Fly Fishing Adventures

Mixing Business with Pleasure, Waterloo Creek, IA Fly Fishing

Mixing Business with Pleasure, Waterloo Creek, IA Fly Fishing


I frequently get odd looks from fly fishermen I meet all over the country when I tell them I’m from Iowa and I’m into fly fishing.  “Are there trout in Iowa?”  Oh my, there is actually incredible trout fishing in Iowa.  I might get shot by some of my friends here in the state that want to keep it a secret.  I had the opportunity to join Kevin Hansen, owner of Rod & Rivet, the only fly shop in central Iowa and some of his friends for a little trip he puts together near Decorah, IA.  I arranged to have some meetings with clients somewhat near the area so I could make the most of my trip and mix business with pleasure, as I often do.  



Kevin is an incredibly passionate individual, and is one hell of a nice guy.  He’s equally passionate about great dress clothes as well as fishing.  He hosts a trip to NE Iowa a couple of times a year to get like minded people together to fish and host a trunk show to help guys pick out some really great clothes.  I managed to pick out a new custom suit, with the help of a new friend Brian.  I’m stoked.  I highly suggest you look up Kevin sometime and connect, I’m happy to facilitate an introduction if you are interested.  On to the fishing.



Gear List:

Fly Rod:  El Cinco Combo, El Tres Rod

Pack: El Bolso

Flies:  Red Midge, Black Zebra Midge, Sculpin, Pheasant Tail

Tippet: 6X

Net: Super Light Carbon to be released and named at a later date...(June 2019!)



Kevin had us set up at some cabins called Bear Creek Cabins.  They were awesome!  I’ll be back for sure.  About a mile down the road was the confluence of the North Bear, South Bear, and Middle Bear.  We fished there Sunday afternoon for about an hour.  I netted around a dozen browns and a couple of rainbows.  I chose to fish a dry and dropper on my first attempt on the new water, why not.  I had a Griffiths Nat of some sort as my dry and a black bead head zebra below.  The black zebra midge was the fly of choice outfishing the top fly 10 to 1.  I still loved seeing the little browns hit the dry.  A couple of them were successful, but most missed.  The convenience of this great water was amazing.  I parked in the parking lot near the confluence, and fished a hole basically under the bridge for 90% of the time, which was about 50 yards from the parking lot.  Crazy amazing!  At around 7 we headed into Decorah, IA for some amazing pizza and a stop at Toppling Goliath Brewery.  



The next morning, we had a great breakfast,  It consisted of eggs and tortillas and it was perfect.  He told us all a story of his grandmother that used to make this breakfast for him as a kid, which brought a smile to our faces and made the eggs taste even better!  This day, we would fish Waterloo Creek.  The water was very open, not a lot of trees around, but had some great pools.  The river basically runs through open pastures.  I had a slow morning, but it turned significantly when the sun came out.  I talked to Michael Chilton, an old friend that worked with Kevin years ago when I first met him.  Michael is an incredibly fishy guy.  He knows his stuff, and can back it up.  I’m not sure if I’ve met a guy that knows NE Iowa fishing better than him.  Check him out and follow his Facebook Page @chiltonoutdoors. Michael heard that I had a slow morning, and pointed out one pool for me to focus on.  He also mentioned that he had had some luck on something red.  A tiny red midge is one of my go to flies when things are not happening.  I quickly changed my rig to have my lower fly a red midge.  Funny enough, the only red midges I had in the box were flies I tied myself years ago.  SUPER FUN!



I fished 3 holes, and pulled about a dozen fish out of each of them.  The fishing was crazy good.  Nothing super big, but some absolutely gorgeous browns.  I’d guess the biggest brown I landed was maybe 16 inches.  There are some solid fish in this water, Kevin and Michael have netted browns in excess of 20 inches on multiple occasions.  

After an epic few hours, I chose to head down river to check on the other guys fishing.  The first gentleman I found was an incredibly nice young entrepreneur named Ryan.  Ryan hadn’t caught anything yet, so I said, let’s go my friend.  We tied him up a new system with what was working for me and we headed to find a solid hole.  We got Ryan on fish right away, and he had a blast.  I loved seeing the giant smile on his face when a chunky brown launched out of the water 4-5 feet into the air.  Hearing him say, “THIS IS SO AWESOME” made my day.  



After an amazing afternoon, it was time to head back to the cabin for a trout dinner and a bit of suit shopping.  The cold water streams around Decorah, IA are absolutely worth exploring if you are anywhere near the midwest.  We have a video up on our YouTube channel with some action from the trip, check it out.  Until next time!



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