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Iowa fishing report for Dec. 27

December 27, 2012 at 02:12 PM

Iowa Department of Natural Resources

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources issues a 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
Clear Lake
Ice thickness is 6 to 8 inches. Yellow bass are biting on wax worms and minnow heads fished in 10 feet of water.  A few walleyes and crappies are being caught on minnows. The best bite is just after sunrise and about an hour before sunset.  Crappie - Fair:  Walleye - Slow:  Yellow Bass - Fair:

Most of the area lakes have iced over. 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
The lake is locked up and there is 5-7 inches of ice in most areas.  Walleye and perch have been the main targets, but bluegills and crappies are also being sought after.  Try fishing the edges of green weeds or drop offs for most species. 

Center Lake
Center Lake has roughly 6 inches of ice but an open hole created by the aerator is present straight out from the fishing pier.

East Okoboji Lake
There is roughly 5-7 inches of ice but there may be thinner areas toward the south end.

Silver Lake (Dickinson)
Silver Lake has 8-10 inches of ice and the aerator is running on the east side.

West Okoboji Lake
There are a few open holes on the lake yet being kept open by geese.  The rest of the lake has 3-5 inches of ice but may be thinner in the main lake basin.  Bluegills are the main target. Try sight fishing them in Emerson, Miller’s, and North bays but stained water is present in some areas. 

For more information contact the Spirit Lake Hatchery at 712-336-1840.

Brushy Creek Lake
Ice report: south end around 3 inches, west side 5 inches, east side has about 4 inches but it’s only about 50 yards to what was recently open water.  North end had around 5 inches in the finger area; about 20 shacks out, farthest from shore was about 100 yards straight south of north ramp.  Report of some walleye, perch and up to 9 inch crappie.

NORTHEAST
Volga Lake
The lake froze on Saturday and there is now about 6 inches of clear ice.  Crappie - Good: Anglers are fishing in 22 feet of water near the dam.  Try small jigs tipped with minnows.

Lake Hendricks
The lake has about 5 inches of ice and very little snow cover.  Anglers are fishing in the bay by the boat ramp and off the point with great success.  Bluegill - Excellent: Bluegills have been found in 8 to 9 feet of water.  Small jigs tipped with wax worms have been working well this week.  Largemouth Bass - Slow: A stray largemouth has been caught while fishing for bluegills.  Crappie - Fair: Anglers are catching a few crappies while fishing for bluegills.

Lake Meyer
Lake Meyer has about 4 to 6 inches of clear ice.  The water is also very clear.  Anglers have been fishing on the east side of the lake for good results.  Bluegill - Excellent: Anglers have been fishing in 10 feet of water on small jigs tipped with wax worms.  Crappie - Excellent: Nice sized crappies are being caught on pink/white or white rubber skirted jigs with success.

Upper Iowa River (above Decorah)
We have received no information regarding fishing on this water body this week.

Upper Iowa River (below Decorah)
We have received no information regarding fishing on this water body this week.

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

Turkey River (below Clermont)
We have received no information regarding fishing on this water body this week.

Cedar River (above Nashua)
Reports of 3 to 7 inches of ice on some of the backwaters and slack water areas are coming in.  Be sure to check ice depths as you go to the spot you want to fish.  Current can make ice depths vary.  Angling reports haven’t come in yet.

Decorah District Streams
Morning midge and afternoon baetis hatches still occur occasionally even as colder weather approaches - #24 dry fly patterns have been successful for trout rising to small surface flies.  A few large trout have been taken with a variety of streamer patterns on northeast Iowa streams and the Upper Iowa River.

Ice conditions on area lakes have greatly improved with this recent cold snap.  Very little snow is sitting on the ice and in many areas the ice is very clear.  Trout streams are still in excellent condition and accessible in many instances.  It’s a beautiful time of year to go out on our natural areas with all the snow covered trees.  For more information, contact the Decorah Fish Hatchery at 563-382-8324.

Casey Lake (aka Hickory Hills Lake)
Ice conditions are being reported as 4-6 inches of good ice across the lake.  Bluegill - Fair: Try concentrating efforts near the dam locating sunken brush piles for decent bluegill.

Brinker Lake
Anglers have been on East Lake fishing the bay areas where ice conditions are better.

George Wyth Lake
Anglers have been reported fishing the west bay area. Use extreme caution as Wyth Lake ice conditions vary widely.

Ice thickness reports have vastly improved with the arrival of arctic temperatures across Iowa. Black Hawk and Bremer county lakes are reporting from 4-6 inches of good ice most everywhere. Use caution as ice thickness can vary on lakes.  For more information contact the district office in Manchester at 563-927-3276 for any additional information.

MISSISSIPPI RIVER
Mississippi River Pool 9
Lansing river stage is 8 feet and will remain stable over the next week.  Ice anglers are taking advantage of early ice on Shore Slough area.  Bluegill - Good: Bluegills are biting on small jigs fished with a wax worm through the ice.  Walleye - Slow: A few walleyes are being caught in deeper side channel sloughs.

Mississippi River Pool 10
Lynxville river stage is up slightly to 12.8 feet and expected to fall over the next week.  There are reports of bluegills biting through the ice at Joyce Lake and Bussey Lake. Sauger - Good: Vertical jigging with a minnow for sauger in the tail waters has been successful.  Walleye - Fair: Walleye are biting on jig and minnow fished along drop-offs in the tail water areas.

Mississippi River Pool 11
River stage at Lock and Dam 10 in Guttenberg is 4.7 feet and expected to remain stable for the following week. Lock and dam tail waters remain open and anglers are consistently catching saugers and a few nice size walleyes.  Sauger - Fair: Vertical jigging with a minnow for sauger in the tail waters has been successful. Walleye - Slow: Walleye are biting on jig and minnow fished along drop-offs in the tail water areas.

Ice fishing season is officially here.  Backwaters iced up over the holiday weekend.  Ice anglers should use caution traversing new ice if there are large accumulations of snow. It could be insulating thin ice and not allowing it to grow.  Open tail water walleye and sauger anglers have had to work for limits vertical jigging.  Water levels remain extremely low on the Mississippi River. Water temperature is in the low 30s.

Mississippi River Pool 12
The water level at the Dubuque Lock and Dam is 4.4 feet, down slightly from last week. Tail water ramps may be out of operation as one inch of ice was reported over the ramp on Monday. 

For ice fishing, safe ice should occur in most stagnant backwater areas but take care and never go on any ice if unsure of the thickness. Sauger - Fair: Some sauger are being caught tail waters with anglers using a jig and minnow. Many anglers are letting these large females back for next year’s spawn production.

Mississippi River Pool 13
Water level at Bellevue dam is at 3.9 feet which, is very low. Be careful backing off ALL ramps.  As of Wednesday, the city ramp at Bellevue was open but conditions can change quickly.  Ice fishing has been reported in the district. Some fish are biting at Middle Sabula Lake and surely many others will follow.  Never venture on unsure ice.  Crappie - No Report: Crappie fishing has been excellent all year in Pools 12 to 14; hope it continues for the ice fishing season. Yellow Perch - No Report: Although no yellow perch have been reported yet, expect some nice creels of yellow perch this season.  Perch can be hard to find but when found, it can mean great fishing.  Near state record sized 14-inch perch have been reported by fall anglers.  Have fun and try to find one of these monsters under the ice.  Sauger - Good: Numerous smaller saugers are being caught in the tail water areas with anglers using a jig and minnow.  Just a few decent sized fish are also being reported.

Mississippi River Pool 14
We have received no information regarding fishing on this water body this week.  Bluegill - No Report: Bluegill fishing this fall in places like Rock Creek was very good with a lot of 7-inch fish being reported. We expect a nice run of these fish under the ice once safe conditions exist.  Sauger - No Report: Before ice up, some saugers were being reported in the tail water waters by anglers mainly using a jig and minnow. No reports have been received this week. 

Mississippi River Pool 15
We have received no information regarding fishing on this water body this week.  Walleye - No Report: This fall some nice 18 inch type walleye were reported to us from the Lock and Dam 14 tail water. Lately no reports have been received on these fish but we know some nice walleyes can be found in this pool.

Finally ice fishing has been reported in the district.  Please take care on the ice and never cross into places where you are uncertain of the ice depth. Very low water conditions persist in the district.  Low water will affect where to fish and potentially the health of the fishery if winters become sever.

Mississippi River Pool 16
Tail water stage at Lock and Dam 15 is 3.42 feet. The main channel is beginning to freeze up. Ice fishing is not advisable at this time.

Mississippi River Pool 17
Tail water stage at Lock and Dam 16 is 2.70 feet. As of Thursday morning, the main channel was beginning to freeze up. There was ice up to the bridge just above the boat ramp at Muscatine making the tail waters not accessible. Ice fishing is not advisable at this time.

Mississippi River Pool 18
Tail water stage at Lock and Dam 17 is 2.29 feet. We have received no fishing reports for this pool this week. Ice fishing is not advisable at this time.

Mississippi River Pool 19
Tail water stage at Lock and Dam 18 is 0.51 feet. We have received no tail water information for this pool this week. Ice fishing is not advisable at this time.

Mississippi River Pools 16-19: The main channel throughout the pools has begun to freeze up. The backwaters have frozen over as well but ice fishing is not advisable at this time. For more fishing information contact the Fairport Fish Hatchery at 563-263-5062.

SOUTHEAST
Iowa Lake
The lake is iced over but ice thickness is unknown. There has been nobody ice fishing yet.

Kent Park Lake
The lake is iced over. Ice depths are unknown but thought to be unsafe at this time.

Lake Macbride
The majority of the lake is covered with 3-4 inches of ice, but areas of thinner ice are out there. Due to varying water depths and ice conditions, caution should be used if venturing out. Some anglers have been braving the early ice.

Central Park Lake
Ice thickness is reported as about 5 inches, but nobody has been out ice fishing yet.

Pleasant Creek Lake
Most of the lake has 3-4 inches of ice. There have been a few anglers out ice fishing but caution should be used if venturing out.

Diamond Lake
The lake has about 4 inches of ice but nobody has been fishing here yet.

Otter Creek Lake
The lake is iced over but ice depths are unknown.

Union Grove Lake
Ice conditions are unknown. The aeration system has not been turned on as of Dec. 27, but should be by the end of next week.

Coralville Reservoir
Ice depths in protected areas may be up to 5 inches, but ice conditions can be extremely variable.

Most areas are ice covered, but much of it may be unsafe. Use extreme caution during early ice. For more information, contact the Lake Macbride Fisheries Station at 319-624-3615.

Lake Wapello
Ice conditions are variable. There are several spots on the lake with open water.

Red Haw Lake
Ice conditions are variable across the lake. Use caution if venturing out.  Some areas still have open water.

Lake Sugema
The lake is not completely frozen over. Ice conditions are variable so use caution.

Rathbun Reservoir
The lake level is 903.07 feet with 904 feet being normal. The surface water temperature is 33 degrees.  The lake is starting to ice over but there is a lot of open water.  Bays and coves will freeze up first.  Don’t forget Lake Rathbun contains zebra mussels so make sure to clean, drain, and dry equipment before transporting to another water body.

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

SOUTHWEST
Beaver Lake
Bluegill - Good: Beaver Lake had 4 inches of ice at mid week.  Anglers are finding actively feeding bluegills and crappies.

Big Creek Lake
As water levels continue to drop in Big Creek anglers should use caution on the ice, especially near shore, as seams form when the ice follows the water level down. Bluegill - Good: Anglers are finding 4 to 5 inches of ice in the coves and are catching good sized bluegills over brush piles.

Hickory Grove Lake
Bluegill - Good: Hickory Grove has 4 to 5 inches of ice on the upper 2/3 of the lake.  Ice anglers fishing over pallet and brush piles are doing well on good size bluegills from 7 to 9 inches.

Lake Petoka
Rainbow Trout - Good: Rainbow trout that were stocked can now be caught through the ice using wax worms on jigs and jigging spoons or small live minnows.

Banner Lake (south)
Rainbow Trout - Good: Rainbow trout that were stocked can now be caught through the ice using wax worms on jigs and jigging spoons or small live minnows.

Ice fishing has returned to central Iowa. Most of the larger lakes are averaging around 4 inches of ice with ponds averaging 5 to 6 inches.  Use caution, ice thickness can vary.  For questions on central Iowa lakes and rivers contact Ben Dodd or Andy Otting at 515-432-2823.

Greenfield Lake
Greenfield has 4 inches of ice. Use extreme caution when venturing out as the geese are keeping a portion open on the west side.

Nodaway Lake
There have been no reports of fishing this week. The lake has 5 inches of ice and a good bluegill and crappie population.

Lake Anita
There were no reports of fishing this week. Anita has 9-inch bluegill and 10-inch crappie. Ice thickness is 5 inches.

Big Lake (Including Gilbert’s Pond)
Rainbow trout will be stocked on Jan. 18. A youth fishing event is scheduled for Jan. 19, pending safe ice conditions. Rainbow Trout - Slow: Trout can be caught on a variety of ice fishing jigs tipped with wax worms or minnows.

Lake Manawa
Manawa has 6 inches of good ice.  Crappie - Good: Crappies up to 12 inches are being caught on minnows. The best locations have been Tin Can dyke and around Boy Scout Island.

Hacklebarney East
Hacklebarney is reported to have 5 inches of ice.  Bluegill - Fair: Bluegills can be caught using wax worms. Fish average 8 inches.  Crappie - Good: Crappies are being caught in 18 feet of water using minnows.

Cold Springs District Farm Ponds
Farm ponds in the southwest district have 4-6 inches of good ice. Remember to always get permission to fish private ponds.  Bluegill - Good: The deepest part of the pond is usually the best location to start fishing for bluegills.

Lakes in southwest Iowa have 3 to 6 inches of ice. Forecasted cold temperatures will improve ice conditions. For more information call the district office at Cold Springs State Park at 712-769-2587

Little River Watershed Lake
The water level is down about 12 feet to allow completion of a shoreline stabilization project.  The fish have been restocked and are growing fast.

Fogle Lake S.W.A.
The water level is down about 6 feet to allow boat ramp repairs and crowd the fish to increase predation.  The repairs are complete.  The water level will be allowed to rise as run-off occurs.  Anglers are fishing the flooded trees for panfish.  Bluegill - Fair: A few medium sized bluegills are coming from the creek channel and flooded trees.

Sands Timber Lake (Blockton Reservoir)
The lake has been drained to allow the construction of a wetland and shoreline stabilization to be completed.

Green Valley Lake
Most of the lake is ice covered but some areas will be too thin to support people.  The water fowl are keeping some areas open.  Check the ice thickness frequently.  Bluegill - Fair: Some nice sized bluegills can be caught from the deeper cedar tree piles located just south for the main ramp and immediately north of the center of the dam.

Summitt Lake
The spillway replacement project is complete but run-off has not refilled the lake.  Restocking and boating will occur when water levels rise.

Three Mile Lake
The water level is down about 4 feet.  The lake is partially frozen over.  Several areas will have ice too thin to support people.  Anglers are staying near shore and checking ice thickness frequently.

Twelve Mile Creek Lake
The water level is down about 3.5 feet. Ice has formed over the near shore areas.  Some ice will be too thin. Bluegill - Fair: Some of the timber coves and creek channel edges are producing some nice bluegills about 14 to 18 feet down.  Crappie - Good: A few anglers are still enjoying the crappies bunched up around the deeper flooded trees.  The side-scan fish finders are helping anglers locate schools.

West Lake Osceola
Ice thickness is 4-1/2 to 5 inches. No fishing report.

Ice is covering most lakes.  Anglers are fishing ponds and small lakes.  The larger lakes will have thin ice.  Use extreme caution!

Missouri River (Sioux City to Little Sioux)
No fishing activity reported.

Missouri River (Little Sioux to Council Bluffs)
No fishing activity reported.

Missouri River (Council Bluffs to Missouri State Line)
No fishing activity reported.

River discharge at Decatur, Neb., is 18,800

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