Driftless Trout Anglers

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#1 Posted : Sunday, October 19, 2014 10:59:16 AM(UTC)
Rank: May Fly

Joined: 2/11/2014(UTC)
Posts: 140
Location: Downers Grove, Il

So…. I am off Tuesday and was wondering if anyone has a special affinity for Spring Branch in Manchester, or has fished it lately. I have never fished it, but it seems like it might be a bit more of the South Platte / Deckers type fishing I was used to in Colorado - plenty of fisherman and trained trout. I am good with that but definitely enjoy wildness.

Of course fishing Bloody Run / Marquette area is about the same distance, and is a bit more wild fishery in terms of location and just enjoying time in the woods. I have enjoyed a few good days there over the last few years, ….

If anyone has a few thoughts, let me know…I will be camping up around the Bears and Waterloo in a couple of weeks so a much need "fix" is on the wayDrool

ps. I fished Little Mill and Big Mill over in Belleview a couple of weeks ago - good day, caught some nice fish on Big Mill, Little Mill not so much….


I enjoy trout.They are never disappointing company. They like the things I like - clean mountain streams , swift moving water, wildness. - Henry Middleton
Cox Creek  
#2 Posted : Sunday, October 19, 2014 12:26:21 PM(UTC)
Cox Creek
Rank: Midge

Joined: 6/29/2014(UTC)
Posts: 4

Spring Branch near Manchester gets pounded as you have mentioned. I lived within 5 miles of the stream for over 20 years and fished the stream maybe twice due to the amount of pressure. Reminds me of fishing at Backbone State park. I would suggest going to Sny McGill which is south of Marquette/McGregor. I have done extremely well there over the years and I like the streams that are a lot less pressured. Nice long stream with numerous deep holes. Just returned yesterday from North/South Bear and Waterloo. Numerous people at the streams, but if you are willing to walk you can find some solitude. Fishing was decent with numerous spawning browns caught and released. Kept a limit of rainbows for the smoker. Good luck!
West Branch  
#3 Posted : Monday, October 20, 2014 6:45:29 AM(UTC)
West Branch
Rank: May Fly

Joined: 9/23/2012(UTC)
Posts: 183
Location: West Branch, IA

This season Spring Branch has been fishing especially well. I've fished there about once a week through the summer and fall and often had the place to myself or nearly so. My suspicion is that anglers assume that the stream will be crowded and look elsewhere for fish. I've recently even fished there on a weekend and only had to share the stream with one other angler.

Fish size and numbers are good. During hopper season I was having days when the average fish size was 14", with many larger trout coming to the top to take a well placed fly. Days of 30-40 fish are pretty typical, though the larger fish are a bit less common (during daylight hours) as grasshopper numbers have dwindled.

The upper pasture has been grazed hard for several years, and has suffered because of it. Formerly productive areas are now full of sand and frequently full of cows, too. There are only a couple of decent spots in the upper pasture at the moment. Worth checking if you know where they are, not worth looking for if you are exploring for the day. If you fish Spring Branch, concentrate on the lower pasture and the "in between" areas.

Spring Branch isn't the amazing, prolific fishery that it was a dozen years ago. Cattle seem to be the primary culprits, but flooding--combined with questionable farming practices upstream of the springs--has taken a toll. All in all, this is still a pretty darned good fishery, though. Watch for brook trout redds. As of last week brookies were beginning to excavate gravel for the spawn. I've caught a couple of tiger trout here lately, so I know they are at least partially successful.

Edited by user Monday, October 20, 2014 5:35:29 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

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