Photo Album




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Whitewater Creek was the first Northeast Iowa smallmouth stream to be fished this spring in early June. This is a photo of some of the beautiful smallie habitat in Whitewater Canyon, a stretch of Whitewater Creek that is being preserved by the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation. I have been a contributing member of the foundation since it's inception more than twenty years ago. The foundation has purchased thousands of acres of wildlife habitat like this throughout Iowa and transferred ownership to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. If you're not a supporter of the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, you should be. Their web address is: www.inhf.org


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Here is another view of the stream that runs through Whitewater Canyon.


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Streams like the Whitewater with unproductive stretches of sandy or mud bottoms are best floated with a Kayak.


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This is ideal smallmouth bass habitat on Whitewater Creek with rock ledges and boulders extending from the bank out into the stream.


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Rocky structure often switches from the right bank of a stream to the left bank. The key is to fish rocky structure wherever it occurs.


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My fishing buddy Mike Jacobs fishing a productive piece of "smallie" habitat on Whitewater Creek. How could you not be happy fishing in a beautiful place like this.


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Most people don't realize that Iowa, of all places, has scenery like this. And, best of all, smallmouth call this home.


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Northeast Iowa was the southern end of the last glacier to recede in the upper mid-west. What it left was clear streams with excellent smallmouth and trout habitat running through valleys with limestone cliffs that sometimes tower more than a hundred feet above the river.


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My "fish car" with Mike's 6-foot Hobie Float Cat on the rack. My 5-foot Float Cat easily fits inside the Jeep.The Float Cat is an ideal craft for floating smallmouth streams. If you purchase a float cat be sure to buy the larger model. It is much easier to control in moving water.


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We often tag a number of rock bass while fishing for smallmouth. Most of the time we wish they would leave our lures alone.


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This is one of the reasons I spend as much time as possible in Northeast Iowa during June, July, August abd September. This guy was taken on a Bronze Godess, one of Mike's new smallmouth creations. The other reasons include beautiful scenery and being able to fish with Mike.


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This is the previous smallie's twin taken from the same spot on the "Godess."


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Mike with a nice smallmouth bass taken on his "Lite-Brite Leech". Mike catches and releases several hundred bass each season and the Bronze Godess and the Lite-Brite Leech are his two most successful streamers.


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A nice smallie taken on a "Bronze Godess." Compare the markings and coloration on this fish with the other photos. Smallies do take on the character of the specific habitat in which they live. This fish was caught in an area with a gravel bottom and very little dark cover.


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This fish was also taken on the "Bronze Godess". We only take photos of fish that are 13-inches or longer. About two-thirds of the fish we take are under 15-inches with many in the 12 to 14-inch range.


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This fish was taken on Hipp'sHell Craw created by my friend Anthony Hipps of Lexington, NC.


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Another nice smallmouth bass taken on Hipp's HellCraw. Click on the photo to enlarge it and notice the dark mark just above and to the left of the gill plate. Just like us, some smallies have distinctive "birth marks."


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Another chunky "smallie" taken on Anthony Hipp's HellCraw. Anthony's HellCraw is featured in the Spring 2007 issue of Fly Tyer Magazine. Step-by-step tying instructions for the Hell Craw are also on Warmwater Fly Tyer.


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About to bring to hand another great Northeast Iowa smallmouth bass.


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This was the fish that was brought to hand. It also was taken on a Hipp's HellCraw.


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Great looking smallmouth bass habitat. There has to be a bass or two around that boulder.


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This was the only guy there that day.


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There should be a nice smallie up against those rocks. There was and he was a great fish.


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He apparently was under the rock ledge. As the streamer drifted by he came out to attack and was taken on a Bronze Godess.


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It's almost as much fun to release a smallie as it is to catch him. Smallmouth bass grow slowly in Iowa's smallmouth streams so we give them all the help that we can. We use barbless hooks and release every fish that we catch.

This bass was taken on a Mike's Lite-Brite Leech.


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Kind of a sloppy cast but the habitat looks great. All that really counts is getting the fly to the spot where you think a fish will be.


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The sloppy cast didn't matter. This bass still took my offering.


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Here is another nice smallie.

This bass was taken on my fishing buddy Mike Jocob's newest creation, the Bronze Godess.


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Notice the ragged tial on this smallie. This was long after the spawning season but the tail still shows the effect of the fishes nest making skills.


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Bringing another nice smallie to hand. We float our smallmouth streams in kick boats and stop to fish the best looking habitat. We generally cover about five miles of stream in a day's fishing and we estimate two-hours for every mile. It makes for a long day but we don't mind. We seldom see any other anglers.


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This is the fish that I was "lipping" in the previous photo. This fish was also taken on a Bronze Godess. The fish were really keying in on that particular fly on that day.


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We fish the slower water from our kick boats and about half of our catch comes to us in this way. This particular stretch of river is about four feet deep with a gravel and rubble bottom. We like to fish the Bronze Godess with a "crawdad hop" in this kind of structure.


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Here is the bass that was taken with the "crawdad hop". You can see him putting a bend in my rod in the previous photo.


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Here is another photo of the fish taken in the previous photo. The "crawdad hop" using the Bronze Godess to imitate a crawfish has worked very well for us.


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Another nice smallie. Notice his tail. Something has taken a bite out of it.


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Another nice bronzeback taken on a Red-Faced White Wobbler. The Wobbler was an especially effective streamer last season but was less effective this season. That's why we have more than one pattern in our fly box.


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My smallmouth partner Mike Jacobs on a beautiful stretch of the Upper Iowa River, one of Northeast Iowa's premier smallmouth bass streams.


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Another photo of Mike into a smallie on the Upper Iowa.


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Smallies are real bully's. They run and jump right up until the time that they are lipped.


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This nice little fish was taken on a EZ-Foam Popper. This pattern is easy to make and it is very effective when the bass are surface oriented. I plan to provide instructions for this little topwater offering this winter.


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This photo of Mike was taken on the Little Maquokata River. The fish was taken on Harry Murray's Marauder. A great little smallmouth streamer that Harry ties in white, chartreuse, brown, black, and Olive.


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This is another photo of Mike with the same fish. Notice the background in the photo. It doesn't look like typical smallmouth water but it produced this fish.


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Smallies don't get any more attractive than this guy. What beautiful markings and color.


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Your's truly connected to another nice fish.


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This is another nice Little Maquokata smallie taken on a Lite-Brite Leech.


This chunky guy was taken on a Bronze Godess using the "crawdad hop". Notice his fat belly. He must have been full of crawdads.


Here is another shot of the fish with the belly full of crawdads. He was so full he didn't put up much of a fight.


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Another nice smallmouth on the end of my fly line. Mike loves to take action photos and this photo demonstrates his ability at doing so. Click on the photo to enlarge it and notice the splash in the water after the fish jumped. Mike just missed the jump.


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Of course you always need a photo of the fish that put up that fight. This bass was taken on a Bronze Godess. Notice the ragged tail. This fish was caught in September and the tail still hasn't recovered from the spring spawn.


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This bass is one of the prettiest smallmouth bass I have ever seen.


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This photo was taken on the last smallmouth outing of the season. It was taken in late September.


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This is the bass that was putting up the fight in the previous photo.


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Another beautiful bass on my last trip of the season.


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This photo was taken near the end of the day when I connected with my last smallie of the season on the last smallmouth outing of the season.


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The last smallie of the season wasn't the largest smallmouth that was taken but he wasn't the smallest either.



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I can't think of a better way to end the season than to release the last bass taken. I know that he was happy to go back home and I was happy to let him.


Copyright 2017 Ward Bean, Council Bluffs, IA, All rights reserved.