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  1. Default Trout fishing around Decorah

    I am going to be in Decorah in June and would like to know if there are any professional guides in the area for trout fishing who could put me on some good trout fishing.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Iowa, southern edge of Driftless Area

    Default Re: Trout fishing around Decorah

    I don't know of any in Decorah but some in Wisconsin cross the river and do Iowa trips.

  3. Default Re: Trout fishing around Decorah

    Have you found a guide yet? I do some guiding (Home (Bear Creek Anglers)) and I know some others who may be able to assist. Email me at

  4. Default Re: Trout fishing around Decorah

    Well, my trip bummed out for right now. Hoping to get up that way in August.

  5. Arrow Re: Trout fishing around Decorah

    I know this is an older post, but I thought I would share my first adventure to NE Iowa. Want to thank all those involved in keeping the trout fishing alive in NE Iowa . Stocking, stream work and aggresive regulations makes for a good time for anyone fly fishing in Iowa. This is from my blog.


    I was finally persuaded (which wasn’t difficult) to fish the driftless region of NE Iowa. WHY would I want to when I live in an area with fantastic fishing already? Simply one word, change...a change of scenery, weather, sites, smells, and to visit friends. And a change it was for me, from the forests of N. Minnesota and N. Wisco to the huge corn fields laid out like a blanket covering the rolling hills. It's always exciting and fun to get away from your comfort zone to try something different, but at the same time be a little adventurous. That's exactly what I did and don't regret it one bit.

    I found my way to one of many Iowa trout streams, FC. Special regulations and naturally reproducing wild brown & brook trout make this stream a true gem for any trout angler, young and old. It's managed for wild trout and all trout must be released. On top of that, only artificial lures can be used, which makes for a fun time on the fly. I fished in the pasture areas, trying to negotiate my way around clumps of cow pies (or was it mud?) lining the banks, in the end looking for anything dry upon which to land my feet. The morning started off cool, yet muggy, with a little bit of morning fog starting to burn away. Getting my tools ready, I heard the voices of thousands of crickets chirping, cows singing for their morning breakfast, big fields of corn swaying with the added weight of morning dew, and other sounds of farm life coming alive. I thought, "Here I am standing in the middle of all of this and I'm fly fishing for trout."

    The fishing was fantastic! I stopped at my first pool on a small bend, probing the depths with a heavy point fly, dubbed the "Missy D". A small scud pattern accompanied it. Immediately I was onto fish. At my back and only 20 feet away was a bridge and road. I thought for sure the fish would be pressured here, so I admit to being a little caught off guard when the fish hit. However, a little luck never hurt anyone.

    Continuing upstream for a good 150 yards, while C&R'ing a good sampling of brown trout, a decent 18" gave me a good tug and a wave of its tail before it became unbuttoned. I am still amazed how the brown trout in FC utilized many parts of the stream; from shallow, fast ripple water only 6 inches deep, to the weed-choked pockets of the slower runs, and everything in between. I had a lot of fun fishing the two-nymph rig in the fast, shallow water. The trout in these sections were looking for a meal and a well-placed nymph, pouncing on the opportunity before the next trout in line would take its turn. The trout were competing for sure, but all were healthy and eating well. The action was steady even through a heavy down pour that lasted about 15 minutes; wooly bugger time! There are some monsters in this stream, but I would assume a delicate presentation under the cover of darkness is probably in order. All in all, a wonderful trout stream for all to enjoy. Thanks Iowa!

    BR Creek was next on the hit list. It sounded like it fished well, because Google told me so. LD from IL never fished it before, so we decided to give it a shot. I'm glad we did. It was another warm day, but refreshing to wade in some cold 60 degree water. BR Creek is stocked in most portions of the stream with brown and rainbow trout. Lots of trout, but they have quickly learned that fast food is not as good as the real thing. The trout were hungry for the Missy D and a smaller dropper nymph. We took off way upriver to find the C&R section of BR Creek, even walking a railroad for a little way, which reminded me of the movie "Stand By Me". LD hooked into a nice fish at the head of a small pool while working on her nymphing skills. LD didn't realize that it was heading downstream in a hurry. Pop goes the 5x and bye-bye Missy D. Of course, it's my use of 5x tippet to blame... more like operator error, I said. More constant action back toward the trailhead and even a little time for a quick swim to cool off! Good times! BR Creek is another exceptional Iowa stream and well worth it to drop by and wet a line.

    Now, on to the Missy D. I wanted to tie some Copper Johns for the trip, but didn't have all the materials the night before I left. Since it’s almost chrome time, I was thinking about this un-named nymph I'd used for chasing steel up north. I had the materials for that, but having been on and off of the steelhead fishing, my fly box was empty. I tied up four that night. The fly worked out very well, so well that LD couldn't stand watching me catch fish after fish and finally tied one on. What can I say, “Resistance is Futile”, when every time you glance at your fishing buddy...his fly rod is bent over while he's sporting a big grin. LD proceeded to fine-tune the nymphing skills and caught some good trout with a couple of doubles landed between the both of us. At some point LD is a generous person and donates the last Missy D to a big bruiser. And it was at that point it needed to be named in honor of the big one that got away, 5x tippet , great company, fine beer, my good friend LD and to fresh steamy cow pies!

    Last edited by TheFlyMaster; 06-28-2011 at 10:27 AM.
    Capt. Ouitdee Carson
    Arrowhead Fly Angler
    "If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there'd be a shortage of fishing poles."

  6. Default Re: Trout fishing around Decorah

    Flymaster, your post is more than an update--it is a journal of the finest kind. The photos are beautiful and you description of your trip would make a great magazine article.

    I still haven't gotten there yet, but it is on my agenda. The next time my wife is back in Decorah I plan on being there also. I finally got her interested in fly fishing, plus some lessons on the Hootch the first week of August. We were about 3 miles North of Helen, GA. The 1/4 mile, 45 degree trek down to the river was bad enough but coming back up in waders made me wish we had some oxygen bottles with us. The river was about 6" to 2' deep, the only trout I saw was about 4-5" and the water was too warm to catch anything. I promised my wife it would be better in Decorah. LOL Thanks again for the post and hope to fish up there before winter sets in. I will email you when I hope to go.

    P.S. Both my wife and i were born and raised in South Georgia and North Florida where there is nothing but warm water fly fishing. We plan on retiring WAY above the gnat line.

  7. Smile Re: Trout fishing around Decorah

    I grew up fishing the streams of NE Iowa back in the 50s and 60s, fishing worms with my dad. After living in New Mexico for many years I moved out east and have gotten reacquainted with the Iowa streams this century. What an amazing progression from put & take stocked streams to many with self-sustaining populations of wild trout. The streams are nothing like those I fished as a kid. Yes, you do have to compete with the cattle here and there (be watchful for warnings about bulls) but the fishing is definitely worth it. Earlier this year I traveled to Iowa to visit my mother and took a side trip to Decorah and fished Waterloo Creek. I just picked a spot and fished a 1/4 mile stretch all afternoon - what an amazing day of fishing to wild browns, some as large as 16" (and I am sure there are larger ones). It is no secret since it was published in a major fly fishing magazine, as was French Creek (Eastern Fly Fishing). I would not even think of hiring a guide because you can fish almost anywhere on these streams successfully. If you were really pressed for time and there was someone locally who could take you right to a hot spot, it might be worth it. However, I have hired guides all over the world and know that in many places you really must have a guide, but not in Iowa. Try to find the Iowa DNR trout fishing guide which will give you excellent detail into just how to find all the streams. Then get adventurous and have a blast. There are only a few C&R streams at this point but what outstanding fisheries they are. Most of the fishing is done by locals so there is almost no significant competition. If I had my choice I would not go on a weekend, but there is plenty of territory for those interested in this lovely area.

  8. Default Re: Trout fishing around Decorah

    I went to a local pond this morning and caught a 1 lb. largemouth and a couple of redbreast about the size of a hand. I just finished watching "A River Runs Through It" for the 50th time I believe and decided to check my email before heading off to bed. Reading your post was such a pleasant way to end my day.
    Being raised in the South I am use to competing with cows and an occasional bull for wading rights. Mostly I fish from a canoe.
    I agree with you about Eastern fly fishing. Competing for wading rights is almost like competing with cattle, especially on the weekends.
    I am planning on go to Decorah the next time my wife goes up. I can teach 3 of my classes online, give the other 2 classes outside assignments and take a week of sick leave. That will put me up there during the week. I have printed out some area maps so I thought I would ride and do some door knocking to get permission from the land owners to fish. Definitely find a bait shop for local information.
    Thanks again for you reply. Great information and good reading.

  9. Default Re: Trout fishing around Decorah

    Dixiejack I saw you mentioned something about a bait shop, don't know if this helps you, but it might for someone else making a trip in the area. On my trip I made it to Waukon, IA about 5am to get coffee for breakfast and hopefully get my license here instead of driving to Decorah. Gas station clerk said the sporting goods store on the north side of town will. It was called Sportsmen's Unlimited - Home. I drove there and it opened up at 6am...yeah right on a Friday morning. Took a little nap. I hear a tap, tap, tap on my window. Well what do know, exactly 6am, doors wide open and ready for business. The kid was friendly and knew about trout fishing the area. Didn't look around too much to see their selection, but they did seem heavy on the hunting side of things.

    Was out the door in no time and on my way to the stream.

    Good luck.
    Capt. Ouitdee Carson
    Arrowhead Fly Angler
    "If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there'd be a shortage of fishing poles."

  10. Default Re: Trout fishing around Decorah

    I realize this post is old, but I went on a guided trip with Ethan from NEI Fly Fishing out of Decorah Northeast Iowa Fly Fishing and it was a blast. He was very patient with my limited skills. I would highly recommend him to anyone.

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