On 10-7, I caught 3 trout on N. Bear Ck. in Iowa on a drizzly. overcast morning. It was perfect for fly fishing, and the fish were active. So, catching a few fish shouldn't have been a big deal. Except - I forgot my fly reel.
I had packed hurriedly the day before. I was on a business trip to western WI and had a morning that I thought I might be able to sneak out and try an Iowa water and , hopefully, mark it off my list of "catching a fish in all 50 states". I had never wet a line in Iowa before Tuesday. After a long drive on a lot of unmarked dirt roads (thank God for the DeLorme Gazetteer!!), I found my stream. I had an hour and a half to fish. When I got my gear together, I panicked - no reel. Well, its impossible to flyfish without flyline. So, I put everything away and walked to the creek to at least see what I was missing.
The creek was clear and beautiful, running at a perfect level. As I stood next to the creek, I saw 3 separate fish working in a pool, 2 taking dries and one emergers. Below this pool was a 45' long, 2' - 3' deep fairly fast run. I felt certain there were multiple fish in the faster water. I REALLY wanted to catch something to knock Iowa off my list. So, I dreamed up the following: I cut off a 12' length of 4x tippet, and tied it on the tiptop of the 8-1/2', 4 wt.rod. I tied on a BH Prince #16, and tied a dropper below that of a BH soft hackle Hare's Ear #14. It wouldn't be pretty, but I could flop the mess into the fast run, high stick it downstream about 8', and swing the flies at the end of the drift. It was ugly, but I HAD to try something. On the second "cast", I saw a swipe behind the flies as they were swinging. Over the next 45 minutes, I worked every inch of the fast water, got 5 hits, and hooked and landed 3 trout - 2 on the Prince and one on the soft hackle.
On one hand, I felt pretty good on the ingenuity scale, for devising a way to catch a trout with a fly rod and no fly line. On the other hand, the stream looked awesome and I think I could have had a truly memorable day if I wasn't so stupid as to forget the reel. I'd love to get back there , because it really is a pretty stream, but I did get my Iowa fish! Sorry no pics - camera didn't make it , either.