Iowa Department of Natural Resources Fishing Report

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources issues a weekly fishing report on Thursdays in an effort to provide the latest information heading into the weekend. The weekly fishing report is compiled from information gathered from local bait shops, angler creel surveys, and county and state parks staff. For current information, contact the district fisheries office at the phone number listed at the end of each district report.

NORTHWEST

Beeds Lake

No reports, yet, but catfish should be feeding in the shallower west end. Try fishing along the causeway when the wind is from the south or southwest. Anglers should also try by the cuts for bass or crappies.

Upper Pine Lake

Water temperature is less than 40 degrees; a few northern pike have been caught.

Lake Smith

Little or no activity due to poor weather.

Clear Lake

Lots of rain and wind have melted Clear Lake’s ice this past couple of days. A few anglers have already taken boats out on the east end. The water level has come up 8-10 inches with rain and snowmelt. Channel Catfish – Fair: Fishing for channels should be good on any warm day this week. Try with some cutbait, worms, or stinkbait on a windward shoreline. Walleye – Slow: Some anglers are trying their luck but no reports of success, yet. Unstable weather and cold water is likely keeping the walleye bite slow. Muskellunge – Slow: There is a good population of musky in Clear Lake. The city beach and east shoreline would be a good starting point for anglers wanting to catch an early season musky.

Lake Cornelia

We have received no information regarding fishing on this water body this week.

Little Wall Lake

Crappie – Excellent: Fishing has been excellent on the north end off the lake off the jetty. Most fish are 6-8 inches.

Crystal Lake

Ice is finally out. No reports from open water anglers, yet. Northern Pike – Slow: Anglers may have success using slow presentations such as weedless spoons. Bluegill – Slow: Great population of 7 to 9-inch bluegills.

Rice Lake

We have received no information regarding fishing on this water body this week.

Blue Pit

Rainbow trout were stocked on Jan 19.

Iowa River (Iowa Falls to Marshalltown)

Water level in the Iowa River is on the rise from runoff and recent local rains.

There is some activity below Steamboat Rock for walleye and northern pike.

Shell Rock River (above Greene)

The Shell Rock is rising with recent rains. Anglers might try below some of the dams for walleye, northern pike or catfish. Northern Pike – Slow: A few northern pike are being caught with a chub and bobber, or slow artificial presentations. Between Northwood and Nora Springs below dams, backwater areas and anywhere a creek feeds into the river. Walleye – Slow: A few small walleye being caught on jig/twister.

Winnebago River

The Winnebago water level is rising with recent rain. Anglers might have success at some of the dams in Mason City, Fertile or Forest City. Look for eddy areas, where the current is slower, and fish with minnows or cutbait for northern pike, walleye or catfish. Northern Pike – Slow: Northern Pike are being caught in Fertile by the dam and the park point east of the dam. Anglers are using a slow retrieval with Mepps Number 4 and 5 spinner baits or a Rapala 3-inch Countdown Minnow. Some pike are also hitting chubs presented below bobbers. Channel Catfish – Slow: Anglers might have success fishing with minnows or cutbait for northern pike or catfish.

East Fork Des Moines (Algona to Humboldt)

Walleye – Slow: Anglers are catching a few walleyes on the river on jigs/twister tails.

Ice is out on many of our area lakes. River temperatures are low and levels are up and down with rain and ice melt. Fishing activity has been limited with the variable weather but should be good with a day or two of warmer stable weather.

For ice condition updates and fishing information in the north central area contact the Clear Lake Fish and Wildlife office at 641-357-3517.

NORTHEAST

Volga Lake

Few anglers have been out and those who have report fish activity as slow. Bluegill – No Report: Crappie – No Report:

Lake Hendricks

About half of the lake is still iced over and the water is very turbid.

Lake Meyer

Lake Meyer is still two-thirds covered with ice. Water is very turbid. Bluegill – No Report: Largemouth Bass – No Report: Crappie – No Report:

Upper Iowa River (below Decorah)

For those folks who are waiting for the suckers to run, they’ll have to wait a bit longer. They started biting last week but the bite has really slowed with the fluctuating water levels, turbid water and cooler stream temperature.

Yellow River

Nice brown trout were hitting on jigs imitating minnows. Remember to get landowner permission to fish the Yellow River or fish out of a canoe or kayak.

Cedar River (above Nashua)

Anglers are catching a few small northern pike below the St. Ansgar Dam with a chub and bobber. A lone angler reported catching his limit of walleye on a green jig head and twister tail tipped with a minnow. Water levels have dropped about one foot as of April 17. When the river warms up so will the chance of catching more fish. Channel Catfish – Fair: Anglers were catching cats on dead chubs in the impoundment above Nashua dam as the water levels dropped.

Decorah District Streams

Dark Hendrickson, Blue Wing Olive and Baetis hatches continue to be heavy on northeast Iowa streams, particularly those that are running clearer. Good fish have been consistently taken on standard Hendrickson and Blue Wing dry, wet and nymph patterns. Bright Wooly Buggers and streamers have been effective in stained water. Call 563-927-5736 for current stocking information.

As of April 17, river and stream water levels have crested; most have dropped at least 1.5 feet. Rain and cooler temps are forecast for the next few days. For more on water levels, visit this website http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ia/nwis/rt. Trout streams continue to be stocked on a stream by stream basis. For more information, call the Decorah Fish Hatchery at 563-382-8324.

Casey Lake (aka Hickory Hills Lake)

Anglers have been catching crappie off of structure. Crappie – Fair: Fish light tackle under a slip bobber near sunken structure.

Cedar River (Nashua to La Porte City)

The Cedar River is slowly rising with decent clarity from recent rainfall events. Walleye fishing has been hit or miss. Some fair reports of channel catfish being caught in Bremer and Black Hawk counties. Channel Catfish – Fair: Dead baits have been most effective fished on bottom near backwater areas or off of current breaks. Walleye – Fair: Lead head jigs tipped with a minnow is good this time of year. Cast upstream and bounce off of bottom while retrieving.

Shell Rock River (Greene to Shell Rock)

The Shell Rock has leveled off at 9.5 feet and is holding steady, walleye fishing should only improve as water levels begin to fall. Walleye – Fair: Lead head jigs tipped with a minnow is good this time of year. Cast upstream and bounce off of bottom while retrieving.

Wapsi River (Tripoli to Troy Mills)

The river is currently at 9.2 feet and rising in Buchanan County. Walleye fishing should improve as water levels begin to recede.

Maquoketa River (above Monticello)

The Maquoketa River is currently at 12.5 feet and rising. Fishing will not improve for quite a while until the river drops considerably and water clarity improves.

Manchester District Streams

Area Manchester District trout streams are currently in poor shape. Please be sure to check the stocking recording hot-line telephone number at 563-927-5736 before heading out to area streams.

Walleye fishing on the interior rivers has been hit or miss due to weather and water level fluctuations. There have been good reports of smallmouth bass and channel catfish on the Cedar River in Bremer County. Northerns are biting well on the Upper Wapsipinicon River. Manchester District trout streams are back to regular schedule, call the trout stocking recording at 563-927-5736. For more information call the district office in Manchester at 563-927-3276.

MISSISSIPPI RIVER

Mississippi River Pool 9

River level at Lansing is 22.3 feet and is expected to drop slightly before rising again to 22.8 feet. The boat ramp at New Albin is inaccessible due to high water. Anglers can still access the river at the Village Creek boat ramp in Lansing. High water is making it difficult to find fish. Water temp has fallen to 37 degrees. Yellow Perch – Fair: Some perch are being picked up in the backwater lakes and along rocks on jigs tipped with worm or minnow. Walleye – Fair: Some walleye are still biting but high water is making it hard to find active fish.

Mississippi River Pool 10

River level at Lynxville 15.3 feet and expected to rise into minor flood stage at 17.1 feet over the next week. The boat ramp at Sny Magill is inaccessible due to high water. Anglers can still access the river at the Harpers Ferry high water ramp and at Marquette and Clayton. Yellow Perch – Fair: A few yellow perch being caught near the emergency spillway, out of the current. Sauger – Slow: A few sauger still being caught in the tail waters but high water is making it hard to find active fish. Walleye – Slow: Walleye are spawning but some nice fish are still being caught in the tail waters at Lynxville fishing off to the sides out of current.

Mississippi River Pool 11

Guttenberg tail water level has risen to 14.1 feet and is expected to rise into minor flood stage at 15.2 feet over the next week. The city ramp in Guttenberg is inaccessible due to high water, but the DNR ramp is still open. Yellow Perch – Fair: Perch are biting along the flooded shorelines and in the trees using jigs tipped with worm or minnows. Sauger – Slow: Sauger has slowed but some fish still being caught in the tail waters. High water is making it hard to find active fish. Walleye – Slow: Walleye bite has slowed but some nice fish are still being caught off to the sides out of current.

River levels have risen to near flood stage on the Upper Mississippi and are expected to rise into minor flood stage over the next week. Some boat ramps are inaccessible due to high water. Walleye and sauger are spawning but some good fishing still remains. Water temperature is 41 degrees.

Mississippi River Pool 16

Tail water stage at Lock and Dam 15 in Davenport is 16.43 feet and rising. Flood stage is 15 feet. River stage at Lock and Dam 15 is forecasted to reach 19.6 feet by Sunday. The forecast may change. Fishing has been slow due to the high water conditions. Many of the ramps are not accessible due to the high water. Water clarity is poor and there is a lot of debris floating in the water.

Mississippi River Pool 17

Tail water stage at Lock and Dam 16 in Muscatine is 15.56 feet and rising. Flood stage is 15 feet. River stage at Lock and Dam 16 is forecasted to reach 20 feet by Sunday. The forecast may change. Many of the ramps are not accessible due to the high water. Water clarity is poor and there is a lot of debris floating in the river. Fishing has been slow due to the high water conditions.

Mississippi River Pool 18

River stage at Lock and Dam 17 at New Boston is 16.62 feet and rising. Flood stage is 15 feet. River stage at Lock and Dam 17 is forecasted to reach 21 feet by Sunday. The forecast may change. Many of the ramps are not accessible due to the high water. Water clarity is poor and there is a lot of debris floating in the river. Fishing has been slow due to the high water conditions.

Mississippi River Pool 19

River stage at Lock and Dam 18 above Burlington is 11.99 feet and rising. Flood stage is 10 feet. River stage at Lock and Dam 18 is forecast to reach 17.1 feet on Sunday/Monday. The forecast may change. Many of the ramps are underwater. Water clarity is poor and there is a lot of debris floating in the river. Fishing has been slow due to the high water conditions.

Mississippi River Pools 16-19: River stages throughout Pools 16-19 are above flood stage and forecast to continue to rise over the next couple days. Many of the boat ramps are under water. Water clarity is poor and there is a lot of debris floating in the river. Fishing has been slow due to the high water conditions. Remember to clean, drain, and dry your boat before going to another water body. If you have questions about fishing Pools 16-19 contact the Fairport Fish Hatchery at 563-263-5062.

SOUTHEAST

Lake Odessa

Major flooding on the Mississippi and Iowa rivers caused by recent heavy rains and snowmelt is forecast to reach levels high enough to overtop the emergency spillway in the Odessa levee and flood the entire Lake Odessa Complex in Louisa County. The current river forecast shows water levels reaching heights similar to the 2011 flood, which was the seventh highest flood on record in the area. The Sand Run, Schafer’s, and Toolesboro accesses will all be inaccessible due to flooding.

Lake Belva Deer

More than seven inches of rain has really put water in the lake. The water is currently to the top of the overflow structure meaning the lake is several feet above the normal pool.

Pollmiller Park Lake

Bluegill – Fair: Anglers have been catching a few bluegills on worm and bobber. Not much fishing going on due to the weather.

Lake of the Hills

REMINDER: Lake of the Hills is the only lake in West Lake Park where the use of live minnows is allowed. Rainbow Trout – Good: Trout are active and are being caught in good numbers. Try minnows or worms. Target areas where water flows into the lake. Bluegill – Fair: Anglers fishing for trout are also picking up a few nice bluegills.

Skunk River (Coppock to Mississippi River)

The Skunk River is at and above flood stage after the recent heavy rains.

Iowa River (Columbus Junction to Mississippi River)

The Iowa is forecast to be at moderate flood stage by this weekend at Wapello.

For more information on the above lakes and rivers call the Lake Darling Fisheries Station at 319-694-2430.

Hannen Lake

We have received no information regarding fishing on this water body this week.

Iowa Lake

We have received no information regarding fishing on this water body this week.

Kent Park Lake

There have been a few fishermen here, but fishing has been very slow and no catches have been reported.

Lake Macbride

As of April 18, the lake is three feet high due to heavy rains. Many jetties and islands are underwater. All boat docks are in and should be usable. Water temps are in the mid 40s. Fishing has been very slow and no reports are available.

Pleasant Creek Lake

There is an 18-inch minimum length limit for largemouth bass and a 40-inch minimum length limit for muskies. Walleye – Fair: A few walleyes are being picked up along the dam at sunset.

Diamond Lake

We have received no information regarding fishing on this water body this week.

Otter Creek Lake

There have only been a few people fishing. No reports available. The fish cleaning station is still closed and the boat dock is not in yet.

Union Grove Lake

We have received no information regarding fishing on this water body this week.

Coralville Reservoir

The lake level is rising 4-5 feet per day and is expected to crest at 694 feet on April 22. Normal water level is 679 feet. The water is very dirty and there is quite a bit of debris floating. No fishing report is available.

Sand Lake

Sand Lake in Marshalltown was stocked with trout on March 29. Rainbow Trout – Fair:

Prairie Park Fishery

Prairie Park Fishery in Cedar Rapids was stocked with trout on April 6. Rainbow Trout – Fair:

Sand Lake

Sand Lake in Iowa City was stocked with trout on April 13. Rainbow Trout – Fair:

For more information, contact the Lake Macbride Fisheries Station at 319-624-3615.

Red Haw Lake

There has not been much fishing activity. Some anglers have been catching a few crappies and bluegills using small jigs.

Lake Sugema

Anglers have been catching crappies and bluegills in 6-8 feet of water. Try jig combos for largemouth bass along the rip-rapped shorelines.

East Greater Ottumwa Central Park Pond

2,000 trout were stocked March 30. Use small spinners or prepared trout baits. Don’t forget a trout stamp is needed to fish for trout.

Rathbun Reservoir

The lake level is 907.48 feet with 904 feet being normal. The water temperature is 45 degrees. Try cut bait or shad sides for channel catfish. Target areas with the wind blowing into shore. Don’t forget Lake Rathbun contains zebra mussels so make sure to clean, drain, and dry boats before transporting to another water body. Spray boats and trailers with high pressure hot water (above 104 degrees) or let them dry for at least 10 days (5 days in the sun).

For questions regarding fishing in south central Iowa, call the Rathbun Fish Hatchery at 641-647-2406.

SOUTHWEST

Big Creek Lake

Due to boat ramp construction, anglers should use the Williams Drive boat ramp. Walleye – Fair: April is the best month to target walleye in Big Creek casting jigs with twisters or minnows, or slow trolling live bait rigs. Good areas to start are the south shoreline of the east boat ramp bay, around the peninsula between the beach and marina, the face of the dam, and the first couple hundred yards of the canal.

Hickory Grove Lake

Crappie – Fair: This time of spring anglers can do well on crappies fishing the shallower upper end near the tubes with small live minnows.

Ada Hayden Heritage Park Lake

Rainbow Trout – Fair: Good numbers of trout left from this winter’s stocking, as well as previous year’s stockings, can be caught in both sections of the lake. Cast flashy inline spinners, small crankbaits, panfish tube jigs or live minnows under a bobber.

Banner Lake (south)

Rainbow Trout – Excellent: Trout were stocked April 6. They can be caught through May on inline spinners, small crankbaits, and live minnows.

Des Moines River (Saylorville to Red Rock)

White Bass – Good: Anglers fishing below Red Rock and between Des Moines and Red Rock have been having decent success on white bass making their spring run, casting jigs with twister tails or swim baits. Crappie – Fair: Anglers fishing below Red Rock that are targeting walleye with jig presentations are also getting into some crappie. Walleye – Fair: During the warm weather over the weekend walleye were being caught, especially below the dams. The stretches of river below Saylorville and Red Rock will be best. These stretches are the least impacted by the recent rains. Slowly retrieve jigs tipped with minnows, twister tails, or swim baits.

Boone District Farm Ponds

Crappie – Fair: Farm ponds in central Iowa that are producing some fair to good crappie and bluegill fishing. Stick with ice fishing jig and wax worm presentations or small live minnows.

For questions on central Iowa lakes and rivers contact Ben Dodd or Andy Otting at 515-432-2823.

Central and southwest Iowa staff is currently in Spirit Lake collecting brood stock walleye. Fishing reports will resume on April 25.

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