Iowa Fishing Report

Iowa Fishing Report

Top Iowa Fishing Spots for the Week of May 6

Popular fish survey data returns to Iowa DNR webpage

Iowa anglers can once again access fish survey data collected by Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) fisheries staff during electroshocking and netting surveys on lakes, rivers and streams.

Survey summaries from individual lakes and rivers, fish species lengths compared across lakes, and fish length and weight data can be viewed and downloaded from www.iowadnr.gov/Fishing/Fish-Survey-Data. Additional data and summaries will be available in the future.

This weekly fishing report is compiled from information gathered from local bait shops, angler creel surveys and county and state parks staff. You can check the activity of your favorite lake or stretch of river within each district, including which species are being caught, a rating of the bite (slow, fair, good or excellent), as well as a hot bait or lure pattern. 

For current information, contact the district fisheries office at the phone number listed at the end of each district report.

NORTHWEST

Arrowhead Lake
Black Crappie
 – Fair: Keeper-sized crappie have been picked up with minnows on a small jig fished under a bobber.

Black Hawk Lake
Water temperature is around 60 degrees. Black Crappie – Fair: Bite is starting to pick back up again. Use a small jig with a small minnow in Town Bay around the fish house, along Ice House Point and in the marina. Fish are 8-12 inches. Bluegill – Slow. Walleye – Fair: Fish from shore with a twister or a leach or minnow fished under a bobber. Yellow Perch – Fair: Pick up perch with a small jig and minnow or piece of crawler fished under a bobber. Anglers are having luck fishing around the fish house in Town Bay. Largemouth Bass – Fair.

Brushy Creek Lake
Water levels remain about 3 feet low. The west ramp is best option for launching a boat with the low water. Yellow Perch – Fair: Use crawlers or minnows on a jig near shore in 5-10 feet of water. Some sorting is needed. Black Crappie – Good: Fish are starting to stage close to shore. Use a bare tube jig or a small jig and minnow fished under a bobber near shore. Bluegill – Fair.  Walleye – Slow. Largemouth Bass – Good: Bass anglers are doing well along shore and structure.

North Twin Lake
Black Crappie
 – Fair: Crappie have moved in close to shore. Try a tube jig or a minnow fished on a small jig under a bobber along shore and along docks. Channel Catfish – Fair: Fish for catfish along shore with cut bait or crawlers fished on the bottom. Walleye – Fair: Fish from shore using a leech or minnow fished under a bobber.

Storm Lake (incl Little Storm Lake)
Water temperatures are around 60 degrees. Black Crappie – Fair: Try a tube jig with a small minnow. Yellow Perch – Fair: Look for perch along shore using minnows fished on a jig. Fish are 8-11 inches. Some sorting is needed. Channel Catfish – Slow: Use cut bait or dipped catfish baits fished on the bottom along shore. Walleye – Good: Fishing in the main lake and from shore has been productive, especially during late evening and low light conditions. Anglers have had luck throwing crankbaits as well as twisters. Also try a minnow or leech fished under a bobber from shore.

Water temperatures are around 60 degrees in most district lakes. For more information, contact the Black Hawk District office at 712-657-2638.

Beeds Lake
Black Crappie
 – Fair: Try a small minnow near down trees. Yellow Bass – Fair. Bluegill – Slow.

Clear Lake
Water temperature is in the mid-50’s. Black Crappie – Fair: Fish open pockets in the rushes. The bite will get better as the water warms this week. Walleye – Fair: Try a jig tipped with a minnow or crawler fished near vegetation and rocky habitat. Shore anglers are having some success fishing from docks. Best bite is after sunset. Yellow Bass – Fair: Shore anglers are having some success fishing from the jetties and docks. The bite at the Island is picking up; best time is at first light. Bluegill – Fair: Use a small piece of crawler in open areas of vegetation. White Bass – Slow.

Crystal Lake
Black Crappie
 – Fair: Try a small minnow fished near woody habitat. Bluegill – Slow.

Rice Lake
Bluegill
 – Fair: Use a piece of crawler fished near vegetation. Largemouth Bass – Fair.

Silver Lake (Worth)
Largemouth Bass
– Fair: Use dark-colored plastics fished around vegetation. Bluegill – Fair: Try a piece of crawler fished near vegetation.

For information on the lakes and rivers in north-central Iowa, contact the Clear Lake Fish and Wildlife office at 641-357-3517.

East Okoboji Lake
The walleye season is open. Most courtesy docks are in place. The water temperature is 51 degrees. Black Crappie – Fair. Bluegill – Fair.

Lost Island Lake
Anglers have had consistent success with yellow perch and a few other species this spring. Yellow Perch – Good.  Bluegill – Fair.  Black Crappie – Fair.  Walleye – Fair.

Minnewashta Lake
Black Crappie
 – Fair: A nice crappie bite can be found with a little movement around the lake.

Silver Lake (Dickinson)
Walleye
 – Fair.

Spirit Lake
The walleye season is open. Most courtesy docks are in place. Perch and panfish are slowly making their way in shallower, making shoreline and dock fishing more promising. The water temperature is 50 degrees. Yellow Perch – Fair.

West Okoboji Lake
The walleye season is open. All courtesy docks are in place. The water temperature is 50 degrees. Bluegill – Fair. Black Crappie – Fair. 

The walleye season is open. All courtesy docks should now be in place. The extended forecast calls for varying temperatures with highs in the 50’s to ’60s. Lake levels are currently lower, making navigation and launching more difficult. For current conditions, call the Spirit Lake District Office at 712-336-1840.

 

Top Iowa Fishing Spots for the Week of April 29

This weekly fishing report is compiled from information gathered from local bait shops, angler creel surveys and county and state parks staff. You can check the activity of your favorite lake or stretch of river within each district, including which species are being caught, a rating of the bite (slow, fair, good or excellent), as well as a hot bait or lure pattern.

For current information, contact the district fisheries office at the phone number listed at the end of each district report.

NORTHWEST

Arrowhead Lake
Black Crappie – Fair: Pick up keeper-sized crappie with minnows on a small jig fished under a bobber.

Black Hawk Lake
Water temperature is around 50 degrees. Black Crappie – Fair: Anglers are still picking up crappie in Town Bay, along Ice House Point and in the marina, but the cool water has slowed the bite. Use a small jig with a small minnow. Bluegill – Slow: Sorting is needed. Channel Catfish – Slow: Use cut bait or shad fished on the bottom near any rock structure. Walleye – Fair: Walleye bite has slowed with cooler water this week. Use a twister or a leach or minnow fished under a bobber. Walleye fishing on Black Hawk Lake usually starts to pick up the end of April and into May.

Brushy Creek Lake
Water levels remain about 3-4 feet low. The west ramp is the best option to launch a boat with the low water. The docks are in at the north, east, south, and west boat ramps. Yellow Perch – Fair: Use crawlers or minnows on a jig. Black Crappie – Fair: Try tube jigs and a small minnow fished near structure. Bluegill – Fair. Walleye – Fair.

North Twin Lake
Black Crappie – Fair: As water temperatures warm, target crappie along shore and along docks using a tube jig or a minnow fished on a small jig under a bobber. Channel Catfish – Fair: Try cut bait or crawlers fished on the bottom along shore.

Storm Lake (incl Little Storm Lake)
Water temperatures are around 50 degrees. Black Crappie – Fair: Try a tube jig with a small minnow. Yellow Perch – Fair: Look for perch along shore using minnows fished on a jig. Fish are 8- to 11-inches. Some sorting is needed. Channel Catfish – Slow: Use cut bait or or dipped catfish baits fished on the bottom along shore. Walleye – Fair: Throw a twister or fish a minnow or leach under a bobber along shore. Best bite is evenings or low light conditions. Expect shore fishing for walleye to pick up as water temperatures warm over the next few weeks.

Water temperatures are around 50 degrees in most district lakes. The cool water has slowed the bite in some areas. For more information, contact the Black Hawk District office at 712-657-2638.


Clear Lake
Cooler weather this week has slowed the bite. Water temperature is in the mid-40’s. The State dock on the north shore is in. Black Crappie – Slow: Fish open pockets in the rushes. Channel Catfish – Slow: Try a piece of cut bait fished off the bottom on the wind swept shore. Walleye – Fair: Walleye are biting. Try a jig tipped with a minnow or leech fished near vegetation and rocky habitat. Shore anglers are having some success fishing from the jetties and docks. Yellow Bass – Slow: Shore anglers are having some success fishing from the jetties and docks.

Crystal Lake
Black Crappie – Slow.

Lake Cornelia
Yellow bass are biting on cut bait. Try fishing around the docks in the marina.

Lower Pine Lake
The courtesy docks are in.

Silver Lake (Worth)
Largemouth Bass – Fair: Try dark colored plastics fished around vegetation.

Upper Pine Lake
The courtesy docks are in.

For information on the lakes and rivers in north central Iowa, contact the Clear Lake Fish and Wildlife office at 641-357-3517.


East Okoboji Lake
The walleye season is closed. 
Many of the courtesy docks are not yet in place. The water temperature is 45 degrees.

Lost Island Lake
Anglers have been successful with yellow perch and a few other species this spring. Yellow Perch – Good. Bluegill – Fair. Black Crappie – Fair.

Minnewashta Lake
Black Crappie – Fair: A nice crappie bite can be found with a little bit of movement around the lake.

Spirit Lake
The walleye season is closed. 
Many of the courtesy docks are not yet in place. The water temperature is 44 degrees.

West Okoboji Lake
The walleye season is closed. 
Many of the courtesy docks are not yet in place. The water temperature is 44 degrees.

The walleye season is closed on Spirit, East Okoboji and West Okoboji Lake. The extended forecast calls for varying temperatures with highs in the 50’s to 70’s. Many of the courtesy docks are now in place. For current conditions, call the Spirit Lake District Office at 712-336-1840.

SOUTHWEST

Banner Lake (south)
Rainbow Trout – Good: Trout have been stocked. Cast small in-line spinners, spoons, jigs with plastics or live bait under a float. You need a valid fishing license and pay the trout fee to fish for or possess trout.

Big Creek Lake
Walleye – Good: Jig or troll minnows in areas from the marina around to the beach, the east boat ramp bay and the west boat ramp bay.

Boone District Farm Ponds
Farm ponds and <

Top Iowa Fishing Spots for the Week of April 22

Top Iowa Fishing Spots for the Week of April 15

Iowa DNR asking anglers to share photos of mudpuppy catches
Mudpuppies are fascinating aquatic amphibians most Iowans don’t get a chance to see. They are notoriously difficult to catch with standard aquatic techniques like traps, nets, or electrofishing methods, but anglers sometimes catch them while fishing for walleyes or catfish. If you’ve found a mudpuppy please take a few good photos, release it back into the water and contact the Iowa DNR at 515-298-3071 or [email protected].

This weekly fishing report is compiled from information gathered from local bait shops, angler creel surveys and county and state parks staff. You can check the activity of your favorite lake or stretch of river within each district, including which species are being caught, a rating of the bite (slow, fair, good or excellent), as well as a hot bait or lure pattern.

NORTHWEST

Arrowhead Lake
Black Crappie
 – Fair: Pick up keeper-sized crappie with minnows on a small jig fished under a bobber.

Black Hawk Lake
Water temperature is around 51 degrees. Black Crappie – Fair: Use a small jig with a small minnow in Town Bay, along Ice House Point and in the marina. Bluegill – Fair: Anglers are picking up bluegill along shore. Most fish are smaller; sorting is needed. Channel Catfish – Fair: Use cut bait or shad fished on the bottom near any rock structure. Walleye – Fair: Walleye bite has slowed with cooler water this week. Use a twister or a leach or minnow fished under a bobber. Walleye fishing on Black Hawk Lake usually starts to pick up the end of April and into May.

Brushy Creek Lake
Water levels remain about 3-4 feet low. The west ramp is the best option to launch a boat with the low water. The docks are in at the north, east, south, and west boat ramps. Yellow Perch – Fair: Use crawlers or minnows on a jig. Black Crappie – Fair: Try tube jigs and a small minnow fished near structure. Bluegill – Fair. Walleye – Fair.

North Twin Lake
Black Crappie
 – Fair: As water temperatures warm, target crappie along shore and along docks using a tube jig or a minnow fished on a small jig under a bobber.

Storm Lake (incl Little Storm Lake)
Water temperatures have cooled back into the low 50’s. Black Crappie – Good: Try a tube jig with a small minnow. Most have had good luck in the marina. Yellow Perch – Fair: Catch 8- to 11-inch perch in the marina with minnows fished on a jig. Some sorting is needed. Channel Catfish – Fair: Use cut bait or gizzard shad fished on the bottom along shore. Walleye – Fair: Throw a twister or fish a minnow or leach under a bobber along shore. Best bite is evenings or low light conditions. Expect shore fishing for walleye to pick up as water temperatures warm over the next few weeks.

Water temperatures have cooled and are in the low 50’s in most district lakes. For more information, contact the Black Hawk District office at 712-657-2638.

Clear Lake
Cooler weather this week has slowed the bite. Water temperature is in the upper 40’s. The courtesy docks are in at all the boat ramps and the fish cleaning station is open. Black Crappie – Fair: Fish open pockets in the rushes. Channel Catfish – Fair: Try a piece of cut bait fished off the bottom. Walleye – Fair: Walleye are biting. Try a jig and minnow or crankbaits fished near the outlet and around the island after sunset. Shore anglers are having some success fishing from the jetties. Yellow Bass – Fair: Shore anglers are having some success fishing from the jetties and docks.

Crystal Lake
Black Crappie
 – Slow.

Silver Lake (Worth)
Largemouth Bass
– Fair: Try dark-colored plastics fished around vegetation.

For information on the lakes and rivers in north-central Iowa, contact the Clear Lake Fish and Wildlife office at 641-357-3517.

East Okoboji Lake
The walleye season is closed. 
Many of the courtesy docks are not yet in place.

Lost Island Lake
Bluegill 
– Fair.

Minnewashta Lake
Black Crappie
 – Fair: A nice crappie bite can be found with a little bit of movement around the lake.

Spirit Lake
The walleye season is closed. 
Many of the courtesy docks are not yet in place.

West Okoboji Lake
The walleye season is closed. 
Many of the courtesy docks are not yet in place.

The walleye season is closed on Spirit, East Okoboji and West Okoboji Lake. The Iowa Great Lakes are ice-free. The extended forecast calls for cooler temperatures with highs in the 40’s to 50’s. For current conditions, call the Spirit Lake District Office at 712-336-1840.

 

SOUTHWEST

Banner Lake (south)
Rainbow Trout
 – Good: Trout were stocked on March 18. Cast small in-line spinners, spoons, jigs with plastics or live bait under a float. You need a valid fishing license and pay the trout fee to fish for or possess trout.

Big Creek Lake
Walleye
 – Good: Jig or troll minnows in areas from the marina around to the beach, the east boat ramp bay and the west boat ramp bay.

Boone District Farm Ponds
Farm ponds and community ponds will warm up faster than larger lakes. Catch bluegills and crappies on live bait under bobbers or slowly retrieved jigs with small twister tails or swimbaits. Largemouth Bass – Good: Cast slowly retrieved spinnerbaits, crankbaits and soft plastics.

Des Moines River (Saylorville to Red Rock)
Walleye – Fair: Catch walleyes below the dams from Saylorville to below Red Rock. Cast jigs tipped with twister tails, swimbaits or live minnows. Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) – Fair: Catch white bass and hybrid striped bass below the dams; cast shad and shiner imitating plastics or jigs tipped with shiners.

Terra Lake
Rainbow Trout
 – Excellent: Trout were stocked on March 17. Cast small in-line spinners, spoons, jigs with plastics or live bait under a float. You need a valid fishing license and pay the trout fee to fish for or possess trout.

For more information on Central Iowa lakes and rivers, call Ben Dodd at 641-891-3795 or Andy Otting at 515-204-5885.

Big Lake (Including Gilbert’s Pond)
Rainbow trout were stocked last month. Rainbow Trout – Fair: Cast small spinners, spoons, jigs with plastics or live bait under a bobber. You need a valid fishing license and pay the trout fee to fish for or possess trout.

Greenfield Lake
Channel Catfish
 – Fair: Greenfield has a good population of channel catfish of all sizes with the chance to catch a trophy catfish. Try cut bait or shad sides on wind-blown shores.

Lake Anita
Historically, Lake Anita provides good early spring fishing in the upper end of the north arm. Fish move in behind the pontoon area as the water temperatures warm. Black Crappie – Fair: Cast small jigs two foot under a bobber on warm sunny days. Sorting is needed; there is a large year class of 6-inch crappies. Bluegill – Slow: Crappie anglers have caught a few nice bluegills behind the pontoon area.

Lake Manawa
Manawa is a good destination for spring catfish. Crappies will move into the canals as the water temperatures warm. Channel Catfish – Good: Channel catfish are actively feeding on winter-killed fish. Target catfish on wind-blown shorelines with shad sides. Black Crappie – Fair: Target black crappies in the canals this week. White Crappie – Fair: Cast minnows under a bobber in the canals.

Littlefield Lake
winterkill was reported to the DNR at Littlefield. Fishery staff will survey the lake this spring and restock if needed.

Meadow Lake
Meadow Lake has a good fish population. Bluegills will average 8-inches and black crappies 10- to 12-inches. Largemouth bass and channel catfish are also doing well. Black Crappie – Slow: Black crappies will stage near the dam and around the underwater reefs as the water temperatures warm. Bluegill – Fair: A few bluegills are being caught in tree piles.

For more information on lakes in the Southwest District call the Cold Springs office at 712-769-2587.

Little River Watershed Lake
Courtesy docks are in at the main ramp and bait shop ramp. Walleye – Fair: Catch walleye of all sizes with jigs or crankbaits fished along the dam or rocky areas. Largemouth Bass – Fair: Try crankbaits fished along windblown rocky areas or jigs fished near cedar tree brush piles.

Three Mile Lake
Courtesy docks are installed at the main boat ramp. Walleye – Fair: Catch walleye of all sizes with jigs or crankbaits fished along the dam or rocky areas. Largemouth Bass – Fair: Try crankbaits fished along windblown rocky areas or jigs near cedar tree brush piles.

Twelve Mile Creek Lake
The dock is in at the main ramp. Walleye – Fair: Catch walleye of all sizes with jigs or crankbaits fished along the dam or rocky areas.

Water temperature in most Mount Ayr district lakes is in the 50’s. For more information, please call the Mount Ayr Fisheries office at 641-464-3108.

 

Top Iowa Fishing Spots for the Week of April 8

Iowa DNR asking anglers to share pics of mudpuppy catches
Mudpuppies are fascinating aquatic amphibians most Iowans don’t get a chance to see. They are notoriously difficult to catch with standard aquatic techniques like traps, nets, or electrofishing methods, but anglers sometimes catch them while fishing for walleyes or catfish. If you’ve found a mudpuppy please take a few good photos, release it back into the water and contact the Iowa DNR at 515-298-3071 or [email protected].

NORTHWEST

Black Hawk Lake
Black Crappie
 – Fair: Use a small jig with a small minnow in Town Bay and along Ice House Point. Bluegill – Fair. Channel Catfish – Fair: Use cut bait or shad fished on the bottom near any rock structure. Walleye – Fair: Walleye bite along shore should start to pick up. Use a twister or a leach or minnow fished under a bobber.

Brushy Creek Lake
Water levels remain about 4 feet low. The west ramp is the best option to launch a boat with the low water. Yellow Perch – Fair: Use crawlers or minnows on a jig. Black Crappie – Fair: Try tube jigs and a small minnow fished near structure. Bluegill – Fair.

North Twin Lake
Courtesy docks are in on the south and southeast boat ramps. Black Crappie – Fair: As water temperatures warm, target crappie along shore and along docks using a tube jig or a minnow fished on a small jig under a bobber.

Storm Lake (incl Little Storm Lake)
Water temperatures are in the mid to upper 50’s. Anglers continue to pick up perch, crappie, and walleye in the marina. Expect shore fishing action to pick up. Black Crappie – Good: Try a tube jig with a small minnow. Most have had good luck in the marina. Yellow Perch – Fair: Catch 8- to 11-inch perch in the marina with minnows fished on a jig. Some sorting is needed. Channel Catfish – Fair: Use cut bait or gizzard shad fished on the bottom along shore. Walleye – Fair: Throw a twister or fish a minnow or leach under a bobber along shore. Best bite is evenings or low light conditions.

Water temperatures are in the mid to upper 50’s in most district lakes. Expect shore fishing action to pick up as these water temperatures continue to increase. DNR crews are currently netting walleye on the walleye broodstock lakes. More reports will be available as we receive them. For more information, contact the Black Hawk District office at 712-657-2638.

Clear Lake
The water temperature is in the mid-50’s. The courtesy docks are in at all the boat ramps and the fish cleaning station is open. Black Crappie – Fair: Fish open pockets in the rushes. Channel Catfish – Fair: Try a piece of cut bait fished off the bottom. Walleye – Good: Walleye are biting. Try a jig and minnow or crankbaits fished near the outlet and around the island after sunset. Shore anglers are having some success fishing from the jetties. Yellow Bass – Fair: Shore anglers are having some success fishing from the jetties.

Crystal Lake
The courtesy docks are in and the fish cleaning station is open. Black Crappie – Slow.

Silver Lake (Worth)
The courtesy dock is in at the boat ramp. Largemouth Bass – Fair: Try dark-colored plastics fished around vegetation.

For information on the lakes and rivers in north-central Iowa, contact the Clear Lake Fish and Wildlife office at 641-357-3517.

SOUTHWEST

Banner Lake (south)
Rainbow Trout
– Good: Trout were stocked on March 18. Cast small in-line spinners, spoons, jigs with plastics or live bait under a float. You need a valid fishing license and pay the trout fee to fish for or possess trout.

Big Creek Lake
Walleye
 – Good: Jig or troll minnows in areas from the marina around to the beach, the east boat ramp bay and the west boat ramp bay. 

Boone District Farm Ponds
Farm ponds and community ponds will warm up faster than larger lakes. Catch bluegills and crappies on live bait under bobbers or slowly retrieved jigs with small twister tails or swimbaits. Largemouth Bass – Good: Cast slowly retrieved spinnerbaits crankbaits and soft plastics.

Des Moines River (Saylorville to Red Rock)

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