Rick Zieger - Nov 5, 2012

We had never gone to the northeast part of the state of Iowa, so we decided that would be our vacation this year. At the time we planned this we were not sure of gas prices. We headed out and got up to the northeast part of the state and found an unimproved campground that we liked. It had pit toilets and a water source about ¼ of a mile away. Another big draw was a stream that was just steps away. We did some hiking the first day we were there. They had some very nice trails and we found some ripe blackberries as we walked. They stained my hands, but they were good.

That afternoon, my wife suggested she drop me at the access on the road and I could fish up the stream. It seemed like a good thing to do, and I started out with a parachute blue wing olive pattern, following a suggestion that I had received. There was a slight breeze blowing. I did notice dimples under the bushes every time there was a gust of wind, so I walked over to the first one to look at the bushes to see what was going on. Immediately I scared out a trout about 8inches long when I got close. I did see that there were a lot of small ants on the leaves. A gust of wind came and a few of them fell on the water. I had come prepared for this. I had tied some size 24 parachute foam ants. I tied one of those on and got ready to cast. I waited until there was a gust of wind and cast the fly. I dropped it by a bush where there was a little hole under it. And  a fish took it immediately. It was a nice fat 8 inch rainbow that did not like being hooked. I got the fish up and undid the hook while the trout was still in the water. This fish scooted back under the bush.

Being curious I tried a cast to another bush. Nothing happened. I waited for a gust of wind and cast again, and hooked another carbon copy rainbow. I worked my way up the stream getting fish at most of the bushes I tried, but I had to wait for the gust of wind at each place.

I came to a long deep pool and I could see the fish fining in the deeper water. I changed to a CDC Elk Hair Caddis pattern. Caddis are always coming off, so it seemed to be a good idea.

I made a short cast to try the first fish. The fly had drifted a few feet and the fish rose and took it. It was just a little sip and then back down. This was a nice fat fish that was great fun to catch. I released this one and got four more out of the pool before the others got spooked. The last one jumped several times which might have contributed to the fish being spooked.

I moved up the stream past the pool and saw a couple of other folks fishing the stream, so I decided to get out and go back to the camp. I had had great fun and did not want to disturb the other folks.

I was just getting into the camping area when I met the other folks. They had decided to quit as they were not catching any fish. They asked how I had done. I showed them the flies I had used. I gave each of them a small ant and told them to go back and try them.

An hour later they came to our campsite and said they had caught several fish. They wanted to return the flies, but I told them to keep them. It was a fun afternoon.

Hope you can get on the water.

By Rick Zieger

The next day the weather started to get warmer. We did some more hiking in the morning and found more blackberries. We also found a lot of gooseberries.

When we got back that afternoon I headed out to the stream again. I headed to end of the campground and went back to where I had got out the day before. There was not a breath a wind today, and I tried the ant but no luck. Much of the stream was just shallow flats so I moved until I found another pool. I could see that there were a few fish here. I watched them for a while and I could see that they were feeding deep in the water.

I ran a PTN and a Hares Ear by them and they were not interested. I decided to try something else. I put on a Griffiths Gnat and cast it out. The fish would rise toward it, but not take it, however I kept casting it. One cast went too far and was going to get caught in a tree limb so I pulled the fly back a little and it went under the surface. I decided to continue the drift. The fly was near the end of the pool when a fish took it. I'm not sure where this fish had been, but it was fun. The fish headed down into the flat and I moved down to fight the fish there. This fish was about a foot long and fat.

After I landed that fish I went back to the pool and tried again. I had no luck if the Griffiths Gnat was on the surface, but I got fish if I pulled the fly underwater. Finally one fish stayed in the pool to fight and that quieted the pool.

I moved up the stream and saw a small falls. The water dropped about three feet, and there was a plunge pool under that. I had tied up a new pattern and decided to try that. It has yellow biots for tail, a silver mylar body, yellow ostrich herl head, brown hackle and bead head tied on a scud hook. I dropped this fly so it would land at the base of the falls. It had dropped when I saw the line move sideways. I set the hook and had a large fish not like the idea. This fish had to stay in the pool as I had the downstream blocked. This fish jumped several times. I finally got the fish up and took the hook out. I heard a voiced ask if they could see the fish. I lifted it up and showed him. I then returned it to the water.

He wanted to know what fly I had used. He had tried to catch that fish for a couple of years. I showed him the fly and took it off the line to hand it to him. He told me that the stream for the next mile or so upstream was all flats, no pools. I knew that I was near the end of the campground so I headed in.

The next day was hot so we decided to look at some other things.

On the way back we stopped at a neat little park and had lunch. I tried the stream there and picked up three very nice rainbows. All on the nymph pattern similar to the one I gave away. All of the fish were deep in the pools. I fished from shore as the pools were too deep to wade.

I did not fish after that as it got too hot. I could feel that the water in the stream was warmer. I did not want to stress the fish or the fisherman.

Hope you can get out on the water.


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