Fly Fishing Adventures

Welcome 2021 - Ringing in the New Year Iowa Driftless Fly Fishing

Welcome 2021 - Ringing in the New Year Iowa Driftless Fly Fishing
Brown Trout, Waterloo Creek

Brown Trout, Waterloo Creek

 

Maybe it’s just me, but there’s only one way to welcome in the new year, and it’s by getting out of the house and getting some much needed river therapy.  This year I added a slightly more special challenge to my first outing of the year by only filling my fly box with flies I tied myself.  I’ve been around the fly tying bench for years, but until late fall, I’ve purchased the majority of my flies.  Not this year!

 

Miracle Midges

Miracle Midges

 

Fly tying for me is incredibly relaxing.   At the end of a long day, heading down into my little cave in the basement, and crafting a bit of artwork allows me to completely zone out.  Also, when you connect with a trout that eats your little work of art, it’s significantly rewarding.

 

Fully Stocked Fly Box

Fully Stocked Fly Box

 

For my first outing of the year, I chose to target one of my favorite Driftless streams in NE Iowa, Waterloo Creek.  I left my house in West Des Moines, at around 5:30 am, put on a great audio book called “Measure What Matters” by John Doerr (yes I’m a business guy and love this stuff), and arrived at the stream just before 10:00.  

 

El Jefe 4 Weight Combo

El Jefe 4 Weight Combo

 

My gear list for this outing was pretty simple, I chose to fish our El Jefe Combo in 4 weight, which is by far my favorite set up to fish The Driftless Region.  For flies, I started out with a two fly nymph rig, with a Red Perdigion up top as my attractor, and a miracle midge down below.  I used a 5X leader, which is where I tied the perdigion, but used 6X tied to the hook to connect my miracle midge.  I generally like to use 6X this time of year for sure, as I feel I get more hookups.  

 

Two fly system, ready for Action

Two fly system, ready for Action

 

Walking through around 6 inches of snow to the water is always fun, the anticipation was killing me.  I’ll let you all in on a little secret that I wouldn’t ordinarily tell people, because I’m an accomplished angler right?  So...on my first cast of the new year, I ended up completely tangling up my entire two fly set up.  I’m sure you have all seen the impossible tangle that would never be able to be untangled, right?  The last thing I was going to do on this beautiful morning was put on my cheaters to work on a tangle of this magnitude, so I did the only honorable thing and cut my leader and started fresh.  I’ll just write this one off as  a 2020 thing, and move onto 2021.  

 

Brown Trout, The Driftless Region

Brown Trout, The Driftless Region

 

Very good, Welcome to 2021, new rig, great cast, great drift, BOOM, fish on.  Something tells me this is going to be a good year.  I worked my way through several holes, picking up several trout along the way.  It was good to see that the water levels were higher than the last time I was here earlier in the fall.  I was also surprised to see the trout hit the larger red perdigon 3 to 1 to the miracle midge.  Red zebra midges are always a go to for me in the Driftless.  They definitely love the color red either way.  

 

Rainbow Trout, The Driftless Region

Rainbow Trout, The Driftless Region

 

 

Brown Trout in Pescador on the Fly Carbon Net

Brown Trout in Pescador on the Fly Carbon Net

 

The fish were not huge, this one above might have been the largest one, which I would estimate at around 14-15 inches, but it really didn’t matter.  I was consistently connecting with trout, on flies I tied myself on barbless hooks.  What a cool feeling. 

 

Midge Hatch

Midge Hatch

 

There was a hatch of midges later in the afternoon, and I took this picture of one of them.  I did change my cream colored miracle midge fly to a black one in size 20, and did start connecting more.  It always pays to be observant out there.

 

Black Zebra Midge, Corner Pocket

Black Zebra Midge, Corner Pocket

 

If you are not into fly tying, think about getting into it.  There are a ton of kits you can pick up without breaking the bank.  You can also start out simple and just begin tying zebra midges, miracle midges, or woolly buggers without a ton of materials.  If you choose to get into fly tying, remember that there are flies that are meant to catch fish, and flies that are meant to catch fishermen.  Stick to the first category, or you will drive yourself nuts trying to tie the perfect fly.  

 

El Jefe Packable Combo & Driftless Rainbow Trout

El Jefe Packable Combo & Driftless Rainbow Trout

 

Until next time my friends, tight lines!!!

 

Peek a Boo Brown Trout

Peek a Boo Brown Trout

 

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