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  • Rusty and Cindy Stimmel

Iowa: Bluegill, Redear and Largemouth Bass

Bluegill, Yellowsmoke Park, Iowa

Iowa was the first state we tried to catch a fish for our 50-state quest.

Iowa has many fishing opportunities with Bass, Walleye, Bluegill and other sunfish the predominate species. There are many small lakes with camping at them in county and state parks.

The Iowa fish was bluegill because Cindy’s aunt Nancy and Uncle Phil are avid bluegill fishers. We met them at Yellow Smoke State Park. The campground there is nice and there is a small lake with a good population of bluegill and bass.

We fished from their boat with Nancy, Phil and Cindy using worms. Cindy caught a bluegill on her first cast before anyone else even could cast in. All of the worn fishers were catching fish and I was trying different flies. I started with a small Clouser minnow in chartreuse and white.

I went through several different flies until I tried a black willy bugger with a chartreuse bead head. I caught my first fish, a bluegill about 7 inches long. The worm fishers continued to catch bluegill and bass while I struggled. I finally tried a brown worm fly and started catching fish. Several bluegill in the 6 to 8 inch range and several bass between 10 and 14 inches. I also caught 2 red eared sunfish of about 7 inches. I was catching more fish than the worm fishers. We quit just before sunset and went back to camp and dinner.

The next day there was wind and rain in the morning. It seemed to be over in the afternoon. We went out and started fishing. Cindy had a very large bass try to eat her bobber. The fishing was about the same as the previous day, with everyone catching bluegill between 6 and 9 inches and bass from 10 to 12 inches. The rain returned with lightning and thunder. We got off the water and went to camp. The next day it was raining off and on in the morning with forecast of the same all day, so we decided to pack up and head east.

We stopped at Red Haw state park and set up camp. After dinner, we went down to the shore and tried to fish. The shore below our campsite was not easy to fish due to the water plants and the bushes. We walked to a small dock near the boat launch and started to fish. Cindy with a spinner I had found in Colorado at St Vrain State park. She caught a fish and missed many hits. I looked at the hook and noted that it was in bad shape. I then tied on a pink Rooster tail for her that we had rescued from her mom’s shed.

I was catching bluegill between 6 and 8 inches long and one bass at about 13 inches long. Cindy’s largest gill was 11inches long.

I changed to a small cork popper and started catching small bluegill in the 4 and 5-inch range near the weeds and moss near the shore. I saw a fish swirl in about 6 inches of water in a hole in the weeds near shore. I cast the popper into the hole and caught an 8-inch bluegill. It was not only one of the largest bluegill I caught, it was also the most fun as I saw it take the fly. Sighting and catching a fish and catching it is always very rewarding.