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Iowa fishing report

December 18, 2008 at 03:52 PM


Ice anglers are currently fishing on 5-12 inches of ice on Big Spirit.  East and West Okoboji have 3-8 inches of ice. Caution should be used when going out on the lakes.

Spirit Lake (Dickinson): Crappies are biting at Trickles Slough and Angler’s Bay along weed lines on a small ice jigs tipped with wax worms.  Bluegills are being caught in Angler’s Bay along the weed line and over the weed beds with small horizontal 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.  Fish for walleyes along the weed lines and rock reefs in the evening with jigging lures tipped with live bait.  Northern pike are being caught fishing along weed-lines with jigging lures or with live-bait.

West Okoboji Lake (Dickinson):  Bluegills and crappies are biting in the canals on small jigs tipped with wax worms or plastics.

Upper Gar (Dickinson): Panfish are being caught over weed beds and near docks using small ice jigs tipped with wax worms.

East Okoboji Lake (Dickinson): Fish with jigging lures tipped with live bait along weed-lines and rock bars for yellow bass.

Center Lake (Dickenson): Walleyes are being caught in the evening with jigging lures tipped with live-bait.

Clear Lake (Cerro Gordo): Yellow bass are biting at Farmer’s Beach at dawn and dusk using a small jig tipped with bait. A few walleyes are being caught at this time as well. The Farmer’s Beach area has 12 to 14 inches of ice.

Brushy Creek Lake (Webster): The lake is completely frozen.  Ice on the main lake is only 1 to 3 inches thick.  Most are fishing off the north ramp on the east side.  Bluegill and crappies have been biting.  Ice quality should improve this week, but be careful.

Storm Lake (Buena Vista): Anglers are catching a few perch but walleye fishing is slow.  The big seam of open water has frozen over but is not thick. Caution should be used.

Black Hawk Lake (Sac): The aerators have been turned on in Town Bay and extreme caution should be used in the Bay area.  Lakes in the area are just now firming up, with most having 4 to 6 inches of ice.

Farm Ponds have been reporting fair to good fishing for crappie and bluegill.

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


Mississippi River Pools 9 to 15: 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.

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, but some real nice bluegills were caught during early ice conditions.

Pool 11 tailwaters by Guttenberg are fair to good for saugers and small walleyes.  The DNR boat ramp below the fish hatchery is still open and boats can be launched as of Thursday.  Parking is limited to four spaces and, if full, you must find a spot on the street to park.  Burtrom Lake, by Cassville, Wis., produced some crappies early and now people are mostly sorting bluegills.  Hayville Lake also has seen limited early season ice fishing.  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.

Pools 12 and 13 had lower fishing pressure, but anglers were catching bluegills.  Walleye and sauger fishing closed December 1 below the dams at Dubuque, Bellevue and Clinton.  Walleye and sauger fishing will reopen in these areas March 16, 2009.

Avenue of the Saints Lake (Bremer):  Ice is about 6 inches thick. Fishing is fair for 6 to 7-inch bluegills using small jigs tipped with wax worms.

George Wyth Lake (Black Hawk): Ice is about 6 inches thick.  Fishing is good for smaller bluegill with some yellow perch mixed in.  Sorting will be necessary for keepers, but the action is decent.

Lake Meyer (Winneshiek): Anglers are catching 6 to 8-inch bluegills and crappies up to 9 inches.  Try using a white or pink jig tipped with wax worm fishing along the dam.

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 is about 6 inches thick.  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 bluegills using tear-drops and wax worms.  Ice is about 6 inches thick.

Sweets Marsh (Bremer) and Brinker Lake (Black Hawk):  Fishing is reported to be fair for crappie and bluegill, and ice is about 6 inches thick.

Silver Lake (Delaware):  Fishing is slow to fair for 6 to 7-inch bluegills using tear drops tipped with wax worms.

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, river stage at Lock and Dam 15 is 5.81 feet. Tailwater stage has risen close to a foot over the past couple of days. There are reports of ice at the Marquette St. boat ramp. Anglers are catching bluegills and an occasional crappie through the ice in Sunset Marina. In Pool 17, river stage at Lock and Dam 16 is 4.19 feet. There are no reports of ice anglers fishing in the backwaters due to poor ice conditions. In Pool 18, the river stage at Lock and Dam 17 is 5.86 feet. Tailwater stage has risen close to 2 feet over the past couple of days. There are no reports of ice anglers fishing in the backwaters. In Pool 19, the river stage at Lock and Dam 18 is 2.63 feet. No reports of ice anglers fishing in the backwaters due to poor ice conditions. In Pool 20, river stage at Lock and Dam 19 is 4.15 feet. Water levels are fluctuating daily due dam releases. No fishing report.

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

Lake Belva Deer (Keokuk): Ice is 6 inches thick and in good condition.  Anglers are concentrating their efforts along the deeper water off the south boat ramp and are doing well on bluegills as well as picking up some crappies.

Lake Geode (Henry): Ice conditions are improving but remain unsafe.

Lake Macbride (Johnson): Most of the lake has 6 to 8 inches of ice. Some areas of deeper water froze later than others and still may have unsafe ice.  Anglers are catching some crappies around structure in deeper water. Small jigs and wax worms are catching the majority of the fish.

Coralville Reservoir (Johnson): Areas out of the current have 6 to 8 inches of ice 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. Fish around deep structure at dusk using small jigs and wax worms.

Hannen Lake (Benton): The lake is completely covered with 7 to 9 inches of ice in most areas. Deep brush piles are giving up some crappies, while bluegills are around brush in a little shallower water. No minnows are allowed here.

Diamond Lake (Poweshiek): The lake has 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.

Lake Rathbun (Appanoose): Conditions are not suitable for ice fishing.  Bays and coves are starting to ice up but the main lake is still open.

Lake Sugema (Van Buren): Conditions are not suitable for ice fishing.

Lake Miami (Monroe): Conditions are not suitable for ice fishing.

Lake Hawthorn (Mahaska): Conditions are not suitable for ice fishing.

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

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.  Don’t overlook the small ponds within the park and Hooper Wildlife Area; they also contain fishable populations of bluegill.

Hickory Grove (Story):  The bluegill bite is light, but some anglers are picking up 10 to 15 keepers in an outing.  Most fish being caught are in the 7 to 9 inch range.

Big Creek (Polk):  Bluegill and crappie fishing has been fair using wax worms and minnows.  Fish are being caught within a few feet of the bottom in 20 to 30 feet of water.  The best bite has been best in the morning, but crappie and a few walleye are being caught after dark.

DMACC Pond (Ankeny): Bluegill fishing is still very good with the occasional trout being caught.  Bluegills 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.

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

Some mid-sized and most large lakes still have patches of open water.  Small and shallow water bodies have been ice covered for several days but caution is still needed.  A few anglers have been out on area farm ponds but have reported only 3 inches of ice.  Ice thickness varies within a given water body so exercise caution and check the ice thickness in several spots.

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.  Ice conditions remain variable, from 4 inches on the farm ponds to 3 inches on small lakes.  It is strongly advised to remain cautious and to test the ice before venturing out.

Lake Manawa (Pottawattamie): The canals have 4 inches of ice and anglers are catching small crappies on wax worms.

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.

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