Grannis Creek is one of the “big name” trout streams in Iowa, so I was very excited to try it on my September 2017 Fayette County expedition. I wouldn’t say in any way that it disappointed me, but I think I caught it at a bad time.
Grannis is really two streams, the upper being quite different from the lower. The upper reminds me of very remote destinations like Mossey Glen- the hills and tall trees tower above like the ceiling of a cathedral. Everything is bathed in green-tinged shadow. It’s the kind of place you wouldn’t be surprised to see a bear, or woodland fairies or spirits. The water is very, very clear and there are lots of fish. I walked upstream a bit from the parking area and under an old wooden bridge. There were tons of trout in the deep pool under there, but I managed to scare most of them after briefly hooking one on my Rapala. I messed around in the upper area for a while, but the weeds and undergrowth (and the mosquitos) were very thick, and I was coming off a recent knee injury that made brush-busting difficult.
Thus, I made my way to the downstream segment, pausing to witness an antique tractor parade going by on the gravel (!) Here, I saw total devastation. I can only imagine the lower stretches are normally as well-kept and accessible as, say, Spring Branch. However, it appeared that severe flooding had clobbered the stream. Massive concrete slabs were upended and falling into the creek. These appeared to be a sidewalk and accessible fishing area previously. There were lots of sand deposits in odd places. As for the stream and the fish? Those seemed A-ok. Again, lots and lots of trout in here, including some very big ones. The water was super clear. The flood had scoured away any sort of cover or overhanging branches for these fish, and they seemed very exposed and skittish. I walked down a ways and fished near where a small cold spring entered the creek. It was pure beauty, but the fish were not in the mood to cooperate. I found a beautiful fist-sized quartz rock that had been polished by the stream, maybe a geode that had its outer skin polished away.
I would definitely visit Grannis Creek again. I don’t know if the flood damage will be repaired – there’s never money in the budget for these things. But, over time, the trees and bushes will regrow and provide some nice shade, and a little more cover for fishing. The trout will soldier on.
– September 10, 2017
|Park or Wildlife Area:||Grannis Creek WMA|
|Access:||Public access, mix of public and private land. There are two segments, with off-limits land in the middle.|
|Pros:||Very pretty, lots of trout in the stream, cold water, lots of stream to explore, easy parking and access.|
|Cons:||Extreme flood damage when I visited.|
My Ratings: (out of 10)