Fly Fishing Adventures

January Driftless on the Fly - North Bear Creek

January Driftless on the Fly - North Bear Creek

After a long dry spell away from the water, a window of opportunity finally opened in my schedule.  Many people have heard of The Driftless Region in SE Minnesota, SW Wisconsin, &  NE Iowa.  It’s probably one of the most under rated trout fishing locations in the country.  Smaller, cold water fed streams and fantastic partners at the Department of Natural Resources keep this region going year round, especially in Iowa.  My window of opportunity came after presentations over lunch in Rochester, MN.  I had a number of scheduled phone calls on my drive south to Highlandville, IA where I had about an hour or so to try my luck in North Bear Creek.  Here’s how our quick trip ended up.



I love arriving at my chosen fishing grounds to see no cars or trucks in the parking lot. In fact, there was about a foot of snow in the parking lot, no match for my red Jeep Wrangler.  I will admit, changing out of a suit and tie in a parking lot with 1 foot of snow on the ground was a bit challenging, especially when it’s 20 degrees.  Glad there was no one there to witness that!  Today we were fishing our new Econ 101 Series Outfit, 906-3/4.  This kit is one of the best values on the market when it comes to a quality rod & reel outfit, that doesn’t break the budget.



We got into trout right away, a short walk up stream where we parked.  Today, we tied on a two fly system with an indicator to nymph our way through the cold water.  We used a 4X fluorocarbon leader, only because I didn’t have a 5X leader, cut a couple of feet off, and tied on some 6X tippet with a double surgeons knot.  When I make this rig, I put my split shot above this knot so I don’t need to worry about it slipping down to my fly.  A little tip that saves me tons of aggravation.  About eighteen inches below the split shot, I tie on a size 18 bead head pheasant tail.  Then tie a 18 inch section of 6X tippet to the bend of the hook on the lead fly.  Here, we tie on our size 18 black bead head zebra midge.  This is my go to fly, and it produces fish for me pretty much wherever I can find trout.  



The black zebra midge was the fly nine out of ten trout, I ended up netting fifteen in an hour and a half.  I was thrilled that I was able to use the same fly the entire session, sometimes these flies get destroyed when being devoured by hungry trout.  We offer a sweet package of zebra midges on our website, check them out, super economical.  




 We fished four or five different holes in an hour and a half, pretty sure all of them produced fish.  When it’s below freezing, it’s common for ice to form on the guides of your fly rod.  It becomes difficult to cast because the fly line won’t move through the guides.  There are many theories of how to remedy this, such as spraying WD40 on your rod, lubing it up with something, or dipping it in the water. I only recommend being patient and breaking the ice off with your fingers when it builds up.  



North Bear Creek is a gorgeous little stretch of water, where we fished is very close to where the North Bear and the South Bear come together.  There are a number of super cool log cabins you can rent and stay right near the water.  I would highly recommend checking these out.  Here is one site, I’ve stayed here before and the cabin was amazing. 



It started getting dark around 5:30, making me miss summer.  In the summer, I can have meetings all day and still get 3-4 hours of fishing in after work.  Back to Decorah for the night, and out to Waterloo Creek to fish the morning before scheduled calls on my drive home in the afternoon.  


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January Driftless Fishing on the Fly - Waterloo Creek

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