Iowa fishing report for Sept. 7
Iowa Department of Natural Resources
Weekly fishing report issued by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources:
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.
Moorehead Park Pond
Bluegills are biting well. The fish aren’t huge, but they make for fun fishing.
Storm Lake (including Little Storm Lake)
Water levels are very low at Storm Lake. Boaters must use extreme caution when boating at high speeds. Channel Catfish - Slow: A few channel cats are being picked up. White Bass - Fair: Anglers are catching some white bass from the east shore. The bites come in waves as the schools move through.
Southwood Conservation Area Pond (east)
Largemouth bass are biting on purple and white plastic worms. The east pond has been producing the best fishing. Water clarity is poor and water levels are low. Panfishing is slow.
Bluegills have been biting midmorning on nightcrawlers on the bottom. Softshell turtles have been biting while fishing for bluegills.
Largemouth bass were biting on purple and white plastic worm. Panfishing is slow.
Little Sioux River (Correctionville to Missouri River)
The Little Sioux River has low water. Fishing is slow, but some smaller channel catfish are being picked up using nightcrawlers.
Water temperatures have risen slightly compared to last week. Water levels continue to drop at most lakes.
Fishing is slow for bluegills and crappies, but fair for largemouth bass. Anglers continue to have the best luck throwing top water and buzz baits in the evening.
Bluegill - Fair: Drift small jigs or crawlers along the rocks and along the aquatic vegetation lines. Largemouth Bass - Fair: Spinner baits worked along the aquatic plant beds seems to be working the best.
The water level is 24 inches below crest. Use caution when launching and boating near shore. Crappie - Fair: Anglers are picking up some crappies while drifting and vertically jigging minnows and crawlers in 6-10 feet of water in the little lake, around the reefs, and between the state dock area and the island. Walleye - Slow: Walleye over the 14-inch minimum legal length limit are starting to be picked up by anglers. Vertical jigging crawlers and minnows in 6-10 feet of water over the reefs and in the little lake seems to be working the best. Yellow Bass - Good: Anglers continue to catch yellow bass on crawlers, cut bait, and minnows. Drifting and vertical jigging in 5-10 feet of water off the state dock area, the rock reefs, and in the little lake has been good. The fish are schooled so move around until you find active fish.
Little Wall Lake
Channel Catfish - Fair: A few catfish are still being picked up while drifting fish guts and cut bait.
Bluegill - Fair: Drift small jigs and crawlers in the dredged area and along aquatic plant beds for the best action. Largemouth Bass - Fair: Spinner baits, top water baits, and soft plastics worked along the aquatic plant beds are catching bass.
Yellow Perch - Fair: Fish small jigs and crawlers along the aquatic plant beds and near rocks for the best yellow perch action.
Shell Rock River (above Greene)
Anglers are catching smallmouth bass on artificial baits fished in the remaining deeper pools.
For more fishing information in the north central Iowa area, contact the Clear Lake Fish and Wildlife office at 641-357-3517.
Big Spirit Lake
Fishing has been slow with the best action coming early in the morning and late in the evening. White Bass - Good: If action is what you are looking for then look no further when a school of white bass is located the fishing can be fast and furious. Try plastics like twister tails and shad on a lead head, top water may also be good at dawn and dusk. Smallmouth Bass - Fair: Rock piles continue to shine for smallmouth but don’t overlook nearby weed lines. Yellow Perch - Slow: Once an active school of perch is located the fishing can be good but locating numbers seems to be difficult. The two main areas are in or near the weeds or on the mudflats but they may be found in transition areas between depending on the day. Try wigglers on a jigging spoon and don’t be surprised to pick up some bonus bluegill or walleye. Walleye - Slow: With the warm conditions this past week the fishing was slow but a few fish can still be caught. Try trolling crankbaits and spinners near bottom or fishing around the weed lines. Live bait rigs have not been as effective as they were earlier this year but a few fish may be picked up on Lindy rigs.
West Okoboji Lake
Northern Pike - Fair: Try fishing buck tails or spoons around weed lines or holes in the weed beds. Bluegill - Fair: Look for bluegills around weed edges and on rock piles. Use red worms and wigglers either on a jigging spoon or under a slip bobber. Yellow Perch - Fair: Try fishing on the drop offs and don’t be afraid to move around to locate a school of bigger fish as there are many small ones. Fishing 8-15 feet of water using jigging spoons with wigglers has been bringing some results.
Lost Island Lake
Yellow bass and bluegill fishing has been decent with good sized yellow bass leading the way.
For more information on fishing in northwest Iowa, call the Spirit Lake Hatchery at 712-336-1840.
Water clarity is about one foot due to the on-going green algae bloom. Crappie - Fair: Anglers are having some success trolling for crappies over brush piles using a jig or crankbait.
Lake Hendricks is about 2 feet low. Bluegill - Good: Nightcrawlers under a bobber are the bait for bluegills. Largemouth Bass - Good: Largemouth are being caught using crankbaits and top water lures. Crappie - Excellent: Fish activity has picked up. Anglers are using minnows from shore with success. Crappies seem to be hanging around the jetties this week.
Upper Iowa River (above Decorah)
While water levels on the Upper Iowa are still low, it is floatable. A few more portages may be necessary. Recent rain had muddied the water but should clear soon. The algae bloom should clear with cooler weather ahead. Angling pressure has been slow. Anglers may have success using silver colored lures for smallmouth and walleye.
Upper Iowa River (below Decorah)
The Upper Iowa below Decorah is beginning to clear after rain events earlier this week. The majority of species caught have been taking a white colored jig tipped with a nightcrawler or white, yellow or bright pink twistertails. Northern Pike - Fair: Action has picked up on northerns and a few small ones are coming into the creel. Smallmouth Bass - Excellent: Walleye - Good:
The Volga River is low but very wadeable with excellent cobble streambed. Fish can be found in deeper holes. Smallmouth Bass - Excellent:
Decorah District Streams
Though northeast streams are very low, fly fishing remains good in many areas. Afternoon #20 Blue Wing Olive hatches have been excellent and there are good #14 Caddis hatches near dusk. Terrestrials such as crickets, hoppers and beetles should be effective until the first frost later in the fall. Good fish continue to be taken on wet fly patterns such as a #14 or #16 Partridge & Orange. Call 563-927-5736 for updated catchable trout stream stocking.
Flows on area rivers got a boost recently with spotty showers throughout the area but levels are still low. Water temperatures on rivers are running in the 70s. Now is a great time to wade some of our rivers to get to the more desirable holes. For more information, call the Decorah Fish Hatchery at 563-382-8324 or just to let us know what you’ve been catching.
Mississippi River Pool 12
The river stage at the Dubuque lock and dam is very low at 4.4 feet and holding steady. Channel Catfish - Excellent: Channel catfish are still biting well. Try stink bait, cut bait, crawlers or even minnows fished on the bottom. Fish are being taken in numerous spots from the mud flats to the wing dams. With channel catfish fish for 15 minutes and no fish move. You need to find active fish; the reward is there, when you find them. White Bass - Fair: Some schools of white bass have been spotted feeding on minnows. Use a white jig, small spinner or floating white crankbait for the best action. Bluegill - Good: Some bluegills are biting in the few remaining sloughs with deep water. In addition, try using a split shot and worm thrown on exposed rocks of the wing dams. Largemouth Bass - Good: Lots of bass are being caught on a wide array of lures and live bait. Fish structure in the back waters, side sloughs and the main channel border islands. Crappie - Good: Crappies are still being reported consistently. People are pulling fish out of all of the shallower back waters into the sloughs and deeper back water lakes. Try minnows or jigs straight lined or use a bobber. Walleye - Fair: Steadily more walleyes are being reported but fishing for them is still only fair. Try live bait such as crawlers or leeches trolled on the upstream side of the dams. Freshwater Drum - Excellent: Crawlers around the wind dams and side sloughs will produce catches of drum. To keep drum fresh for eating always put drum immediately on a cooler with ice.
Mississippi River Pool 13
The river level at the Bellevue lock and dam is around 4.0 feet. Water levels are steady. Water temperature is around 78 degrees and water clarity is stained from recent rains. Please be aware of exposed wing dams when boating on the river. Channel Catfish - Excellent: Many channel catfish are being taken on stink bait and crawlers. Try around the wing dams and in the side sloughs. Move until you find active fish. Nice catfish up to eight pounds have been reported. Bluegill - Good: Fishing for bluegills has been very consistent. Try a simple split shot and nightcrawler around log piles in deeper sloughs. Here too bendable hooks are often a good idea to keep your tackle. Largemouth Bass - Excellent: Bass fishing has been excellent but size is often in the sub-legal range. Bass on the Mississippi must be 14 inches to keep. Try fishing around low water exposed rocks, wood or vegetation. They are being caught on all types of artificial lures as well as live bait. Crappie - Good: Fish are being taken mostly on live bait. Around structure try straight lining or bobber fishing. In deeper sloughs try using a crappie type rig with the weight on the bottom. A bendable hook is a must in places full of snags. Walleye - Slow: Fishing for walleyes remains slow with only a few nice fish are being taken by elite anglers. The fish reported however are often in the protected slot of 20 - 27 inches and must be returned to the water. Many of these anglers are targeting the upstream sides of wing dams often pitching jigs on the dams or using three-way rigs with a minnow or leach for bait. Freshwater Drum - Excellent: Crawler on the bottom fished around the wing dams and side sloughs. Move to find fish.
Mississippi River Pool 14
The river stage at the Clinton lock and dam is 4.4 and steady. Water temperature is around 78 degrees. Channel Catfish - Excellent: Fish around the wing dams and also the side sloughs using stink bait, crawlers, and even cut bait. White Bass - Fair: Some nice white bass are showing up in the creel right now. Try a spinner or a white crankbait for best luck on feeding schools. Bluegill - Good: Gills are being taken at the mouth of the major backwater areas such as Cattail Slough and Beaver Island. Also try the upper sides of exposed rock wing dams. Largemouth Bass - Good: Bass are being caught all over. Fish around the rocks, wood and vegetation. An array of lures are being used as well as live bait. Many sub-legal fish are being reported but action is fast. Walleye - Slow: A few nice fish are being caught, but we do expect better fishing yet this fall. A few more walleye are being reported this week. Remember, fish less than 15 inches and between 20 - 27 inches must be immediately released. Fish that fall in the 15-19.9 inch range may be kept with one fish over 27 inches. Try fishing the upstream sides of the wing dams. Live bait tends to work better in the summer. Freshwater Drum - Excellent: Numerous drum are being reported out of side channel sloughs and the channel border areas. Use a sliding egg sinker and worm rig for best results.
Mississippi River Pool 15
The river stage at the LeClaire lock and dam is 4.3 feet and steady. Water temperature is around 78 degrees. Channel Catfish - Excellent: Channel catfish fishing has been excellent on stink bait fished near the wing dams and near the main channel. Been a good year in Pool 15 for catfishing. White Bass - Fair: Some feeding schools have been reported in the Pidgeon Creek and Kay Island areas of Pool 15. Try using shinny spinners and throw into feeding schools. Freshwater Drum - Good: Freshwater drum are good table fare is prepared right and packed on ice immediately after they are caught. To catch drum use a sliding egg sinker in moderate current areas with a worm for bait.
Water levels are low on the river in Pools 12 through 15. Take care not to back off the ends of boat ramps in low water. Also take care when on the river to avoid wing dams with are close to the surface. Water temperature is around 78 degrees and water levels are steady.
Mississippi River Pool 16
Tail water stage at Lock and Dam 15 is 3.46 feet. Use caution when boating due to the low water conditions. Channel Catfish - Good: Anglers have been catching channel catfish on stinkbait and crawlers fished along the bottom. Try fishing above wing dams or above snag piles along the main channel and side channels. White Bass - Fair: White bass are being caught in Sylvan Slough. Look for minnows breaking the surface and cast jigs/twister tails, in-line spinners, or small crankbaits into the school. Some fish are also being picked up trolling three-way rigs with floating stickbaits.
Mississippi River Pool 17
Tail water stage at Lock and Dam 16 is 3.27 feet and has been steady over the past few days. Anglers should use caution when boating with the low water conditions. We have received no fishing information for this pool this week.
Mississippi River Pool 18
Tail water stage at Lock and Dam 17 is 1.88 feet. Anglers should use caution when boating with the low water conditions. Channel Catfish - Good: Channel catfish are being caught on stinkbait, cutbait, shad, and nightcrawlers fished on the bottom. Try fishing above the wing dams or above snag piles along the main channel and side channels.
Mississippi River Pool 19
Tail water stage at Lock and Dam 18 is 0.59 feet and has been fairly steady over the past few days. Anglers should use caution when boating due to the low water conditions. Channel Catfish - Good: Channel catfish are being caught on stinkbait, shad, and nightcrawlers fished on the bottom. Try fishing above the wing dams or above snag piles along the main channel or side channels. White Bass - Slow: White bass fishing has been slow. Crappie - Fair: Some crappies are being caught in the backwaters fishing around brush piles. Also look for crappies along brush piles along some of the slower running sloughs. Try using minnows under a slip bobber or vertical jigging small jigs and minnows. Walleye - Fair: There have been some walleye being caught on the wing dams. Try casting or trolling crankbaits or trolling three-way rigs with half a nightcrawler on the upstream side of the wing dam.
Mississippi River Pools 16-19: Main channel water temperature is around 80 degrees. Anglers should use caution when boating on the river due to the low water conditions. Remember to clean, drain, and dry your boat before going to another water body. For more fishing information on Pools 16-19 contact the Fairport Fish Hatchery at 563-263-5062.
Channel Catfish - Good: Catfishing has been good along the face of the dam and the creek channel at the upper end of the lake. Bluegill - Fair: Bluegill fishing is improving with the cooler weather. Fish along the edges of the water willow beds near the ledges.
Lake Belva Deer
Cooler weather is bringing crappies to shallower water to feed. Channel Catfish - Excellent: Catfishing has been very good through the hot weather on chicken liver. Fish the rock mounds at the upper end of the lake. Bluegill - Good: Bluegill fishing is picking up. With the cooler forecast, they should be moving shallower in the mornings. Crappie - Good: Look for the crappies in the trees. Use small jigs to coax them out. Also along the face of the dam in about 8 feet of water.
Lake of the Hills
Lake of the Hills is the only lake in West Lake Park that you can use live minnow for bait.
The cooler weather had been helping the fishing by bringing the crappies and bluegills back into the shallower water. The last few hot days may push them out a little deeper. Water clarity hasn’t been hurt too much by the recent heavy rains. Channel Catfish - Excellent: Lots of catfish are being caught on stinkbait and chicken liver. Chicken liver seems to be the current favorite. Early and late are the times to be there. Bluegill - Good: Fishing a worm and bobber set at 3-4 feet down seems to be working best. Largemouth Bass - Excellent: The bass fishing remains hot in shallow along the rocky areas as well as the water around logs and stumps. Use white spinnerbaits in the morning and plastics the rest of the day. Find the active fish and you’ll really get into them. Crappie - Good: Crappies are on the brush piles. The ones just off the fishing pier seems to be angler favorites. Also fish the rocks along the dam. The cooler weather has cooled off the rocks.
The old creek channel is probably the first place to look for fish, then the brush piles along the south side in the shallower water. REMINDER - live minnows as bait are not allowed in Railroad Lake. Bluegill - Good: Most of the bluegills have moved over to the north side and along 110th. Largemouth Bass - Excellent: Bass are around the rock. Work spinnerbaits in the morning and plastics along the deeper edge of the rocks. Crappie - Good: Crappies are still over in the brush piles and tree along the old creek channel.
Skunk River (Coppock to Mississippi River)
The Skunk River is down about 6 more inches. Channel Catfish - Good: Catfishing remains fairly good. Obviously most are fishing from shore. Wet wading the river is a good way to find the holes and the fish. Of course always wade with a buddy and be careful.
For more information on the above lakes and rivers call the Lake Darling Fisheries Office at 319-694-2430.
The 10 h.p. motor restriction is no longer in place. All motor sizes are allowed to run at NO WAKE speed (5 mph). There has been little activity on the lake recently and no reports are available.
Pleasant Creek Lake
We have received no information regarding fishing on this water body this week.
Remember, no minnows are allowed here. Channel Catfish - Good: Chicken liver and stinkbait are working best. Most action has been occurring early and late in the day while fishing from the jetties. Bluegill - Fair: Fish deep brush with a small jig/worm or just a small worm. Crappie - Fair: Fish deep brush or drift open water with a small jig.
Otter Creek Lake
Channel Catfish - Good: Evenings have been best with stinkbait or chicken liver. Yellow Bass - Good: Mornings have been best with small jigs or spinners.
Union Grove Lake
Channel Catfish - Good: Stinkbait and chicken liver has been working best. Bluegill - Fair: Drifting small jigs in open water or fishing around deeper wood has been best. Crappie - Fair: Drifting small jigs or minnows in open water has been producing some fish.
The lake is at normal summer pool of 683.3 feet. It is projected to slightly decrease if significant rain is not received. Channel Catfish - Fair: Fresh cut shad being slowly drifted or trolled has been working best. Crappie - Fair: Some crappies are being caught off brush piles and rock walls with jigs or minnows.
Iowa River (Marshalltown to Coralville Lake)
Channel Catfish - Good: Cut bait and stinkbait have been working best.
Maquoketa (Hopkinton to Canton)
Smallmouth Bass - Good: Try spinners and crankbaits. Walleye - Fair: Crankbaits have been working best.
For more information, contact the Lake Macbride Fisheries Station at 319-624-3615.
Channel Catfish - Good: Nightcrawlers have been the best bait. Try areas off the fishing jetties or around the rip rapped shorelines. Largemouth Bass - Fair: Try spinnerbaits around the submerged structure along the shorelines. Top water lures can also be productive in the early morning and late evening.
Red Haw Lake
Channel Catfish - Fair: Use nightcrawlers around the rock jetties and near the dam. Bluegill - Fair: Use small jigs in less than 6 feet of water. Try areas near shoreline structure and off the rock jetties. Largemouth Bass - Good: Anglers have been successful using rubber worms fished along the dam and the rock jetties. Try crankbaits that mimic crawdads in the same areas. Also try top water lures fished in the early mornings and at sunset.
Fishing has been slow. Try top water lures for largemouth bass in the mornings and evenings and crankbaits or spinnerbaits throughout the day. Use nightcrawlers for channel catfish. Try areas along the dam or other rip rapped shorelines.
Lake level is at 904.23 feet with 904.00 feet being normal pool. The surface water temperature is 77 degrees. Channel Catfish - Excellent: Try areas around the rock humps and underwater points. Nightcrawlers have been the bait of choice. Anglers have been trolling or drifting these areas. Also try areas with the wind blowing into the shore. Walleye - Slow: Anglers have been having some success trolling nightcrawlers around submerged points. If nightcrawlers aren’t working try crankbaits that mimic shad trolled over the same areas. Don’t forget Lake Rathbun contains zebra mussels so make sure to clean, drain, and dry boats before transporting them to another water body. Spray boats and trailers with high pressure hot water (above 104 degrees) or let them dry for at least 10 days (5 days in the sun).
For other questions regarding fishing in south central Iowa call the Rathbun Hatchery at 641-647-2406
Don Williams Lake
Crappie - Fair: Crappie up to 10 inches are being caught fishing minnows under a bobber near wood structure at depths of 3 to 6 feet. Evenings have been best.
Big Creek Lake
Bluegill - Good: Good size bluegills are being caught fishing over sunken brush piles using small pieces of live bait.
Hickory Grove Lake
Bluegill - Good: Good sized bluegill are being caught fishing small jigs tipped with a piece of crawler or wax worm in 15 feet of water or less. Concentrate out from the points at mid lake and over any sunken pallet piles.
Channel Catfish - Good: Good size and numbers of catfish can be caught drift fishing cut creek chubs above the mile long bridge.
Ada Hayden Heritage Park Lake
Rainbow Trout - Fair: Cooling water temperatures again should bring the trout back to shallow water. Look for trout schooling close to shore. Live bait presentations have worked best along with small twister tail jigs and small inline spinners.
Des Moines River (Stratford to Saylorville Lake)
Channel Catfish - Good: Anglers casting stink bait rigs into any deeper pools with wood habitat are doing very well on channel catfish now. Anglers have to be willing to do some walking with the very low water conditions. Walleye - Fair: Very low water conditions have concentrated fish in the areas of deeper water. Anglers fishing below the Fraser and Boone Waterworks dam have been picking up a mixed bag of walleye, white crappie, white bass and channel catfish.
Bluegill and crappie fishing has started to pick up at many central Iowa lakes. River fishing is good right now for walleye and catfish for anglers willing to wade pool to pool. For questions on central Iowa lakes and rivers contact Ben Dodd or Andy Otting at 515-432-2823.
Catfish are being caught around the jetties. Channel Catfish - Good: Dip bait and shrimp are working to catch channel catfish around the jetties. Late afternoon and into the night has been the best time. Bluegill - Fair: Bluegills up to 8 inches can be caught drifting small jigs tipped with nightcrawler across the open lake. Crappie - Slow: A few crappies are being caught while drifting.
Bluegill - Fair: Bluegills are being caught drifting small jigs 6-8 feet down. Tipping the jig with worms or Powerbait seems to help. Largemouth Bass - Fair: Anglers are catching bass early in the mornings and late afternoons. As the temperature rises, the fish go deeper. Many of the fish caught are in the 14 to 19-inch range. Crappie - Fair: Anglers are having success jigging around cedar tree piles in the evenings using minnows.
Channel Catfish - Good: Dip baits and liver have been the bait of choice for fish averaging 2 pounds. Largemouth Bass - Fair: Largemouth bass are being caught around rock piles and sunken trees using a variety of plastic baits and crankbaits. Fish up to 19 inches have been reported.
Channel Catfish - Good: Channel catfish are being caught using dip bait. Fish average 2 pounds.
Cold Springs District Farm Ponds
There are numerous farm ponds in southern Iowa that can provide a quality fishing trip. Remember to always get permission to fish private farm ponds. Channel Catfish - Fair: Dip baits and liver are good baits in midsummer for channel catfish. Late afternoon when temperatures cool is a good time to target catfish. Bluegill - Fair: Bluegills can be caught around structure and along the edge of weed lines this time of year. Try small jigs or worms under a bobber. Largemouth Bass - Fair: Largemouth bass are very aggressive and readily caught casting a variety of lures and plugs along weed edges and around structure. Early morning and late afternoon are the best times to fish in the heat of summer.
Water temperatures are holding in the mid 70s. Channel catfishing has been good in the southwest district. For more information call the district office in Lewis at 712-769-2587.
Missouri River (Sioux City to Little Sioux)
Channel Catfish - Slow: A few reports of fish being caught using cutbait near current seams on wing dykes.
Missouri River (Little Sioux to Council Bluffs)
Channel Catfish - Fair: Use stink bait, night crawlers, or cut bait along current seams. Flathead Catfish - Fair: A few fish have been reported using bullheads near brush piles and current seams. Sauger - Slow: A few fish have been caught while fishing for catfish with night crawlers.
Missouri River (Council Bluffs to Missouri State Line)
Channel Catfish - Fair: Fish current seams and brush piles with night crawlers or cut bait. Flathead Catfish - Good: Fish current seams and brush piles with goldfish or other large live bait. Smallmouth Bass - Slow: A few fish have been reported by channel catfish anglers while using night crawlers near wing dykes. Walleye - Slow: A few fish have been reported by channel catfish anglers while using night crawlers near wing dykes.
Missouri River Fisheries Office - River discharge at Onawa is above normal.