|Bear Creek, downstream from the convergence of South and North Bear Creek|
However, if lake fishing ain't your bag, spring creeks amongst the coulees can be had just one state to the west, in Iowa. The IDNR website has some decent mapping tools though I picked up a great printed map at the General Store in Highlandville.
|A curious doe on the hike back to the car from Bloody Run Creek|
|A wide slow area of Bloody Run|
|Second bridge in from the beginning of the artificials only section. Very deep looking.|
|A stocker rainbow from Bloody Run|
The following weekend I didn't fish. But the 3rd weekend of October, I fished with a vengeance, this time joined by fellow trout addict and veteran driftless angler, Trapper and his friend Jake. The two of them would join me for Saturday, but I arrived in Iowa on Friday, securing 2 nights a the Sportmen's Inn near Dorchester. The inn is a fantastic place to stay if you're fishing in the area with beyond reasonable rates and a restaurant that opens at 6 AM. The walls of my room were adorned with kitschy fishing art and the cell phone signal was non-existant. Sound like heaven? I thought so.
|Trapper and Jake|
|Jake's first rainbow|
|South Bear Creek|
Before dark, Trapper and Jake parted ways with me and I continued to fish until it got dark, catching a few more rainbows on an Adams fly.
I returned to the car, which was now alone in a parking area that had about 5 vehicles in it when we arrived. Back at the inn, the owner directed me to a place called "Wings" in adorable Dorchester for dinner. The food was classic supper club fare and I was scolded when trying to leave a $5 tip. "Around here that's utterly insane!", exclaimed the bartender/Wheel of Fortune aficionado.
|Returning to Bear Creek|
With my waders on and everything in the car, I set the GPS to take me back to South Bear Creek. I parked in an area downstream from the convergence of North and South Bear, then walked down the gravel road to an access area even further downstream that I saw while driving in, but didn't want to risk getting my car stuck in the mud. The path led to a very large pool, the one pictured at the beginning of this post. It looked very deep but with only an occasional trout rising lazily to something. I made a few casts out into the calm water with a woolly bugger, but no luck. I then moved to the inlet of the pool and caught a feisty rainbow, eliminating the fear of getting skunked early. So far so good.
|The walk in|
|First fish of the day. Do you like my bugger? Yes you do!|
|The caddis flies here must be huge!|
|North Bear Creek|
|12" brook trout|
I moved upstream and passed up a shallow weedy looking section that seemed pointless to cast to. I walked up to the bank to check it out, not worrying about spooking anyone because its just a crappy shallow area, right? Wrong. I'm prone to overestimate the size of fish that are in the water. But I swear I saw a 2 foot fish slithering between the narrow lanes of water between the weeds. Damn.
I caught or lost a couple more fish on the way upstream before it got too dark. The Bear Creek system in Iowa seems like an awesome fishery so far. I plan on returning and I thank Trapper for showing me around over there. Meeting and learning from other anglers is invaluable and fun, even for us anti-social types.
And by the way, if you want to see the potential waiting in Iowa from someone who clearly surpasses my abilities on the water, check this out.