Making Up for Lost [Fishing!] Time

Hale Wildlife Area in Eastern Jones County


Hello and welcome to the blog!  It’s been quite an interesting week.  The fast food job has been very busy.  Some of the kids don’t want their three hour shifts and I’m picking up the discarded hours…  The money adds up!  I’ve got a tally of how much extra time has been put in and some of the $$$ will go toward camping and fishing.  🙂


The main pond at Hale… Slightly to the left and halfway up from the bottom, note the brush…

Speaking of fishing, this was one of the most enjoyable weeks of angling in quite a few years.  Now that the lungs are working much better, I’ve been making up for lost time.  Monday and Tuesday were spent fishing and camping at Jim’s.  On Wednesday and Saturday I visited a rural pond about 15 minutes east of Anamosa.


Hale Wildlife area and some of the ponds.


The Hale Wildlife Area has both wetlands and a handful of fishing ponds that the county stocks with bluegill, bass, and catfish.  Some of the ponds are very difficult to hike to because there are no land improvements.  I tried to walk to the ponds shown at the bottom of the picture but it was very treacherous to make the attempt; falling down a ravine didn’t sound like fun.  Rather, I fished the main pond and was the only one there today.


Hang this picture in the post office… or the outhouse. It’s not too flattering! Note the forceps tool for pulling fish hooks.



Even hiking down the hill to the main pond was a job.  At this time of the year the weeds were from waist high to chest high.  After spotting the structure in the pond, I was sure there had to be some hungry fish… and was not disappointed.

From the first cast to nearly four hours later, the fish bit.. and bit.. and bit.  At times it wasn’t possible to keep two poles going – the action was that fast.  I’m not sure how many bluegills were caught – perhaps 30+.  A dozen were decent sized and went on the stringer.  I also landed 3 large mouth bass but kept just one – the 15 inch, legal length fish.  To my delight, a channel cat ended up on the stringer as well.  What an amazing, enjoyable afternoon!



The hike back to the van was not fun.  The five gallon bucket was heavy on the way up the hill.  But no complaints!  The health is back, the fish were biting, and the weather was cooperative.  What more could a person ask for?


Saturday’s breakfast… Fried bluegills (Wednesday’s catch) and fresh fruit.

Life isn’t always the easiest but lately it feels like I won the lottery.  I’ve found a place not that far from home that will produce plenty of quality fish.  As much as this fisherman likes trout, bluegills taste even better to me.  This venue is scenic, safe, and peaceful.   What more can a person ask for?

That’s about it for now.  I have to work for the next 6 days but some of the shifts are short and don’t start until 10:00 AM or so… making an overnight camping trip with Jenny feasible.  We’ll see how the weather cooperates early this week.

Take care and thanks for stopping by!  Safe and happy camping!

Brad and Jenny and Mister Duke
Jones County, 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"

2 Responses to Making Up for Lost [Fishing!] Time

  1. Jo Harmon says:

    Nice catch! I haven’t had cat fish in years. Late MIL used to make it and it was heaven.
    Sure makes me happy to know your feeling so well again.

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi Jo! There are so many people in the area who got sick from respiratory issues. It sure was rough. Well Monday is payday and if the weather is good, I have some ideas for tasty food. Jenny might ride along this time… Take care!