Fly Fishing: Decorah
These last few weeks have been a whirlwind of planning, packing, and driving! Last weekend started with a quick trip over to Sioux City to sit in a little field and watch the most gentle and loving couple of all time get married! Zach packed the Subaru with firewood, camp stuff, fly fishing gear, and the bare minimum food prep utensils.
I won these veggies in a quick little work game late in the day, so we packed them with us to put into our stew.
We got up wayyyyy early again and hit the road to Northeast Iowa. I have spent minimal time in this corner of the state, as it is the opposite of where I grew up. We got off the interstate in Mason City, and headed due East. Things got hilly and beautiful and realllllll rustic as we got going.
First, we saw a bald eagle! Saluted and cheered.
THEN, Zach stopped me mid-sentence so that I could encounter the Amish for a moment :)
Lastly, there were blueberry and flower farm signs every few miles, and my heart fluttered every time.
We stopped in Decorah on the hunt for fresh food to take out with us. We gold mined at the farmers market and picked up some local veggies and brats and bacon. We went into the co-op and got chocolate, local butter, and berries for the morning.
I have never been to Decorah, but I am wowed. The main street looks about like any Main Street in small town Iowa. But, the tiny little town is full of yoga studios, co-ops, farm to table restaurants, and tons of cafes. It is clearly an outdoorsy tourist town, but....I am that....
Zach has been into beer and micro breweries for as long as I have known him. Decorah USED to hold one of the finest IPA breweries, it now holds TWO. We went to both, filled up our camping growler and hit the road.
As we got further north, things looked beautiful and European for a second. And then we hit the Highlandville General Store. It's this beautifully rustic secluded last stop general store in the town that HAD to have filmed Little House on the Prairie. It was beautiful.
Pegs upong pegs of fishing gear and then tacky t-shirts. AND the post office behind wood paneling in the back corner :)
We headed up from there to find the camping spot/entryway into the stream that was part map, mostly Zach's memory. But things were beautiful, so I didn't even mind.
It felt very close to the Wisconsin/Minnesota border (I mean we were...) but, it was just this stream that runs through thick trees into cow pastures and back into woods and back into green cow pastures next to red dairy barns.
We found the memory! And unloaded. And it was HOT and sweaty. We took our time getting ready and sipped beer while we did it.
I am a beginner for sure. I loved catching the stocked trout in Backbone, and I LOVE being out in a stream!! So much.
This stream was harder to follow and get in, and we hardly saw any movement during the day. Also. all these old men with no shirt/fishing vests were in the good holes.
But after a quick siesta, we went upstream and it was wayyyyy easier!
I didn't catch anything, but had a couple of close calls :)
Zach is a total babe and caught 3 at the end of the day!
We met a ton of locals and not locals who came to fish the same stream. They know a lot about fly fishing and the Eco system :) I realized I still have much to learn. But! You never actually master fly fishing. There's always more that you don't know. It's wonderful!
There was a cute middle aged lady out there with her husband. They were the kindest and it was nice to see another woman out about with her husband and cute dog. :)
We went back, set up camp and cooked!
Here's the fresh veggie and meat stew. It was honestly so so so good.
There was perhaps the wildest thunderstorm ever that night. I couldn't tell you, I slept through it :)
We woke up and made coffee and bacon and eggs and blueberries! This was my first Aeropress and this is BEFORE I spilled the boiling water all over my hands, phone, and everything on this one tray....
We packed up and headed into Decorah on our way down. We mozied and found McCaffrey's Italian Bistro/venue/wine shop/fire grilled pizza hole in the woods.
It was perfect. Except, our second breakfast took way longer to be delivered than our first :)
I think one of my favorite things about getting to fly fish for the weekend is all of the small towns and their offerings you stop at along the way. I loved Decorah and all of its everything. I stopped in Mason City for the first time and also found it uniquely very cool?? But mostly, I loved the walnut maple ice cream that it fed me on my last leg home.
And then we were home for a few days! And then we went to the woods again :)
To be continued....