Wednesday, July 09, 2008


Last week I fished two lovely spring creeks-one in SE Minnesota, the other just across the border, in NE Iowa. I noticed the lack of aquatic plants, due to the recent floods-especially noticeable in Iowa, which suffered severe flooding. The creek's topography changed drastically. Slow pools became quick runs, and exposed gravel contributed to the very clean appearance. There was some damage to the banks due to erosion caused by raging currents. On the other hand, trout were just fine, happily feeding on nymphs in deep pools. There were no hatches, so I fished nymphs and deep running leech imitations during the mid-day pretty much exclusively on both locations. While the fishing was slow on Minnesota stream, trout were more cooperative on Iowa spring creek, even though you had to work for them.

Casting a beetle imitation to a lonely riser under the tree, without much luck...

These are some aquatic plants commonly found in spring creeks. (L to R: starwort, watercress, water buttercup. Plant drawings are public domain images, courtesy of Wikipedia.)

I haven't seen any thick water buttercup beds this year in SE Minnesota, since floods scoured the bottom and cleared the silt... Plants provide shelter for trout and nurture diverse colonies of aquatic invertebrates, such as BWO, scuds/cressbugs, Simulium larvae, certain caddis species, snails, etc. You can see photos of the same SE MN stream, taken last year here and here. It is always a challenge to land a decent sized trout in the middle of the weed-bed. Weeds also contribute to that classic pastoral look typical for chalk/limestone streams, regardless of their location.

NE Iowa spring creek after recent floods. It is much wider at certain spots, and you can see uprooted trees, fallen on the bank.

My only company on the creek during the entire day...:-)

Heavily weighted flies were necessary to penetrate deeper pools and faster than average current flows, due to recent rains. Most takes were gentle...