8-15-04 - 2 more new IA streams checked off the
"to do" list.
Waters Fished: MP's Secret Stream, Spring Branch,
Little Mill Creek, Big Mill Creek
Fish Caught: 1 for Renee, 5 personally
Outing Date: 8-14-04
Weather: Another stunning day
Air Temp: upper 70's
Water Temp: Didn't take it
Water Level: Normal
Water Color: Streams clearing to clear.
Fish Species: Brown Trout, Brook Trout, Rainbow Trout
Pattern Fished: Tucker Nymph, Prince Nymph, Flashback Pheasant Tail
Nymph, Chicago Leech, The Black Nothing (black thread soft hackle)
Pattern Color: As per patterns; Chicago Leeches in Olive and Purple
Fishing Quality: Really tough...only the very best streams produced.
Day #2 for Renee and the Fly Rod...this will be interesting! Another
late start to the day, maybe heading out around 11:00 AM. Man, something
about cold Casey's Pizza just isn't right...you gotta eat it hot
Well, I had two goals for the day...first Renee needed her first
brown trout. While not a true "Triple Slam", it would
mean that on Renee's first weekend trip she had caught every species
of trout normally found in Iowa! The other goal was to meet up with
Randy Cochran who was just now making his way back from Montana
My battle plan was simple; we'd hit the Secret Stream for Renee's
Brown and then head down to Spring Branch to meet up with Randy.
Well the Secret Stream was clearing up rather nicely...I could see
the bottom (but not the fish). Renee set up right where she left
off the night before; I opted to move around the pool a bit and
see if I learn the current holding spots now that spring's floods
had rearranged the river.
I remember shouting when I tied into my first wild brown of the
morning...3 jumps and it was to the shore. Next it was Renee's turn
to hook up...again a NICE brown was on the line and again it got
off! Not a great way to start the morning...now grumpy due to insufficient
caffine AND a lost fish! I can sympathize, but that doesn't mean
I'm gonna stop fishin! A smoke break was in order though.
Renee had been eyeing a brown that was feeding on the surface behind
a branch in the water. I had been watching him from upstream too.
It wasn't a cast I was about to have Renee try because frankly,
I was gonna lose some flies to get this fish!
Several casts later I managed the right one...got to see him rise
up, hammer the fly, and come off on the hookset. I figured I had
lost my shot.
Well several more casts, one re-rig and another smoke later I figured
out that if I took my roll cast, turned it 90 degrees on it's side
I could cast into the spot but my line would remain downstream off
the branches. The flow was moving downstream from right to left.
Imagine a "J" rotated 180 degrees and that's how I had
to land my line if I was going to hook up again. I pulled it off
and received a POUNDING HIT. I literally DRAGGED that fish out of
the branches as he tried desperately to dig in and get free. WHOO
HOO...a NICE stocker brown was the result of that effort!
Finally Renee got her casting groove on and started getting some
distance rather than just drifting the same line again and again.
That small change resulted in a NICE brown, her first, and it happened
to be a wild one which means it was a JUMPER! Watching her rod throb
with the brown going airborne again and again was the most satisfying
moment of the day....well OK, getting this one in the net was more
2 more browns for me and I felt it was time to go. Time goes by
fast when you're fishing..it was already 1:30 PM! Invariably we'd
be late to meet up with Randy.
We did find him, and as usual Spring Branch was chock full of fish...rainbows,
browns and brookies! I rerigged Renee with an indicator and a midge
and did the same for myself. Randy was also workin' the midge patterns
but with only mild success.
We moved around trying different spots...Randy hit two browns,
I FINALLY landed a brookie and Renee had a nice tug that didn't
connect...but when you're fishin' #22 soft hackles that's going
to happen. For some reason I just got the feeling that we were going
to work REAL hard for our Spring Branch trout that day, and I personally
was hoping for a bit more action. Randy assuredly was tired of Spring
Branch, and Renee is still just a touch impatient (Yes, our first
30 minutes on the Waterloo really spoiled her..can't blame her a
Now you may or may not be aware that I have a goal to fish every
Iowa trout stream on the map by the end of 2004. There are a few
streams down south of Dubuque that I haven't hit yet...everyone
was up for a change of scenery (yes, it's a gamble).
A while later we ended up at Little Mill Creek. The water looked
GREAT. Not a big stream at all, compareable to streams like Bohemian
Valley Creek over in WI. Little pockets, lot of undercuts, lots
of places for trout to be. Plus it had supposedly been stocked recently.
I figured this would be a fun evening.
Well, it was a fun evenign on Little Mill..lots of hiking and hitting
spots. However, not a single trout was encountered despite hitting
a good dozen holes along the stream. Boredom set in and I shot a
bunch of pictures of Randy Casting. Disappointed, and watching the
sun start to slide down in the sky, we opted to try our luck at
the Little Mill's sibling...Big Mill.
Now even though they're only like a mile away from each other on
the map, there isn't a direct route. We had two choices...go east
or west and cut back. For some reason we went into Bellevue...and
got lost. Totally my fault. Randy suggested we try going along 52
to find the road we were looking for...his suggestion paid off and
10 minutes later we arrived at Big Mill Creek.
It's a little bit of a hike back in there...we came upon a very
old bridge which afforded a rather beautiful view of the stream
as it meandered through a deep cut in the earth. Off the top of
my head it's like the Pike River in Kenosha...those certain spots
with banks 30 feet high. Bigger water too. This could be fun.
Well, I took like 100 pictures in the post-sunset light and only
got 2 or 3 that were usable. Again, fish were NOT readily apparent....Randy
and I went troutless here too.
Renee? Well, Mrs. Renee was determined to land one more trout...which
she almost did. While I was packing up she got a hit in a deep yet
structureless pocket....fish thrashing at the surface...a nice rainbow.
Those #22 hooks though, they don't grab a lot of flesh...and this
one thrashed his way off Renee's line.
I was ammused, Renee was swearin' like a sailor, it was a great
time. I think we stayed until the Bats were crusing inches from
our heads before Renee finally threw in the towel on that last Rainbow.
I've been there, done that too, I know the feeling and I was glad
she was having it too.