Iowa 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.
Mississippi River Pools 9 to 15: In general, fishing pressure last week was light due to the extreme cold. Most of the backwater areas have good ice; however, caution is needed when attempting to cross sloughs or any place with a current. Heavy snowfall insulates the ice and limits the formation of additional ice, so ice may not be nearly as thick as you think it is. The side channels in Pools 12 to 15 have unsafe ice conditions; however, the backwater areas have 6 to 8 inches of ice.
In Pool 9, anglers are ice fishing off Army Road at Cordwood and Bear Paw Lakes near New Albin. The Village Creek boat ramp and Shore Slough by Lansing are consistent producers of bluegills, but you will have to sort. A few nice crappies are also being reported, but generally bite best at first or last light.
Pool 10 is good for bluegills in Joyce Lake and anglers are also catching a few largemouth bass and crappies. Mud Hen Lake has produced some bluegills, but crossing Harpers Slough on foot should be done with caution! Sturgeon Slough (aka Scrooges Lake area) has also had a lot of fishing pressure. Bussey Lake by Guttenberg has been running hot and cold for mainly bluegill and an occasional crappie.
Pool 11 tailwaters by Guttenberg are fair to good for saugers and small walleyes. The DNR boat ramp below the fish hatchery is now frozen in as is the city boat ramp. Burtrom Lake by Cassville produced some crappies early and now people are mostly sorting bluegills. Hayville Lake also has seen limited early season ice fishing, but not heard much since. Mud Lake and Sunfish Lake just north of Dubuque have yet to see a lot of ice fishing pressure, but fishing is expected to be decent as good quality panfish were surveyed in this area just prior to ice up.
In Pool 12, anglers are catching bluegill and crappie in O’Leary’s Lake, Frentress Lake and Kehough Slough. In Pool 13, anglers are catching bluegill and crappie in Brown’s Lake, Lower Sabula Lake, Sabula Harbor, and Edick Lake. Mickelson’s Lake (aka Potters Marsh) is good for bluegill and crappie along with a few yellow perch. Pool 14 is good for bluegill and crappie in Rock Creek.
Cedar River (Mitchell, Floyd and Chickasaw): Anglers are reporting catches of walleye and nice crappies at Nashua and Charles City. Colorful teardrop-shaped jigs tipped with a wax worm seem to be gear of choice. A few folks are also trying worms. Ice thickness is highly variable, especially where there is flow, so care should be taken when getting to that favorite spot.
Cedar River (Black Hawk): Anglers are catching a fair number of walleyes through the ice where and when conditions allow. Proceed with caution when traveling across ice on the rivers especially. Try jigging spoons with or without a minnow for walleyes in iced over backwater pools. Walleye and other fish concentrate in deep pools to over winter.
Avenue of the Saints Lake (Bremer): Fishing is fair for 6 to 7-inch bluegills using small jigs tipped with wax worms. Ice thickness is about 6 inches.
Big Woods, Brinker (East Lake) and George Wyth Lake (Black Hawk): Fishing is good for bluegill with some yellow perch mixed in. Sorting will be necessary for keepers, but the action is decent. Ice thickness is about 6 inches.
Lake Hendricks (Howard): Crappie and bluegill are biting on wax worms, but angling has been slow this week due to the recent snowfall. Try using a teardrop-shaped jig tipped with a wax worm. Anglers report some sorting of fish is necessary. Reports of 20 inches of ice with about 7 to 8 inches of snow on top are common.
Lake Meyer (Winneshiek): About 10 inches of snow is covering 10 to 12 inches of ice. Fishing has slowed a bit, but anglers are still catching 6 to 8-inch bluegills and crappies up to 9 inches. Try using a white, red or yellow rubber skirted jig tipped with wax worm along the dam. Also try fishing near the habitat added this past year.
North Prairie Lake (Black Hawk): Action is hot for rainbow trout following the December 16 stocking. A variety of baits are working which include Swedish pimples, jigging raps, cicadas, jigs with twister tails, power bait, minnows, and tear drops with wax worms. Ice thickness on North Prairie is about 6 inches. A trout fee (aka trout stamp) is required to fish for or to possess trout. Licenses and fees for 2009 went on sale December 15, so trout fees purchased now will allow you to trout fish through January 10, 2010.
Plainfield Lake (Bremer): Fishing is fair for quality-sized bluegill using tear-drop jigs and wax worms. Ice thickness is about 6 inches.
Sweets Marsh (Bremer): Fishing is reported to be fair for crappie and bluegill, and ice thickness is about 6 inches.
Silver Lake (Delaware): Fishing is fair for 6 to 7-inch bluegill using tear drops tipped with wax worms.
Volga Lake (Fayette): Anglers are reporting about 8 to 9 inches of ice with about 8 to 10 inches of snow on top. Folks have been catching 8 to 9-inch crappies and a few bluegills on wax worms. Most are catching fish along the dam, but there is lot of area to cover.
Northeast Iowa Trout Streams: Trout fishing is good. Better trout streams with good spring flows will be open throughout the winter. Trout fishing is a great option for the ice-shy angler and the snow covered scenery is beautiful.
For information on fishing in northeast Iowa, call the regional office in Manchester at 563-927-3276.
Mississippi River Pools 16 to 20: In Pool 16, anglers are catching bluegill and crappies through the ice at Credit Island on teardrop jigs and wax worms. There are reports of 5 to 6 inches of ice at Credit Island. Some bluegills are also being caught in Sunset Marina on jigs and wax worms. The Marquette Street ramp is frozen in. In Pool 17, no fishing report. In Pool 18, the ramp at Toolesboro is frozen in. Ice fishing in the backwaters has been slow. In Pool 19, the ramp at Burlington is frozen in. Ice fishing in the backwaters has been slow due to recent weather. In Pool 20, no fishing report.
Lake Darling (Washington): The lake is completely drained.
Lake Belva Deer (Keokuk): Not much activity so far this week because of poor weather conditions. The County worked hard to remove the ice so you should be safe in getting down to the south ramp unless we get more bad weather.
Lake Geode (Henry): The ice thickness on the lake is 3 to 4 inches. Be careful because last week there were still about a thousand geese on the lake. Last week’s ice storm has left the park roads in very poor condition. Anglers may want to avoid the road down to the beach. The DOT should be in later this week to clear some of the ice from the road.
Lake Rathbun (Appanoose): The main lake froze over this weekend. The bays and coves have ice. Use caution if venturing out because ice thickness is variable.
Lake Keomah (Mahaska): The lake finally froze over completely over the weekend. Geese had been keeping part of the lake open. Use caution if venturing out.
Lake Wapello (Davis): The lake has been completely drained.
Lake Miami (Monroe): Anglers have been reporting 6 to 7 inches of ice along the dam. Crappies have been hitting on small jigs tipped with a wax worm.
Lake Hawthorn (Mahaska): Conditions are not suitable for ice fishing.
Lake Macbride (Johnson): Most of the lake has better than 6 inches of ice on it. The fishing has slowed a bit with the snow cover but some crappies are being caught around deeper structure on jigs and wax worms.
Coralville Reservoir (Johnson): Areas out of the current have good ice (6 to 8 inches) and are fishable. Some areas still remain unsafe so use caution. No catch reports are available.
Kent Park (Johnson): Anglers are now hitting the lake and having some success on bluegills fishing around the deeper structure and using small jigs and wax worms. Dusk seems to be the prime fishing time.
Hannen Lake (Benton): The lake is completely ice covered with 7 to 9 inches in most areas. Deep brush piles are giving up some crappies, while bluegills are around brush in shallower water. No minnows are allowed here.
Diamond Lake (Poweshiek): The lake is covered with 7 to 9 inches of ice. Fishing has been tough so far, with small bluegills accounting for most of the catch. No minnows are allowed here.
Farm Ponds: Area farm ponds are reporting 4 to 5 inches of ice. Make sure to always ask permission on private ground.
For more information on fishing in southeast Iowa, call the regional office in Brighton at 319-694-2430.
Lake Ahquabi (Warren): Anglers are doing pretty good on bluegills and picking up a few red ears.
Hickory Grove (Story): Bluegill fishing is fair; some anglers are still picking up 10 to 15 keepers in an outing. Fish are being caught suspended in brush piles in 20 to 30 feet of water. Most fish being caught are 7 to 9 inches.
Big Creek (Polk): Bluegill and crappie fishing is good using wax worms and minnows. Fish are being caught within a few feet of the bottom anywhere from 10 to 30 feet of water. Fishing is better shallow earlier in the morning, and deeper as the morning progresses. A few walleye are being caught after dark.
DMACC Pond (Ankeny): Bluegill fishing has slowed this week with the occasional trout still being caught. Bluegills that are caught are good size with most being around 8 inches. A trout stamp is not needed if fishing for and keeping bluegills only.
Banner Pit South (Warren): Trout should still be there in good numbers. The last stocking took place right before skim ice so most fish remain for ice fishing.
Rock Creek (Jasper): Crappie fishing is good to excellent using wax worms. Fish are being located near brush in 10 feet or deeper water. The best bite has been in the evenings. Most fish are 8 inches with some approaching 10 inches.
Contact Ben Dodd at (515) 432-2823, Ext.108, for information on the above area lakes
Most area lakes are frozen over. Farm ponds, small lakes and medium lakes have areas with up to 10 inches of ice. Large lakes are also frozen over but waterfowl and the wind kept them open until the past few days. Check ice thickness in several places.
Three Mile Lake (Union): The lake is completely frozen over. Ice anglers have been utilizing many of the same areas as previous years. The cove southwest of the water pumping station and the area just off the upper ramp has been the most popular to date. Waterfowl were on the lake until Dec. 20 so ice may be thin in some areas.
Twelve Mile Lake (Union): The lake is completely frozen over. A little angler activity has occurred in the creel channel between the two middle ramps. Waterfowl were present until Dec. 18. Check ice thickness in several areas.
Lake Icaria (Adams): The lake is completely frozen over. A little angler activity has occurred just to the north of the marina. Waterfowl were present until Dec 20 so ice thickness could vary in some areas.
Lake of Three Fires (Taylor): The lake is completely frozen over. Ice thickness near shore is over 7 inches. Mid-lake ice thickness should be less. Check thickness often. Very little angling activity has occurred.
Fogle Lake (Ringgold): The lake is completely frozen over. A little angling activity has occurred over the brush pile immediately north of the center of the dam.
Contact Gary Sobotka at (641) 464-3108 for information on the above area lakes.
Ice conditions have been reported as favorable in most farm ponds and smaller bodies of water. Check ice conditions frequently and be aware of potential weak ice due to waterfowl. It is strongly advised to remain cautious and to test the ice before venturing out.
Lake Manawa (Pottawattamie): The canals have 6 inches of ice and anglers are catching small crappies on wax worms.
Farm Creek (Pottawattamie): Anglers are catching 7-inch bluegills on wax worms.
Anderson Area (Montgomery): Bluegill fishing is good for 8-inch fish. A few 9-inch crappies have been caught in the evenings using minnows.
Southwest Iowa Farm Ponds: The best fishing reports have been from privately owned small ponds for bluegill and in the larger ponds, crappie, using teardrops tipped with wax worm. Ice thickness varies from 3 to 5 inches.
Contact Bryan Hayes at (712) 769-2587 for information on the above area lakes.
For more information on general fishing in southwest Iowa, call the regional office in Lewis at 712-769-2587.
Spirit Lake (Dickinson): Crappies are being caught at Trickles Slough and Anglers Bay along weed edges and openings with small ice jigs tipped with wax worms. Bluegills are biting in Angler’s Bay along the weed beds and open areas on small ice jigs tipped with live-bait or plastics. Fish along weed beds or rock reefs using ice jigs tipped with wax worms, plastics, or minnows for yellow perch. Walleyes are biting along the weed lines and rock reefs in the evening using jigging lures tipped with live bait. Fish along weed-lines with jigging lures or with live-bait for northern pike
West Okoboji Lake (Dickinson): Fishing on the main lake and bays has been slow due to recent snow that has blocked many access points on the lake. Fish in the canals with small jigs tipped with wax-worms or plastics for bluegills and crappies, and in Smiths Bay for bluegills.
Upper Gar (Dickinson): Panfish are biting on small ice jigs tipped with wax worms and fished over weed beds or near docks.
Minnewashta (Dickinson): Fish along weed beds with small ice jigs tipped with wax-worms or plastics for panfish.
East Okoboji Lake (Dickinson): Walleyes are being caught on jigging lures tipped with minnows fished at rock bars in the evening.
Center Lake (Dickinson): Fish in the evening with jigging lures tipped with live-bait for walleyes.
Storm Lake (Buena Vista County): Anglers are catching a few perch.
Crawford Creek (Ida County): Bluegill fishing is slow.
Clear Lake (Cerro Gordo): Yellow bass are biting in the Farmer’s Beach area at dawn using a small jig tipped with bait. A few walleyes are being caught at this time as well. Thick snow cover on the lake is making access difficult.
Brushy Creek (Webster): Ice conditions are fair at the north end of the lake, while on other areas the ice is unsafe. There is about 4 to 6 inches of snow on the lake. Bluegills have been hitting on wax worms and some crappies have been caught on minnows at the north end boat ramp area.
For more information on fishing in northwest Iowa, call the regional office in Spirit Lake at 712-336-1840.