As school starts and families settle back into their routine, we say “goodbye” to another summer of fishing. The summer of 2013 was a great one for fly fishermen in Iowa, our streams, and Driftless on the Fly.
We saw a nice rebound this summer from the drought that plagued us in 2012. Remember back to weeks of 90- degree-plus temperatures, little rain, and tall, invasive weeds? Possibly the only good thing to come from that was the month-long hiatus from mowing the lawn, but even that got old after a while. We started this summer with some torrential rains in June, raising water levels in streams and rivers to flood stage, flood towns that seemingly shouldn’t (Waukon), and delay (or ultimately prevent) farmers from planting. It was a rough start, but those rains helped to literally flush away a year’s worth of sediment and sprout new life in our streams and begin a renewal of sorts. It’s been fun to watch the streams come back to life over the past 3 months; new vegetation, aquatic life, new hides and structures, and thus new challenges to the small stream fly fisherman.
The high, sometimes off-color water meant different tactics and opportunity to throw some new flies. A few days after a rain, the higher, stained water allowed for some great action on streamers- from buggers to articulated patterns. Pulling a big fly across a run- evoking a big yellow or silver flash-can be a heart-stopping rush. It makes you realize how big trout can get in a small stream. Through the summer, caddis and assorted nymphs were the name of the game as fish looked for a quick and simple meal. On a recent trip, fish were keying in on hoppers, one of my favorite times to fish all year. No worries- this is just the start. Many of the hoppers we found in the field were small, meaning the best is yet to come.
On the warmwater side, smallies on the river have been eating aggressively from May on. See some of Jared’s pictures from early summer. The top-water action has been great, and a few trips to local ponds has provided some equally great hard-fighting bluegill and bass.
Our Driftless on the Fly crew got to reunite this summer in West Yellowstone, MT for 4 days of fishing the local water. See our past post “A trip West” for the story. Lots of memories made and fun to be back to together. Back in Iowa, we had the opportunity to introduce some wonderful people to fly fishing in the driftless through classes and guide trips. We appreciate the support of our followers on social media and the blog, as well as the great contacts we are making in the state- especially Clear Creek fishing gear, High Horse Fly, Rod and Rivet, Red Cedar Lodge and Pine Creek Cabins. Check them out- they are all wonderful people who are committed to promoting outdoor recreation in Iowa.
As we turn to fall, we’re extremely excited about the future. Fall means cooler weather, hopper fishing, walleye runs, and our annual steelhead trip. The best is yet to come! We have a passion for fly fishing and are anxious to share it with you.