Bart got 3/3
Outing Date: 7-6-03
Air Temp: upper 70's
Water Temp: Turkey River -> 76F!, Sny Magill -> 62F
Water Level: Normal
Water Color: Waterloo -> Pretty Clear, Turkey River -> Cloudy
& Muddy, vis about 12", Sny Magill -> Cloudy, Bloody
Run -> Clear, North Bear Creek -> Pretty Clear
Fish Species: Browns, Brookies & Bows
Pattern Fished: Everything Under the sun!
Pattern Color: You NAME IT!
Fishing Quality: CRAP
Sunday was the start of a good plan gone totally
awry! The plan was to start by heading southeast to Big Springs
& the Turkey river, then work our way North along the border
to end our day at Bloody Run (by the Iowa / Wisconsin Border), cutting
45 minutes to an HOUR off our drive home!
Totally exhausted, and still battling a cold, I
slept in while Bart & M went out for some early morning fishing
on the Waterloo. Of course we *thought* maybe things would get better,
but another night of heavy rains had totally shut the fish down!
Bart turned one stinkin' rainbow.
So after about an hour drive and a couple wrong
turns in tiny Iowa townships we ended up at Big Springs Fish Hatchery
which rests on the Turkey River. Tons of fish were in the runs,
and Bart got to see his first tank of broodstock. I'm tellin' ya,
Brown Trout the size of Lake Michigan Carp are IMPRESSIVE.
We accessed the river through a campground and
found ourselves at a nice bend; the temperature read 76F so wet
wading was totally comfortable. I figured there were only a couple
places to find fish, basically in or below the riffles, so I concentrated
my area in these oxygen rich sections. Bart was all over the river
scouting things out. I DID manage my first 2-on via my dual rig;
2 tiny MINNOWS! Well, there's something to be proud of!
I have to say we rather enjoyed the change-of-pace
we got on the Turkey. It's by far the largest Iowa trout stream
I've hit thus far, and other than the ultra-warm water it's probably
a good stream in Spring or Fall. Bart and I both have this on our
list should we come back this fall. We fished the Turkey for all
of an hour before deciding that even if there were trout in the
water, the conditions wouldn't be conducive this time of day, so
our next stop was the Sny Magill.
I had originally intended to also look at one of
the Sny's tribs, but as we drove over it (I could've JUMPED over
it) I decided not to waste our time there. On to the Sny, and it
turns out I happened to find the same spot FAT took us to the first
time I fished in the middle of the night!
Well, things weren't good although the river was
running cold. Ordinarily on a smaller shallow section like this
I'd expect to find fish holding in the pools or being spooky in
the runs. I didn't see anything...well, maybe ONE fish but I can't
be sure! Bart opted to go upstream, and I took the downstream route.
Hiking got boring pretty quick...most of the "pools"
were shallow enough to easily sight and determine "fish free"Those
that were deep enough got fished HARD but didn't produce anything
even like a bite.
Turns out I walked pretty far downstream from our
access, and the only thing that made the trip worthwhile were fresh
wild blackberries and some really neat dragonflies (metallic neon
green bodies with black wings). The flew more like butterflies than
dragonflies...more of a "flutter" type flight. I took
some pics but they really don't show the details :(
After hiking through nettles and all sorts of vegetation
I eventually worked my way back to the field through heavy brush,
and hiked back to find M basically "done"...I couldn't
blame her. Bart was nowhere to be found...usually at times when
the fish aren't biting (or aren't even around) he's back in minutes....so
maybe he found something upstream.
Well, I ended up having to hike UPSTREAM too, and
once again didn't see squat. I went up about as far as the trail
ran through the woods, and stopped when I started getting into nettles
again (they even stung through my wet jeans, and a week later I
still have some red marks on my arms from those nettles; INSANE!).
I turned back to find M hangin' out under the bridge; a couple cold
ones and we both waited for Bart.
Eventually he showed up and found us hiding from
the heat (it may have gotten up to 90 by this point). Bart had gone
REALLY upstream and met another angler who was fishing worms...he
had been there since DAWN and only had two fish. A unanimous decision
to "screw this" got us back in the car, headed towards
So we get there, end up back at another campsite
which happens to be FULL OF PEOPLE. One quick look at the river
and we were already in "screw this" mode again....it was
roughly the same size and character as the Sny Magill; we had enough
of that for one day. At this point, we're still FISHLESS (well,
Bart has his brown).
At this point we're kinda PO'd. What's up with
the fishing???? No fish, no bites...this sucks. We were tempted
to just go over the border and fish the Coulees in WI, but then
again we had the goal of leaving the state with our possession limits
(fresh trout are better than just about anything) and we weren't
there yet! So Bart decided we must hit the North Bear as it had
been VERY good to us over the past couple days.
On the Bear, the water was flowing cold. Bart ran
upstream and sidled into his favorite hole. By the time I hiked
up there he's standing in the middle holding a HUGE-ASS brookie
up...only his first or second cast and he's got fish. Needless to
say, I'm still fishless, and thus he got a friendly earful from
Upstream many of the fish were "missing"
(AKA probably fished out) and those that WERE around weren't interested
in much of anything. Dries, nymphs, they basically just weren't
feeding at all. It looked like maybe I had to find deeper holes...perhaps
one like Bart was sitting in.
Well, I hiked up, and up, and up. 2 FIELDS later
and I hadn't found any holes...heck I hadn't even seen any FISH!
OK, so upstream was a total waste, at least "upstream"
from our access point.
I came back down, spending more of my time hunting
blackberries (quite refreshing in the heat) and less time worrying
about fish. By this point it was apparent that the holiday weekend
and turbulent weather had FINALLY caught up with us. So much for
my 30 fish day in Iowa...that is going to have to wait for another
So in roughly 3 hours of fishing Bart had failed
to land a second fish?!?!?! Come on! This was getting ridiculous.
Someplace, somewhere, the fish must be biting.
Back to the Waterloo, Iowa's flagship trout stream.
We split up and fished 'till dusk. I FINALLY managed a hit, and
lost the fish as I turned to pick up the net for a solid landing.
NOTHING ELSE HAPPENED the rest of the evening...I was 0/1 in IOWA???
Bart faired slightly better, landing one brown
and hooking up with nothing else. So that's 3/3. Ridiculous! On
the drive home I had to put in a call to FAT; he always said that
if ya get skunked in Iowa "we laugh at you" and well,
I was well deserving of the laugh I got ;)