Woody – A New Fishing Buddy


Woody makes the fishing experience even more fun.

Friday I decided to go fishing at the trout hatchery upstream from Elkader, Iowa.  It had been a helluva week.  I had been working my butt off cleaning and fixing things around Dad’s house, getting sicker and sicker from indoor allergies.  A little trip north (to Clayton County) to celebrate a productive week seemed in order.

Long story short, no fish came home.  I only caught two and they were not large enough to keep even kitty Jesse fed.  It’s not surprising the action was slow.  We’ve had three minor snow storms in the last few days and with the sharp weather transitions sometimes the fishing action stops.  Just getting out in the fresh air was worth the drive.


Woody is watching the trout with great interest!

Woody, the Labrador met the last time, was quite a distance away when I arrived.   He was watching Aaron, one of the DNR guys, who was feeding the trout in the raceways.  One call of Woody’s name and there was a blur of flying legs, ears, tongue, and tail as the dog came running at the fastest speed he could muster.

With some beef sticks in hand, Woody was happy to see me. The energetic dog and I played fetch (his idea – he brought a stick) and it was fun to watch him in motion.  Note:  I figured there are many dog lovers who will appreciate a friendly Labrador… most of the pictures are of him this time!

Woody posing by the Turkey River

After throwing two fish back, falling and skinning my hand, the cold (15 degrees with a strong wind) started to get to me.  It was time to think about heading home.

Following the fishing, I had a fun conversation with Aaron.  One of the interesting facts learned is that if one wants to catch catfish in the Turkey River, you should go downstream a ways.  That is because during the spring months, catfish travel upstream from the Mississippi River to the Turkey River and are blocked by the dam in Elkader; they cannot get any farther upstream.  Later in the fall, the catfish migrate back downstream to the deep holes in the Mississippi.

Aaron and I talked about a number of fishing locations that the DNR stocks and he had some recommendations for places to try.  The DNR provides a comprehensive map (the paper copy is better than online maps, in my opinion) with all of the trout fishing streams marked, including the streams with catchable trout as well as the special regulation fisheries.  I’m enthused about the 2014 trout fishing season which starts in early April (for most people – not me!)   There will be pictures in the coming days.

7_Corn DeerFinally it was time to go.  On the way out of the Big Springs area, I encountered a lot of wildlife including at least a dozen deer and more wild turkeys than one could count.

Within 20 or so miles, a sudden sickness wiped me out and I had to pull over and sleep a bit with the engine running.  The stomach was a mess.  But it was over quickly.  I really think the cold country air, drinking a lot of water, and having some physical activity is terrific medicine.  Just being in the country for a few hours seemed to have a purifying effect, physically and spiritually.

Despite coming home without any fish, it all worked out well.  I loaded the smoker and crashed for a few hours, waking up feeling much better.  Jesse James didn’t mind having smoked pork ribs instead of trout.  But he did sniff the fishing clothes – likely wondering about the dog’s scent.  It sure was a fun little day trip, especially having a canine fishing buddy to hang out with.

Thanks for riding along and meeting Woody.  It’s likely you’ll see more of him as I camp at Big Springs later this year.  Woody will be well fed!

Take care!

Bradford, the “Van Trekker”

About VanTrekker

I am a former vandweller in Eastern Iowa who, for several years (off and on), lived in a 2007 Chevy cargo van. I still travel around Iowa with my tortoise shell cat, Jennifer Stefanie. Our favorite place to explore is the Country Heritage Community, the four far northeastern counties of Iowa (Clayton, Winneshiek, Allamakee, and Fayette). Ride along as we fish in pristine trout streams, enjoy fine home cooked camping meals, and meet new people. It's all possible on a shoestring budget. Happy travels always! --- Brad, the "Van Trekker"
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4 Responses to Woody – A New Fishing Buddy

  1. Todd says:

    Hello Brad,

    Good job making progress with cleaning and fixing things around your Dad’s house. Sorry you have the respiratory allergies to contend with.

    I too have respiratory allergies. Mine more or less prevent me from going to the countryside. So your adventures help me experience the great outdoors!

    Thanks for sharing this great story. And all your stories.


    • VanTrekker says:

      Thanks Todd. Sorry to hear about the allergies – they are no fun. The asthma that goes with them can really limit the outdoor activities. For me it’s the autumn season when everything is the worst (molds). This winter has been tougher than normal – perhaps from having to be inside so much.

      Thanks for reading – I’m sure there will be plenty of fun times right around the corner. Sooner or later spring will be here.

  2. tinycamper says:

    Loved meeting Woody. What a special fishing buddy.

    So sorry you were sick. Sure hope you are 100% soon.

    I can’t even imagine trying to fish in 15 degree weather. Hope spring comes this year. 🙂

    • VanTrekker says:

      Woody is adorable but he’s a handful! Thankfully, I wasn’t serious about the fishing that day – just needed the fresh air. Once I got home, lower abdominal pains became so intense that I thought the pancreas was about to blow up or maybe the appendix. I think it was actually a mild case of food poisoning. (I’d eaten some “marked down” salmon fish that may be been bad) It’s good as new, now!

      Hopefully there won’t be any more 15 degree fishing any more this year. We’ve had the second coldest winter on record this year with several more mini snowstorms on the way this week. It’s going to end sooner or later!