Buddy Steve Checking out the Streams

Welcome to the blog.  On Monday morning I got up at 4:30 and packed the car.  A friend of mine from near Morley, Iowa asked to go trout fishing some time.  Steve and I met a few years ago at McDonalds – the first time I worked there.  We’ve gotten to be good friends and despite talking about fishing, I decided to initiate the trip.

The plan was just to visit the trout hatchery near Elkader and do a little angling.  Unfortunately, everything is torn up.  The large pipe that connects the spring to the raceways and ponds is in the process of being replaced.  The trout were moved elsewhere.  With the water shut off the trout pond was low.  We did not stick around long.  Instead, Steve and I headed north toward Paint Creek and Waterville.

Hickory tree and nuts. This was the best find along Paint Creek

At a county park called “Waterville Farm 55” near in Allamakee County, the fishing was no better.  It had not been recently stocked.  Steve got one small trout but fell hard on the rocky embankment while climbing.  I tried to help him clean the fish and ended up falling knee-deep into the muddy creek… and then falling backwards with the back on the ground and the feet sunk the muck in the creek.  (The pain from the gymnastics did not set in till Tuesday)

I know how cruel those reflections can be sometimes. 🙂

But there was something just as exciting at this park as the trout.  After we gave up fishing, Steve identified a hickory tree.   Excitedly, he cracked open one of the bazillion nuts on the ground, tasted the insides, and said “Them don’t taste like pig nuts!”  Steve went on to explain that there is a tree that looks like the hickory tree and the nuts look the same but taste dreadful; those are the “pig nuts”.  As we gathered up several pounds of the precious hickory nuts, Steve cautioned to not take any of them that had worm holes.

None of the nuts were bad… not a single worm hole in any of them!  We each took a bag of hickory nuts with us.  We also found two apple trees in the park.  I shook the hell out of one of the branches and we gathered up some tasty apples, keeping just the ones without worms or bird crap on them.  They were crisp, had a wonderful flavor, and were very red.  Yum!

Steve fishing in Patterson Creek

One of these nights I will be cracking nuts and digging the goody out.  I plan to use them in some nut bread – perhaps a loaf of banana bread.  Hickory nuts are healthy and very delicious!

The next stop was at Patterson Creek, a place I have seldom fished but will be visiting again.  This time we struck gold.  Between both of us, Steve and I limited out with a total of ten trout.  I was the first to catch my five but he quickly followed.

Steve carrying our stringer over the stile.

Just as we finished angling, a light ran started.  By this time it was after 4:00 and we’d still not eaten!  Steve and I headed a few miles into Waukon and visited the creamery.  Both of us purchased white cheddar cheese curds as well as a cone of their homemade rocky road ice cream.

A mix of rainbow and brook trout.

From Waukon, we headed south and east to the Mississippi river town of Marquette to clean the fish.  Bloody Run park has a hydrant for well water; I’ve used it to clean many dozens of trout over the years.

Image result for bloody run park van trekker

The large tree is only a memory now.

Just a few feet away this large tree provided shade and relaxation over the years.  Kitties Serena, Jesse James, Van-Van, and now Jennifer have enjoyed camping here.  Damaged by a summer storm, this beautiful tree is now gone.

Simple but very satisfying!

Since the fishing didn’t go quite as planned, Steve and I did not get to cook the lunch meal until 6PM!  I made burgers seasoned throughout with onion, garlic, salt and pepper… and topped with Swiss and cheddar cheeses.  Steve had cooked up a batch of home-grown potatoes that included:  red, gold, and white potatoes, butter, and white, yellow, and red onions…  The flavor of the onions from his garden was amazing!  I added the cheeses.  The cantaloupe was also homegrown.  The fried trout was, of course, what we had just caught.  Though a simple meal, it was heavenly to a couple tired, wet, and sore fisherman!

From there it was back home.  The little one day fishing trip was a great deal of fun.  We both agreed to do it again this fall.

So what’s on the horizon?  On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of next week I’ll be in NE Iowa again.  The weather looks iffy for Monday but it will be necessary to keep an eye on the temps.  Jenny might be going with me for this mini-vacation depending how this unseasonable heat plays out up north.  If she goes, we will be visiting some familiar places, fishing (of course), and cooking up some good food.  There are a couple new things to see, too!  I’ll also be working on making a new crocheted afghan for the camping van.

Take care and thanks for visiting!  Safe and happy travels!

Brad and Jenny
Jones County, Iowa

Cats sleep 16 – 20 hours each day. It makes me tired just watching Jenny yawn!

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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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