This past Friday (while Jason was scouting streams in Wisconsin) my wife Bette and I enjoyed a day off as we drove down to Iowa to scout Trout Run Creek and find the Decorah Eagle’s nest, which has become somewhat famous in the region.
Trout Run Creek follows both Trout Run Road and Trout Run Trail just south of Decorah in Iowa’s Winneshiek County. The stream has excellent access with several parking areas, including parking at the Decorah Fish Hatchery where the catchable trout waters of the stream begin. The hatchery welcomes visitors and a popular passtime during visits is to feed the trout that are being reared in the tanks. You can find more information about the hatchery here:
Stocked species in Trout Run include brook, brown, and rainbow trout. When we visited, it was a warm day in the upper 40’s, but very windy. The stream was foamy and chocolate brown from the Spring runoff, so I didn’t bother trying to fish. Trout Run is a fairly large stream by Driftless standards, perhaps 20-75 feet across, flowing for 2.2 miles before joining the much larger Upper Iowa River in the southeast corner of Decorah at Trout Run Park.
Bette and I parked on Siewers Spring road (pronounced SEEvers) just across from the hatchery to find the Decorah Eagle’s nest. We thought it might take awhile, and perhaps include a short hike to find the nest, but as soon as we stepped from the car, we saw it right away. The nest is maybe 100 feet or so from the road, and perhaps 75 feet from Trout Run Creek, which I’m assuming provides the eagle family with some easy meals. The Iowa DNR has maintained a web cam at the nest for several years now, and Bette and I enjoy watching the eagles raise a family each season. When we checked the eagle cam before we left the house in the morning, there were three eggs in the nest, which should hatch in another 20 days or so.
Just after we got out of the car, one of the eagles flew up near the nest from the East and landed in a tree just in front of us. I was able to get some decent shots of the stately eagle while we were standing near our car.