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Fly Fishing Fantasma

Backbone State Park In Iowa

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Its been awhile (about ten years since I've been there), but growing up in Iowa that was a place we went a couple times a year. Also, the only trout park I've been to here is Roaring River, but I'd say Backbone is similar -- although last time I was there, there were no live bait restrictions anywhere. They used to have a trout hatchery on site, but I'm pretty sure that is closed now. Pretty crowded on weekends, but less so on weekdays. Fishing varies dramatically by stocking status. Here are some links that you might find helpful if you haven't already found them:

I haven't fished the lake area at Backbone, so don't really know much about that. However, like Roaring River, there are quite a few hiking trails there as well if you want a temporary diversion from fishing. Overall, it's a nice park with some decent put-and-take trout fishing and a nice place to get outdoors. I'd rank it higher than RR, but that may be nostalgia from my youth more than anything else. However, don't expect much solitude along Richmond Springs. If you want that, you'll have to venture to some of the streams outside the park.

Kevin

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Thanks a lot kevin!

So you would say that the fishing in general is just as good. Had a friend a RR last week and he said he couldn't remember fishing that good. There are areas in backbone that you have to hike to or canoe to? That might be a nice change from RR. What about the amount of fish over 3#? Any one place better for that?

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Thanks a lot kevin!

So you would say that the fishing in general is just as good. Had a friend a RR last week and he said he couldn't remember fishing that good. There are areas in backbone that you have to hike to or canoe to? That might be a nice change from RR. What about the amount of fish over 3#? Any one place better for that?

Again, let me stress that it has been quite a few years so take with a grain of salt, but I would classify the fishing as on par with RR, but with heavy variance depending on stocking. It gets stocked probably 2-3 times per week instead of daily and if you are there when the stocking truck arrives, you will be catching. However, if you are fishing the day before it will probably be quite a bit slower.

Within Backbone, the hiking is primarily an extra activity. While you may need to walk a bit, it is mostly easy walking access (which unfortunately adds to the pressure). Canoeing would be limited to the lake (not sure if they rent canoes or not) as Richmond Springs within Backbone is similar in to RR in structure. However, the Maquoketa River is very close, is stocked and is probably more accessible to canoe. I'd also recommend some of the other streams within an hour or so drive of the park as a way to get less crowds (just watch your step for the cow patties).

As far as 3 lb. or higher, few and far between unless recently stocked (especially within the park). There are very few long-term trout due to fishing pressure and stream size. A bit better chance to find one that has been living outside the hatchery for more than a couple weeks at the streams outside the park...however I don't recall many of any real size other than a recent stocker my brother caught one time (within the park). Spring Branch Creek (near the Manchester hatchery) might be the best place to catch something with some size as it has an artificial only and 14" or larger restriction. There is also a stretch of the Turkey River which is stocked with trout, but supposedly also has smallmouth and walleye and that is a reasonably drive from the park.

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Thanks again Kevin,

I think we will have to give that a try sometime! I really appreciate the feedback.

Tight lines,

Lou

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