White River: Conclave

Wednesday, October 19, 2011 , , 3 Comments

Went to Arkansas a few days after fishing the Driftless, to chase more trout. Had a great time in March and couldn't wait to get back. I again went down with the Free State Fly Fishing Club for the Southern Council Fly Fishing Federation's Conclave. Overall it was a great trip but the fishing was mediocre due to the damn at Bull Shoals running lots of water. During my last trip they were running no generations for the majority of the time which allowed us to wade anywhere in the river and really target specific structural points. This trip the lowest they dropped the water was to 2 generations with as high as 6. This meant the water was several feet higher and with a very swift current which made wading from most points all but impossible. In preparation for this higher water I brought down my Kayak, but had difficulty going upstream anytime the water was flowing over 3 generations. In addition I went with a fellow club member, Rick, in his drift boat and floated from Wild Cat to Cotter on the White. This allowed us to fish lots of water over several hours and by far was the fishing highlight of the trip. Overall I caught only nine trout, all smallish rainbows, but the camaraderie and time spent conversing with club member still made this trip more the than worth it. 

Water was several feet higher than earlier this year, making wadding possible only on the very edges of the river.

My home for four nights. Great view of the river!

When the water was running above 3 generations I could only keep the Kayak on the edges. 

First trout, and only trout of the first day. Rainbow on an Orange Wooly Bugger. 

Early morning allowed club members to wade before higher water levels were released. 

Getting ready to depart for the drift boat float. Wild Cat Access on White River. 

Zim with a nice Rainbow from the Drift Boat, Black Wooly Bugger. 

Rick and Zim in the Drift Boat. Rick did a wonderful job getting us in position to cast into excellent structure. 

Rainbow from Driftboat, Black Wooly Bugger. 

View from the Porch at Copper Johns

Eerie Morning view on the river. 

Big Mike Wading outside Copper Johns

The last day afforded only 2 generations which provided the best full day of wading. Black Wooly Buggers were hot, which meant with my 4 weight I had to open up my loops considerable to cast. 



Monday, October 17, 2011 , , , 0 Comments

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. 

Geared up and ready!

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. 

Gin-clear Waterloo. 

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. 


Carpin' and Cattin'

Monday, October 10, 2011 , , , 2 Comments

Ended the last few warm days of summer this year targeting carp and catfish on my fly rod. I had previously tried to catch both species on a fly rod but had proved unsuccessful. At Ron's suggestion I went to the feeder stations at Clinton Lake and cast Wooly Buggers and Carp Candies. I ended up catching several channel catfish and carp. The Catfish were all between 2-3 lbs and the Carp were between 2 and 6 1/2 lbs. Some days you could only trigger them when the feeder went off, other days we were able to catch them using a VERY slow retrieve on the periphery. While I know to Carp purists I still have a long way before sight casting with a fly, it was a great time and a blast to fight some larger fish. 

My first Carp, ever... 2 lb's Green and Brown Wooly Bugger. 

3 lb Channel Cat, First Ever on a Fly Rod. Green/Brown Wooly Bugger. 

4 lb Carp Bret Wrangled from feeder of Dock 3. Black Carp Candy. 

1 1/2 lb Catfish. Green/Brown Wooly Bugger. 

4 lb Common Carp. Feeder by the Marina at Clinton Lake. Green Carp Candy. 

The "magical" Wooly Bugger responsible for so many of these fish. 

2 lb Channel Cat. Green Carp Candy. 

2 lb Carp. Green/Brown Wooly Bugger. 

3 lb Carp Green Carp Candy. 

Thats right, double trouble! Bret and I both with carp on at the same time in the Kayak. 

4 lb Common Carp by Bret. Carp Tease Fly. 

6 1/2 Common Carp. This monster put up quite a fight and was the last one of the season. Good way to end the season. Green/Brown Wooly Bugger.