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.
Smith Lake is open water. Channel Catfish – No Report: Channel cats should provide a late afternoon bite near the bridge by the boat ramp during the ice out period. Cats will likely move into the shallow water in the bay. Use cutbait, stinkbait or minnows.
Open water; surface temp is 42 degrees. Channel Catfish – Fair: Catfish can be caught on the warmer days with cutbait or minnows. Fish the windy side of the lake. Walleye – Slow: Some wader fisherman are catching a few walleyes with jigs and minnows.
Open water. Some activity, but no reports.
Little Wall Lake
Fishing activity has been slow.
Open water. Largemouth Bass – Fair: Bass are biting along shore in shallower water. Cast a 3/16 ounce lead head jig with a minnow hooked through the lips.
Largemouth Bass – Fair: One report of bass biting on plastic jigs.
No reports but the river is stable. Try below some of the dams in Mason City, Forest City, or Fertile for pike, catfish, or walleye.
East Fork Des Moines (Algona to Humboldt)
East Fork was pretty good for walleyes last week, might be slower this week with stormier weather.
Most of the area lakes are melting near shore and the ice is unstable. The streams and rivers are ice-free and should provide some action for northerns and walleye and perhaps a smallmouth. Try below some of the dams with a jig and minnow.
For lake updates and fishing information in the north central area contact the Clear Lake Fish and Wildlife office at 641-357-3517.
Big Spirit Lake
Smallmouth Bass – No Report: Fish shallow water rock piles early on clear sunny days as these areas warm first, attracting and concentrating fish early. Fish slowly, a jig tipped with a minnow will produce the best action.
East Okoboji Lake
Channel Catfish – No Report: Fish after dark with bait on the bottom will produce excellent angling as channel catfish will typically go on the feedbag after ice out. Bluegill – No Report: Fish the north end for bluegill and crappie action early. Fish the wooden docks on the west side of the lake early, as the water warms fish docks located on the east side. Cast a mini jig to locate panfish, persistence and patience will be rewarded with a mix bag of crappie, bluegill and yellow perch.
Silver Lake (Dickinson)
Walleye – No Report: Wader fisherman angling after dark traditionally produces good catches of walleye. Fish slow early, a jig tipped with a minnow slowly retrieved will produce nice catches. As the water warms cast twister tails and minnow intimating baits for consistent action.
West Okoboji Lake
Crappie – No Report: Fish the canal areas for largemouth bass, crappie and bluegill, best action will occur during sunny warm days.
Crappie – No Report: Fish submerged brush piles on warm sunny days. Using a minnow under a slip bobber will produce fish up to 11 inches. Once bullheads become active cast a mini jig and swim it back to the boat to find active fish.
Five Island Lake
Channel Catfish – No Report: Good opportunities exist to catch angler acceptable sized and larger channel catfish. Walleye – No Report: Expect walleye angling to pick up in the next few weeks after the water warms.
Lost Island Lake
Crappie – No Report: Fish the canal s for crappie action, activity will continue to improve as the water warms.
Recent fisheries survey completed during April 2014, reflect excellent numbers of northern pike and yellow perch are present within the lake. Yellow Perch – No Report: Good numbers of yellow perch were sampled averaging 9.0 inches.
All lakes in the Spirit Lake District is ice free. Gill netting activities started April 14th on Big Spirit Lake.
Volga Lake is ice free. Anglers be aware that the universally accessible dock sustained major ice damage and is unusable at this time. Bluegill – Slow: Fish the shallow areas with a small jig tipped with a wax worm. Crappie – Slow: Fish will be found in the shallow areas along the rocks and brush piles. A small jig tipped with wax worm is your best bet.
Lake Hendricks is ice-free but fish activity has been slow. Bluegill – No Report: Largemouth Bass – Slow: A few anglers are catching largemouth bass along the shoreline using a jig and twistertail retrieved slowly. Crappie – No Report:
The lake is ice free but few people have been out and fish activity is slow. Bluegill – No Report: Crappie – No Report:
Upper Iowa River (above Decorah)
Water levels are a bit high but fishable. Water clarity is improving. Water temperatures are running in the mid to high 40s. Walleye – Slow:
Upper Iowa River (below Decorah)
Water levels have stabilized with improved clarity. Anglers are picking up a little bit of everything such as suckers, brown trout, smallmouth, rock bass and a few channel cats. Sucker – Fair: Suckers are biting on worm rigs. Smallmouth Bass – Slow: Smallmouth are hitting a jig tipped with worm.
Turkey River (above Clermont)
Turkey River around Cresco has cleared and is fishable. Water levels have stabilized. Largemouth Bass – Good: Anglers have been getting nice largemouth bass around Cresco.
Turkey River (below Clermont)
Conditions for trout fishing below Big Spring Hatchery has improved. Walleye and smallmouth bass has picked up this week. Smallmouth Bass – Slow: Walleye – Slow: Try using a jig tipped with a nightcrawler, minnow or plastic imitation minnow.
Cedar River (above Nashua)
Anglers were doing well on catfish and walleye before this latest cool down. Fish activity should improve over the weekend with rising temps. Walleye – Slow: Anglers have been picking up a few walleye on artificial jigs tipped with twistertails. Use a slow retrieve as water temperatures are still cool.
Decorah District Streams
Spring mayfly hatches have been light. Very few Hendricksons have been reported. There have been reasonably good blue wing olive and baetis hatches in sizes #18-#24. Midge hatches have been productive in sizes #24 and smaller and nymph fishing with very small patterns has been good. Streamer fishing has been decent in deeper water.
Area rivers and streams are looking good but conditions may change depending on rainfall over weekend. Catchable trout stocking season began April 1. Call 563-927-5736 for daily stocking information. Go to www.iowadnr.gov/Fishing/TroutFishing.aspx to find out where. For more information, call the Decorah Fish Hatchery at 563-382-8324.
Mississippi River Pool 9
River level at Lansing is 11.5 feet and expected to rise to just over 12 feet over the next week. Water temps are in the lower 40s. Bluegill – Fair: Bluegill will begin to be on the move and feeding more. Fish the upper warmer areas of backwaters with small bait on a bobber. Crappie – Fair: A few crappie biting in the backwaters. Use small bait and slow presentations along shoreline trees. Yellow Perch – Fair: A few yellow perch being caught near village creek. Walleye – Fair: A few walleye being caught in Minnesota Slough.
Mississippi River Pool 10
River level at Lynxville is 22.2 feet and expected to level off over the next week. Water temp is in the low 40s. The rising water will push active fish towards shorelines. Bluegill – Fair: Bluegill will begin to be on the move and feeding more. Fish the upper warmer areas of backwaters with small bait on a bobber. Crappie – Fair: A few crappies biting in the backwaters. Use small bait and slow presentations along shoreline trees. Yellow Perch – Fair: Occasional nice perch can be caught in the tail waters fishing for sauger. Sauger – Good: Some good catches of sauger reported with a lot of short fish released. Walleye – Good: Walleye will begin to move towards spawning areas. Now is the time to get in on the last of the tail water bite.
Mississippi River Pool 11
River level at Guttenberg is 13 feet and is expected to rise to 14 feet over the next week. Water temp is in the low 40s. The rising water will push active fish towards shorelines, but many shorelines may be under water by the end the week. Gates remain open at Lock and Dam 10. Bluegill – Fair: Bluegill will begin to be on the move and feeding more. Fish the upper warmer areas of backwaters with small bait on a bobber. Crappie – Fair: A few crappies biting in the backwaters. Use small bait and slow presentations along shoreline trees. Yellow Perch – Fair: Some perch begin caught near the DNR boat ramp in Guttenberg. Sauger – Good: Some good catches of sauger reported with a lot of short fish released. Walleye – Good: Walleye will begin to move towards spawning areas. Now is the time to get in on the last of the tail water bite.
The spring bite is beginning to happen on the upper Mississippi. Cool weather caused main channel water temperatures to fall into the lower 40s so slower presentations may be necessary to catch fish. Tail water fishing for walleye and sauger will be impacted by high water levels and windy conditions are making tail water fishing difficult. Fish are moving to spawning areas. River levels are expected to rise another foot this week before leveling off.
Mississippi River Pool 12
Water level at the Dubuque Lock and Dam is 12.5 feet and water level at the railroad bridge is at 14.5 feet. Tail water stage will be on the rise at least two feet this week. Water is turbid and little fishing is being reported. Water temperature is 54 degrees in the main channel. Yellow Perch – No Report: Some yellow perch were finding their way into the creel but muddy rising water levels changed all of that. Sauger – No Report: Fishing for sauger was sparse after the rain fall. Some hit and miss for sauger fishing was being reported, prior to the rise in levels.
Mississippi River Pool 13
Water level at the Bellevue Lock and Dam is 13.7 feet, up four feet from last week. Tail water stage is expected to rise all week. Water is turbid and the turbid windy conditions experienced this week drove most anglers away from the river. Remember, paddlefish snagging is now closed for year.
Mississippi River Pool 14
Water level at the Fulton Lock and Dam is 12.5 feet and water level at Camanche is 14.6 feet. Tail water stage is expected to rise at least two feet this week. Water is turbid with water temperature around 54 degrees. Remember, paddlefish season is now closed for the year. No fishing was reported as a result of the high turbid water.
Mississippi River Pool 15
No angling was reported to our office from Pool 15. Water level at gauge below Le Claire is 8.7 feet and water level at Rock Island is 13.3 feet. Water temperature is around 54 degrees and turbid.
Water levels are rising and set to rise at least two feet during the week. Remember, paddlefish snagging season is now closed in all areas.
Mississippi River Pool 16
Tail water stage at LandD 15 is 12.52 feet and rising. Flood stage is 15 feet. Water temperature is 47 degrees which is a drop of one degree since last week. Channel Catfish – Slow: Anglers are catching a few channel cats below the dam on shad parts. White Bass – Slow: Some white bass are being caught on twister tails in Sunset marina. Crappie – Slow: Crappie fishing is slow in Sunset Marina. a few are being caught on jig and twister tail Sauger – Fair: Anglers are catching some small saugers in Sylvan Slough on minnows. Walleye – Fair: A few small walleye are being caught in Sylvan slough on minnows
Mississippi River Pool 17
Tail water level at LandD 16 is 11.42 feet and rising. This pool is predicted to stay below flood stage through April 22 barring any additional rain. Water temperature is 49 degrees. Overall fishing in pool 17 has been slow. All of the ramps are open. Channel Catfish – No Report: Bluegill – Slow: A few bluegills are being caught in the backwater areas Crappie – Slow: Some crappie are being caught in Big Timber but the bite is slow. Walleye – No Report:
Mississippi River Pool 18
Tail water level at LandD 17 is 13.04 feet and rising. This pool is predicted to reach flood stage of 15 feet on April 21 and crest at 1/2 foot above flood on April 24 barring an additional rain. Water temperature is currently 49 degrees. The Toolesboro boat ramp is closed due to flooding. Channel Catfish – Slow: Channel cats are being caught on shad parts below the dam. Bluegill – Slow: A few bluegills are being caught in the backwaters but the bite has been slow. Crappie – Fair: Crappie are biting in the backwaters on minnows.
Mississippi River Pool 19
Water level at LandD 18 is 8.56 and rising. This pool is predicted to hit flood stage of 10 feet on April 22 and continue to rise slowly after that. Current water temperature is 49 degrees. Channel Catfish – Fair: Channel cats are biting on shad parts or crawlers below the dam Bluegill – No Report: Crappie – Fair: Crappie are being caught in the backwaters on minnows. Fish the sunny side of the backwater for the most active fish.
Warming weather should continue to improve fishing in the Mississippi River. The recent rains especially those to the north have the river on the rise. The prediction is to crest near flood stage by April 22 without additional rain. For additional information call Fairport Fish Management 563-263-5062
Red Haw Lake
Anglers have been catching some largemouth bass along with some bluegills and crappies. Use minnows and a bobber around brush piles.
Very little fishing activity has been occurring but some anglers were able to catch some small largemouth bass. Crappie fishing has been slow.
East Greater Ottumwa Central Park Pond
2,000 trout were stocked on March 30th. Anglers should try in-line spinners or prepared trout baits. Don’t forget a trout stamp is required for possessing or fishing for trout.
The current lake level is 904.71 feet. The water temperature is 46 degrees. Anglers have been catching channel catfish on nightcrawlers. Try windblown shorelines and coves. Don’t forget Lake Rathbun contains zebra mussels so make sure to clean, drain, and dry equipment before transporting to another water body.
Please remember to take your trash with you so your favorite fishing spot is clean and free from litter. Contact the Rathbun Fish Hatchery at 641-647-2406 with questions regarding angling in south central Iowa.
Greenfield has a good panfish population and is a good place to target channel catfish. Channel Catfish – Fair: Anglers have reported catching ice out catfish using shad sides. Bluegill – No Report: Bluegill up to 8.5 inches can be caught around brush piles using wax worms. Crappie – No Report: There is a good crappie population in Greenfield ranging from 8 to 12 inches.
A few catfish are being caught at Nodaway. Channel Catfish – Fair: Catfish can be caught in the upper end of the lake with shad sides or cut bait.
Anita has quality sized panfish. The pontoon arm of the lake is a good place to target crappies after ice out. Bluegill – Slow: A few nine-inch bluegills are being caught on small jigs. Crappie – Good: Fish small jigs two feet under a bobber in the pontoon arm of the lake on sunny days. Sorting is necessary but large fish reach 12 inches.
Viking has a good crappie population and will provide good early season fishing. Crappie – No Report: Fish with wax worms around brush piles to catch crappie ranging from 8-12 inches.
Manawa is 12 inches low. Anglers are catching crappies in the canals on warm days. This is a good time of year to catch walleyes close to shore. Crappie – Good: Crappies are being caught in the canals using red and black tube jigs tipped with wax worms. Fish are all sizes. Walleye – No Report: Walleye move close to shore and spawn during April. Cast jigs or crankbaits to catch spawning walleye.
Cold Springs District Farm Ponds
Farm ponds typically warm sooner than lakes making them a good choice for early season fishing. Remember to get permission before fishing privately owned ponds. Channel Catfish – Slow: This is a good time of year to catch channel catfish with shad sides. Bluegill – Fair: Bluegills can be caught using small tackle and wax worms. Crappie – Good: Ponds that support crappie populations have been good last week fishing minnows under a bobber.
Warm weather will move crappies into shallow areas of lakes that warm quickly. This is a good time of year to target channel catfish with shad sides. For more information call the Cold Springs office at 712-769-2587.
Lake access is good. Channel Catfish – Excellent: Catfish are being caught on cut bait along the silt dikes in the north and east arms. Sunny days have been reported to be the best. Crappie – Good: Crappies up to nine inches are being caught on minnows and small jigs along the roadbed and near cedar tree piles. Walleye – Fair: Walleyes are being caught on jigs along the dam and the roadbed in the evenings.
West Lake (Osceola)
Lake access is good. Crappie – Good: Crappies are being caught with minnows and small jigs in the casino bay and near flooded timber.
Little River Watershed Lake
Little River is at full pool, and lake access is good. Largemouth Bass – Good: Largemouth bass have been caught using crankbaits and plastics near rock structures and cedar tree piles. Walleye – Good: Walleyes are being caught on jigs and minnows along the dam in the evening.
Badger Creek Lake
Lake access is good. Crappie – Slow: A few crappies have been caught drift fishing the main lake with small jigs and minnows.
Fogle Lake S.W.A.
Lake access is good. Crappie – Fair: Crappies up to 10 inches are being caught on minnows and jigs near the deep cedar tree piles and along the flooded timber.
Lake of Three Fires
Lake access is good. Crappie – Slow: Crappies up to 12 inches are being caught on jigs and minnows along the channel and the deep cedar tree piles.
Sands Timber Lake (Blockton Reservoir)
The lake has been drained to allow the construction of a wetland near the upper end.
Green Valley Lake
Lake access is good. Largemouth Bass – Good: Largemouth bass have been caught using crankbaits and plastics near rock structures and cedar tree piles.
Three Mile Lake
Lake access is good. Crappie – Fair: Crappies up to 10 inches have been caught on minnows and small jigs along the roadbed and near flooded timber. Walleye – Slow: Walleyes are being caught on jigs along the dam in the evenings.
Twelve Mile Creek Lake
Lake access is good. Largemouth Bass – Good: Largemouth bass have been caught using plastics and crankbaits near rock structures and cedar tree piles. Crappie – Fair: Most crappies being caught are 5-7 inches with some up to 10 inches. They are being caught using minnows and small jigs along the roadbed and near the flooded timber. Walleye – Slow: Walleyes are being caught on jigs along the dam in the evening.
Water temperature in the Mount Ayr District (Page, Taylor, Adams, Union, Ringgold, Decatur, Clarke and Madison counties) area lakes are exceeding 50 degrees. Reports from area farm ponds on bass and crappie fishing have been good. For more information, call 641-464-3108.