Visiting Highlandville for some Reel Fun

Hi and welcome to the blog!  Sunday night I was finally able to get in some camping time.  It was enjoyable to do some fishing and enjoy the outdoors.  I only got one night away though.  But the time was enjoyed to the very fullest… despite multiple setbacks.

On Sunday the weather was total crap.  The temperature was about 50 degrees with a 25-30 mile per hour wind and misty, cold bouts of rain.  I struck out knowing that at some point fish would be caught and warm food would be cooked.  Sometimes a person is that desperate to get away!


Joy Springs near Strawberry Point


The first stop was about 50 miles to the north in Clayton County at Joy Springs trout stream.  I hadn’t fished this creek since… heck, I’m not even sure…. maybe 7 or 8 years ago?  Footprints showed this place had recently been fished heavily.  I ended up only getting one fish.  After two hours it was time to move on.


Lovely… The screw was broken off inside the crank.


The next trout stream was about 20 minutes to the north and it is called Grannis Creek.  The water was low.  I walked far back up in there and never did find a hole worth fishing.  Oh well.

Then it was on to Mink Creek, another stream about a dozen miles away.  By this time it was raining again and the winds were strong… The trout did not seem to mind.  While baiting the second pole, the first one nearly went in the water as an eager fish attacked.  I lunged, fell down the steep embankment and busted the crank off the reel… saving the pole.  That was fish number three.  It was possible to still use the pole by holding the crank against the reel.  Of course, the last two fish bit on the rod with the damaged reel.


My favorite place to visit. Once a desired place to live, now it’s a terrific getaway.


From there it was off to Decorah to hit the Walmart and get a new Zebco reel for the pole… and a candy bar for the blood sugar.   I reached for the insulin pen and crapola… and it was missing.  I thought the pen fell out of the pocket during the tumble at Mink Creek.


Pulpit Rock Campground in Decorah


By now it was approaching supper time and the plan was to use the electric heater.  A late season freeze was predicted so paying $23 for the city campground seemed wise.  Dinner was cooked over a whole bag of charcoal, due to the strong winds.   It was difficult to generate enough heat.



The chicken was a suggestion from one of the guys in the meat department at the Fareway.  I had marinated the chicken with Caribbean Jerk sauce and froze several in advance for the trip.  It turned out very well.

The packet at the top was an idea that I would make again – frozen sweet corn with Velveeta sauce and bacon bits.  The mixed veggies on the plate were cooked in a handful of packets.  I pulled out the stops and used:  potatoes, onion, garlic, red bell pepper, mushrooms, asparagus, carrots, corn, and poblano peppers.  It was heavenly.  The leftovers are good anytime, including for breakfast.  The bread is pineapple/zucchini bread made by friend Peggy.


Bear Creek at Highlandville. This creek features slow spots, rapids, a little of everything… and abundant fish.


Monday morning I got up at 5:30 and headed to Highlandville, just 3 minutes from the Minnesota border.  The fish were wild and I quickly grabbed three native brown trout.  By 10:00 two rainbows went on the stringer.  The little General Store, pictured toward the left, had ice, groceries, fishing memorabilia, and a robust assortment of tackle and poles.


3 browns at the top and 2 rainbows


By this time there were 10 fish in the van – the limit for two days.  There was no point in staying any longer.  I needed to get home and get the meds taken care of; I wasn’t feeling right.  Despite the outing being over a little quicker than planned, this fishing adventure was a delight.  Between both days I’d walked about four miles over difficult terrain and sure can feel it tonight.  But the amount of fun and relaxation were worth every bit of the aches and pains.   Ironically, while working on the post, I had to get the pill carrier out of the van… and there was that missing insulin pen.  Oh well, things happen for a reason, it seems!  At least I ended up with a new reel out of this trip…

The weather is looking a lot better for camping starting later this week.  I’m looking forward to a short trip to get Jenny out for some fresh air.  We’ll see how it goes.

Take care and thanks for visiting!  Safe and happy camping as things slowly start to return to normal!

Brad and Jenny and 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"

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