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Iowa Driftless (Part 1)

October 18, 2017

October 16, 2017

The trout fishing season closed a couple weeks ago in Minnesota.  Closed October 15, 2017, in Wisconsin. Where to fish for trout, being that I have a couple days off?

Years ago I was in Decorah, IA, for a wedding andtried one of the streams there, so I did a little research on fly fishing in the Iowa Driftless.  Turns out the Iowa trout season is continuous. Better yet, the Iowa DNR has a stellar website identifying where to fish for trout.   Two hours and forty-five minutes from home, a continuous trout season and an abundance of streams to fish?  Count me in. I booked a hotel room and bought my license on line and headed for Decorah, IA, late Monday morning, via the Amish Trail near Harmony, MN.


Pine Spring Creek

First stop on the Iowa swing: Pine Spring Creek.  I wouldn’t say that I have a green thumb, but I do enjoy gardening and have bought seeds from Seed Savers Exchange .  Seed Savers is dedicated to saving, growing and sharing heirloom seeds and plants, has a herd of Ancient White Park Cattle and; a restored trout steam in Pine Spring Creek.  Pine Spring Creek is catch and release only for brook trout as it boasts a naturally reproducing strain of South Pine strain Brook Trout.  Bought some seeds, walked around a bit and headed for the creek.

Pine is tight and challenging to fish.  I was unsuccessful in my efforts, but did see several schools of a dozen or so large brook trout cruising two of the deeper pools.  A more patient and delicate angler may be rewarded for their efforts.

What a great setting.  Hat’s off to Seed Savers Exchange for their passion and dedication.

Some of the sights:


Downstream from the walking bridge. Don’t get discouraged. It gets bigger and is open for fishing.

Twin Springs

Located on the western side of Decorah, IA, Twin Springs is a tiny, spring fed stream, with a enough depth and cool water to support a population of brown trout.  Right away I spooked several fish in the shallow, clear water.  Caught a little one on a Pheasant Tail nymph and two on a BWO.  Missed three other fish.  Worth a shot for novelty’s sake.  Difficult to work a fly rod in confines as tight as these.



Twin Springs source

Trout Run

With only about half an hour of remaining daylight, I made a few casts at Trout Run.  Larger and more akin to what one would find on the Kinni or Rush, I was rewarded when a spunky brown trout crashed my BWO right off the bat.  Bummer that a small section of my fly line snagged on an over hanging tree, which allowed said trout to splash and thrash itself free before I could net it.

Trout Run is  bigger water, with deep holes, and some wood that offers the promise of larger fish.  It is where I will start day two.

Pulpit Rock Brewing

I had a hockey coach that used to say nothing good happens after midnight.  Well, in Decorah, nothing good happens after nine p.m.  Seemed like most of the downtown shuts down at 9.  I suppose it was a Monday.  Fortunately, Pulpit Rock Brewing was open and I headed there for a refreshing brew, in this case a pint of Festwork, Pulpit’s take on Munich based lager.




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