Iowa Fly Fisher

 Yes, fly fishing in Iowa 


Davis City to I-35

Posted on June 27, 2017 at 12:25 AM

Thompson Fork of the Grand river; launch point Davis City park.  Access to the Tommy Grand is never easy.  At Davis City Park a 6 ft. mud bank drops into an even slipperier pool.  Level was 1.1 ft. - fish becoming concentrated in the pools immediately above and below Davis City.  Below the launch point the bottom changes to solid limestone then on the other side of the hwy. 6 bridge drops into another deep pool, didn't visit that one this time, but it's featured in the longnose gar scene near the end of "Flood of 2014" on our videos page.  

The pool above (area A below) held some gar I caught 1 then moved up to the sand flats (area B below) where black buffalo did not respond to drag-and-dropped dumbell carp flies or dead drifted nymphs, but spooked from a leader touch.  Along the sand bar where the current slows and minnows school,  gar patrolled and I caught a few more.  Above the sand flats a sharp bend with a deep pool on the outside and sand on the inside gave up the most interesting gar of the day, dark bronze with black spots (lower right below).

At the head of the pool where the sand drops off (area C above) the clarity was great - 2 ft. or so.  I cast a flashy beadhead woolly bugger to the drop off, felt a light tap, cast again and saw a small goldeye pecking at the fly.  When it didn't return I tried a larger minnow with a small nymph in tandem and a large goldeye, as in fly rod P.B., burst from the depths swiped at the fly and dove.  I spent the next hour trying to catch it, saw it a few more times, but no hook up.  Meanwhile I noticed a group of fish in a logjam pocket across the river, which I assumed were silver carp, begin tearing cottonwood leaves from a small floating branch - grass carp!?  I didn't have the right flies on hand and the most I got was a curious look at the nymph.  That's the Tommy Grand to a T - unexpected, taunting, frustrating.

It's a long sand run from the sharp bend up to Slip Bluff county park.  I found more gar, but no carp around the rocks at area A above, hoped for tailing black buffalo on area B above, but a fan boat roared past terrorizing fish and cutting visibility in half.  I continued up hoping they'd turn around at the riffle(area C above) just below Slip bluff - they didn't.  Along the appropriately named Slip Bluff is a deep pool lined with fallen trees - lost a gar in that mess.  Above the pool a sand bar covered in discarded tires, another riffle (area D above) the bottom changes briefly to solid, slippery limestone (area A below), then the interstate bridge.  Above the bridge an extensive riffle has pockets (B and C below) the fan boat returned reducing visibility in half again.  On the way back down I'd hoped for an evening rise in the sharp bend pool and targeting goldeye with dry flies, but that didn't happen what fish i saw fled from the slightest sound - the day was over.

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1 Comment

Reply FishnDave
12:12 PM on June 27, 2017 
Oh man! Heartbreaking to not catch that big Goldeye! You are definitely the Gar Master!