Up North Between the Raindrops

Central Park, Amber Iowa, West Lake


Hello and welcome to the blog.  TGIF!

After cooking out and camping at Central Park last Monday night, some more outdoor fun was desired.  Looking at that pond to the west and not fishing it was a shame.  I returned on Wednesday to try my hand…  Sadly, I only got one bluegill.  It was immediately released.  But the experience ignited the caveman instinct… and more fishing was a must.


The time to take another fishing trip was ticking away.  Next Wednesday I’ll be starting a part time job at a gas station.  In the meantime, the terrible 24 hour shoulder pain I’ve been having is all but gone now, thanks to physical therapy.  The absence of the pain has helped me feel better inside as well.  Now I know what Mom went through with her rotator cuff… It’s hell.


Squeezing in this Thursday to Friday trip was a gamble.  The forecast made it sound like Thursday’s weather was iffy at best.  I took off early — 4:30 AM or so.  The weather was forecast to be good for a while but there were strong storms 50 or so miles to the north of where I would be fishing in Clayton County.


A nice modern toilet nearby.. Well, at least it had a plastic seat!


By about 8:00 AM I had four fish on the stringer… and the stocking truck had not yet arrived!  Soon the skies darkened and lightning was cracking all around me.  I retreated to the van for a quick snooze.  Thankfully, it never did rain despite the thunder!


Thursday’s catch


A couple hours later I heard Gary’s stocking truck go by.  Hopping out of the van, I noticed a few more anglers had showed up.  After heading downstream I ended up with one more fish and a couple of Dryad’s Saddle (a.k.a. “Pheasant Back” mushrooms).


Dryad’s Saddle a.k.a. Pheasant Back. It’s one of the most common mushrooms in Iowa… and edible!


In the meantime, one of the old timers told me about these crawfish chimneys just a dozen or so feet from the creek.  When crawfish burrow they displace the mud and move it up and out of the their tubes.  The critters live in water filled tunnels much of the time.  It is thought that the chimneys help with obtaining oxygen.

Crawdad chimney


By this time it was about noon.  I ate a cold lunch and listened to the radio for a couple hours, finally taking a nap in the van during 85 degree weather.  Surprisingly, with the Fantastic brand fan running, it was not that uncomfortable.

Dirt cheap, tasty, easy to reheat, and you can put all kinds of stuff in it… It’s a great “lazy” camping food…


Supper was simple.  Back home I’d made a package of Knorr brand fettuccini alfredo (extra milk and parmesan) and added pre-cooked chicken strips.   Reheated on the propane burner, it really hit the spot!


He didn’t have anything to say but seemed intrigued.

In the evening I made a friend.  The little tree frog seemed afraid at first.  I kneeled by it and was even able to pet it a few times while softly speaking to it.

After watching a couple old shows on the laptop, the night’s sleep was peaceful.  In the morning I walked to the end of the stream access and limited out with 5 more very nice fish.  By this time the belly was growling for breakfast.


It always tastes better outdoors.


This scrambled egg dish had some good stuff in it.  At home I’d cracked a few small eggs into a plastic bag, beaten them, adding garlic powder and dehydrated onions.  Just before cooking I mixed in some cheddar cheese.  The meat was chopped, smoked jalapeno and cheese sausages that the store had discounted.  But the best part were the Dryad’s Saddle mushrooms.  The ‘shrooms were cut into strips and sautéed in butter before adding the other ingredients.

By this time it was time to head back.  We never did get rain in the area of that stream however as I’m writing this post Clayton County is getting pounded.  It’s all a matter of timing!

An awesome little hole… There were a couple fish lurking in there.

Thanks for riding along on this little excursion to the peaceful tranquility of northeast Iowa.  Take care and happy camping!

Brad and Jenny and Duke
Jones County, Iowa