Monday, May 2, 2011

NE Iowa "Driftless Region" Trout Fishing, 5-1-2011


Swiss Valley
Time Fished: 8am-11am
Weather: Sunny, @46 degrees F
Wind: I'm guessing it was a GOOD 20+mph wind and gusting!
Fish sought: Salmo trutta, and his buddies
Fish caught: 7 Rainbow Trout, 2 Brown Trout

I was excited to finally get to try fly-fishing for some stream trout in NE Iowa. I was pleased with the results!

I got there fairly early, there were only 3 other cars in the parking lot, and one of the guys was just taking pictures of the stream. I saw a couple other guys baitfishing, and a couple walking their dog.

There were no visible hatches at all, and no visible fish or surface activity of any kind. So, I tied on one of my largest nymph patterns. It is, very generally speaking, a "Rubberlegs". Its mainly designed to imitate good-sized stonefly nymphs. It has an underbody of non-lead wire for weight, and the legs have all sorts of great movement in the water.

As I walked my way (on shore...I left the waders at home since my whole family was along on this trip...although I fished alone) upstream, I hit a couple of ok-looking water. I could see the bottom in most places, and no fish were visible. This wasn't encouraging.

I eventually emerged from the woods into an area that was much more open along the creek bank, and found a constructed "bank hide", and drifted the nymph along that, with a small split shot above it for weight, and a strike indicator to help me deal with the combination of water depth, current speed, and strong winds I was dealing with.

Got a Rainbow Trout!! WOO HOO! I was ECSTATIC that I wasn't going to be "skunked" on this trip!

I caught another one from there:

Then I found this interesting fishy-looking pool:

After at least a half-dozen drifts through there, I got a strike, and landed my first Iowa Brown Trout!

That was pretty cool! But, that was the only fish I could coax from that pool, so I moved on.
I found another interesting deep pool, and caught a colorful Rainbow Trout:

I found another bank hide, and caught a couple more rainbows before moving on.

I found another long deep pool above some rapids, and fished there. I missed a handful of hits before landing this colorful Brown Trout...he was very strong and very colorful (LOVE the red spots! Click any photos to enlarge), but was only around 14" long. He was one of the bigger fish, as all the trout seemed to be in the 10"-14.5" range.

I had just a few more minutes to fish at this pool before walking back to the car, I caught one more decent Rainbow:
When I got back to my car, the parking lot was full, with other people out walking with families and dogs, and people baitfishing or using spinning gear. There was one fellow in the parking lot getting ready to fly-fish. He came over to ask if I'd done any good. He fishes there often, and was surprised I'd caught 2 Browns. He said 4 years ago, the DNR and a local fly-fishing club had built some bank hides up on one of the smaller tributaries to this stream. They had stocked some fingerling Brown Trout then, but had not stocked any since. So, the Brown Trout in the creek were basically wild, and there seemed to be some natural reproduction occurring.

I had been looking at the fins of each fish I had caught, and none had those rubbed-down "hatchery fins". So, I'm assuming all the trout I caught were carry-overs from at least the previous year. They were nice and healthy fish!


  1. Thats a great fly!! Google tequeely fly which is what I have known them as. I tie them in all sorts of colors. Looks like you had a blast!! Great blog, you got a new follower

  2. Thanks Dustin!
    There are definite similarities to the TeQueely pattern. Instead of a beadhead, all the weight on the ones I tied is wire wraps under the chenille body. And there is no marabou tail, just rubber strands for a tail. I think the rubber legs on both patterns really attract the fish. The colors I chose for the legs is a favorite of John Scott, a fly-angler currently residing in Montana, and I credit his success with it as the reason I decided to try it on my very first stream fly-fishing trip for trout.