Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Those Pesky Trout...

Last weekend, my friend Brad and I took to the stocked trout streams of Northeast Iowa. With this being our third trip to the streams, we had higher hopes than before. Through our experiences in the past, we really felt like we had a better understanding of how to fish the streams. We equipped ourselves with many new flies we had researched and hand-tied. As is in every trip we take, our enthusiasm was very high in the beginning of the trip, and we were looking forward to finally catching a decent number of trout.

Many counties in Northeast Iowa are riddled with small streams that are stocked with "catchable" trout, as the Iowa DNR puts it in their online resources. We wanted to try out different streams with this trip, so we went to Clayton County--one county North of Delaware County where we usually fish. Our first stop proved to be a very difficult stream to fish because of the dense cover that had grown around the stream. Simply finding a place to get in the stream became a challenge. When I finally got situated, I managed to have several bites and lost one decent Rainbow Trout. I moved to a different spot on the stream and caught this little guy.

When I brought this thing in, I thought to myself, "Wow...that is one goofy looking trout!" I pulled it up and was dumbfounded. It was a CREEK CHUB!! I couldn't believe it--I've never actually caught one before...but I've never really wanted to. I don't even use them for catfish bait...although I hear they work well. With all the small creeks and tributaries running through the land, it isn't surprising that the chubs get into the "trout waters." I was very disappointed with my catch thus far, so we picked a new spot in Clayton County. With no luck there, we camped the night and headed for a new spot in the morning.

The next stream we hit was very small--only 10-12 feet wide with shallow depths. I thought our luck would be like the day before, but I did manage to find a small pool and caught this little Brown Trout. Even though this fish was small, I was very excited. If you have followed my trout experiences on my blog, you know that my success with trout tends to be slim. Any trout caught on my fly rod is a definite trophy!!

With the sands of time quickly dripping away in the weekend hourglass, we agreed to go back to our usual spot in Delaware County. We were more familiar with the streams and thought we would have a better shot at catching some fish.

Sadly, I didn't get a bite the rest of the day. For me, exhaustion and frustration had thoroughly set in. I don't necessarily need to be catching fish to have fun fishing, but I do at least need some bites to keep my attention. Brad had managed to reel in 5 or 6, but I was striking out with every cast.

On Sunday, my enthusiasm was low as we went back to the same spot we ended the day before. Half-heartedly, I fished the stream and managed to catch two fish: a spunky little Brown Trout (left) and my first Brook Trout (right).

Although I managed to catch a few fish before we departed, I constantly question whether the trip was worth it or not. Of the hundreds, if not thousands of casts I made throughout the weekend, only 3 fish and a few bites were the outcome. This experience (much like the previous experiences on the streams) makes me want to stick to the bass and bluegill fishing on my fly rod. I think we're planning on heading to the streams one more time in the Fall. Since we bought our trout stamps, we want to make sure we get use out of them. Plus, we want to see if the time of year might produce a better outcome on our fishing. Hopefully, I will have better luck next time!


  1. Hey Paul. I know you're a fly fisherman, but, in small streams like that, if you have an ultralight spinning rod, maybe 4 or 4 1/2 feet with 2# test, put a small gold Panther Martin (1/16th or 1/32nd) and I bet you'd knock'em dead.

  2. Shoreman: I actually bring my ultralight with me every trip, but I always leave it in the car. With every new place, I feel like it just might be the time that I'll finally be able to snag into some fish with the fly rod. I'm also wrapped up in the fly fishing because I tie my own flies. There is nothing better than catching a fish on your own fly. I think I'll have to give it a shot next time. It might not be fly fishing, but at least I won't go all day without a bite!

  3. I know all about the frustration, but come on, the trips are always worth it. And you have to keep trying, because you never know.

    After my first couple steelheading and salmon trips, I was about to give up. Then, we finally went on a day where everything came together and I've been hooked ever since.

    A day of fishing is always worth it, no matter the outcome.

  4. SO: It could always be worse...I could have been working instead!