Justin Meyer runs the online store for Badowers, an Iowa-based Filson retailer.
Photography by Justin Meyer and Austin Day
When most people think about trout fishing, they likely picture the snow-capped mountains of Montana with winding, glassy topped, spring fed streams loaded with 22″ brown trout rising to gulp a caddis. Trout fishing is supposed to be sexy, right? A River Runs Through It stars Brad Pitt and Craig Sheffer for goodness sake! While those Montana mountains might be the typical images of that come to mind, my home waters, The Driftless, carry a different beauty. Limestone-bedded spring creeks slope through picturesque cow pastures, brimming with vibrant brook trout. My attraction to trout fishing has been as much about the waters as the fish themselves.
As my love for fly fishing for trout has grown, I have begun to look beyond the beautiful fisheries and explore any water that holds trout. Through this exploring, I have started to find myself standing in my waders in city ponds, over-crowded state parks full of stocked rainbows, and more often than not, one particular urban trout stream. Fishing 10 yards from the interstate as the water rolls its way through Cedar Rapids doesn’t necessarily embody the romance of trout fishing, but I’ve found what I was looking for there—trout.
McCloud Run is a tight fish and requires almost every cast to be a roll cast due to the immense overhead brush. There is a public bike trail on one side and the interstate on the other, but in the two block stretch that I fish I have found 5 great pools and 2 runs that I know I can pull fish out of every time. In the past two years, I have pulled out some respectable brown trout and rainbow trout. More than anything though, it scratches the itch I have to catch some fish when I can’t give up a week to really give fly fishing the attention it deserves. If you are willing to look a little you might find some great water a little closer to home than you think.