2019 Driftless Pictures and Reports

smarty140

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I got out for a couple hours yesterday evening on a local trout stream that I've tried a few times before with minimal success. The action wasn't fast and furious, but better than previous attempts. I got a few nice little brookies, including my first of the year on a dry (it's been a terrible year for me in terms of fishing... too much time working and not enough fishing).

There were some large brown mayflies hatching, along with some smaller yellow ones. There wasn't a ton of surface activity, but enough to make me switch to the dry fly a couple times.

ryan
 

ia_trouter

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Here's a fishing report, sorta.

Thanks for fishing with me today Kevin. As some here may know, the two year Iowa monsoon season has not encouraged me to even try to fish the Southern Driftless much. It sucks getting punched in the face most every time, and it's been going on for TWO years! Several of my fishing buddies have pretty much completely lost interest. I appreciate that you showed up with a bad weather forecast. I thought seriously about canceling because I knew you had a three hour ride and a probably a motel bill to even give this a shot. I got up at 230AM because I knew we better start early for a decent shot at fish. That was brutal, but 87F high and a chance for T-storms isn't a recipe for a good day trip. Glad we got an early start in retrospect.

It sure started bad. Stream SV was nothing but chocolate milk! Overgrown like I've never seen it because it has seen no foot traffic due to weather. I've never ever, ever, seen it so bad. You'll have to trust me I've had a lot of great days there over the years or I wouldn't have suggested it. Driftless guys don't like to disappoint Driftless guys when they come to visit for some "Free Pro Guiding". It's just our pride thing.

Thanks for having a bit of faith that the back up stream plan might actually be fishable. I "felt" the doubt when I suggested we should ride another hour away from your home for better water. I appreciate that you trusted me some. We knew it was a sure bust otherwise. Did you enjoy the endless thunderstorm while we sat in our cars at the access at Manchester waiting for a safe time to fish? Me neither, and by this time I know I surely let you down for your efforts. I'm starting to stress for sure. Pretty crazy nobody else was there waiting with us lol. Thankfully It paid off. You caught all the wild species that swim there. That's an accomplishment. No stupid adult fish stocked there. Fingerlings or fry and they've seen it all pretty much daily. If it was an easy stream we would have went there in the first place. I've seen myself and friends get humbled there repeatedly. A skunking is very normal during fair weather. It's NOT an easy stream! I hope you will give SW another chance, but not until it straightens up and I scout it MUCH better. That mission might be next year, but I am hoping for this fall after a hard freeze to whip the weeds back. What a jungle lol. The place is just beautiful in fall and the bite can be hot. I'll need more trust I guess. :)

Thanks again for a good day that probably shouldn't have worked out.
 

k_e_v

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I don’t know what you are talking about DeWayne, it was a great day on the water. Our first stop at Swiss Valley in Dubuque was destined to fail. Can’t fight Mother Nature, she’s a tough old broad.;)
The next stream at the Manchester Fish hatchery was awesome. It may fish tough normally but it gave me a beginners welcome I guess. I will return for sure. And to any anglers in the my area that can’t always make the 12-16 hour drive to the mountains to find trout make sure you give the southern driftless a shot. I resisted for years the idea of trout fishing in Iowa or southern Wisconsin but I am happy to have found it and have some nice people to show me the ropes. Sadly no pics today, both phone and camera were dead but caught some beautiful Brookies, Browns and Rainbows, although no Cutthroats were landed and that was disappointing :D
Thanks for the day DeWayne!!!
 

ia_trouter

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I don’t know what you are talking about DeWayne, it was a great day on the water. Our first stop at Swiss Valley in Dubuque was destined to fail. Can’t fight Mother Nature, she’s a tough old broad.;)
The next stream at the Manchester Fish hatchery was awesome. It may fish tough normally but it gave me a beginners welcome I guess. I will return for sure. And to any anglers in the my area that can’t always make the 12-16 hour drive to the mountains to find trout make sure you give the southern driftless a shot. I resisted for years the idea of trout fishing in Iowa or southern Wisconsin but I am happy to have found it and have some nice people to show me the ropes. Sadly no pics today, both phone and camera were dead but caught some beautiful Brookies, Browns and Rainbows, although no Cutthroats were landed and that was disappointing :D
Thanks for the day DeWayne!!!
The Iowa grand slam has to include a huge crappie or channel cat. That's just how it is. They are tough as nails to land on a spring creek! I haven't given up, but it's not looking good lol. You may have to settle for a "trout triple".

Kevin and I truly may have seen 100,000 baby rainbows, browns and brookies today. That is probably very conservative. This little hatchery is 100 years old and stocks half the state's waters. It really is little but they have an incredibly good spring. I don't have to appreciate stocker put and take trout fishing to understand how amazing it is what they accomplish for "the other half". I know the "other half" finances wild and assisted wild fisheries here. Only 200ft away is a unique fishery right on the premises. No bait allowed, no harvesting 12" trout right off the stock truck because they aren't present. A special place so close to what we don't like.
 

nawagner

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Pretty sure this does not qualify as driftless area, and if it does it's extreme south driftless...

Fished Iowa's only urban trout stream today for a couple hours after work and had a good night. 7-8 fish landed, 12 hooked, brookie, brown and rainbow, all in 2 hours. Largest was a nice brookie about 12"

They were hitting a stimmy and bead head hare's ear.

First time I've fished it in a couple years. I might go back tomorrow!

I'll head further north in the driftless later this year.

IMG_20190628_194604676.jpg

Fat belly on this guy!
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Unknownflyman

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Excessive heat warning here, Got to put in the window air unit or die. its going to hit 90!!! Trout fishing for me is off until it cools down. I could get out a couple times on cool days. Its bass, pike and muskie season. All of the these fish grow to a large size and crush surface flies.

Sea run browns and kings are coming up soon to the north 4 weeks.

Nice fish gentlemen! and good reports, You know, We get by, we fish what we got or travel, I always like Ard`s signature line.
 

ia_trouter

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Pretty sure this does not qualify as driftless area, and if it does it's extreme south driftless...

Fished Iowa's only urban trout stream today for a couple hours after work and had a good night. 7-8 fish landed, 12 hooked, brookie, brown and rainbow, all in 2 hours. Largest was a nice brookie about 12"

They were hitting a stimmy and bead head hare's ear.

First time I've fished it in a couple years. I might go back tomorrow!

I'll head further north in the driftless later this year.

View attachment 17355

Fat belly on this guy!
View attachment 17356
Nice brookies. We don't care if you caught them in the ditch in your front yard. They are still brookies on the fly. I don;t need it personally bu Iowa's urban stocking program is a pretty damned good idea IMO. They stock quite a few lakes every fall and winter. A lot of handicapped people who could never navigate a streams can fish for trout a few weeks a year. Trust me they have some more fish for this fall lol.

Let us know if you need some assistance with a Southern Driftless adventure. This is NOT a good year to just pick a stream off the map and drive a long distance, but there are. And how far slouth the Driftless extends depends who you ask. From a pure geological definition it's probably Dubuque. But I see trout and bluffs and limestone somewhat out of published range maps. Looks like fly fishing for trout fishing to me. Most of the true Driftless region is in Wisconsin.
 

ia_trouter

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Excessive heat warning here, Got to put in the window air unit or die. its going to hit 90!!! Trout fishing for me is off until it cools down. I could get out a couple times on cool days. Its bass, pike and muskie season. All of the these fish grow to a large size and crush surface flies.

Sea run browns and kings are coming up soon to the north 4 weeks.

Nice fish gentlemen! and good reports, You know, We get by, we fish what we got or travel, I always like Ard`s signature line.
I'm not sure FEMA is going to bring you ice, window fans and beer Steve. Perhaps we should say a Viking prayer for you today lol?

I've also love Ard's signature line. If life has you in a bad fishing spot for now, plan a short trip soon, and we'll enthusiastically help you design bullhead and gar flies to get you through for now so you can fish. :)

I am kinda hoping to get way up north before the season is over. I am not currently scheduled to get my 2019 "pike fix". I don't think that has happened since 1985.
 

Unknownflyman

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Window unit is in and working, whew that was close, it was 85 degrees in the house, even the dog and cat was looking at me like ??? The NWS says stay inside with the air on, and that's what I'm going to do its supposed to hit 90! It looks like after tomorrow its going back down into the 70`s We got our two days of heat this summer that is enough.

Almost everyone I know is up at the cabin for the next week, I should have took off too.

It looks like dry fly action next weekend as long as it doesn't rain too much during the week.
 

ia_trouter

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Hot here too but only like the third day this year and it's almost July. It won't be long and dawn and dusk is the only time to fish. As bad it sounded, Kevin and I got lucky and it was overcast most of the day. But it was steamy at times. I need to buy some new wading pants and ditch the waders until fall. Shorts don't cut it. Too many noxious weeds and our bugs bite most of the time here.
 

nawagner

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Fished a creek tonight. Pretty decent night with 10-12 fish in the 6"-12" range and mostly on dries. Bookies, Rainbows and a few wild Browns. The water was a bit stained but didn't seem to stop them from eating my flies!
 
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Raging Moorish

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Don’t want to all of a sudden turn this into a warm water forum, but I just wanted to share. Had a great holiday of fishing at the cabin in Minnesota. Caught my personal best smallie on a size 8 leech pattern in about a foot of water. It put up quite the fight on my brand new CGR 3 wt with 5x tippet. Hope you all had a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend out on the water.

-Bradley

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ia_trouter

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To be clear I am asking, and not telling, but please go easy on naming small streams on the forum. That's what PMs are for (IMO). It's especially a problem in the Southern Driftless where fishable water is very scarce this year.

The truth is I am actually just upset because last night I am saw some 20" browns landed on small streams over the weekend, on Facebook! Ugg! The treble hook assault will be coming soon and they know where to go for the hottest current bite. These streams are too small to endure extreme pressure.
 

Unknownflyman

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I hope they put them back, Takes a long time to get a 20" class fish, especially with all the birds of prey. Osprey and eagle`s like mad last time out.
 

nawagner

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I assume you are referencing my post. I won;t do it again. I do have to say if anyone doesn't know these streams, putting the name out here isn't going to help them.

I enjoy seclusion when fishing as much as the next guy. In Eastern Iowa, it's just not going to happen. There are two streams. Two, that's it. That's the list. Wish there were more, there isn't. Best thing I do is look at the stocking schedule, and avoid those streams at stock time.
 

ia_trouter

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I assume you are referencing my post. I won;t do it again. I do have to say if anyone doesn't know these streams, putting the name out here isn't going to help them.

I enjoy seclusion when fishing as much as the next guy. In Eastern Iowa, it's just not going to happen. There are two streams. Two, that's it. That's the list. Wish there were more, there isn't. Best thing I do is look at the stocking schedule, and avoid those streams at stock time.
Yeah that is one of my favorite streams that is actually in day trip range. No it's not secluded. I don't like it to be hot spotted, which you didn't do. You can find some room to fish there. Add six more anglers and it gets real crowded. Let the internet figure out for themselves when that stream is giving up fish because it is often tough. I was being honest when I said it was actually the Iowa Facebook group. It's about the fifth time this spring I have seen pics of 20" browns and precise stream shared. Most of them are meat hunters. I know that to be true because I see the pics. They are good spin fishers and tiny streams don't have a chance if they get a hot tip. Yeah I should just block myself. They pizzz me off.

We're cool OK? If you are interested shoot me a PM and we'll fish some time soon. You'll have to bring me some flies though lol. I assume you have read the banter above? :D And we definitely need to fish if you think there are only two streams in eastern Iowa.
 

nawagner

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Yeah we're cool. No worries from me. I shouldn't have added the name. I'm not one of those secret hole guys, if you ask I'll share. You're right, you should at least make the effort to ask behind the scenes without it being broadcast.

I grew up in WY so I've had to really get used to the crowds in this part of the country. Although I've fished CO plenty of times and it can be even worse on some of those streams. I've been in Iowa for quite some time now and have taken somewhat of a hiatus from fishing here. Used to go up NE quite a bit and haven't been in some time.

I have no problem providing flies. I've got lot's of old worn out ones that don't work anymore! ;)
 

ia_trouter

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Yeah we're cool. No worries from me. I shouldn't have added the name. I'm not one of those secret hole guys, if you ask I'll share. You're right, you should at least make the effort to ask behind the scenes without it being broadcast.

I grew up in WY so I've had to really get used to the crowds in this part of the country. Although I've fished CO plenty of times and it can be even worse on some of those streams. I've been in Iowa for quite some time now and have taken somewhat of a hiatus from fishing here. Used to go up NE quite a bit and haven't been in some time.

I have no problem providing flies. I've got lot's of old worn out ones that don't work anymore! ;)
Most of the put and take streams are a zoo on stocking day, and sometimes the day after. When I fish them, I check the schedule and hit them days later. Special regulation waters are much better and there is some natural reproduction. Unfortunately there aren't nearly enough of them. Crowds lesson in late fall. I definitely intend to hit some of the better streams then. The weeds are a monster on the southern end the D.A. this year. Add constantly muddy water and it's really a challenge. When the rains finally stop I'll bust some weeds. It's going to be work again this year. Several streams are almost unrecognizable after two years of frequent hard rains.
 

Unknownflyman

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I got out last weekend, Itchmesir was in my neck of the woods and we fished the morning and early evening on my home river. Its amazing to me how fast the trout can turn on and off, it was a bit different day, a bit slow and then some sulphurs would come off with midges and some crane flies, caddis in the evening and the fish would be feeding and I`d catch five or six and it would shut down just as fast as it started. I caught a good number of fish because I fished from morning till dark only letting up for a quick Red Bull, gatorade and some cheese and beef jerky lunch at mid day, and continued down river. I`m lucky to have water, I usually fish downriver sometimes for miles and then walk back, more like swinging for steelhead than anything, prospect, maybe stay in a fishy area for a bit and keep moving. I like finding new water, away from the access points.

I like to prospect with dry flies and wake and skate flies, I also am a streamer swinger so I tend to fish downriver, only fishing up river to really tough fish or if the fish start rising behind me, which does happen. It pays to look both ways.

It was hot outside for me, water temperature was 60 degrees. I fished my new 6`6" 4wt CGR which I really liked but its too short for me on this river, I normally fish 8`6" fly rods. I had to work a little harder at making long casts and I`m not much of a false caster, I like to pickup the line and cast and shoot to the next spot.

I had one take on a caddis in the late morning, I didn't see the take, I cast under the branches up against a cliff wall, all of a sudden the clicker started screaming and I lifted the rod, it was a big trout, heavy and it pulled like a steelhead on the swing, quite a bit of line came off the reel, and it was gone, I was left with a slack line and shaking knees. I would describe the take as violent.

It is always a great day fishing with friends on the river.

The door.








Itchmesir stuck a nice one!





I love the color of the browns this time of year.





And the end of a lovely evening, fog coming up river.


One last nice fish in the mist, it was dusk, marginal photo.
 
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