Iowa Trout Country

Enjoy trout fishing all year on Iowa's streams

On both sides of the Mississippi River, scores of spring creeks flow through the limestone bluff country of Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. The topography of the area is more similar to the Appalachian Mountains than it is to the nearby prairies.

Streams tumble from the rocky hills and then meander through timberland and pastures, some flowing directly into the Mississippi while others join forces to form larger tributaries such as the Root River and the Upper Iowa River. The home of brook trout in pioneer days, bluff country streams are now the abode of brown, rainbow, and new generations of brook trout, many of them wild and a surprising number unexpectedly large.

The section of stream shown above spans two pools that lie beneath limestone bluffs. The pictured below was taken upstream on the same creek (Glovers Creek).

The hatchery in Manchester (below) is one of the oldest in the country. Searcgubg for a location for a new hatchery to meek the needs of eastern anglers, a team of federal scouts found the Manchester location in the late nineteenth century and recommended it as the best of 50 sites they identified. The completed hatchery finally passed to the state of Iowa in 1976. The grounds are beautiful and the facility interesting to visit. Spring Branch Creek, which flows through the grounds, is arguably Iowa's premier trout stream.
Below, Spring Branch Creek has a population of wild brown trout that has been self sustaining for decades now, and it has benefited from extensive habitat improvements. On the far side of the pool is a bank hide that goes 10 feet back. I know because a good 20-incher took my leader, a foot or so of line, and the tip of my rod straight back under me as I fished a blue winged olive hatch there one rainy November day.
Bridges should figure prominently into your fish-finding strategy. Many streams cross under two or more bridges, giving you a good view of fish activity.

Iowa trout season is 12 months long. Rising fish can be found in virtually all weather.