Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A Perfect Iowa Blend of Trout, Rain, and Snow

   It was yet another great day to be out on the water.  Faced with not feeling well the previous day, I was grateful to wake up on Saturday, March 9, without a pounding head and with the knowledge that my friend, Jackfish Kate, was willing to fish at a moment's notice.  Thinking our planned weekend of fly fishing had been lost, we were still happy to hit the water by mid-afternoon.

   I'd received a couple of outdoor/fly fishing products in the mail recently and had been hoping for a rainy weekend to test out & review a wet/dry backpack.  Kate's and my curves land on opposite areas of the body and if we could be merged together, one might come up with the measurements of a Playboy Bunny!  So, I really wanted her opinion on the fit and comfort of the backpack - an item often designed with the average male in mind.  She was game & the review is forthcoming.

   We elected to fish Trout River, located southeast of Decorah, IA.  The next day we planned to fish N. Bear but those plans were thwarted by the potential of snow, ice, and wind.  Instead, we explored and fished Twin Springs, Decorah's urban trout fishery.  By Sunday, that stream was the color of milk chocolate, flowing high and fast.

   All fish were landed on Saturday and Trout River's water level was still low but certainly higher than last summer.  It was clear but not 'gin clear', as it had been during those warmer days.  As the day progressed, the water's cloudiness progressed as well.  Once again, I'm reminded that it was a perfect day to be out on the water!  We hiked in 10-12" of snow while rain lightly fell.  The fish were hungry and I had a decent amount of strikes on first casts.  The stream had not likely seen many recent fly angling visitors.

   Unluckily, I did not convert on many strikes that day and had a few 3 second fights which ended with finned winners.  I know Kate landed fish and I enjoyed watching her land her day's first rainbow at the same wide, slow hole where I had previously seen her land a trout on her first-ever day on this stream back in May.  I landed 6 fish total.  Unluckily & strangely enough, 3 were foul hooked on my sz 18 dropper.  I did not photograph the beautiful brown I landed in that manner.  Two rainbows, and my largest brookie to date all measured about 11-12 inches.  One bow was beautifully marked and the brookie, well, looked great like brookies always do.
   Conditions must have been prime, because these fish fought harder than I've ever felt them fight on this stream!  The bows hit my big nymph and the brookie went for the sz 18 scud.  All 3 fish had to be unwrapped from the dropper's tippet and one feisty fish managed to tie a couple of overhand knots in the tippet.  Later that night at a Mexican restaurant, Jackfish tongue-tied an overhand knot into a Maraschino cherry stem.  However, I think a twice-fin-tied overhand knot trumped her feat…

   On Sunday, after visiting Decorah’s Twin Springs and seeing the Upper IA River that it feeds into all in the same park, I’m already envisioning a multi-multi-species weekend this year:  pike, walleye, smallies, and trout!

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