Winter Scouting and Fishing


Fly fishing on an Iowa trout stream in winter

Winter trout fishing in Iowa is a unique experience. While Iowa trout streams typically aren’t overcrowded, they’re even less pressured when the mercury falls and deer season begins. I enjoy the quiet and the beauty of fishing this time of year. With this in mind, I made a recent trek to the NE corner of the state.

Iowa has a system of streams called “put and grow.” These special streams are on private land. They have been stocked with fingerling trout. Some receive yearly stockings, but I’m under the impression that some rely solely on natural reproduction. I caught wind of one such stream, and decided to give it a shot. Through lots of research I was able to track down several landowners to obtain permission to fish, though there were questions as to which sections actually held trout. It ended up being a gorgeous stream with decent sized water. I saw several fish, but didn’t stay long as there were deer hunters close by. Can’t wait to spend some more time here!

Most of this trip was spent fishing streams right along the Mississippi. The trout certainly were less active, but I found a few that were hungry. Dragging a small midge along the bottom of deep pools was the most productive tactic. The next method was slowly stripping or dead drifting a black woolly bugger. Fish were concentrated in the deepest pools.

It was fun to check out some new streams that I hadn’t seen before, and new portions of streams I had fished. With unseasonably warm temperatures it was a great time to be outside and enjoy the year round trout fishing that Iowa has to offer.

Rainbow Trout

bridge near Iowa trout stream

iowa trout stream in winter

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