Monday, September 12, 2016

33 Iowa Species on Fly Rod

When I began flyfishing the local public ponds near my home, it was rare to ever see another flyfisher.  Folks would walk by and ask if I was fishing for trout...knowing there were no trout in these ponds.  Now it is no longer uncommon to see other fly anglers.  More and more flyfishers are finding that flyfishing is an effective method of catching many species of fish.  I've read the phrase somewhere that, "If the fish eats, it can be caught on a fly."

One of the most interesting (to me) Iowa bulletin board fishing-related entries has been about one Iowa angler’s quest to catch all 33 non-endangered Iowa gamefish species in one year.  Its been a few years ago…I’m pretty sure he managed to do it!  Absolutely amazing and impressive!
I do not recall whether the angler posted his real name, but one of the follow-up threads is here:

I realized I have caught 33 species in Iowa on flyfishing gear, using artificial flies only.  They are NOT all the same species as the ones in the list in the link above.  I did NOT accomplish this in just a single year, although I have caught at least 25 species in a single year.  I’ve caught at least an additional 4 species on spinning gear in Iowa (Musky, Tiger Musky, Flathead Catfish, and Orangespotted Sunfish), plus Warmouth and Sauger in other states.  I’ve also caught 3 saltwater species (Redfish, Spotted Seatrout, Hardhead Catfish) and 4 exotic freshwater species (Peacock Bass, Oscar, Spotted Tilapia, Mayan Cichlid) on flyfishing gear.

So, apples-to-apples, I can’t compare to my fellow angler’s single-year accomplishment.  That was and is outstanding!   But my accomplishment taken for what it is…flyfishing with artificials only… I think it’s pretty cool.  And I’m always hoping to add more species to this flyrod list (like Longnose Gar, Orangspotted Sunfish, Flathead Catfish, etc).

Here’s pictures of each of my IOWA flyrod-caught species.
Largemouth Bass:

Smallmouth Bass:

White Bass:

Hybrid Striped Bass (“Wiper”):

Yellow Bass:

Black Crappie:

White Crappie:


Redear Sunfish:

Green Sunfish:

Rock Bass:

Pumpkinseed Sunfish:

Hybrid Sunfish (I catch these fairly frequently, naturally occurring, and from nearly every body of water I fish. I treat them as a separate species because they behave and fight very different from the purestrain fish.):

Northern Pike:

Walleye (This one I caught in Canada.  I haven’t photographed any of the ones I’ve caught in Iowa yet):

Yellow Perch:

Brook Trout:

Brown Trout:

Rainbow Trout:

Creek Chub:

Striped Shiner:

Channel Catfish:

Yellow Bullhead:

Shortnose Gar:

Freshwater Drum:

Gizzard Shad:

Bigmouth Buffalo:

Smallmouth Buffalo:

Golden Redhorse Sucker:

White Sucker:

Grass Carp:

Common Carp:



  1. WOW! I fish lakes & ponds too but in NYC (since 2003).

    1. With the population in your area, William, I assume your waters get fished even harder than my local waters. Are there a lot of anglers in your area?