Fishing with friends is a real treat. I have spent most of the last five years on Driftless Area creeks alone. Today I had the pleasure of fishing Iowa with good friend and creek walker James Reidy, Jr.
We started on a paw. Neither of us had our day licenses to fish Iowa and we intended to get them at Dorchester’s Sportmen’s Inn. Much to our chagrin the Sportsmen’s was closed for the holidays. With luck on our side Jack and his holiday guest were having morning coffee and the door was open. We were greeted by Jack and his wife where he sold us our needed licenses. Kudos to him for his great service and wonderful morning smile.
Off we were to find bugs and the warmer creek water that supported them. We had good reports that Pine Creek was putting off bugs, however these reports were from middle November. A creek can change a lot in a month. We stopped by the road access on the lower end of the creek to find it iced over only to settle on accessing on the upper end of the creek.
We were greeted by a Bald Eagle as we strapped on our waders and snow shoes and strung up our Winston rods. James is an expert in the field of birds of prey. We found the creek to be 43 degrees at the bridge access. We walked for nearly 45 minutes downstream passing by beaver dam after beaver dam and not finding any trout. Our walk was fantastic. We found a Red Tailed Hawk nest on a ridge top and watched as a Red Tail flew our of it to come and check us out.
After this amazing experience we jumped a vole out of the snow. She blindly bombed around in one of James’ footsteps only to jump out to burry itself in the snow and to tunnel through the top as if she were Bugs Bunny. It was a neat rare thing. Further through the valley we watched Turkeys on roost on the ridge top, Cedar waxwings in the Cedar trees, and a Banded Kingfisher that was fishing the creek.
We settled on trying harder to find fish when we reached the third bluff. I was sweaty from the hike. My fleece bottoms and Hemp pants were soaked. My snow shoes were five pound a pair due to ice and my hips were sore from my months of being lazy and playing XBOX 360 however my mind was strong and clear.
James fished a mini-leech and I fished a pink lab. We worked our way up the 40 degree stream which had more action from birds than fish. The creek was shallow and riddled with beaver dams. We caught no fish and decided to vote no confidence when we watched three Turkeys glide off the ridge top on the south side of the creek to deep into the lower part of the bluff on the north side of the creek. I have heard people claim that Turkeys cannot fly, well they can glide fair enough.
We put on back to the truck. We watched a family of three Red Tail’s hunt for voles along the north bluff. We left them alone when one of the parents of the family group’s mated pair came over and gave us a squak.
We had an immature Golden Eagle circling our truck upon arrival.
James left some tobacco for the birds that made our trout-less hike so memorable.
We headed north toward the border to hit the old stand-by Rainbows in the 43 degree Waterloo Creek. James picked up a few before we ate our summer sausage and mustard sandwiches after pulling off our waders to drive back home for the day.