Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Iowa Doesn't Get Old

We are nearing the end of 2014. It will soon be time to renew fishing licenses, but its not the Wisconsin fishing license that I'm thinking about. It's my Iowa one. I'll of coarse re-up my Wisco privileges just as soon, but it will be in Iowa where I'll likely be wetting my line in the coming months due to their year round trout season and some fantastic creeks.

This year in particular has seen both mild winter days and low gas prices, the later of which is a serious consideration if you need to travel 2 - 3 hours to your favorite Hawkeye spring creeks.

Winter days are short, so I've made it a point in some cases to be on the road by 5 AM. Yet I've somehow spent shorter days, leaving at about 11 AM and have had just as much fun, sometimes catching even more fish.
An ambitious winter morning on the road at 5 AM towards Iowa

In fact, this year hasn't just been about a winter fix. Iowa has been graced with my presence since July. Usually accompanied with my friend Trapper, my Iowan exploration has covered increasing ground.

Trapper stays cool on a summer day on a wooded creek near Decorah, IA
One of serveral brookies we caught in that wooded creek
Iowa does continue to exist though the summer when most Wisconsin trouters keep on this side of the Mississippi. And for good reason. We have plenty of good water. But there is a bit of extra wildness west of the big river that will coat your vehicle with white dust that you'll be proud to sport when parked back at work. I am anyway.

Iowa does heavily stock many of it's streams with cookie cutter sized rainbow trout. And yes, it can be a little mundane to catch the same lazy 9 inch rainbow over and over again. That is until you find a place where these rainbows have been given a chance grow 2 or more years. There is also evidence that some streams host naturally reproducing bows... something that does not happen in Wisconsin (as far as I know).

Wild brown trout are plentiful on some creeks. The famous Bears and Waterloo creeks will prove this, but I've spent less and less time on these albeit good, but pressured creeks.

The 19" hook jaw brown in the video above was caught in a stream that is 90% stocked rainbow trout. You never know what's lurking in those deep green pools.

I have to admit, it does stink to drive over stream after stream in Wisconsin on the way to Iowa. Creeks that I haven't yet fished get passed and I have to wonder if I will even try them when I can. After all, why drive all the way to western Crawford county if I don't have to?

Things may change in the future. The DNR has proposed extending the Wisconsin trout fishing season to a January 1 start date.

Seeing is believing though. Until then, I'll continue to drive over those Wisco creeks on cold dark mornings and bust the ice out of my eyelets next door.


  1. Nice job, Dan. If your narrative isn't convincing, that last photo of that tremendous 'bow certainly is! Happy New Year and good trouting to you!