Meeting my “Waterloo” While Fishing

Van and Trout

Trout Run – Decorah, Iowa 06/04

Isn’t it funny how often we build something up to be an ultimate experience only to be let down?  For months I’ve poured over  a map looking at upper “Paint Creek” and daydreamed about fishing this stream.  On Tuesday the time came and I wasted no time in getting there.  The upper end of Paint Creek is in a scenic area north of Monona, Iowa.

Sadly, the fish didn’t bite.  The bugs sure did though.  Gnats, horseflies, and mosquitoes attacked all afternoon.   Though the scenery was beautiful, the water was up a little and the fish just weren’t interested.  What a let down!

I hate to get skunked.  But thirty miles away was a place where the fish always bite and the people are friendly.  Serena and I headed for Decorah, got the limit of trout, and stayed overnight at the “Walmart Campground”.

Despite being a bit torqued about the crappy fishing, I gave thanks for being able to go fishing, for the vandwelling, the job that has been working out, and many things.  Who cares if the darn fish didn’t bite one day?  Maybe they were smart!

Double Grilled ChickenSupper on Tuesday night was something that had been on my mind for some time, particularly after cooking at McDonalds for the preceding five days.

I decided to try and make the best possible grilled chicken sandwich, using bacon and even veggies cooked in the bacon grease!  The results were amazing.  The butcher at the store helped me by cutting a huge 1 lb chicken breast and tenderizing it, making two giant pieces.  Here is the recipe for VT’s Ultimate Grilled Chicken Sandwich  It’s on the cooking blog…

Sadly, the sandwich barely made it till morning!  The other half was eaten by breakfast!  It was after that I met my “Waterloo” of sorts.

2_WaterlooIn looking at the trout stocking schedule, I saw that “Waterloo Creek” was being stocked.  Waterloo Creek is in northern Allamakee County, just two miles south of Minnesota and a dozen miles west of Wisconsin.  This stream turned out to be one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever fished.

Northern Allamakee is a very hilly region with deep valleys and crystal clear creeks meandering through lush green farm fields.  Cows dot the landscape.

The picture above is west of the town of Dorchester.  I found a little “pull-off”  and fished a hole 100 feet above where this picture was taken.  Within minutes there was a very fat, hungry rainbow on the end of the line!

3_WaterlooJust down the road was this gem, a little hole that I nearly drove past.  There’s a bit of a wide spot in the road where a person can park.  You have to climb over a wooden ladder to keep from encountering the trouser-ripping barbed wire fencing.  Then a person must wade across the creek to get to this place.  But what a surprise!  I landed four very plump fish in short order in front of the rocks.  It means free eating for days!

During this period, the emotions kind of let down a little.  I’m not completely over dealing with the loss of Dad, missing my buddy cat, Jesse James, etc.  Waterloo Creek was a peaceful, private place to sit, pray, let out the emotions, etc.  It’s true… God is everywhere!  Some people talk to Him in a church.  I seem to do it best in a stream.


About 30 feet from where I was fishing, I didn’t want to tangle with this over-sized porterhouse!

As I was finishing the fishing, delighted that the possession limit was reached, the cows came to visit.  Normally, I would not get too excited but I’d noticed a couple of them mating earlier.  There were calves around too – one of them was standing in the stream where I had to cross.  It was a little bothersome because cattle will protect their young.  You could feel a lot of sets of eyes on me.

Just in case, I had a plan in place.  The fishing rod was collapsed in case I needed to wield it like a cattle prod – the tactic used at the farm.  But apparently the bovine weren’t interested in me.  I talked to them in a confidently in a gentle voice and walked toward the fence ladder, prepared to run like heck if need be.  One often sees cows when fishing…  but I’ve never had them advance so close!

4_Ree Ree van

That happiest van trekking cat you’ll probably ever meet.

Serena was quite the trooper during this trip.  She got to play a lot and was content to look at the window from her perch.

I’ve created a monster though.  Serena has developed a taste for McDoubles from McDonalds.

With that, it’s off to cook some beer battered trout and take a picture for one last recipe for the collection.  With a little luck, I’ll have it posted in a few days.  But in the meantime there’s one more idea for the fish…  Sis had given me a Subway certificate…  A big fillet of fried trout and some tartar sauce on a veggie sub sure sounds like a good lunch right now… for a person nuts about trout…

Take care and thanks for visiting!  It’s turning out to be a fun start to the summer… and it’s only going to get better.

Bradford and Serena, vandwelling and van trekking in Eastern Iowa


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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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