Iowa DNR Fishing Report

he 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

Crawford Creek Impoundment

Ice is off Crawford Creek, but no fishing to report.

Oldham Lake

Oldham is open, but fishing has been slow.

Storm Lake (including Little Storm Lake)

As of Wednesday, Storm Lake was still partially frozen, including all three boat ramps.  Some reports of anglers fishing from shore, but no reports of walleye being caught.  Lake level is 32 inches below crest.

Swan Lake

Swan Lake is free of ice.  Lake level is 43 inches below crest.

Arrowhead Lake

Arrowhead Lake is open.

Black Hawk Pits

Black Hawk Pit is ice free. Some anglers have been fishing from shore, but nothing to report.

Little Sioux River (Correctionville to Missouri River)

Little Sioux is flowing fast with turbid water.  Fishing is slow.

North Raccoon River (above State Hwy. 175 Bridge near Auburn)

Some anglers have been fishing, but walleye have been hit or miss.

Most lakes are open in the Black Hawk district.  Lakes that are still partially frozen over have extremely poor ice conditions.

Beeds Lake

Most of the ice is gone from the silt dam to the causeway. It won’t be long before some catfish will be feeding in the shallow open water. When the current opens cuts in the causeway, try for catfish, bass and crappies.

Lower Pine Lake

Ice is unsafe on Upper and Lower Pine lakes.

Lake Smith

Ice is about 1/2 out at Smith Lake, so ice fishing unsafe.

Humboldt Impoundment

The ice is out at Humboldt.

Rutland Impoundment

Ice is out at Rutland.

Clear Lake

Ice is unsafe on the main lake. The shoreline around both the main lake and the little lake is starting to open.  Yellow Bass – Good: Yellow bass are scattered. Anglers have been doing well. Some fish may be moving into 8-9 feet of water.

Lake Cornelia

Cornelia still has ice but anglers need to use caution.  Channel Catfish – Fair:   Bluegill – Slow:   Yellow Bass – Good: Yellows are biting well; most are 7 inches. Anglers catching some a little larger on jigging spoons.

Little Wall Lake

Little Wall is about half free of ice.

Crystal Lake

Ice is starting to deteriorate on the shoreline. Anglers should use caution if venturing out this weekend. Fishing success at Crystal has been consistent.  Bluegill – Good: Bluegills were biting in 15 feet. Anglers are still catching 7-9 inch bluegills on spikes.  Largemouth Bass – Fair: Largemouth bass and an occasional walleye and northern pike are being caught on minnows.

Rice Lake

There isn’t a lot of fishing lately. Rice Lake will be lowered four feet ahead of a plan to eliminate the fish population later this spring.  Lowering the lake level will help to re-establish beneficial aquatic plants that provide fish habitat and improve water quality. Rice Lake will be restocked with sport fish.

Blue Pit

Rainbow trout were stocked Jan 19.

Iowa River (Iowa Falls to Marshalltown)

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

Shell Rock River (above Greene)

Anglers might try below some of the dams on the Shell Rock for walleye, northern pike, or catfish.

Winnebago River

The Winnebago water levels are stable. Anglers might have success at some of the dams in Mason City, Fertile, or Forest City. Anglers might have success looking for eddy areas, where the current is slower, and fishing with minnows or cutbait for northern pike, walleye, or catfish.

East Fork Des Moines (Algona to Humboldt)

Anglers are starting to fish the East Fork but no reports have come in. Fishing should pick up soon, if we can get a little sunshine. Try with a jig and minnow retrieved slowly or left on bottom for walleye or catfish.

Be mindful of warming weather and changing ice conditions on area lakes. Ice on many of the area lakes is unsafe. For ice condition updates and fishing information in the north central area contact the Clear Lake Fish and Wildlife office at 641-357-3517.

Big Spirit Lake

Walleye season is closed until May 4. Ice is going out.  Bullhead – No Report: As the ice continues to go out and the water starts warming look toward the grade for some early bullhead action.

East Okoboji Lake

Walleye season is closed until May 4. Channel Catfish – No Report: Once the ice has all melted look for some early season cat action on a few of the drop offs and rock piles in the lake.

West Okoboji Lake

Walleye season is closed until May 4. Ice fishing is not advised as the ice is going out.

With the sun gaining more power, the ice continues to weaken with some areas beginning to honeycomb making all but foot travel unsafe.  For more information contact the Spirit Lake Hatchery at 712-336-1840

NORTHEAST

Volga Lake

Volga Lake has about 12 inches of ice.  There is some open water by the overflow at the dam.  Take care when going on ice as conditions can change rapidly this time of year.  Bluegill – No Report:   Crappie – Fair: Anglers have had luck catching crappies over structure in shallower water using a glow jig or spinner jig tipped with wax worm.

Lake Hendricks

Ice depths vary. Be aware of the south end because the aerator is running.  With warmer weather and rain predicted for the weekend, ice conditions may deteriorate very quickly.  Very few people have been ice fishing this week.

Lake Meyer

There is about 12 inches of ice with slush on top.  There is open water by the overflow at the dam and by the jetty.  Be careful as ice conditions can change rapidly with the change in weather.  Fish are in 8 to 10 feet suspended at varying depths below the ice.  Bluegill – Slow:   Largemouth Bass – No Report:   Crappie – Slow:

Decorah District Streams

Blue Wing patterns anywhere from #16s to #24s have been effective.  Fish were also caught with wet fly and nymph patterns in the same sizes.  Snowmelt and runoff has affected and will continue to affect water clarity on some streams depending on current conditions. All catchable trout streams were stocked this week. Please call 563-927-5736 for current stocking information.

All river and stream water levels are have stabilized and continue to be off color with snowmelt and runoff.  Rain and warmer temperatures this weekend could affect stream quality.  Northeast Iowa still has spots of snow especially in areas with tree cover.  For more on water levels, visit this website http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ia/nwis/rt. ; Trout streams are still being stocked but on a stream by stream basis.  For more information, call 563-382-8324.

Cedar River (Nashua to La Porte City)

The Cedar River is currently falling; walleye angling conditions should improve this weekend. Fish lead head jigs tipped with a minnow.  Walleye – Fair: Lead head jigs tipped with a minnow is good for walleyes. Cast upstream and bounce off of bottom while retrieving.

Shell Rock River (Greene to Shell Rock)

Walleye fishing on the Shell Rock should improve again as water levels are falling.  Walleye – Fair: Lead head jigs tipped with a minnow is good for walleyes. Cast upstream and bounce off of bottom while retrieving.

Wapsi River (Tripoli to Troy Mills)

There have been reports of anglers catching walleye on the Wapsipinicon River. The Pinicon Ridge boat ramp for river access is scheduled to open April 5.  Walleye – Fair: Lead head jigs tipped with a minnow is good for walleyes. Cast upstream and bounce off the bottom while retrieving.

Maquoketa River (above Monticello)

The Maquoketa River is in excellent condition for fishing. Walleye spawn and season are upon us; a jig tipped with a twistertail and live minnow is most productive.  Walleye – Fair: Lead head jigs tipped with a minnow is good for walleyes. Cast upstream and bounce off the bottom while retrieving.

Manchester District Streams

Due to poor road/access conditions trout plants may not follow the proposed stocking calendar. We encourage anglers to call the stocking hotline before traveling too far at 563-927-5736.

Ice fishing season is officially over. Walleye fishing on the interior rivers has been hit-or-miss due to weather and water level fluctuations. Trout stocking has begun but on a stream by stream basis due to wet conditions, call the trout stocking recording for more information 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 9.5 feet and is expected to level off and drop this week.  Northern Pike – Fair: Pre-spawn northern have been actively feeding on jigs and minnows.

Mississippi River Pool 10

River level at Lynxville 19.1 feet and expected to level off this week. The boat ramp at Lynxville is open and is popular for tail water fishing.  Northern Pike – Fair: Northern are actively feeding on jigs with minnow. Sauger – Excellent: Sauger bite is picking up but many smaller fish reported.  Walleye – Good: Some nice sized walleyes being caught in the tail waters.

Mississippi River Pool 11

Snow and ice melt has caused a bump in river levels.  Guttenberg is 10.3 feet and expected to level off and drop over the next week. The boat ramps at Guttenberg are open and have been popular for tail water fishing.  Northern Pike – Fair: Pre-spawn northerns are feeding actively on jigs and minnows. Sauger – Good: Sauger bite is good.  Lots of small fish with some good keepers mixed in.  Walleye – Good: Walleye bite has been good with some nice keepers being reported.

Warmer weather is quickly eroding shoreline ice and we cannot recommend ice fishing due to the potential for unsafe ice.  Snow and ice melt has caused river levels to bump up this week.  Water temperature is 36 degrees. Boat ramps at Lynxville and Guttenberg are open.  Tail water fishing for walleye and sauger may be interrupted slightly as the lock gates are open.  Boaters should use caution to avoid large ice chunks, trees and debris in the channel.

Mississippi River Pool 12

At the Dubuque Lock and Dam the water levels started at 5.1 feet at the dam and rising.  At the railroad bridge the stage is 7.9 feet.  As of Thursday, the Hawthorne Street ramp had massive ice flows limiting boat launching.  Some anglers are launching out of O’Leary’s landing on the Wisconsin side of the River.  Yellow Perch – Fair: Yellow perch do seem to bite the best in the later winter ice.  Anglers using flashy ice fishing jigs, spoons and minnow heads.  Sauger – Fair: Those getting to the tail water are reporting small saugers on jig and minnow.

Mississippi River Pool 13

Water Level at Bellevue dam was is at 6.4 feet. Presently the water is dropping and is slightly stained.  Paddlefish season is still open.  Please note that only two paddlefish can be snagged in Illinois tail waters, even if they are released.  5/0 hooks or smaller can be used, and all fish over 33 inches eye to tail fork MUST be released.  Yellow Perch – No Report: Some yellow perch were showing up in the tail waters and the size has been good.  Others were reported while ice fishing.  Often perch bite better as the winter progresses.  Sauger – Fair: Water levels are back to where anglers can find walleye and sauger, usually by using a three-way rig tipped with a minnow. Other anglers are using a jig and minnow.  Anglers should understand that when fishing in water depth below 35 feet, the deep water hooking mortality of walleye and sauger increases greatly.  Walleye – Fair: Just a few nice walleyes were reported to us. Walleye need to be within the 15 to 20-inch size range to keep.  Many small walleye being caught are an indication of a strong year class which should bode well for the future.

Mississippi River Pool 14

Water levels at Fulton were at 6.5 feet and falling.  Paddlefish season is open; please remember that paddlefish over 33 inches must be released. They are measured from the eye to the fork in tail.  Also anglers can only use 5/0 hooks.  Sauger – Fair: Fishing activity started back up after high water moved through the river. Anglers are using a jig and minnow and three-way rigs with a minnow.

Mississippi River Pool 15

We have received no information regarding fishing on this water body this week.  Sauger – No Report: Although not always mentioned in this fishing report but some good sauger fishing can be found in Pool 15. No information has been received yet this spring but a nice population of fish can be found in this pool.

Conditions for tail water fish are generally good throughout the district.  Ice fishing conditions are poor but some people with hovercrafts are still finding some good ice.

Mississippi River Pool 16

Tail water stage at Lock and Dam 15 is 9.57 feet. Tail water stage is forecasted to rise to 11.1 feet by early next week. The Marquette St. ramp in Davenport is open. Channel Catfish – No Report: We have not received any reports for channel catfishing for this pool. There have been some reports of winter killed shad in some of the backwater areas like Credit Island and Sunset Marina. Catfish anglers may want to target these areas as channel catfish will feed on the dead shad. Try using cut shad or shad guts as bait.  Crappie – Fair: Some crappies are being caught in Sunset Marina open water fishing. Try fishing with small jigs and minnows. Sauger – Slow: Fishing has been slow below the dam and in Sylvan slough.  Walleye – Slow: Fishing has been slow below the dam and in Sylvan Slough.

Mississippi River Pool 17

Tail water stage at Lock and Dam 16 is 8.02 feet. Tail water stage is forecasted to reach 10.3 feet by early next week. Boats are able to launch at Muscatine. Big Timber (The Breaks) has open water. There is some dead gizzard shad in Big Timber due to winterkill.  Channel Catfish – No Report: We have not received any channel catfishing information for this pool this week. There is some winter killed gizzard shad in Big Timber. Anglers may want to target this area as channel catfish will feed on the dead shad. Try using cut shad or shad guts as bait.  Sauger – No Report:

Mississippi River Pool 18

Tail water stage at Lock and Dam 17 is 9.82 feet. Tail water stage is forecasted to reach 11.9 feet by early next week. We have not received any fishing information for this pool this week.   Sauger – No Report:

Mississippi River Pool 19

Tail water stage at Lock and Dam 18 is 5.96 feet. Tail water stage is forecasted to reach 7.4 feet by early next week.  Channel Catfish – Fair: Anglers are catching some channel catfish in the backwaters and sloughs. Look for areas with winterkilled shad. Try fishing with cut shad or shad guts.  Crappie – Fair: Some crappies are being caught open water fishing in the backwaters with small jigs and minnows. Sauger – Slow: Fishing for saugers below the dam has been slow.

Mississippi River Pools 16-19: Tail water stages have been rising over the past few days. Main channel water temperature is around 43 degrees. Tail water fishing for saugers and walleyes has been slow throughout the pools. If you have questions on fishing Pools 16-19 contact the Fairport Fish Hatchery at 563-263-5062.

SOUTHEAST

Lake Odessa

Channel Catfish – Excellent: Catfishing has been very good for the last week or so.  Use cutbait or shad, work whatever shore the waves are hitting and you should catch catfish.

Lake Geode

There have been a few anglers out with the warmer weather.  Channel Catfish – Good: Find a day when the wind is blowing into a sunny bay and you should be able to catch some nice catfish.  Largemouth Bass – Fair: Work the bays on the north side where the sun is warming up the water. Slowly work a rubber worm or a real one to catch some of these still cold bass.

Lake Belva Deer

The last of the ice melted the middle of last week.  Largemouth Bass – Good: Head to the west (upper) end of the lake.  There are some really nice sized bass being caught up there in the shallows. The is some water coming out of the marsh and into the lake and the combo of that and the sun hitting the shallow water up there seems to be doing the trick.  Crappie – Good: Anglers are also picking up some crappies up at the Upper end of the lake.

Lake of the Hills

The last of the ice should be gone by the weekend.  Remember, live minnows are not allowed as bait in Lake of the Hills. Rainbow Trout – Good: The trout bite has been a little hit or miss, but when they are biting they are being caught on a number of lures and baits.  Try wax worms or worms under a bobber.  Bluegill – Fair: Anglers are also picking up a few bluegills while fishing for trout using wax worms.

Wilson Lake

The park roads have been open for the last couple of weeks.  Rainbow Trout – Excellent: Trout fishing has been very good with lots of trout being caught on wax worms or spinners.

Environmental Discovery Park North Pond

Pick a nice warm day and bring out the kids.  This is an easy pond for them to fish and catch a few trout.  Rainbow Trout – Excellent: wax worms and bobbers or spinners seems to be the way to go to catch a limit.

Skunk River (Rose Hill to Coppock)

The river is running about half bank full. Channel Catfish – Good: A few anglers have been getting out and had success using shad or other cutbaits.

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

Hannen Lake

The lake is ice free and the boat dock is in.  Largemouth Bass – Fair:

Iowa Lake

The lake is ice free and the boat ramp is open.  Crappie – Fair: Anglers had been catching crappie last week through the ice, so the fish should still be catchable by boat.

Kent Park Lake

The lake is ice free and the boat ramp is open.

Lake Macbride

The lake is 99 percent ice free and all boat ramps are open. Boat docks should all be in by the weekend. Main lake surface water temps are in the low 40s.

Central Park Lake

The lake still was covered with ice as of April 2, but the ice is unsafe.

Pleasant Creek Lake

The lake is ice free and all ramps are open. Docks may be in by the weekend.

Diamond Lake

The lake is ice free, the boat ramp is open, and the boat dock is in.

Otter Creek Lake

The east two-thirds of the lake is ice free and the boat ramp is open. The boat dock is not in and the fish cleaning station is closed.

Union Grove Lake

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

Coralville Reservoir

The current lake level on April 4 is 679.5 feet. The lake is predicted to reach spring pool of 679.4 feet on April 5. The lake is ice free and Macbride Park and Mehaffey Ramps are usable. Navigation above Jolly Rogers is difficult to impossible at this water level.  Channel Catfish – Slow: A few fish are being caught on shad. The upper end under I-380 and Hwy. 965 bridges are the most popular for shore fishermen.

Sand Lake

Sand Lake in Marshalltown was stocked with 2,000 trout on March 29. All trout fishing regulations apply.  Rainbow Trout – Excellent: Try small spinners, jigs, or scented baits.

Iowa River (Coralville Lake to River Junction)

Current outflow on April 4 from the Coralville Dam is 2,700 CFS. Flows are predicted to stair step down.  Channel Catfish – Slow: Shad guts have been producing some catfish in the stretch from Iowa City to Hills.

Maquoketa (Hopkinton to Canton)

Walleye – Fair: Walleyes are starting to congregate below the dams and can be caught on jigs and/or minnows.

Prairie Park Fishery

Prairie Park Fishery in Cedar Rapids will be stocked with 2,000 trout on April 6. There will be a fishing event associated with this stocking, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Two hundred trout will be tagged and may be turned in for prizes during the event that day. All trout fishing regulations apply.  Rainbow Trout – Excellent:   Brook Trout – Excellent:

Sand Lake

Sand Lake in Iowa City will be stocked with 2,000 trout on April 13. There will be a fishing event associated with this stocking, beginning at 10 a.m. Two hundred trout will be tagged and may be turned in for prizes during the event that day. All trout fishing regulations apply.

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

Lake Wapello

Try windy shorelines for channel catfish. Try using cutbait.

Red Haw Lake

There has not been much fishing activity. Try small jigs fished along the shoreline especially on sunny afternoons.

East Greater Ottumwa Central Park Pond

2,000 trout were stocked on 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 905.22 feet with 904 feet being normal.  The water temperature is 42 degrees.  Try for channel catfish in areas with the wind blowing into shore.  Use cut bait or shad sides.  Keep in mind some of the walleyes in Lake Rathbun have been tagged so if you catch a tagged fish please call the hatchery at 641-647-2406 with any information.

For questions regarding fishing in south central Iowa, please 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 in 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: A family fishing event with a spring stocking of rainbow trout will occur on April 6, at noon.

Des Moines River (Saylorville to Red Rock)

Crappie – Fair: Anglers fishing below Red Rock that are targeting walleye with jig presentations are also getting into some crappie.  Walleye – Fair: Walleye fishing in the Des Moines River is starting to pick up, especially below the dams.  Anglers at the Red Rock spillway are having the best success currently, but warmer weather into this weekend should improve fishing at Center Street in Des Moines and the Saylorville spillway area.  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.

Ice is out in central Iowa and open water fishing is beginning.  River conditions are looking good for early spring walleye fishing through the month of April. More fishing reports will resume as open water fishing picks up.  For questions on central Iowa lakes and rivers contact Ben Dodd or Andy Otting at 515-432-2823.

Greenfield Lake

Greenfield lake has a good channel catfish population with many fish in that 2 to 3 pound range. The lake is low so use caution using the boat ramp.  Channel Catfish – No Report: Fish shad sides on the shoreline the wind is coming into.

Nodaway Lake

A few crappies are being picked up with minnows. The lake is 5 feet low and the boat ramp is not useable.  Crappie – Slow: Fish minnows or jigs around rock and the corners of the dam on sunny days for best success.

Littlefield Lake

Littlefield is a good lake to target channel catfish after ice out.  Channel Catfish – No Report: Dead shad is the best bait to use after ice out. Catfish average 2 pounds.

Lake Anita

Early season crappie fishing has begun in the pontoon area of the lake.  Crappie – Fair: Fish the pontoon area with minnows under a bobber for 9-inch fish.

DeSoto Bend

Desoto Bend opens for fishing on April 15. The lake has good catfish and crappie populations.  Channel Catfish – No Report: Shad sides on the windy shoreline work well this time of the year for channel catfish.  Crappie – No Report: Fish shallow areas around structure with minnows.

Lake Manawa

Very few reports came from Manawa last week. The lake supports a good channel catfish population and crappie fishing can be good in the canals on sunny days.  Channel Catfish – No Report: Fish the windy shoreline with shad sides for catfish of all sizes.  Crappie – No Report: Try the canals on the west side on warm sunny days.

Early season crappie fishing has begun on a few lakes. Now is a good opportunity to catch channel catfish with shad sides or cut bait. For more information on lakes in the district call the Cold Springs office at 712-769-2587.

Little River Watershed Lake

The shoreline stabilization and fish habitat work has been completed.  The water level is currently 8 feet low and will be allowed to rise and run-off permits.  None of the ramps are usable.  Most of the fish habitat is partially exposed.

Fogle Lake S.W.A.

The water level lowered last fall to allow boat ramp repairs.  Currently the water is 6 feet low but the ramp extension allows easy access.

Sands Timber Lake (Blockton Reservoir)

The lake was drained to allow completion of water quality improvements.

Green Valley Lake

The water level is currently 3 feet low.  The main ramp is easy to use.

Summitt Lake

The replacement spillway was completed last July. Very little run-off has reached the lake.  Currently the lake is at least 6 feet low and no ramps are usable.

Three Mile Lake

The lake is open and the ramps are easily accessible. The water is 39 degrees.  Channel Catfish – Fair: A few anglers are trying for early catfish in the shallows near shoreline areas.

Twelve Mile Creek Lake

The lake is open and the ramps are accessible.  The water is 39 degrees. Walleye – Slow: A few walleye can be found on the rock reefs and rock fields.

The ice is mostly gone.  Boat access is possible at all lakes.  Water levels are usually 15 to 30 inches low but rising slowly.

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