Fall is a difficult time for me to get to every trout stream I’d like to visit, so I often turn to the river to scratch the fly fishing “itch.” I am rarely disappointed. As days shorten and temps cool, fall fishing heats up. The reasons for my love of fly fishing the river are many:
I love to get out and just cast. I personally find casting therapeutic. After a long day, there is nothing like the simplicity of casting a fly rod. Fish or not, it’s a great feeling to throw that line out there.
You don’t have to be “delicate.” Warmwater fishing means bigger flies like clousers, zonkers, articulated streamers, buggers, etc. I really enjoy just cranking a big fly out on the water and the feeling of a big eat (feels like you have snagged a log….and sometimes you do).
It’s fun casting my 8wt. I take a variety of rods to the river, but I enjoy casting a big rod that helps turn over big flies. It gets the job done and I love the power that it has. As my mind starts turning toward steelheading, I’ll be taking my switch rod down too.
It’s productive! Fall means walleye and smallies. Dusk and early morning seem to be the best times for fishing- and when they do, they tend to eat ferociously.
Sure, casting a fly rod in a town of 7500 in NE Iowa tends to get some questions- or at least an occasional audience from the bridge. Maybe someday I’ll go down to the river and have to fight for a spot with another fly fisherman!
A few weeks ago, we had a chance to take a trip with some friends to a couple of wonderful streams in NE Iowa. One member of the party was a new fly fisherwoman who was ready to jump into it. We were all excited and It was a beautiful day for a trip as we left town, bound for the streams. Along the way we passed corn fields that were starting to show harvest colors, quiet farmyards, and hog lots. Before arriving at the stream, we traveled through small towns where the locals were having their coffee outside. I got to thinking- when a visitor arrives, sometimes they get exactly what they think they are going to see- quintessential (perhaps stereotypical) Iowa. And yet, I think one of the things that’s wonderful about fishing the driftless region: it’s not what you’d typically expect for a fly fishing destination with opportunities to catch incredible fish.
My thoughts go back to a guide trip this summer with Bill and Brendan. Bill remarked several times as to how “quiet, beautiful, and peaceful” fishing was in Iowa. Perhaps lost in the pursuit of fish or maybe just ignorance, I realized that I sometimes take it for granted. Iowa can be a place to fish, get lost, and just relax. No pressures, just a great walk through the woods or the grasses, casting a rod.
We had a great day on the stream. We fished, laughed, and had a great time. On the way back, we walked through a small herd of cattle who were grazing near the bank. A memorable day fishing in the driftless.