Two weeks ago I went to northeast Iowa to visit the Driftless Area. The driftless is a geologically defined area encompassing northeast Iowa, southeast Minnesota, northwest Illinois, and southwest Wisconsin. It is unique geographically because it has escaped the the glaciers which shaped so much of the midwest, therefore the soil does not contain glacial drift, hence the name "Driftless" The area is characterized by cold spring creeks, deeply carved valleys, and karst topography. However, I didn't go to the Driftless to observe this unique landscape, I went to catch trout. Native to this region are Brook Trout which still maintain themselves naturally throughout the region, in addition Brown Trout and Rainbow Trout have been introduced with Rainbow's being mostly stocked and the Brown Trout having established a wild population.
This was only my second time fishing moving water for trout and needless to say the Driftless provided quite a challenging opportunity. Small streams, exposed rock faces, and thick foliage made for technical fishing and was a great test of my fly fishing skills. Overall I faired alright and caught five trout, four Rainbow's and one Brown. Regardless, the views were breathtaking and any time you face new water for the first time one will face a steep learning curve. I think my father and I both had an excellent time and cannot wait to try out these streams again.
We stayed the night at the Old Hospital Lodge in Highlandville, Iowa. Very comfortable and reasonably priced.
Barn by our lodging.
View of South Bear Stream in Highlandville.
Some of the local neighbors.
Began the morning fishing North Bear, saw many people catching Brook Trout on worms and bobbers but weren't able to catch anything on a fly rod.
Next we went to the Waterloo River, just south of the Minnesota border.
First trout of the day, a Rainbow on an Orange Wooly Bugger.
Dad casting to some Rainbow's downstream.
Second Rainbow, again on a Orange Wooly Bugger.
Waterloo River: Iowa boast over twenty six streams and rivers which are inhabited by Trout.
The State of Iowa has worked out deals with several private property owners which allow anglers to come onto their property in order to fish streams which flow through their property.
Ladders are provided to allow anglers to access streams on private property.
Dad throwing line on the Waterloo River.
Brown Trout, he slipped away before I could get a better picture. Black Stone Fly.
Incredibly stunning landscape.
Last trout of the trip, Zebra Midge.