1-2-04 - The New Year's Celebration Continues with
the TRIPLE SLAM in Iowa Trout Country!
Waters Fished: Trout Run, Twin Springs, MP's Secret
Fish Caught: 7
Outing Date: 1-2-04
Air Temp: As high as 50F
Water Temp: Trout Run - 44F
Water Level: A bit low in all, likely normal for winter
Water Color: CRYSTAL Clear
Fish Species: Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, Brook Trout
Pattern Fished: Tucker
Nypmh, Griffith's Gnat
Pattern Color: per respective patterns
Fishing Quality: OUTSTANDING!!!
If there's one thing I've learned in the past year
that I want to share with all of you, it's that Iowa truly is the
"Trout Mecca" of the Upper Midwest. The 24/7/365 Season;
there is Trout Fishing to be done EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR!
Obviously you all know just how enamored I have
become with the Northeast corner of Iowa in this past year since
my introduction to it by Richard "FATMAN" Brown. However,
I know many of you still scratch your heads. I also know a few of
your downright consider Iowa a "lesser" trout experience.
Well to those of you who are sitting at home talking smack about
MP while waiting for a Wisconsin Season opener that's about 3 months
away....all I have to say is read on, oh, and "Na NA NA NA
I got to bed EXTREMELY EARLY on Thursday which
was a good thing when I woke up at 5:00 AM Friday - a chugged Mountain
Dew and that first smoke of the morning was all it took to get me
in the car and on my way. Granted, I think I got about a quarter
of a mile before realizing I had left my camera; a quick trip back
and again, I was on my way.
The drive was BRUTAL - dense fog covered the area
between Lake Como and Madison; that stretch probably took 2 hours
instead of the normal 1 hour, 15 minutes. NO worries, sunrise comes
late this time of year...plenty of nighttime left to drive in.
Sometime around 8:30 AM I was at Cabela's - time
to get some supplies I needed for rod building (the other winter
troutman hobby). Oh, and folks, your Iowa Licenses probably expire
on the same day mine does, Jan 10. So, what the heck, I had $100
bill from my folks as a Christmas present just burning a hole in
my pocket - what better investment of their cash than renewing my
Iowa License!!! I'll tell you now, that is MONEY WELL SPENT!
10:30 rolled around as I pulled into Decorah; time
to fish Trout Run. I have to admit there was a section I wanted
to hit again after fishing it last month for the Pet Fly Smackdown.
Admittedly it was a tough call; between the results that the BLT's
had and then seeing VIDEO that Chromeseeker Shot LAST weekend on
South Bear, I was very tempted to head there instead. But Trout
Run and I were not done yet.
I also decided that this would be a good time to
try a new rod; Justin (Alaskan
Rod Crafters) built me a sweet St. Croix SCIV 9' 4wt. back in
November for the Missouri Trip; that was the rod I let Dan fish
all weekend. BTW, keep an eye out for Justin's new website; we're
putting the finishing touches on it this week. I gave this new rod
a few casts in MO, but never spent a day with the rig. The reel;
a Ross Cimmaron from Creekside.
The like is Air Cell DT 4. Yes, that Air Cell is a great affordable
line. With this setup the balance is perfect and I can roll cast
exceptional distances...it will probably be my default setup in
Missouri next time!
On my second cast into the channel in the watercress,
I had my first hit, and a feisty stocker bow came to shore. A few
more casts in the hatchery's outflow produced a second rainbow.
Overall though, I'd say the fish were VERY spooky in comparison
to a month ago.
I headed all the way upstream to the springhead,
and managed to sight a couple browns and bows. High sticking my
nymph through the channelized watercress was a breeze with the 9
foot rod; a wary rainbow made a big mistake and gave up his concealed
position to hammer the Tucker Nymph.
I admit, I wasn't done yet. However, the fish were
indeed skittish; the moment the nymph hit the water fish everywhere
would scatter. I guess this time of year they are not accustomed
to things falling into the water. I tried a Griffith's Gnat for
a bit, even stripped it under the water for subsurface presentations,
but unlike the tucker it never got a look.
So I tied the Tucker back on and headed a bit downstream.
Again, many skittish trout alerted their counterparts, so the fishing
was relatively "tough". However, amidst all the chaos
and confusion, I lured a trout out from underneath the watercress
on the inside corner of a bend. When I got it to shore my jaw dropped...it
is by far the most stunning rainbow I have seen in ANY of the Iowa
Trout Run had paid off big time, so now I figured
"what the heck"; I'd stick with small water for the day
and try to get more challenging trout. Twin Springs was an easy
choice as the #2 spot for the day. I decided to scout some more
and headed upstream all the way until suddenly the stream disappeared
from my left. I turned around, headed back down the road and pulled
off...it is here that I found exactly how Twin Springs got it's
name; two small springs, joined at one spot by some piping, form
the source for this creek.
In the Springhead there are many trout, none larger
than 7", and all extremely wary. The deepest point is probably
no more than 1 or 2 feet, and all of these trout were basically
unapproachable. I wasted FAR TOO MUCH TIME trying to coax a small
yet vibrant brookie out from underneath the rocks that line the
Downstream in this small water there is abundant
watercress that holds trout. I got a few looks; the key here is
to approach VERY slow, stay low, and cast delicately. I missed yet
another brookie. Hmm...brookies...hmm...
Well, I headed downstream to deeper water and it
was here that I scored. The browns in the pool were uninterested,
but I received MANY BITES from the rainbows that were holding in
the pool. Somehow every single one spit the fly before I could set
the hook. Well, every single one EXCEPT for a nice little Put &
Grow Brookie that came to shore. FINALLY, a brookie!
Wait a minute, I have a brookie for the day! WHOO
HOO! Time to complete the triple slam. Without hesitation, I left
Trout Run and made the LONG drive to MP's Secret Stream to cap off
the day with some wild browns!
Now, keep in mind I have this little piece of secondhand
info in my head; back during the smackdown FMA and Fruitbat were
given the privilege of my disclosing the secret stream's identity
and location. They came back with very disappointed words; there
were few fish, no big fish, and they didn't really catch anything.
They had at least 2 or 3 hours to spend there...what the heck???
Well, MAYBE they didn't fish the right stream???
As I came to the stream I saw at least 50 or 100 trout, averaging
12" with several pushing 16-18"...and they were flying
downstream as fast as they could just to get away from the disturbance
that was occurring on the shore! OBVIOUSLY there were PLENTY of
trout here IF this is where my teammates had fished. Perhaps they
experienced what I had just witnessed...these fish had gone spooky
for the winter!
Somehow, perhaps only by shear will and luck, I
managed to land 2 browns, both wild, from the Secret Stream. I had
only 2 additional takes that came off all too quickly. GRANTED,
all of this only took 15 minutes ;) Was it worth the drive? ALWAYS!
Oh, and YEAH for me; another successful "Triple Slam".
Ok, not in the "purest" sense which is Rainbow, Brookie
and Brown all from the same hole on the same stream on the same
day on the same fly....but a Triple Slam all the same!
I couldn't have been happier driving 5 hours back
to Lake Como in the fog!