Driftless Trout Anglers

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Pete  
#1 Posted : Thursday, August 1, 2019 7:44:57 PM(UTC)
Pete
Rank: Dragon Fly

Joined: 6/30/2011(UTC)
Posts: 583
Location: Far west suburbs of Chicago

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First of all, big mahalos go out to Jumpsuit and mr89ia: without their advice, I'd have only cast on the Mississippi for smallmouths. that wouldn't be the worst fate in the world, but I'd have missed out on some good trout fishing and great scenery.

I was in Dubuque last week and I was under the mistaken impression that Catfish Creek in Swiss Valley was some sort of put-and take stream; it's much better than that. The guidebook I read was more than a few years old and some of the info may be out-of-date. At one time it may have been a put and take stream, but I think things have improved to the point that there is a fair amount of natural reproduction. Even in the midsummer heat, the water was cold enough that I'd think trout could survive pretty easily. There was also plenty to eat: I pulled leeches off my feet, saw a lot of crayfish anywhere there were rocks, caught some chubs and saw a lot of minnows, grasshoppers in all the long grass and spooked plenty of frogs. I was impressed at both numbers and size for as far upstream as I was, but this could be a place for some hog hunting too. And for a stream that is small by most definitions, there are some deep pools with great cover and big back eddies. This is on the southern fringes of trout territory in NE Iowa. How good must it be up around Decorah?

As far as the actual fishing, I started out with a hopper and it drew a lot of interest: every cast produced a hit, some of them from good-sized browns-I got a good look at them as they chased and hit. Unfortunately I couldn't hook a thing casting upstream. I eventually got a nice rainbow just letting the hopper drift in a back eddy. The chances of that fish being hatched in the stream are just about zero, but it was a great looking fish: spots, a bright red stripe, not a mark on its fins. And it didn't fight like any hatchery fish I've caught before. She must've been in the stream awhile and adapted well. I had some luck with brook trout fishing a wet fly down and across. I had a lot of hits, but few hookups when I fished the wet upstream. The fishing was so good my first evening there, I went back the second night rather than explore some new water.

My first fishing trip to NE Iowa does not figure to be my last: after the Wisconsin season closes, I try to do a lot of turkey hunting, thanks to Wisconsin's almost-four month season. But we usually don't do much in November in order to avoid spooking deer that some guys may be working very hard to pattern. That would be a god time for a trout trip to Iowa.
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mr89ia  
#2 Posted : Saturday, August 3, 2019 7:17:25 AM(UTC)
mr89ia
Rank: Stone Fly

Joined: 2/11/2013(UTC)
Posts: 88
Location: Des Moines

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Glad I could be of some help. Last time I was there I hit the slam too. Not sure how often it is stocked but I caught everything from a 5 inch brown to a 14 inch rainbow.

I am glad that you gave it a try!
Jumpsuit  
#3 Posted : Sunday, August 4, 2019 3:15:50 PM(UTC)
Jumpsuit
Rank: Midge

Joined: 5/2/2013(UTC)
Posts: 79
Man
Location: Eastern Iowa

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Glad to hear it was a good trip! I know Iowa can't come even close with miles of water in our little corner, but the quality of Iowa's streams with wild browns and improved water has been awesome to see in my short life so far. You don't even have to go as far north as Decorah to find some beautiful streams! Cheers .
madguy30  
#4 Posted : Wednesday, August 7, 2019 2:17:00 AM(UTC)
madguy30
Rank: May Fly

Joined: 2/24/2013(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Jumpsuit Go to Quoted Post
Glad to hear it was a good trip! I know Iowa can't come even close with miles of water in our little corner, but the quality of Iowa's streams with wild browns and improved water has been awesome to see in my short life so far. You don't even have to go as far north as Decorah to find some beautiful streams! Cheers .


For smallmouth water I prefer Iowa's northereastern rivers to SW Wisco's smallmouth water. Wilder, easier to wade, more scenic.

I may need to get my Iowa trout stamp one of these years and check out the water around Dubuque.
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