A few years back, I put together some links that are helpful when planning your trip. Below is an abbreviated version of that article. The links might be worth bookmarking as you start to look at your trip.
If you live in the midwest, you know how fickle the weather can be. A forecasted day in the 60s can turn cold and gray, the winds can be bitter, and conversely, sunshine makes all the difference for humans and for a hatch on the stream. In the summer, sunshine, shade, and heat index makes all the difference.
There are a few places that can help you out online before you spend the gas money to head out on your trip. First is the NOAA forecast page. Forecasting is tough, but NOAA rarely leads me astray. Once you have what the weather will hold for the next day, see what the weather has been like using the precipitation map. This gives you an idea how much rain has fallen in the last 24 hours plus and is zoomable to any specific location. Lastly, I check the river levels on the water chart to see what they are and where they are forecasted to land. Since all streams feed in or out of these major area rivers, you can get a sense of what the levels will be like.
- The more you fish, the better sense you’ll have for how long it takes your favorite stream to bounce back from a heavy rain event. Some take more than others.
- Be prepared with a rain jacket of some sort.
- In Northeast Iowa, it makes a big difference from one valley to another. If your favorite stream is off color, grab the map and move on to another. Could be a whole different story. If not, go to a pond or lake and fish warmwater. You already have your gear- make the best of it!
- If you know it will be a windy day, leave the light duty 3 wt at home and bring the stiffer 5wt. It will make casting easier and a more pleasant day for you in general.
Obviously there are other variables to a good day of fishing besides the weather, but these help me get the most from my time on a trip. Rain can be a bummer, but ultimately, the moisture we get is going to provide us with a great summer of fishing in the months ahead.
Check out our page at http://www.driftlessonthefly.com for information on guided trips and lessons as well as pictures from our most recent trips.