Grandpa, Dad, and I with the swordfish I caught

Romantic notions aside, five hours out in the heat, and feeling more than a little bit bored and sea sick, I started to complain…just then my line bobbed, and every ones excitement level shot to extreme. It took the help of 4 strong men, and about 45 minutes of reeling the mighty fish in, but I’d caught a 6 foot long swordfish! When I moved to London 5 years later my parents threatened to send the stuffed trophy over. Nick wanted to put it above the stairs to his bar, and rig it to say “get out!” to anyone who dared to enter uninvited.

Nick Rhodes’ bar in Hello magazine
A decade later, dad was teaching Tatjana how to fish in the mountain lakes of Colorado. His firm rule of “you eat what you catch” didn’t ride well with the non-fish eating Tatjana, so it was a short lived hobby.

Tatjana fishing “small fry” with Grandpa in Colorado in 1989

But not so with my nephew William…an avid fisherman who caught over 70 fish his first few days at the lake house this summer! “I’ve caught both yellow and white bass, walleye (my personal favorite to eat), northern pike, bluegill, and perch in this lake,” although he says there are also catfish, carp, white and black crappie, large and small mouth bass, bullhead, and muskie (considered the trophy fish) here, and trout can be caught in many other Iowa lakes.

The fisherman king

William also informed me “the fish will not bite right before or after a cold front, but it is good fishing immediately before or after it rains”. If you are under the age of 16 no fishing license is required, but check with the the authorities listed below for more information about that.

How big was it William???

It can take a while to catch dinner here, but it is possible. William caught a 12″ yellow bass that was “only 1 inch away from the lake record”, and it is a lovely mild tasting fish to eat indeed!
William showing off the hook that caught the yellow bass
(it did have a minnow attached)

“The largest muskie ever caught was 65 inches long, but most of what you find in this lake average about 37-38 inches long.” You need much bigger bait for muskie, and need to get out there in the shallow, grassy waters by 5:30am for your best hope of snagging one.
“Small fry” bait
Muskie bait

“They like green and yellow bait, and yes they do see color as well as movement.” My sister, niece, and I accompanied William to the sporting goods store to stock up on supplies. They take their fishing seriously in this part of the country!

A saluting selection of rods & reels
Miss Jordan modeling the latest in fish nets…
Ewwwww! Check out the prices of the creepy crawly selection
Just one problem…even though we seem to have a family full of interested fishermen, no one seems willing to gut and clean the fish, so a typical meal at the lake house is more likely to be grilled steaks and freshly picked “peaches & cream” (we prefer the sweet yellow and white kernels) corn on the cob.

For fishing season, length limits, and more information and regulations on fishing in Iowa please visit or contact the DNR Central office in Des Moines at (515) 281-5918.
Perfect Corn on the Cob

Servings: 6

  • 1/2 dozen ears of fresh corn, shucked
  • 1/2 gallon water
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar, optional
  • splash of milk
  • 1/2 stick butter, melted
  • salt and pepper to taste


1). Bring water to boil in a large Dutch oven over high heat; add sugar and milk. Carefully add corn on the cob, bring back to boil, lower heat to medium-high, and cook for 5 minutes (you want the corn to still be crisp so do not cook longer).

2). Drain, season to taste, and serve with melted butter.

Serving Suggestions: Being from Iowa, the corn capitol of the world, I love corn on the cob with grilled fish, grilled steaks, fried chicken, roast pork….just about every main course imaginable.
« Previous PostNext Post »
  • August 13, 2009
    5:56 pm

    Corn on the cob is often the main course for dinner in my house during the summer months! I've never put sugar and milk in the water. I'll be trying that next time! Sounds yummy!Love your blog!Alison