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Iowa fishing report

December 31, 2008 at 05:00 PM

Mississippi River Pools 16 to 20: With recent rains and snowmelt, river levels have risen throughout Pools 16 to 20. Some of the boat ramps have opened up but the main channel has ice chunks floating down it so take caution. River stages are forecasted to fall over the next week which could cause some unsafe ice conditions in the backwaters.  In Pool 16, river stage at Lock and Dam 15 is 7.31 feet and is forecasted to fall close to a foot over the next week. Anglers are catching bluegills and crappies through the ice in Sunset Marina on wax worms. A few anglers were able to launch boats from the Marquette St. ramp over the past couple of days and fish the tailwaters for walleyes and saugers. In Pool 17, River stage at Lock and Dam 16 is 7.99ft and forecasted to fall close to 2 ft over the weekend. There have been reports of anglers catching bluegills, crappies, and a few bass in Big Timber and Hidden Acres through the ice. The ramp at the Pearl City station in Muscatine is open. In Pool 18, river stage at Lock and Dam 17 is 10.68 feet and is forecasted to fall over the next week. River level is at the top of the boat ramp at Toolesboro. A few anglers were able to make it up to the tailwaters to fish for walleyes and saugers. There are reports of ice chunks floating in the main channel. Also, there is some construction going on at Toolesboro. In Pool 19, river stage at Lock and Dam 18 is 7.19 feet. River levels are forecasted to drop close to 3 feet by next week. A few anglers were able to make it up to the tailwaters for walleye and sauger fishing. In Pool 20, river stage at Lock and Dam 19 is 9.24 feet. No fishing report.
Lake Darling (Washington): The lake is completely drained.
Lake Belva Deer (Keokuk): Weekend rain and warm temperatures has melted the ice around the edges of the lake.  Cold temperatures this week should bring back good ice but use caution and expect variable ice thicknesses.
Lake Geode (Henry): Warm temperatures and abundant rainfall has made the ice unsafe in all areas of the lake.
Lake Macbride (Johnson): Most of the lake has better than 8 inches of ice on it. Crappie fishing has been hit or miss. If you can find the fish, the fishing is great. Check brush piles, reefs and drop-offs.
Coralville Reservoir (Johnson): Much of the reservoir has safe ice; however, the edges and current areas do not due to the inflow of rain/melt from last week.
Kent Park (Johnson): Anglers are now hitting the lake and having some success on bluegills fishing around the deep structure with small jigs and wax worms.  Dusk seems to be the prime fishing time.
Hannen Lake (Benton): Deep brush piles are giving up some crappies, while bluegills are around brush in shallower water. No minnows are allowed here.
Diamond Lake (Poweshiek): Fishing has been tough so far, with small bluegills accounting for most of the catch.  No minnows are allowed here.
Union Grove (Tama):  The lake has about 12 inches of ice on it. Bluegills and crappies are being caught in high numbers, but are 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 now open water pockets at the dam end of the lake.
Lake Rathbun (Appanoose): Anglers have been fishing in Buck Creek, South Fork and Honey Creek and catching crappies on minnows.  The warm temperatures and rain caused the lake to rise about 2 feet and the ice has melted along the shoreline so access may be difficult in some areas.
Lake Sugema (Van Buren): The lake is still unsuitable for ice fishing.  Anglers have been fishing on the Tug Fork ponds north of Sugema.  Try using jigs tipped with minnows or wax worms.
Lake Miami (Monroe): Anglers have been catching crappies along the dam using small jigs tipped with a minnow or wax worm.  The ice has melted along the shoreline so access may be difficult in some areas.
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.

Hickory Grove (Story):  Bluegill fishing is good.  Fish are being caught suspended in brush piles in 20 to 30 feet of water, and near the island.  Most fish being caught are measuring 7 to 9 inches.  Crappie fishing has been slow so far, but when anglers do find a few, they are good sized. 
Big Creek (Polk):  Bluegill and crappie fishing is good using wax worms.  Not much success has been reported using minnows for crappies.  Bluegills are being caught near the bottom, but the crappies are suspended in 15 to 25 feet of water.  Bluegill fishing is better shallow earlier in the morning, and deeper as the morning progresses.  The best crappie fishing has been in the evenings from sunset until around 8 p.m. 
DMACC Pond (Ankeny):  Bluegill fishing is still slow this week, but some anglers are finding them in 10 to 12 feet of water.  The water is stained right now due the snow melt and runoff.  Bluegills that are caught are good sized with most being around 8 inches. 
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.
Des Moines River (Polk):  There are reports again of a good walleye bite below the Saylorville spillway using a jig head and minnow. 
Contact Ben Dodd at (515) 432-2823, Ext.108, for information on the above area lakes.

Area lakes are frozen.  The melt water has pooled around the edges and on top of the existing ice.  Farm ponds, small lakes and medium lakes have areas with up to 10 inches of ice.  Large lakes are also frozen but ice thickness and condition varies greatly.  Check ice thickness in several places.
Farm Ponds:  Angling has been very good but the runoff from recent freezing rain has filled some ponds in Taylor and Ringgold counties and made ice condition poor around the edges.  Adams and Union county have better ice conditions and more consistent fishing.
Three Mile Lake (Union):  The lake is completely frozen but the thickness varies from 3 to 8 inches.  Ice anglers have been fishing many of the same areas as previous years.  The cove southwest of the water pumping station, the roadway between the ramps, and the area just to the northwest of the upper ramp have been the most popular to date.
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.  Several 2 to 4 pound walleye and lots of 7 to 9-inch bluegills have been caught over the old road.  Ice thickness seems to be over 6 inches in most places.
Lake Icaria (Adams):  The lake is completely frozen.  Most of the angling activity has occurred just to the north of the marina, in the south corner of the dam, and over the old roadway.  All species can be caught with 7 to 8-inch bluegills and some crappies being the most active.
Lake of Three Fires (Taylor):  The lake is completely frozen.  Ice thickness near shore is over 7 inches.  The angling activity has occurred over the brush pile immediately north of the center of the dam.  Several nice bluegills and crappies have been caught.
Fogle Lake (Ringgold):  The lake is completely frozen.  Some 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.
Contact Gary Sobotka at (641) 464-3108 for information on the above area lakes.

Lake Manawa (Pottawattamie): Anglers are catching catfish on minnows and wax worms around the beach area. The main lake has 5 to 8 inches of good ice.
Anderson Area (Montgomery): Bluegills are good using wax worms. A few 8-inch crappies are being 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 is 7 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):  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.
Yellow Smoke Lake (Crawford): Fishing is fair for nice sized bluegills, but it does require some hunting around until you find the fish. 
Crawford Creek (Ida):  Fishing is slow for bluegills and crappies.  There are lots of smaller bluegills, but the larger ones are hard to find.
Brushy Creek Lake (Webster): All the snow has melted off the ice.  Ice conditions vary though out the lake and the main lake ice is not safe.  Most are fishing the north boat ramp area and behind Taylor’s Island and catching bluegills and crappies on wax worms or minnows.
Clear Lake (Cerro Gordo):  Clear Lake has 14 to 16 inches of ice. Yellow bass are biting in the Farmer’s Beach area and near the west aerator in the early mornings and evening using a jig tipped with bait. A few small walleyes are being caught at this time as well. Deep snow in some areas is making access difficult.
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:  Most of the backwater areas in Pools 9 to 11 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 9 to 15 have unsafe ice conditions; however, the backwater areas have 5 to 9 inches of ice. 
Pool 9 anglers are ice fishing off Army Road at Cordwood and Bear Paw lakes, near New Albin, although fishing is reported to be only fair.  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 at times 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 is not advised!  Sturgeon Slough (aka McGregor Lake area) has also had a lot of fishing pressure.  Bussey Lake by Guttenberg has been okay, mainly bluegill and crappie.  Some anglers using tip-ups are picking up largemouth bass and a few northern pike.
Pool 11 tail waters 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.  Mud Lake and Sunfish Lake just north of Dubuque had some fishing pressure but we are receiving mixed reports from very good to very poor.  Surveys in these area show a building population of bluegill, crappie and yellow perch.
Pool 12 anglers are catching a few bluegill and crappie in O’Leary’s Lake and Frentress Lake.  Fishing has been good in Kehough Slough.
Pool 13 anglers are catching a few bluegills and crappies in South Sabula Lake and Mickelson’s Lake (aka Potters Marsh).  Fishing is fair to good in Middle Sabula Lake.  A few crappies are being caught in Sabula Harbor. 
Pool 14 is fair for bluegill and crappie in Rock Creek.
Cedar River (Mitchell, Floyd and Chickasaw):  No fishing report for this week, but with recent rain and snow melt, the river will be on the rise and muddy causing the ice to break up.
Cedar River (Black Hawk) and Wapsipinicon River (Buchanan): Backwater areas on these interior rivers have been producing fair catches of crappies recently.  Anglers on the Cedar River are catching a fair number of walleyes through the ice where and when conditions allow.  Try jigging spoons with tipped with a minnow head for walleyes.  Proceed with caution when traveling across ice on the rivers especially.  Walleye and other fish concentrate in deep pools to over winter.
Avenue of the Saints Lake (Bremer): Good numbers of crappies have been caught recently with some sorting required.  Small jigs with wax worms have been most effective, but also working well are crappie minnows under a bobber.
George Wyth Lake (Black Hawk):  Fishing is good to excellent for bluegill, crappie and yellow perch with some sorting necessary.  Try fishing small ice jigs tipped with a wax worm.  Fish have been congregating along the north shoreline near the ranger’s house.
Casey Lake (Tama):  Bluegill fishing has been fair, but you can catch quality-sized bluegills using small flies with a light split shot or small jigs tipped with wax worms.
Lake Hendricks (Howard):  More anglers are out on the ice.  Crappie and bluegill are biting.  Try using a teardrop shaped jig tipped with a wax worm.  Anglers report some sorting of fish is necessary
Lake Meyer (Winneshiek):  Fishing has picked up this past week with anglers 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 year.  Water has been off-color due to snow melt and rain inputs. 
North Prairie Lake (Black Hawk):  Action is still good for rainbow trout following the December 16 stocking.  A variety of baits are working, including Swedish pimples, jigging raps, cicadas, jigs with twister tails, power bait, minnows, and tear drops with wax worms.  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):  Bluegill fishing has been good on small jigs tipped with a wax worm.  Certain times of the day are better than others.  A few nice-sized crappies are also being pulled in.
Silver Lake (Delaware):  Fishing is fair for 6 to 7-inch bluegill using tear drops tipped with wax worms.
Volga Lake (Fayette):  Anglers are 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.

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