Steve Niebuhr

Senior VP, Hubbell Realty
Fly Fisherman

 Steve Niebuhr started his fishing career the old-fashioned way: with a worm on a hook, maybe dangling under a red and white bobber. 

All of that changed about 15 years ago when some co-workers at Hubbell Realty Co., where Niebuhr is senior vice president for development, suggested he swap the spinning rod for a limber fly rod and replace the night crawler with fake, say something along the lines of a piece of yarn that is lashed to the gentle curve of a dainty hook and operates under the name of the San Juan Worm.

Niebuhr has made the transition from bait fisherman to fly fisherman. Some of those buddies at Hubbell also persuaded him to buy into a cabin that sits along a northeast Iowa trout stream, where the waters tend to run narrow, but cold and clear, and which plays host to rainbow, brown, and in some stretches the only trout native to Iowa, the multihued brook trout.

Fond as he is of the cabin with its meadow of wildflowers and native grasses and the stream that gurgles nearby, Niebuhr has taken a special fancy to the tail waters of the Missouri River between Helena and Great Falls, Montana.

The waters boast unbelievable numbers, by Iowa standards, of about 8,000 fish per mile, with many of those trout about 21 inches long, also a big number by Iowa trout standards.

Whether he’s fishing streams in Iowa or Montana, Niebuhr said the attraction is the same.

“There’s always action and you’re always in pristine, inviting scenery,” he said.