Iowa Fly Fisher

 Yes, fly fishing in Iowa 


"Big Riffle" to Middle Raccoon access

Posted on August 26, 2017 at 11:00 PM

The rain up north this morning looked, on radar, a bit more substantial than yesterday's forecast called for so I went west to the Middle Raccon and am glad I did. Launched at Middle Raccoon access and went upstream.  The level, 4 ft., the river a bit green, but visibility 2 ft. or more.  This section has many downed trees from prolonged high water in previous years.  The smallmouth were concentrated in major  pools,  Secondary pools and riffle pockets held only 10" or smaller bass.  Some carp in the boulder runs, but for the most part they also idled in major pools, sending up occasional silt puffs, but mostly hidden.  The 10" year class is quite numerous, which is a good sign.

So it went through the soft bottmed pool above the access and the boulder run above that.  I had one good shot at a carp, but a 10" smallmouth stole the fly.  When I reached the outcrop below a couple small bass hit right away then a 15" bass....

... followed by a superb 18" smallie.

It felt like the good old days again, a few big ones, lots of juveniles, and carp were actually hard to catch.  The water felt cool, but all these fish jumped wildly and repeatedly. Below another 13-14" bass from the pool.

Above the outcrop is a series of boulder runs and low riffles. lots of the 10" bass through here, but few carp.

Finally a tailing carp along a marl and rock bank, I stalked it way down the bank curve casting to keep the leader away, it stayed always a step ahead, then when it paused long enough for me to sneak up close a 10" smallmouth stole the fly. But I was still happy to see the bass rebounding after all that flood, drought, flood.

The big riffle has eroded a bit lower and the upstream riffles and pools that used to hold carp are high and dry now.  Some small bass in the pockets around the riffle, the bend downstream from the big riffle had a wide mudflat with several carp on it.  After some missed follows and fish lost in the silt trails, I finally hooked a big carp which pulled the kayak upstream, then shot across the river and looked likely to descend a riffle.  Maybe I should have let it, but I palmed the reel and tried turning it and the 10# tippet broke - looked like maybe a windknot where it popped.

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Reply FishnDave
12:42 PM on August 28, 2017 
Wow, great trip/report, Mark! Good job!
Reply iowaflyfisher
12:53 PM on August 28, 2017 
This is great news.
Reply backwatergallery
12:08 PM on September 5, 2017 
An update - I checked the Middle Raccoon at Cowles Access on 9/3/17 and caught some small bass, but the algae bloom got quite a bit worse and visibility was down to a foot or so. Hopefully the onset of cooler weather will help clear it soon.