During a ski with Uncle Johnny Rotten (UJR) in Feb. 2009, we were discussing some of the finer things in life, such as the various species of fish that can be caught with a fly. The conversation somehow drifted to a friendly wager: to the guy who can catch more species of warmwater fish on a fly goes a pizza and beer.
A blog was then developed (http://flyfishingwarmwater.blogspot.com/) which at the time was called "Warmwater fly provocation", where we posted the various species that we caught during the 2009 season. In the end, we both learned that there are specific types of rivers and species that we love to spend our time on, and there are others that we don't like that much. The problem with the competition became that in order to try and get a walleye on a fly, we had to go and fish water and use techniques that we didn't much care for. Nevertheless, it was fun, UJR beat me by one species, a quillback; a species he is now gearing up to target during their spring spawning run.
UJR also found some absolutely awesome small streams that hold big smallmouth. He is now transforming the blog above into a site devoted to catching various warmwater species in Eastern Iowa, with smallies as the main species.
Our friendly competition helped John learn something that he probably would have learned anyhow, only perhaps more quickly. That is, he learned that streams he was driving over on his way to trout fish, held some bigger and funner fish, smallmouth. Many of the small creeks in Eastern Iowa were historically probably full of trout, but are now too warm. But they still hold good populations of smallmouth and various carps. This is information that people need to know, because healthy fisheries don't just happen. In fact, the more people fish in an area, the more money goes to that area to improve fishing, and then things start to snowball.
Thanks to the National Fish Habitat Action Plan: (http://www.fishhabitat.org/) folks like us can learn more about our local fisheries and what we can do to improve them. In this area, we are lucky to have two partnerships, the driftless area restoration effort:
which focuses on trout streams in the driftless area. And the Fisher's and Farmer's partnership:
which focuses on those other streams that most of us drive over on our way to the driftless area, but which UJR finds big smallies in. If you fish, please support these groups, either financially, or by volunteering. And stay tuned to UJR's website for some sweet warmwater action.