July 17, 2011
I've really got things figured out. Famous last words. Literally I've had fish location and preferences down pat and mother nature just comes along and hit's us with a big rain and back to square one we go. As I write this fishing is super on the Mississippi River. Probably be good on Monday the 18th but then could get a little dicey as it is forecast to jump about a foot in a day or two. Walleyes, bass are fun to catch on crankbaits or live bait with a small jig. Panfishing had been great but they moved so I won't file a report. The other species were on current breaks associated with sand or changing bottom substrate. Firetiger (#5) was a big hit on Saturday night. The Upper Iowa river gave up a nice 21" eye to me last week. Interesting on that day that blue was the ticket and all other colors were blah. Blue crankbaits, blue paddle tails. If it was blue it was effective. Likely be different when you read this. Be prepared to try and find the preference for the day, be systematic in your approach. If it is a fishy spot keep changing until you have found an effective pattern. It will be worth your time. Finally, the trout fishing is great. The heat really is tough to handle but the fish don't seem to care. All streams are good streams right now.
July 4, 2011
I'm going to focus this report on the UIR. Fish have been suprising in their location. Many in fast current but behind in stream obstructions. This can make for hard fishing. They also use most in stream topography as places to feed. Humps, piles, reefs, etc. They have not been on current breaks, not on sand. Rock/sand has been ok. Crankbaits and spinners have worked, color did not seem to matter. If and it is a big if the water continues to drop we will see a tremendous crankbait bite in the next week or two. All the fish I've caught over the last week have empty stomachs. Long days and optimal water temperatures should mean great fishing.
June 1, 2011
Fishing the Mississippi River in high water calls for the ability to judge brown. Dark brown to translucent brown can and does make a big difference in your catch rate. Remembering where humps and edges are also helps a lot. Fish were holding on structure that used to be on shore. Firetiger and Perch in #5 or jointed #5/7 were the shad raps of choice. Casting, trolling, and backtrolling all were effective. I know that a jig and crawler would have been very effective in some of these spots. Surface water temperature was 68F. Prime time for walleyes. Find the break lines with change in water color and you will find fish. Good luck
May 7, 2011
I've been doing some experimentation with lures this spring. I like floating Rapala's for all kinds of fishing but I don't like the tendancy for fish to get gill hooked on the trail hook. I've started to clip off the back treble hook and go without it. Lure swims fine and you miss some small fish but you do not miss good fish. They inhale that minnow immitation but only get hooked in the mouth with the front hooks. I've had great success and will continue to tweak this presentation this summer on the UIR. Leave the O-ring so if you want to put another treble on for some reason you can. Good Luck and let the good ones go.
April 17, 2011
Interesting how changing pressure and cloud cover can change how fish behave. I spoken many times on this site about water clarity, sunlight penetration, current seams, etc. Today we found lots of fish and many nice fish. Spinners and jigs were tried. Jigs just were not effective. Spinners worked well but bigger was better than small and speed of retrieve mattered. Basically, put it in their wheel house and the big browns would do the rest. You had to be spot on today. If you were not on the spot you had misses or short strikes. Interesting to see this process of fish catching change through out the day based on weather and sunight. Always something to learn.
March 6, 2011
Finally was able to fish again and wouldn't you know it the water was turbid and high. I had great plans to use jigs but that was quickly disgarded and plan B was put in place. In high and muddy water the lateral line is the key to success. I put on a large Panther Martin and began to thump away. I know from experience that big browns are not stupid and will not fight current waiting for food. I slowly picked apart each hole by looking for current breaks, cut banks, and my favorite, hydrological dead spots. These are spots where the water is moving all around it but seems dead in that location. If your spinner hits it you know it because it feels instantly different. Less resistance and more fall because the bouyant force is still the same but the current is not present to act as a lifting mechanism. All of the big browns today were taking advantage of the three magic spots. The big one I missed was so my fault because I knew the fish was their before my lure got to the spot and was ready but hadn't prepared well enough and last years weeds caused operator error. Pre cast preparation is key to big fish. Bottom line, spend time fishing and learning and you will get better. Master a technique and you will become skillful. Think like a fish and you will be very happy. The fish below is the fish of a lifetime for most trout anglers. 23" of pure muscle.
January 30, 2011
Trout fished both days this past weekend. Speed was an issue both days. On Saturday, fast was good with the current and slow was the ticket against the current. Small was better than big and location really didn't seem to matter. Fish were scattered feeding in all section of the stream. On Sunday it was a different stream and different rules. They wanted it slow and with the current. So I served them a nice change up. I would make the cast. Let the spinner sink for a two count. Give a fast retrieve for about 8 feet and hit the brakes on a deadstick. BLAMO, fish on, almost every cast in some holes. I've had this happen before. A good clue they want the change up is when you see them flash at the lure but don't make contact. The only draw back is deep hook sets at times. To avoid this make sure you ready for a fast hook set, don't be lolly gagging around. I know I caught 30 + fish in 3 hours of fishing this weekend. If I can do it so can you.
January 23, 2011
Ice fished twice in the last week. One day a low pressure with some snow. Second day big high pressure with morning temps -18 below. Low pressure day resulted in good fishing. High pressure day resulted in some nice fish but a very lazy bite. I believe with higher water we have fish in most backwaters without current. You just need to be patient and persistent in your efforts. I have not seen a pattern develop for lure or color preference. Fish a confidence bait and you will be set to go. Weather looks similar for next two weeks. Normal temps and smaller pressure changes would be appreciated.
September 12, 2010
Things are good but finding the right combination and habitat were key. On the habitat side fish had moved a little deeper and needed structure to boot. When I say deeper you just need to find the places with a little less flow and you were on the spot. Presentation was interesting. White is still good on the twister side but water is getting real clear. Crankbaits were natural colors and my fall favorite was on fire. Purpledescent is a rock star for a color. Try small floating raps and hang on. This pattern won't change for 6 weeks but location will be a daily thing based on water temperature and passage of cold fronts.
August 21, 2010
The Upper Iowa River was very good today. Saugers, bass, and occasional walleyes were the predominant fish. Things that mimic minnows are best. Natural colors rule in the crankbait world (shad raps and big O's) and white rules in the twister tale world. I can't tell you that it will get better or worse as time goes on I will tell you that fish get real predictable for the next 8 weeks with seasonable weather. Saugers/walleyes in the pools and bass in the shoots with rock and current. Don't be suprised if on a good day you and a partner don't catch 100 plus fish. It is really fun to think about. Good luck.
July 10, 2010
Boy have I been poor on giving fishing reports. Frankly their has not been much to report due to water conditions. Things are really hopping on the Big River. The trolling bite for walleyes in running sloughs is excellent if you can dodge weeds and change colors to fit the water color. Shad raps worked fine but I think any good crankbait that you have confidence in will catch fish. Look for current breaks or transition zones between sand/mud. In the really clear spots I suggest purpledescent or blue. A close second is perch. As the water gets more stained I get brighter. I know the live bait bite going well. Leaches have been very productive in the clear running sloughs. Bluegills are active, especially if you can find a location that forms a break between clear and stained water with cover to boot. With a slow fall predicted this could be a great bite in the last portion of July. Water temps was 80F and pool at Lansing was 11.03 as I file this report.
May 16, 2010
If you read this site very often you notice that I experiment a lot. Today I let my wife throw a spinner and I threw lots of jigs. She had lots of follows but not many takers. I kept changing jig style until I found a brown jig with a stripe of pheasant hackle with a little gold flashabou. Fish still were somewhat tentative until I started bringing it off of cover fast then dead sticking it. Blamo, fish on! I did get broke off by a big fish when my fluorocarbon leader broke. That was totally my fault for not retying it after a couple of big fish. Lesson learned.
May 1, 2010
Fly fishing and spin fishing side by side. Not a normal grouping but worked very well. For the fly guys my advice is to give the fish what they want. If they are on the surface great if they are suspended put something that looks like an easy meal in front of their face and most of the time they will eat it. Wolly Buggers were very effective today. Natural colors seemed to dominate. I will say that gold crystal flash with a pheasant hackle on a jig is deadly as well. One last simple point of reference. Always pick the fish off at the bottom of the hole before proceeding forward. You spook less fish that way. Good Luck.
April 12-17, 2010
I"ve really been fishing jigs and cominations of jig colors this spring. Hair jigs, jigs with crystal flash, jigs with pheasant feathers or other types of hackle. Each presents a slightly different presentation method but one thing is for sure. If you fish them where fish live you will have a chance to catch more fish. When I say that I mean that fish have specific habitats in a stream. The "Spot" on the spot. Hard to resist an easy meal that comes floating into your face. Most of the time bigger has far out produced smaller. Big and easy meals provide a greater chance to increase calories without expending that much energy. We could have a biology lesson but I don't have the time or space to write that much. Bottom line, head to Oneota Outfitters and look at their selection of 1/32oz or 1/6 oz jigs. It will be worth your trip. Tell them that I sent you.
March 21, 2010
Fished a long stretch of public water. Great habitat and stream conditions. Water was crystal clear and fish were very skittish. Like I have talked about before, when fish seem spooky or just follow the spinner you have to change to meet the fishes attitude. I tied a fluorocarbon leader on and went to an olive maribou jig with some success. Then I followed the exact opposite logic of most fisherman. I switched to a very large 1/16oz jig that is at least 2.5" long. KABOOM, fish just killed it. It was crazy how many fish I caught. Goes to show that sometimes little is good but big easy meals are always a standby. Oneota Outfitters in Decorah has lots of great trout jigs. Stop by and pick one up and give it a try. Browns and Blacks with flashabou in the hackles is a nice touch.
February 14, 2010
Here is the long and short of it for trout fishing this week. Speed and direction were all the rage today. With the current meant lots of misses, against the current with a dead stick approach after a miss was a sure hook-up. Lots of fish out their on public waters. Lots of snow as well. Go slow and keep your shadow out of the water at all cost. Spooky fish with gin like water conditions.
January 17, 2010
I actually fished trout and panfish in the same weekend. Thanks goes out to the wife on that one. Trout fishing was awesome. Fish showed a definite preference for spinners over jigs and dark over bright patterns. Trout holding in typical winter spots with in-stream vegetation reduced. Need to make long cast to ensure you don't spook trout. Cloudy is good but I fished in bright sunshine and just used a little stealth to avoid detection. On the ice fishing side, the big river has some very typical spots. Shore Slough Lansing, Fish Lake, and Indian are all community hot spots. May be time to get away from the crowd if you can but those spots have fish and you will be rewarded if you put in the time. Seems that afternoon is a little better. No particular color or scheme. Good luck to all.
End of November 2009
As you can see I have been a little lax in putting fishing reports on the site. Usually post them on the home page but things are about to change so we need a quick fishing refresher. Long range weather models show a slow but steady decline in temps. Below normal temperatures should abound by December 9th. This will lower water temps to the point of ice-up. On the Upper Iowa river all fish will be in the wintering holes. Be selective if you do fish them as it will be easy to catch and take fish. Walleyes in particular will be easy to catch in these situations. I personally leave the UIR alone this time of year. Trout streams will be awesome. Less competition from other anglers, late day hatches, and a smaller food base for the fish to feed on as the winter moves forward. Be aware of hunting seasons and dress appropriately for the safety of all involved. I would guess that we will have our first ice of the year on the backwaters of the big river by December 12th this season. I can't wait to try some new techniques I have been reading about this year. Remember air temperature is a factor that effects humans not fish. Water will be 32 or 44 Fahrenheit depending on if it's a river or a trout stream. Bundle up, manage the cold and catch fish. Good luck and happy fishing.
September 19-26, 2009
I am a lucky man. Had a great guide trip on Saturday on the UIR. Things to know, white is right color, current is a must, and rocks in deep water hold fish. To break it down for you. Fishing is fantastic if you target fish holding spots at this time. UIR is low with limited flow. You can think like a fish. If I were a fish and wanted and easy meal I would be next to defined current with access to deep water to hide if need be. This way food would come to me vs. me wasting energy chasing it. I know sounds stupid or simple but I've caught a pile of fish lately and all have been in similar spots on different sections of the river. Traditional baits like shad raps work well, dark colors are making a comeback in the jig world and my new found secret weapon will have to wait for more experimentation before I let you in on it but it may be lots of fun for many of you. Go fishing and relish the next cold front as the UIR will be really awesome if that happens.
September 7-13, 2009
Wow, great weather and better fishing. The UIR is awesome. Trout, walleyes, bass. Methods to be successful. 1/8oz jig with white twister tails (have a lot because they destroy them), # 5 shad raps ( I like black and silver but other colors are effective), Mepps Spinners. Trout are in current, walleyes on deeper breaks and smallies are feeding on current breaks and next to structure. On the big river, very good for all species. Live bait on wood for gills, and crappies. Crankbaits or topwater for bass with walleyes being taken on crankbaits (firetiger) in running sloughs are wingdam areas. I'm dissappointed in that I may not be able to fish this next week but hopefully that may change. Good Luck to all
August 9-16, 2009
After a long trip out west I finally made it back to fish local waters. The Mississippi River looks great and provided some fun fishing. Crappies were on sunken snags in about 4 f.o.w. , both tubes with bait and no bait were effective. Current had to be very slight. Color varied but bright was right. Bluegills are on rocks, bass are sluggish or way back in the slop. Nice walleyes could be caught in traditional places. Drift with a jig and crawler. It can only get better. The UIR still looks a little iffy, trout streams are perfect. If we have no additional rains things will be awesome in all locations. Good Luck to all.
Last week of July 2009
The UIR is in perfect fishing shape. Not to clear or muddy. Fish are negatively effected at this time from cool fronts and big low pressures. Stable, summer like days are much better fishing. Crankbaits are effective but I believe we are on to easy topwater bite at any moment. We lose 14 minutes of daylight a week now. That is a big trigger for bass. Look for great fishing on top over the next month or so. Black and Silver became the best color on the water today. It's good to see some things never change. Get later in the summer and shad imitating baits are highly effective. If I had the time and I was in your shoes I would be on the UIR as soon as I could get the time free. Good Luck
July 13-20, 2009
Here comes the tri-fecta. Trout fishing is still awesome, but the weeds can be a problem. Guide trip this week was very successful but would highly recommend people try catching the massive population of rainbow trout that inhabit the UIR. Amazing amount of quality fish. The UIR was horrible Thursday and awesome on Sunday. Go figure, cool water for this time of year. I can catch fish on natural looking crankbaits and jigs. Retrieve speed seemed to be slow today for a good trigger but lots of fish for the efforts. Nice walleyes, bass, and trout. The big river gave up a lot of panfish but know size. Not much flow on the big muddy which is actually so clear it's hard to imagine. Rocks and would with current seem to be keys for all species of fish. Don't hesitate, get out and fish.
July 6-13, 2009
Finally made it to the big river for some swimming with the kids and a little fishing. Lots of dissappointed fisherman from what I could see. We didn't have to work to hard to catch largemouth. Current, sand, and access to shallow and deeper water. The Upper Iowa reports are still on the ok side, small bass, some trout, few walleyes. Trout streams are perfect with aggressive trout to boot. Like I always say, "You can't catch fish sitting at your computer or watching T.V. so go fishing." If I had a free day right now I would be fishing rocks on the big river main channel or if it warms up chasing big gators where cool water lies on the big river. On the UIR I would really look to fish below the mouth of trout streams if we get another warm spell. If we have no rain things could get really low in August/September and that is to our advantage. Good Luck.
Last week of June 2009
I finally had some time to file a report. The UIR still looks like chocalate milk but should clear quickly. No solid reports to say ya or nay on that river. The big river is good for bass but everything else that swims that is table fair or a game fish seemed to be a little lethargic. I suspect they will feed like crazy this week with stable weather. Trout fishing is awesome. I can't stress how nice it is to fish a section of stream on a nice summer evening and catch wild fish that really hammer a jig. Good luck to all.
June 1-8, 2009
I hit the big river three times last week. It was slow to ok at best. Water is low for this time of year and still cool at 65F. Six different species of fish were brought to the boat. The patterns that did develop were as follows. The running sloughs have short walleyes and the keeper fish are where the slough meets the deeper water of a larger channel. Color of crankbaits is interesting. Firetiger is not the bait. More natural colors have been better producers. Jointed baits have been outfished by normal #5 Shad Raps. Spent lots of time tossing a swimbait to no avail. Plan on continuing to work on that option because it looks so darn realistic. Minnesota slough has lots of fish in it and lots of fisherman. If the water can warm up or the wind stop blowing out of the North everday it would change fishes attitude. I cleaned fish on Sunday night and not one of the fish I cleaned had anything in their stomach. Expect the food trigger to be intense when it goes off. In conclusion. Be flexible with color and location. Sand or current breaks seem to be the best producers for walleyes. If water keeps dropping look for wingdams to be fantastic as fish stack on them. A jig and crawler may be a great option for a multi-species approach if you want to work shoreline cover. Good Luck
May 3-10, 2009
Well to say we have good fishing in N.E. Iowa is a little modest. I personally caught or watched be caught 6 brown trout 18"-23" and saw a least 3 more in the same class not make it to the bank. All fish were released. Interesting science in play today. Brown trout are killers pure and simple. Fish so full that they have distended bellies and minnow still in their mouth and they will hit a spinner. Brook trout long and lean who don't appear to have eaten in a week. Do aggresively feeding big browns intimidate brook trout? I don't know but it's fun to due research on this. We did spinner fishing, fly fishing, jig fishing, and some garden hackle fishing. Spinners are a great option in stained water. You have to be patient and persistent to due well in crystal clear water. Fly fishing has limits with wind and structure but in the hands of an expert its a thing of beauty. One last note: Firetiger is back in business on the big river. Load the jointed #7 or plain old #5 Shad Rap and get the boat to the Mississippi River this next week.
April 19-28, 2009
Made the trip to North Bear today (Sunday), I'd be lying if I told you their may be more 6" brown trout per square foot in that stream than any othe stream in Iowa. I constantly had the little monsters on or trying to get on the spinner. The sad thing In my mind was that my son and I only ran into one other fisherman the entire afternoon. You would expect a little more competition. Stream is busting with fish. As always their was a big hatch in the afternoon and fish were eating high and mighty. With the UIR very low now is a great time to go find trout, easy to see rises with many opportunities for good fish to boot.
April 13-19, 2009
I did find some time to trout fish over the weekend. Interesting that I caught a lot of small 6" or less brown trout. This particular stream does not receive browns and has not for many years. Once again dark colors ruled the day. I tried bright colors but to no avail. Need to really hone in on those blacks and browns matched with presentation speed and direction to catch a lot of trout. Natural reproduction of trout is a really cool thing. It takes good watershed practices to keep siltation to a minimum. By all reports trout fishing is good everywhere and turkey hunting was good for all youth except the lucky one I took. Look for smallmouth fishing to really pick up next week if this warm spell comes to fruition. Low water levels should make for a more rapid temperature increase.
April 5-12, 2009
Trout fishing continues to be fantastic. I gave a couple of good guys from Durant some tips and they had excellent success. With no major rain events in site a lot of trout will be caught over the next week. The Upper Iowa is still crystal clear. I have not had a chance myself to fish it but I know that warmer days and nights mean smallie fishing will be on the upswing. The big river is day to day. Should be very good by the end of the week with warmer temps and stable weather. Big hint for all of you who like to trout fish with spinners. I've noticed that somedays trout like the spinner to come downstream and sometimes they like going upstream. A simple switch of speed and direction can make all the difference between no fish and lots of fish. Good Luck.
March 30-April 4, 2009
Trout stocking begins this week with announced and unannounced stockings. I hit two different streams this weekend and found the fish to be fat and sassy. Incredible how many caddis larva those fish had been feeding on. I kept a few for a meal and they were plumb full of caddis. I fished spinners and found that one day they wanted them with the current and the other time against the current. 1/16 or 1/8oz did not matter. Fish did show a preferance to darker colors and less aggresive blades. A couple of observations, the number of carry over trout is spectacular, the number of 5" browns in streams that receive no brown stockings shows that reproduction is alive and well. Carry over trout are very wary of overhead predators. I found long cast were needed to keep from spooking fish. Finally, lots of trout hit short yesterday in the beginning. I trimmed the hair on the rooster tail back closer to the hooks. Problem solved and fish on!
March 8-15, 2009
I hate to say I told you so but I nailed this one. Ice fishing was awesome middle of last week then the rain came and really made things somewhat dangerous. I'm sure their is still some good ice but rising water and warm daytime temps make it risky. Trout streams are muddy but should be in good shape for the weekend. UIR needs some cold days to clear back up. I think it will be time to file a walleye report this weekend. Hope things work out and we will see what happens. Good fishing to all. If you have cabin fever get all of your fishing equipment religned, tackle organized and prepared for good fishing.
March 1-8 2009
Ice fishing continues to be slightly above average. Not great but just good enough to keep going back. Fished the New Albin area again today (Sunday March 1) and had a nice mess of bluegills. Lots of ice but things look ready to change. Warmer weather this week could quickly erode the good ice with current and make a lot of backwaters inaccesible for most anglers. Today Moon Glow white/blue or red/white as well as orange Rembrants were key. Big high pressure makes for some tough bites but just enough action to keep things interesting. Good Crappies usually rule the seen this time of year but the big H has them a little tight lipped. Tuesday and Wednesday of this week will be great fishing I suspect. Best of luck to all.
February 23-March1, 2009
Ice fishing is still good to really good. The New Albin area has lots to offer and will remain a good place to fish until Minnesota Slough opens up. LiL Cecils, Rembrants, Rockers in purple or orange seem to be the ticket. Did see some big pike taken on tip ups. Largest was 38", largest walleye caugth 26". Trout fishing is still excellent if your shy about ice fishing. Very little pressure from other anglers. Until next week, good luck.
February 15-22, 2009
I'm going to focus on trout fishing. If you look at the picture on the home page of the erosive bank you will see fence post hanging over the water. Two years ago you could have drove a tractor between the fence and the creek. Today, at it's widest point the fence is 10-12' out in the water. We have upland erosion and stream side erosion. Stewardship usually takes a hit when times get tough. Hopefully we learn our lessons and quit sending silt to the Gulf of Mexico. On the fish side of things we found some carry-over fish and nice ones to boot. The habitat in this stream is virtually gone with all the erosion and stream widening that has went on in the last year or so. Trout still like Skunk Rooster tails and Gold Panther Martins. 1/8oz on both accounts. Good luck to all, voice your concerns about land use and management with your legislatures. Most Iowa's population is urban and have no idea what is going on so the silent minority need to become a very vocal minority.
One of many nice fish on Sunday Feb 15, 2009
February 9-15, 2009
Never in moderation, that has to be our weather mantra these days. Everything is muddy and flowing very high at this time. We should see a change by this weekend as the temperature becomes more seasonable. A slow melt is better than a fast melt for fishing purposes. We have good reports on trout fishing. Things will be day to day with water conditions. If night time lows get below freezing that will help out a lot. Look for more later as I get some free time to fish this upcoming weekend.
February 1-8, 2009
Well Ice fishing reports have been weak to very poor at best so I decided to forgo the hard water bite and chase some trout. Finding open water was the first challenge but things improved as I moved downstream and the flow picked up. I was rewareded with some dandy browns and some nice brookies. Largest brown was 18" and built like a truck. Ice shelves were the ticket today as the trout were hanging under the shelf and would smack the spinner when it passed near the shelf. A note for the purist out there. I kept a coupld of brookies to eat and found them to stuffed completely full of caddis. I mean more caddis than you can imagine. Keep that in mind. Good Luck to all. P.S. Snow was knee deep much of the time. Snow shoes are a good idea.
Fishing January 2009
We will provide reports once it gets over being -30F at my house and I can get out. ( vehicles struggle to start at this temp.) We are back to having unbelievable ice thickness and many trout streams are iced over. Warmer weather is forecast for January 18-24, 2009. This will help. Stay warm. I need to shoot a couple more does to make some landowners happy and I will be on the ice and water providing reports from that point forward. Good luck to all.