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Iowa fishing report

January 22, 2009 at 08:36 PM


Mississippi River Pools 9 to 15: Pool 9 anglers are catching a few northern pike on tip-ups in Fish Lake, off Army Road in New Albin, but fishing is slow.  Some panfish can be caught in the warm water releases at the Lansing Power Plant.  Shore Slough near Lansing has been producing a few bluegills, but fish may move south into deeper water as much of the upper portions of the slough are frozen to the bottom.

Pool 10 saugers can be caught below the dam at Lynxville using a jig and minnow.  A few walleye can also be caught here on jigs with twister tails.  Use the smallest jig that you can get to the bottom for best success.  For ice fishing, angling has slowed near the spillway, but some northern pike and bass can be caught using shiners on tip-ups.  The sorting of panfish is going on at the spillway as well.  Some crappies are being caught at Spring Lake and Mud Slough north of Prairie du Chien.  The Sny Magill Access is producing bluegills, but many are small and some sorting will be necessary.  These areas include Sandbar, Norwegian and Methodist lakes.  A few nice crappies have also been caught in Norwegian Lake.  All year, Bussey Lake has been hit or miss for bluegill.  There are fish to be caught, but you may need to move around until you find them.  Many anglers are now driving vehicles on Bussey Lake.

Pool 11 saugers are being caught below the dam at Guttenberg using a jig and minnow.  Anglers can only effectively reach the tailwaters with the use of an airboat.  For ice fishing, some angling is taking place on Burtom Lake south of Cassville, but sorting of bluegills is required.  In both new project areas in lower Pool 11 (Mud Lake and Sunfish Lake), yellow perch and pumpkinseeds are being caught, but they require much patience.  Anglers with electronics report seeing schools of perch, but they seem to be quite finicky.  The best fishing seems to be later in the afternoon.

Inland Anglers:  Just a reminder to buy your 2009 fishing license before you go fishing.  Also, the daily bag limit of 25 bluegills and 25 crappies on public waters began on Wednesday, January 21, 2009.

Wapsipinicon River (Bremer):  Anglers are taking nice catches of northern pike on tip-ups fished with live shiners in the backwater areas.

Avenue of the Saints, Plainfield Lake and Sweets Marsh (Bremer):  Fishing has been fair to good for bluegills and crappies in these area lakes.

Casey Lake (Tama):  Crappie fishing is good in the early morning and late evening hours using jigs tipped with a minnow or wax worm, or try minnows fished under a bobber.  Bluegill fishing is excellent around stake beds and brush piles located in 10 feet of water or deeper near the center and on the east side of the lake.  Jigs tipped with a wax worm works well for bluegills.

George Wyth and South Prairie Lakes (Black Hawk):  Anglers have been catching bluegills on wax worms.  Fishing has been fair on South Prairie Lake; however, this lake can produce larger bluegills.

Heritage Pond (Dubuque):  Heritage was stocked with trout on Wednesday, January 21.  You must pay the 2009 trout fishing fee to fish Heritage at this time of year.

Lake Delhi (Delaware):  Bluegills and crappies are biting next to structure in 15 to 20 feet water.  Try fishing the lower end of the lake for best success.

Lake Hendricks (Howard):  Anglers have to work to get fish to bite, but they are still catching them.  Bluegill sorting may be necessary.  Fish are being caught using a jig tipped with a wax worm.  There is about 20 inches of ice and snow depths vary, but be careful around the aerator.  Try fishing at various depths as the fish are likely suspended off the bottom at this time of year.

Lake Meyer (Winneshiek):  A lot of small bluegill and crappie are biting, but a few nice ones can be caught.  Try using larger lures for those bigger fish.  Anglers have been using white and pink jigs tipped with a wax worm.  The best time to fish seems to be around sunrise, so if you want to catch fish you had better be an early riser. 

North Prairie Lake (Black Hawk): Trout fishing is good in North Prairie Lake which was last stocked on January 17.  Anglers must have paid the current trout fishing fee to fish this lake in Cedar Falls.

Volga Lake (Fayette):  Anglers have been reporting catching a lot of small bluegills and crappies, but they are still biting.  Be ready to move if you don’t catch a fish in the first few locations.  Also try suspending lures in 3 to 6 feet of water this time of year.

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.  Upcoming urban trout plants are scheduled for Blue Pit in Mason City on January 22 and Bacon Creek Lake in Sioux City on January 29—weather permitting.  Be sure to get your 2009 trout fishing fee early.

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, ice fishing has slowed some in Sunset Marina and at Credit Island for bluegills and crappies.  In Pool 17, anglers have been catching some bluegills in Big Timber.  Many of the fish have been small so some sorting will be necessary.  In Pools 18 to 20, most area ice fishing reports are coming from farm ponds and lakes. 

Lake Darling (Washington): The lake is completely drained.

Lake Belva Deer (Keokuk): Ice thickness is around 12 inches and water remains cloudy.  Look for the fish to be suspended about 18 to 20 feet down in the trees near the creek channel and to hit very softly, so be very watchful of any change in the line.     

Lake Geode (Henry): Ice conditions are good.  Look for the fish to be around the deeper fish habitat and along the natural drop-offs. 

Lake Rathbun (Appanoose): Crappies have been hitting on small jigs tipped with a minnow or by vertically jigging around underwater habitat.  Fishing has been slow but nice-sized crappies are being caught.  Look for areas with cedar trees or drop-offs.  Most anglers have been fishing in Buck Creek, Honey Creek, or at Atwell’s.  The gate is now open at the Glenwood Area. 

Lake Sugema (Van Buren): Anglers have been catching a few bluegills and crappies using small jigs tipped with a minnow or wax worm.  The Tug Forks lakes have also been producing some catches of bluegills and crappies using the same techniques. 

Lake Keomah (Mahaska): Anglers have been catching bluegills and crappies using small jigs with minnows or wax worms.  Try to find areas with submerged structure or piles of rocks or trees.

Lake Wapello (Davis): The lake has been completely drained.

Lake Miami (Monroe): Anglers have been catching some crappies using small jigs and minnows but success has slowed from earlier this winter.  Look for areas with underwater habitat:  trees, stumps or drop-offs.  There has been 14 inches of ice measured in some spots.

Lake Macbride (Johnson): The recent heavy snows have slowed things down but some crappies are still being caught.  Fish around the deeper brush piles and the drop-offs into the main lake basin.

Kent Park (Johnson): Anglers are having some success on bluegills fishing around deeper structure with small jigs and wax worms.  Dusk seems to be the prime fishing time.   

Lake Iowa (Iowa): Fishing around brush or stake beds has been producing bluegills and redears.  There are many smaller fish, but nicer fish up to 10 inches are mixed in.  An ice jig and wax worm has been working best. 

Union Grove (Tama): Bluegills and crappies are being caught in high numbers but small to average in size.  Look for them in 8 to 10 feet of water around brush.  The aeration system was turned on December 30, so there are open water pockets at the dam end of the lake. 

Pleasant Creek (Linn): Anglers are picking up some bluegills off brush piles in the west half of the lake.  Use a small jig tipped with a wax worm or spike for best results. 

For more information on fishing in southeast Iowa, call the regional office in Brighton at 319-694-2430.


Hickory Grove (Story):  Bluegill and crappie fishing is fair using wax worms.  Fish are suspended around structure in 20 to 25 feet of water.  Bluegills are also being caught suspended in about 12 feet of water.  Most of the bluegills being caught are measuring 7 to 8 inches.

Big Creek (Polk): Bluegill and crappie fishing has been good.  The better bluegill fishing has been in the Lost Lake portion.  The crappie bite is best in the evenings and is a light, but consistent bite.  Electronics are a big help as the crappies are suspended 5 to 10 feet off the bottom in 30 plus feet of water.  Wax worms and spikes have been the best producers.

Easter Lake (Polk): Some anglers have been catching good numbers of crappies using wax worms, but most of the fish are in the 8-inch range.

Contact Ben Dodd at (515) 432-2823, Ext.108, for information on the above area lakes.

Farm ponds, small lakes and medium lakes have areas with up to 14 inches of ice.  Large lakes are also frozen over but ice thickness and condition varies.

Farm Ponds:  Angling has been very good.

Three Mile Lake (Union):  Ice thickness can be from 6 to 16 inches.  The roadway between the ramps and the cove just south of the upper ramp has been the most popular spots.  Anglers are catching mostly bluegills on wax worms with a few crappies and walleyes on minnows.

Twelve Mile Lake (Union): The lake is completely frozen.  A lot of angler activity has occurred in the creek channel between the two middle ramps stretching south along the west bank.  Several 2 to 4 pound walleye, a lot of 7 to 8-inch bluegills, and some nice 12-inch crappies have been caught.  Ice thickness seems to be over 6 inches in most places with some areas up to 16 inches thick.  Vehicles have been seen on the lake but ice thickness can vary greatly and driving on the ice is not encouraged.

Lake Icaria (Adams):  The lake is completely frozen.  Most of the angling activity has occurred just to the north of the marina and in the south corner of the dam.  Walleyes have been the most consistent species caught with very good numbers of mid-sized fish.  Some 8-inch bluegills and 9-inch crappies are being caught from the deeper areas near structure.

Lake of Three Fires (Taylor): The angling activity has occurred over the brush pile immediately north of the center of the dam.  Lots and lots of nice bluegills and few crappies have been caught on wax worms.

Fogle Lake (Ringgold):  Angling activity has occurred over the brush pile just north of the center of the dam and the brush piles to the northwest of the spillway.  The bluegills are 6 to 7.5 inches and the crappies are 8 to 10.5 inches.  The ice is 10 to 14 inches thick.

Contact Gary Sobotka at (641) 464-3108 for information on the above area lakes.

Lake Manawa (Pottawattamie): Anglers are catching 9 to 12-inch crappies, with a few reported up to 14 inches.  A few 15 to 18-inch walleyes are being caught.  Bluegill and catfish fishing is not good at this time.

Anderson Area (Montgomery): Bluegills are fair using wax worms. A few 8-inch crappies are being caught in the evenings using minnows.

Lake Anita (Cass): Anglers are catching good numbers of 7 to 8-inch bluegills with an occasional 9-inch crappie fishing around the submerged habitat in 18 to 20 feet of water.  Crappie fishing is very good from one-half hour before sunset till about an hour or so after sunset using minnows in 18 to 22 feet of water.

Desoto Bend (Harrison): Fishing has not been good.

Nodaway Lake (Adair): Fishing has been fair for 7-inch bluegills.

Nodaway Pond (Cass): Fishing is fair for bluegills on ice jigs tipped with wax worms.

Greenfield Reservoir (Adair): Fishing is fair for 8-inch bluegills.  The best fishing is late in the afternoon until dark.

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 is 8 to 10 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): Bluegills are being caught in Angler’s Bay fishing along the weed beds and open areas using small ice jigs tipped with live bait. Yellow perch are biting along weed beds and rock reefs at Big Stoney, Reeds Run, the pump house on south end of lake, and Buffalo Run in the mornings using jigging lures tipped with minnows or a slip bobber rig with minnow. Walleyes are biting along the weed lines and rock reefs with jigging lures tipped with a minnow at sunrise and sunset at Reeds Run, the footbridge, Big Stoney, and Little Stoney points. Northern pike are being caught fishing along rock reefs at Buffalo Run or Cottonwood and Big Stoney points with jigging lures tipped with live bait.

West Okoboji Lake (Dickinson): Bluegills are being caught in Emerson and Miller’s bays with small ice jigs tipped with wigglers or wax worms.  Walleyes are being caught from the rock reefs in North, Miller’s and Emerson bays with jigging lures tipped with minnows fishing in the morning or evening.  Northern pike are biting on live bait or jigging lures tipped with live bait in Emerson and Miller’s bays along weed lines and rock reefs.

East Okoboji Lake (Dickinson): Use jigging lures tipped with minnows at rock bars in the morning and evening for walleyes.

Silver Lake (Dickinson): Walleyes are being caught using jigging lures tipped with minnows fished at sunset along the south shore.

Five Island Lake (Palo Alto): Walleyes are being caught in the Town Bay area along the edges of dredge cuts with jigging lures tipped with a minnow. Crappies are biting along dredge cut near First Island with ice jigs tipped with wax worms or slip bobber fish with minnows.

Brushy Creek Lake (Webster): The lake is 100 percent snow covered.  Yellow perch, bluegills and crappies have been hitting on live bait.  Try fishing 20 feet of water around the trees, but remember, warmer weather will melt ice around the trees.

Crawford Creek Lake (Ida): Fishing is fair for bluegills and crappies.  Some sorting is required to get nicer fish.

Black Hawk Lake (Sac):  Fishing fair fishing for walleyes but most are below the 15-inch minimum length limit.  A few crappies are being caught using live minnows.

Arrowhead Lake (Sac): Fishing is fair to good for bluegill on teardrops and wax worms.

Clear Lake (Cerro Gordo): Ice on Clear Lake averages 20 to 26 inches.  Yellow bass fishing has been good on the west end of the main lake. The best bite is at sunrise and sunset.  Fish are being caught in less than 9 feet of water using jig and minnow. A few white bass, walleye and catfish are also being caught while fishing for yellows.  As winter progresses expect those yellow bass to spread out and provide better fishing action in other areas of the lake.

Blue Pit (Cerro Gordo): Trout fishing is good.

Eldred Sherwood Park, Indian Lake (Hancock): Ice on Indian Lake averages 16 to 18 inches. Bluegill fishing has been good using small jigs tipped with a wax worms.

Silver Lake (Worth): Yellow perch fishing has been fair. Some sorting is required, but 10 to 12-inch perch are being caught.  Fishing the north side of the lake by the county park has been one of the better spots. Try using a jig tipped with a minnow for best results. A few northern pike are also being caught.

For more information on fishing in northwest Iowa, call the regional office in Spirit Lake at 712-336-1840.

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