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.
The city beach area and seawall are open water; the area near the pump house to Dodge’s Point is open. There is a little bit of open water near the shoreline of the little lake. Looks like this weekend or early next week for ice out.
Ice opened up on April 8. Some are fishing, but no reports.
Ice is open from the boat ramp almost to the south jetty. Some open water along the east shoreline. Bluegill – Good: Fishing seems to be fairly consistent. Bluegill fishing has been good using small jigs tipped with wax worms. Anglers are reporting better success in the shallower water 8 feet near the edge of the dredged basin. Largemouth Bass – Fair: Some nice bass are being caught in 16 feet of water.
Bluebill is fishable from shore. There is open water all around the fishing jetty and most of the west end of the lake. 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 has been pretty good for walleyes this week.
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
The ice is honeycombed and ice fishing is limited to foot travel only. Northern Pike – Fair: A few pike have been caught from shore in areas of open water. Smallmouth Bass – No Report: Once the ice goes out target rock piles for some smallmouth action. Crappie – No Report: Crappies should start showing up in protected areas with warmer water. Walleye – No Report: Walleye season is closed.
East Okoboji Lake
Most of the lake is ice free and should be completely ice free by the weekend. A few panfish are being caught at the trestle bridge. Walleye – No Report: Walleye season is closed
Silver Lake (Dickinson)
The lake is open but a few ice chunks may still be floating around. Wader fishing for walleye should pick up in the upcoming weeks.
West Okoboji Lake
The edges are open as well as the back bays the main lake is still ice covered but could open up at any time. Walleye – No Report: Walleye season is closed.
Little Sioux River (state line to Linn Grove)
A few walleyes and northerns are being caught. Walleye – Slow:
West Fork Des Moines (state line to Emmetsburg)
A few walleyes are being caught on twister tails. Walleye – Slow:
For more information contact the Spirit Lake fish Hatchery at 712-336-1840.
Volga Lake is partially covered with ice but shoreline angling is available. 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 mostly ice-free but fish activity has been slow. Bluegill – No Report: Crappie – No Report:
The lake is about two-thirds covered with ice. Fish activity is slow. Bluegill – No Report: Crappie – No Report:
Upper Iowa River (above Decorah)
Water levels are a bit high but fishable with about one foot clarity. Water temperatures are running in the mid to high 40s. Walleye – Slow:
Upper Iowa River (below Decorah)
Water levels are elevated but fishable, with about one foot of clarity. Anglers are picking up a little bit of everything: 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.
Turkey River (below Clermont)
Conditions for trout fishing below Big Spring Hatchery have improved. Anglers are picking up walleye and smallmouth bass below the dam in Elkader. Smallmouth Bass – Slow: Walleye – Slow: Try using a jig tipped with a nightcrawler, minnow or plastic imitation minnow.
Cedar River (above Nashua)
River conditions have improved. 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
Most streams are presently running clearly in northeast Iowa. Good blue wing olive hatches are occurring daily. Try a #18 pattern for rising trout. A few dark Hendricksons having been coming off later in the afternoon. #14 or #12 large brown drake patterns are effective for trout rising to Hendricksons. Good trout have also been taken on wooly bugger patterns fished deep.
Area rivers and streams are looking good but conditions may change depending on rainfall over weekend. Catchable trout stocking season has begun. 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.
North Prairie Lake
1,800 trout will be released into North Prairie Lake on April 12. This event is being sponsored by the Cedar Valley Walleye Club and will be held from 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. Families and children are most encouraged to attend for this wonderful event.
There have been a few reports of crappies in the canal/ boat ramp area. Crappie will move into this area as the shallow canal warms quicker than the main lake. Crappie – Fair: Try a crappie minnow under a slip bobber or casting and retrieving tube or marabou jigs.
Cedar River (Nashua to La Porte City)
As the spring spawn, walleye and northern pike will move out of over-wintering holes and feed very aggressively. There have been good reports of nice northern pike and walleye taken on the Cedar in both Black Hawk and Bremer counties. Northern Pike – Good: A jig and twister tipped with a minnow or try floating a live chub under a bobber has been good. Walleye – Good: A jig and twister tipped with a minnow is deadly this time of year.
Shell Rock River (Greene to Shell Rock)
Take advantage of the great walleye fishing the Shell Rock River has to offer. There have been good reports of anglers catching walleye around the towns of Shell Rock and Clarksville. Walleye – Good: A jig and twister tipped with a minnow is a deadly combination for walleye this time of year.
Wapsi River (Tripoli to Troy Mills)
The Wapsipinicon River at Independence is falling at 5.77 feet. As the spring spawn nears, walleye and northern pike will move out of over-wintering holes and feed very aggressively. There have been reports of anglers catching northern pike in the Upper Wapsi in Black Hawk County. Northern Pike – Fair: Try floating a live chub under a bobber or casting larger spinners or spoons. Walleye – No Report:
Maquoketa River (above Monticello)
There have been a few reports of walleye being caught on the Maquoketa River. Walleye – Fair: Try a jig and twister tipped with a minnow or crawler for some good action.
Manchester District Streams
Trout stocking season began on April 1 for all of trout streams, be sure to download your stocking schedule at www.iowadnr.gov/trout.
The Iowa DNR will stock 1,800 trout into North Prairie Lake on April 12th. Interior river fishing for walleye and northern pike is beginning to heat up as they near spawning activity. Concentrate efforts near backwater areas and low head dams for northern pike and walleye. For further information call the district office in Manchester at 563-927-3276.
Mississippi River Pool 9
River level at Lansing is 8.83 feet and expected to rise to just over 10 feet over the next week. Water temperature is in the mid 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 17.96 feet and expected to rise to 19.9 feet over the next week. Water temperature is in the mid 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 crappie 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 9.35 feet and is expected to rise to 12 feet over the next week. Water temperature is in the mid 40s. The rising water will push active fish towards shorelines, but many shorelines may be under water by the end of next week. 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: 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. Main channel water temperatures are still in the upper 40s so slower presentations may be necessary to catch fish. Tail water fishing for walleye and sauger is still going well on the Upper Mississippi but fish may be moving to spawning areas soon. River levels are expected to rise close to 2 feet over the next week.
Mississippi River Pool 12
Water level at the Dubuque Lock and Dam is 8.8 feet and water level at the railroad bridge is at 11.1 feet. Tail water stage is steady but will rise later this week. Water is somewhat turbid but fishable. Water temperature is at 46 degrees in the main channel and warming nicely. Northern Pike – Good: Some pike being reported around O’Leary’s Lake and in harbors by anglers using chubs or spinner baits. The northern pike spawning process is well underway. Yellow Perch – Fair: Some yellow perch are finding their way into the creel as well. Mostly caught by walleye and sauger anglers. These perch will also spawn during the next few weeks. Sauger – Fair: Really hit or miss for sauger fishing. Most anglers seem to be using a three-way with minnows. Saugers are just starting their spawning cycles on Pool 12. Walleye – Good: Some slot fish reported (between 20-27 inches), with anglers catching fish on jig and minnows. Walleye spawn is underway. The hope is those nice slot fish that were all released will greatly add to the already robust walleye population in Pool 12.
Mississippi River Pool 13
Water level at the Bellevue Lock and Dam is 9.7 feet. Tail water stage is expected to rise later this week. Water is slightly turbid but fishable with water temperature around 47 degrees. Paddlefish snagging is still going on but will close on April 16. Some paddlefish are being snagged but pods are breaking up. Please review paddlefish rules before going after this species. Largemouth Bass – Fair: First report also of largemouth bass being caught in warm backwater areas by anglers using live bait such as a night crawler. Crappie – Fair: First reports of crappies being caught on minnows in brush piles out of the strong currents. Sauger – Fair: Some sauger being reported but fishing is mainly poor to fair. Some nice sized fish though have been reported by anglers mainly using a jig and minnow. Walleye – Good: Some walleye are being caught close to the shorelines as water level has risen. Walleyes are beginning to spawn in Pool 13 and will do so for the next two weeks or so.
Mississippi River Pool 14
Water level at the Fulton Lock and Dam is 9.1 feet and water level at Camanche is 12.0 feet. Tail water stage is expected to rise later in the week. Water is turbid with water temperature around 48 degrees. Some paddlefish are also being caught in tail waters. Please review all the laws concerning snagging this species. The paddlefish season will end April 16th. Sauger – Fair: Very hit or miss on the sauger and walleye. Some nice fish reported but also some zeros. Most anglers using a three-way rig with a minnow or a jig and minnow.
Mississippi River Pool 15
No angling was reported to our office from Pool 15. Water level at gauge below Le Claire is 7.0 feet and water level at Rock Island is 9.5 feet. Water temperature is around 48 degrees.
Tail waters are all open for business but most courtesy docks are not yet in place. Remember, paddlefish snagging will close on April 16th.
Mississippi River Pool 16
Tail water stage at lock and dam 15 is 9.49 feet and falling. Water temperature is 48 degrees. Channel Catfish – Slow: Anglers are catching channel cats below the dam on shad parts. This bite should improve as the water temperature increases. Crappie – Slow: Crappie fishing is slow in Sunset Marina; hopefully warmer weather will improve the bite. Sauger – Fair: Anglers are catching some small saugers in Sylvan Slough on minnows.
Mississippi River Pool 17
Tail water level at lock and dam 16 is 9.47 feet and falling. Water temperature is 49 degrees. Overall, fishing in pool 17 has been slow. All of the ramps are open. Channel Catfish – No Report: Crappie – Slow: Some crappies are being caught in Big Timber but the bite is slow. Netting in Big Timber showed there are some nice crappies available, including several 13-14 inch crappies that were sampled last week. Walleye – No Report:
Mississippi River Pool 18
Tail water level at lock and dam 17 is 9.87 feet. Water temperature is currently 48 degrees. Channel Catfish – Fair: Channel cats are being caught on shad parts below the dam. This bite should continue as the water temperature increases. 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. Fish the sunny side of the backwater to find the warmest water and most active fish.
Mississippi River Pool 19
Water level at lock and dam 18 is 6.06 feet and falling. Current water temperature is 48 degrees. Channel Catfish – Fair: Channel cats are biting on shad parts below the dam. Bluegill – Slow: A few bluegills are being caught but this bite has not really turned on yet. Increasing water temperature should improve the bite. 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 dry conditions have the river at a stable to slightly falling condition.
For additional information call Fairport Fish Management 563-263-5062
Lake Belva Deer
Largemouth Bass – Good: The few anglers that have been out are catching some real nice bass. Work the shallow water on the upper end and along the north side out in the open. Crappie – Good: Anglers are picking up some crappies in about five feet of water up at the upper end of the lake.
Lake of the Hills
Lake of the Hills is the only lake in West Lake Park where live minnows can be used as bait. Rainbow Trout – Good: Minnows and spinners are taking trout on a regular basis. The hot areas are along the dam and the spillway area. Crappie – Good: Work the area around the fishing area to pick up some nice crappies.
Rainbow Trout – Good: Anglers have been catching good number of trout. Look for them in 4-5 feet of water around the cedar trees and culvert piles.
Environmental Discovery Park North Pond
Rainbow Trout – Good: Plenty of trout left over from this spring’s stocking. Work the shallow water with small jigs and spinners to catch a limit.
Big Hollow Lake
The docks are out now and angler activity is picking up. Crappie – Good: Crappies are starting to be caught. I would work the more open shallow bays and around the islands where the sun can warm the water up just a little bit faster.
For more information on the above Lakes call the Lake Darling Fisheries Station at 319-694-2430.
Red Haw Lake
The fishing activity has been slow. There have been some small largemouth bass caught.
Very little fishing activity has been occurring but some anglers were able to catch some small largemouth bass.
East Greater Ottumwa Central Park Pond
2,000 trout were stocked on March 30. 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 903.96 feet. The water temperature is 42 degrees. At this time of year anglers should try to catch some ice out channel catfish using cutbait or shad guts on windblown shorelines. 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.
Don Williams Lake
Crappie – Fair: Pre-spawn crappies can be caught early spring fishing close to wood structure on the upper half of the lake using live minnow. Crappies are good sized, with fish over 11 inches.
Banner Lake (south)
Rainbow Trout – Excellent: 1,400 rainbow trout were stocked on April 5th. Trout will bite aggressively on small twister tail or tube jigs, small inline spinners, and prepared trout baits or wax worms fished under a bobber.
Des Moines River (Saylorville to Red Rock)
Walleye – Good: Walleye anglers fishing below the Saylorville and Red Rock Reservoir spillways and smaller dams from Fraser down through Des Moines are now catching fair numbers of walleye and occasional crappie and white bass. Try slowly retrieving jigs with twister tails, jigs with minnows or minnow imitating swim baits.
Water temperatures are on the rise from the upper 40s to the low to mid 50s. The best bite right now is the walleye fishing below the dams on the Des Moines and Raccoon Rivers. For questions on fishing central Iowa lakes and rivers contact Ben Dodd or Andy Otting at 515-432-2823.
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 ranging from 8 to 12 inches.
A few catfish are being caught. Channel Catfish – Fair: Catfish can be caught in the upper end 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 the large size is 12 inches.
Viking has a good crappie population and will provide good early season fishing. Crappie – No Report: Use wax worms around brush piles to catch 8-12-inch crappies.
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 has picked up the crappie bite in ponds and shallow bays of lakes that warm quickly. For more information call the Cold Springs office at 712-769-2587.
Icaria’s water level is below full pool, and 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 – Fair: 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)
West Lake is below full pool. 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. Walleye – Good: Walleyes are being caught on jigs and minnows in 20-25 feet of water during the day and on jigs along the dam in the evening.
Sands Timber Lake (Blockton Reservoir)
The lake has been drained to allow the construction of a wetland near the upper end.
Three Mile Lake
Three Mile’s water level is below full pool, and lake access is good. Crappie – Slow: Crappies up to 10 inches have been caught on minnows and small jigs along the roadbed and near flooded timber. Walleye – Fair: Walleyes are being caught on jigs along the dam in the evenings.
Twelve Mile Creek Lake
Twelve Mile’s water level is below full pool, and lake access is good. 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 – Fair: Walleyes are being caught on jigs along the dam in the evening.
Water temperature in the Mount Ayr District is reaching or exceeding 50 degrees. The district includes Page, Taylor, Adams, Union, Ringgold, Decatur, Clarke, and Madison counties. For more information call 641-464-3108.