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6-19-05 -The first Rainbow Trout of the morning - it might be Anne's?

6-19-05 - Iowa holds some surprises!!

Waters Fished: Waterloo Creek, Turkey River
Fish Caught: 10 (+2 not pictured)
Outing Date: 6-19-05
Weather: Sunny
Air Temp: upper 70's
Water Temp: N/A
Water Level: normal
Water Color: Waterloo was crystal, Turkey was muddy (visibility 6-12")
Fish Species: Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, Smallmouth Bass, Quillback!
Pattern Fished: Nymphs, Leeches, even EGGS?
Pattern Color: natural shades for the type of bait
Fishing Quality: EXCELLENT!

Now, I have to say that I'm really at a loss for precisely what happened this morning. I *think* I remember Paul and Anne joined me for a couple hours of fishing on the Waterloo at the secret spot. I can't be 100% sure though, because the 2nd half of the day was so great it's pretty much completely shoved the first half right out of my mind! My apologies Paul (and Anne)...I just can't remember the morning very well, even when looking through my pictures!

I believe the first fish pictured was ANNE'S! Paul may have gone fishless this time 'round...in any case I know they weren't able to stay very long as they had a long drive back to the Cedar Rapids area and afternoon commitments. The Waterloo produced a few more good fish, but the one I distinctly remember is the brown trout pictured here. There's a large, deep eddy pool I know of that seems to hold some relatively "mammoth" trout...they're finicky and the only way to get down there is to start putting on the splitshot! The coolest part is that you're standing several feet directly above the water, peering into this crystal clear whirlpool, and the whole time you can see exactly what's going on. I know I've tried this pool MANY times before and have never gotten so luck as to FINALLY fool one of the 4-5 big brown trout that lived there.

A silver stocker 'bow. Another stocker Rainbow Trout from Waterloo Creek. Here's what I was after - a BIG WILD BROWN from a deep eddy pool on Waterloo Creek.

Paul and Anne headed west at somepoint in the morning, and after the brown, I headed back to "basecamp" to put things in order and start out for Chicago. Probably not even noon yet, I was split between heading back early to surprise Renee OR maybe I'd stop along the way.

Summertime on the Turkey River. Another view of Iowa's Turkey River.

Well, somehow I found myself pulling up to Big Springs Fish Hatchery on the banks of the Turkey River. How the heck did I get here??!?! Oh well..might as well fish, right? My last time here was over 6 months ago in the middle of winter - we won the 2004 Pet Fly Smackdown here!

There were at least a few folks huddled at various "productive spots" so I continued my walk back to a spot I could have to myself. The water was brown, visibility easily less than a foot. I tied on a couple Chicago Leeches in black and started plying the swirling waters at my feet, slowly covering the water.

I found the sweet spot after about 15 minutes...drifting deep and then twitching along the seam of two currents produced a pounding hit, then a second. Within a few minutes I'd landed 2 healthy rainbows from the Turkey River.

Why stop now? Next up was a HARD strike...whatever I had tied into had some size! I think I laughed my ass off when I landed this guy - a lifetime first. It was a QUILLBACK. Kinda like a carp, kinda like a sucker, and really kinda cool with the first few spines of the dorsal fin being very elongated. It reminds me of another fish; I'd have to call the Quillback the freshwater version of the Jacknifefish (a drum species found in tropical Atlantic/Caribbean waters). Really, really cool and unexpected. But there were more surprises to come...

A strong Rainbow Trout from the Turkey River. Another "bigwater" Iowa Rainbow Trout! WTF?! Ah, it's a Quillback!

A CHUNKY Smallmouth Bass from the Turkey River.
The Red Egg Pattern produces a broad-shouldered Rainbow Trout.
Another Smallmouth Bass falls victim to a Chicago Leech.

Not too long after I had released the Quillback the Turkey threw another curveball my way. Again, a feisty fish, smaller but it definitely put up a fight against a 7' 4wt. I figured it was a trout until I got it up...SMALLMOUTH BASS!

I didn't want to leave, but I had to get on the road soon, so I hiked back towards my car, stopping at another productive spot to fish a bit more. Some other anglers were pretty much "packing it up" and suggested that they had REALLY good luck with powerbait. HMM.

I tied on a red egg pattern like we'd use for Salmon as my new dropper. Of course it worked...bringing a couple big rainbows to shore, only one of which I got a photograph of. The action didn't stop there...drifting out along a seam I picked up another Smallmouth Bass. Not a ton of size to either of the Smallmouth I got, but bigger than most I'd seen in other places (like the Milwaukee River).

This day on the Turkey is gonna stand out in my memory for a LONG time. Smallies, a Quillback, and more heavy fighting trout that most folks need. Iowa's finally starting to "come around" in 2005 afterall!

  MP 

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