State of the water: June 21st

This week I had a chance to get out do a little fishing in between teaching a “Learn to Fly Fish” course in Osage. It was a fun opportunity to expose some beginners to the joys of fly fishing. More on that later. Tuesday we traveled to Spring Creek to do a little scouting for my class outing on Wednesday evening and then fished North Bear Creek on Thursday.

Spring Creek, a small coldwater stream 5 miles SE of Osage, is our go-to stream when we need want to get away to fish quickly. It’s one of a few streams furthest West on the Iowa trout map. Thanks to local conservation efforts, Spring has seen a couple of years of improved fishing and has been known to host all three species of Iowa trout (rainbow, brook, brown). Spring is where I have taken classes to release our trout from our Trout in the Classroom project, and trout fishing mini course day for many years. One activity students participate in has been stream seining with a DNR biologist. The invertebrates that the students found this year included mayfly nymphs, beetles, caddis, dragon and damselfly nymphs which are all indicators of fair to good water quality. While helping out my new anglers on Wednesday night, I was excited to find a stonefly shuck on a rock in stream, which are indicators of “excellent” water quality and fairly rare to find in Iowa.  Spring still has a way to go, but it’s encouraging to watch this watershed improve before your own eyes. The stream is still running a little murky from the rains a couple of weeks ago that blew it well out of its banks, but fish are keying in on attractor nymph patterns in the deeper runs.

North Bear creek, one of Iowa’s premier trout streams, is where I headed yesterday for a day of fishing rehab. North and South Bear (it’s neighbor stream) can be as tricky to fish as anywhere, but a trip to these two beautiful streams is always worth the drive. Water was running slightly off-color, but yielded some great surface action in the morning and as as afternoon came around, streamers and nymphs in some deeper runs and pools. Had some nice takes on beetles and even some crickets in the more wooded sections of the stream. Terrestrial fishing is one of my favorite times of the year and will last through the fall.

I can’t say enough good things about the folks who took our “Learn to Fly Fish” course. They were some great people to get know from different walks of life who really enjoyed learning, which for a teacher is a blessing. I am looking forward to seeing them on the streams. The next course we’ll host will be in November, the 12-14, again in Osage. Please contact Cathy Simon at 641-494-7307 or simoncat@niacc.edu. We’re interested in teaching an advanced class (maybe fly tying, etc), so please let her/us know the wishes of the public.

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