After the 1st 24hrs of the two day adventure it was clear… my gal can fish. If she keeps it up… we’ll I don’t even want to get into the thought that she’ll be out-fishing me soon. Plans were loosely laid out towards the end of the week, we both took Monday off and planned to get a few things done around the house before hitting the road for Iowa. We convinced Liz’s brother to watch our dogs, gear was packed and maps were looked over then looked over again. We drove around until a spot to camp was found, this ate up a bit more time than I would have liked but ultimately things worked out in our favor, got a spot less than twenty feet from a top notch Iowa stream all to ourselves. We quickly set up camp, prepared the fire pit for later that evening then split for trout water.
Earlier in the week Liz and I made a trip to the Driftless Angler, we had arranged a time with Mat to get into the shop for some much needed gear. Liz needed the basics, rod/reel/line and a pair of waders/boots. Mat had exactly what we needed and set us up in fine style. Liz tried out an 8’0″ Echo 4wt and we paired it with a Lamson Konic reel lined with some secret super line that I’ll get to another day. Mat also happened to have a pair of women’s chestwaders in the right size (finding the right size for Liz can be difficult). Boots worked and with that we had what the weekend
demanded. Thanks to Mat for accommodating us, if you need Driftless gear…get a hold of Mat and goto the Driftless Angler.
So, the fire was prepped, tent pitched, and a cold beer was about to be history when we geared up for an evening on the creek. We had roughly an hour and a half of daylight, I hiked us to a spot I know of and rigged Liz’s rod with a #14 Pink Patrick with a single splitshot and an indicator. We only had a couple hours before the sun set, I watched Liz roll cast to trout holding in a deep hole. These fish are pressured, they have seen anglers before and they know what a fly is. After about an hour of roll casting, mending and watching the drift Liz had missed two solid strikes, line management (lack there of) will burn the learning angler many times. We hung out casting to trout until it got so dark we couldn’t see the indicator anymore. We hiked back to the campsite, lit the fire up and cooked a quick dinner. An hour or so later Carl showed up wanting to hike through the woods to try a bit of night mousing. We hiked over two miles downstream and fished back up, a couple hours of fishing and we had nothing to show for it. Liz was a good sport
and hung out with Carl and I while we got a couple strikes but never did end up landing a trout. Mousing has been spotty since fall has set in, I’m curious if it is a product of the change in season or the water we are fishing, something is not the same as it was a month ago.
Back at camp we finished the night with a good beer and a big fire. The next morning we shook off the frost and crawled out of the tent to find a beautiful blue sky with a bright sun staring back at us. The plan for the day, take off, search a new creek and maybe meet up with Sershen. Once cellphone reception was restored (I turned the phone on for the briefest of moments) we set a time/place to meet up with one of my friends, Carl who just couldn’t leave good fishing and who slept in the car came along for the search. The four of us met on a new creek, we picked a direction and split
up. Liz and I moved upstream from our initial location and worked on roll casting a single nymph rig with an indicator. After working on her mending a bit more she was getting strikes regularly, it took a bit but she landed her first trout of the weekend shortly after our arrival. A puny rainbow with a tail deformity spared the fish a serious photo and instead we went right back to casting.
Liz continued to fish a #14 Pink Patrick while I tied on a slightly larger #12 Black Hairball and moved upstream from her, not too far as I was her source of tippet, nippers and other important supplies but enough that my presence wasn’t going to get in her way. The look of determination was plastered all over this girls face and I didn’t want to sound like a nagging fool so I tried to give her some space throughout the afternoon. She stuck at that first spot for quite a while before wanting to move on, maybe longer than I would have but I was enjoying seeing her take part
in something I love.
We moved upstream to find cattle muddying the creek but that didn’t seem to bother the trout any. Liz continued roll casting her rig and continued to haul in trout. A couple hours after our arrival and I was fishing upstream on my own and every so often I would see her set a hook, watch the rod bend hard and land trout after trout. We sat in the sun for a while and enjoyed the beautiful weather, the wind which greeted us on arrival remained through the day but didn’t hamper progress much until near the end of the day. After several hours being separated from the rest in our group we hiked back downstream until we came across our friends. Sershen took off in search of other water while Carl, Liz and I continued back upstream to fish out the rest of the daylight. Liz was picking spots, making casts and landing fish.
Carl fished a tiny dryfly for the majority of the day and continued through the evening while I tossed a Hairball landing a trout here and there. I fished some but I spent alot of my day content enjoying the creek and watching my girl get into browns and rainbows.
Again, this girl can fish. The sun came and went with the clouds, it would make random appearances throughout the afternoon before eventually hiding behind a wall of thunderheads that would later signal the end of the day. A couple light rain showers were enjoyed before the thunder came and with it the strong lighenting that forced us to put our rods down, pack our gear and head for camp. Day 1 was a good day, all goals were accomplished with style and more importantly Liz wanted more…
Note: Brown and Brook trout are spawning on the creeks in the Driftless Area. I was very careful to take steps to avoid all potential redds and to point out those I was sure held trout eggs. Liz and I crossed the creek only when we needed to and we crossed in deeper muddier spots avoiding riffles when possible. We never cast to any spawning trout and we try to make our impact on the fish during this time of the year as minimal as possible.