Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Long Distance Relationships

This fly doesn't work
I don't think long distance relationships are a good idea. But I've been in them and I'm sure you have too. I'm in one right now, with Iowa. Wisconsin simply became unavailable... until March 2013. With all the gasoline and travel time required for a long distance relationship, you feel the pressure to justify it.

My last trip to Iowa was rough. I brought my friend Len along hoping to watch him catch a bunch of hogs. This is what he does in Wisconsin. I took him to Bloody Run and started a ways upstream from the parking area to avoid high traffic. Ultimately we only caught a single brown trout to show for it.

We surrendered a bit before noon and drove over to Waterloo Creek where we had a tiny bit more luck. Len caught a miniature trout trifecta of rainbow, brown and brook trout. And I caught a couple more browns, keeping one brown trout for dinner. Before the final fish was caught however, I would miss about 8 strikes. Len, who was watching the show, jokingly suggested that my hook was missing. I checked, and it was broke off. Lesson learned.

Upper Waterloo Creek
It was a bummer not to at least see Len beat the crap out of me fishing. He has vowed not to return and penned a scathing review of this trip. Sorry Iowa.

But I'm a lonely man without trout. I eat too many Thin Mints. I couldn't give up on Iowa yet.

This time, my 4th trip to Iowa, I booked a room at Holiday Shores Motel in MacGregor, IA. I got there Saturday, late in the morning and began again fishing Bloody Run. I was to go back to where I'd left off and try to go upstream much further than before.

The bloody bugger tied for bloody run that barely caught me a bloody thing
Very clear, very still
Hey how's it going?

Looking back
Merciful rainbow

The mystery was entertaining, but ultimately replaced by vast stretches of nearly trout-less lazy water. A single chub was the only fish that would participate in my adventure.

I returned to my car, but not before pulling 3 stocker rainbows out of an easy hole near the parking area. They cheered me up a little and I returned the favor by turning them into food. Not food for that night though. I put them on ice, checked into my room and set out to hit the MacGregor night life. To me this meant eating "Iowan Mac and Cheese" at Old Man River Restaurant & Brewery. My second time there and I would recommend it to a friend.

I awoke Sunday and decided to check out some new water just to the north of Bloody Run. I found Little Paint Creek on a printed trout stream map. Access to the creek started near the town of Waterville.

Waterville, IA
Little Paint Creek
It was a bust. I saw a decent looking trout when I peeked over the bank near my car, but that would be the only trout to reveal itself to me on Paint. The water seemed vacant of life.

I drove downstream to give another access a look. Seeing no fish, I cut my losses and headed to a creek I knew that had lots fish.

Len had introduced me to the upper portion of Waterloo Creek on my last trip here. Remembering the 8 strikes I missed, I went back and this time started even further upstream.

The creek was so stuffed with fish that it looked like an aquarium. Trout and suckers everywhere. As I stepped to the edge of the bank, the boggy grass would sink a little and large suckers along with a few trout would paddle and wiggle away from under the bank.

Upper, upper Waterloo Creek
I quickly caught a small rainbow on a pink squirrel. A few fish were rising but they seemed more interested in underwater food. Fishing here offered a learning opportunity because I could get close to the trout without spooking them and watch them follow, strike and reject my flies. I noticed at one point that a dry would suddenly become very interesting when I drug it under the suface and stripped it quickly back towards myself. Some trout would practically swim to my feet.

Sucker that was unintentionally foul hooked.
After having my fill of the aquarium, I spent the rest of the afternoon moving slowly upstream. Only at one point did I see another fisherman. Not bad for a popular stream. My camera battery died before I could shoot any trout photos. None of the fish were especially large, but out of the maybe 6 trout caught, 4 were keepers. The last few fish were caught in the riffles with a size 16 pale morning dun.  Fishing this way treated me to a view of trout flashing from narrow channels in the weeds to take the fly.

Other highlights include a fish that leaped a few feet out of the water in a perfect arc right in front of me and a group of hungry cows that just needed to have the grass I was standing on. I let the cows do what they want.

With several fish in the cooler to try my recipes on, I headed back to Wisconsin early in the afternoon.

So do I stay in this long distance relationship? It's going to get a lot colder and I've been flirting with the idea of lake run browns in northern WI. Maybe we should just take a break for a while.

Trout stuffed and surrounded with chili, ginger, sugar, onions, olive oil and lemon juice
Baked in parchment paper
Served with rice

No comments:

Post a Comment