#20- Iowa & The Elusive Channel Catfish
Our first night in Iowa was the coldest of the trip so far, clocking in at barely four degrees Fahrenheit. Not fun. Sioux City was our first stop in Iowa because it's right on the Nebraska border, where we were heading next. We started fishing in the Missouri River for channel catfish, but didn’t realize how fast moving the river was up there. Since we had no knowledge of the area or of any productive fishing holes, we decided to head more centrally into the state towards Des Moines. We fished in the Des Moines River for a few days, but caught no channel catfish - only flatheads and freshwater drum. It was frustrating, especially given that catfish are something that we regularly slay back home. But a combination of the freezing weather, and a drought was keeping the water super low in the river, and we just couldn’t seem to find a good hole.
We did news interviews with two local TV stations, and Dennis Anderson from the Star Tribune in Minneapolis reached out to us and offered to write an update article about our journey, as his readers loved his initial story about us.
We were absolutely inundated with Mid West hospitality. Dozens of people wanted to help us. One woman wrote to my dad excited to introduce us to her single daughters.
One of Dennis' readers, Scott Jungman, reached out to him saying he had a catfish spot and a bed for us. We met up with him at his house, and fished at the spot he recommended in the Racoon River. We very quickly caught four small channel cats. That night, he and his wife took us out for dinner, let us do some laundry and put us up for the night in their guest bedroom. It was so much better than another five degree night in the van - we were so grateful to the Jungmans for their hospitality that we drove across Nebraska a few months later to see them on our West Coast. The next morning we finally drove to Nebraska.
Iowa also led to our first negative press. We were absolutely roasted by Joe Cermele of the Meat Easters Fishing Podcast, Bent. He made a fair point: how hard is it to catch a channel catfish? And how can we possibly think we can hit all 50 states with this performance? Just watch this space, Joe.