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Iowa fishing report

January 29, 2009 at 02:15 PM


Mississippi River Pools 16 to 20: In Pool 16, Sunset Marina has been good for bluegills using wax worms.  Crappies are also being caught in Sunset Marina using small minnows.  Some sorting will be necessary with the crappies.  In Pool 17, ice fishing in Big Timber has been slow for bluegills and crappies.  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.  The thermocline goes from 11 feet down to 18 feet deep.  Look for the fish to be in that 16 to 18 foot zone.  Fishing seems to be picking back up and don’t be surprised if you catch a catfish or two.  Anglers are still concentrating their efforts in the trees around the south boat ramp. 
Lake Geode (Henry): Ice conditions are a good 4 to 5 inches.  Anglers are catching mostly bluegills with a few redears mixed in.  They are concentrating their efforts on the drop-off across from the boat ramp and around the one across from the beach. 
Lake Rathbun (Appanoose): Crappie fishing has been slow with some larger crappies being caught using minnows or by vertically jigging lures around brush piles or drop-offs.  An occasional walleye is also being caught by crappie anglers.     
Lake Sugema (Van Buren): Anglers have been catching bluegills and crappies using small jigs tipped with a wax worm or minnow.  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 a wax worm.  Try areas with rock piles or piles of trees.
Lake Wapello (Davis): The lake has been completely drained.
Lake Miami (Monroe): Anglers have been catching some crappies using small jigs and minnows.  Look for areas with underwater habitat, like trees, stumps or drop-offs. 
Lake Macbride (Johnson): The fishing has slowed down but some crappies are still being caught, as well as plenty of small bluegills.  Fish around the deeper brush piles, structure or drop-offs into the main lake basin. 
Kent Park (Johnson): Anglers are having some success on bluegills.  Fish around deeper structure with small jigs/wax worms and dusk seems to be the prime fishing time.   
Lake Iowa (Iowa): Fishing around deeper brush or stake beds has been producing bluegills and redears.  There are many smaller fish, but fish up to 9 inches are mixed in.  Some channel catfish are also being caught.  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 now open water pockets at the dam end of the lake. 
Pleasant Creek (Linn): Anglers are picking up some bluegills on brush in the west half of the lake.  Use a small jig tipped with a wax worm or spike for best results. 
Hannen Lake (Benton): Some bluegills are being caught on jigs/wax worms on the north half of the lake.  Best catches have actually been away from structure as the fish seem to be roaming in schools.  The bite seems to be best towards dusk. 
For more information on fishing in southeast Iowa, call the regional office in Brighton at 319-694-2430.


Ice fishing at farm ponds and small lakes has been very good.  Ice has been 14 inches thick.  Large lakes are also frozen over but ice thickness and condition varies.
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.  Some anglers are fishing the trees in the cove south of the pump station.  Early morning and late day fishing seems to be more successful.  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.  The best spots seem to be in the creek channel or over the roadway between the two middle ramps or south along the west bank.  Several 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.  Some walleyes have been caught with good numbers of mid-sized fish.  Some 8-inch bluegills and some 9-inch crappies are also being caught from the deeper areas.
Lake of Three Fires (Taylor):  The angling activity has occurred over the brush pile immediately north of the center of the dam.  A lot 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.
Walnut Creek Marsh (Ringgold):  Some really nice crappies and mid-sized bluegills have been caught in 4 to 6 feet of water along the south dike.  The fish are spooky in the shallow water conditions.
Contact Gary Sobotka at (641) 464-3108 for information on the above area lakes.

Hickory Grove (Story):  Bluegill fishing is fair using wax worms.  Fish are suspended around structure in 20 to 25 feet of water.  Most of the bluegills being caught are in the 7 to 8-inch range.  Some anglers sticking it out after sunset are catching a few crappies.
Big Creek (Polk): Crappie fishing is still good.  The crappie bite is best in the evenings after around 7 p.m.  Electronics are a big help as the crappies are suspended 5 to 10 feet off the bottom in 30 plus feet of water.  Setting a lantern or other light source on the ice while fishing seems to help attract and hold the fish.  Chartreuse or glowing jigs tipped with wax worms or spikes have been the best producers.
Easter Lake (Polk): 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 for information on the above area lakes.

Lake Manawa (Pottawattamie): Anglers are catching crappies ranging in size from 9 to 12 inches. 
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.  Crappies measuring 9 inches can be caught late in the day and after dark on minnows.  Fish can be found around the submerged habitat in 18 to 20 feet of water. 
Desoto Bend (Harrison): Crappie fishing has been slow on the refuge.
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 good 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 along the weed beds and open areas with small ice jigs tipped with wax worms.  Yellow perch are biting along weed beds or 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.  For walleyes, fish along the weed lines and rock reefs with jigging lures tipped with a minnow at sunrise and sunset at Reeds Run, The Foot Bridge, Big Stoney, and Little Stoney points.  Northern pike are being caught 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 biting at the rock reefs in North, Miller’s and Emerson bays with jigging lures tipped with minnows in the morning or evening. Northern pike are being caught using 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.
Five Island Lake (Palo Alto): Fish for crappies along dredge cut near First Island with ice jigs tipped with wax worms, or slip bobber fish with minnows.
Storm Lake (Buena Vista): Fishing is fair to good for walleyes on live minnows or a jigging spoon with a minnow head.  Don’t forget that there is a 17 to 22-inch slot limit on walleye in Storm Lake.  All fish in that range must be returned to the water immediately.
Crawford Creek Lake (Ida): Fishing is fair to good for bluegills and a few crappies.
Bacon Creek Lake (Woodbury): The will stock 2,000 catchable sized rainbow trout around 2 p.m. Jan. 29.  Anglers are required to purchase a trout fee, in addition to a 2009 fishing license, to fish for trout in Iowa.  There is a five fish daily bag limit and a 10 fish possession limit for trout. 
Brushy Creek Lake (Webster): Fishing has been a little slow.  Some nice crappies have been caught on minnows just outside the tree line.  A few nice perch were caught on the north side of Taylor’s Island.  Some bluegills can be found right on the bottom of the lake, in 15 to 20 feet of water.  This past week there was water under the snow on the south side of Taylor’s Island at the cut.
Clear Lake (Cerro Gordo): Ice on Clear Lake averages 20 to 28 inches.  Yellow bass are continuing to bite on the west end of the main lake.  The best bite is at sunrise and sunset, fishing in 8 feet of water or less and using either a jig tipped with minnow or wax worm or a jigging spoon.  A few white bass and walleye are also being caught while fishing for yellows. 
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.


Mississippi River Pools 9 to 15: Fishing on the upper Mississippi River has been typical for late January with a lot of mixed reports coming in from anglers.  Anglers are catching fish, but keeping few of quality size.  A few have reported nice limits.  When fishing backwater lakes, drill several holes in an area and bounce between those holes.  Often times, nicer-sized fish are caught in the first few minutes at a hole and when the action slows, move to your next hole.
Pool 9 anglers are catching a few bluegills and a few nice crappies off Army Road in New Albin, but fishing is slow. 
The Pool 10 spillway above Harpers Ferry has experienced the most angling pressure, but action has slowed recently.  Look for fishing to pick up if the weather warms over the next week.  Below the lock and dam at Lynxville, fishing has been slow to good for sauger through the ice, with some nice walleye also being caught.  Try using as light of tackle as possible and jig slowly.  The Sny Magill area has had mixed results with a lot of anglers fishing in Methodist and Lower Norwegian.  Be prepare to sort the bluegills, but a few nice crappies can also be caught.  Bussey Lake has seen some limits taken in the past week, but finding fish is difficult. 
Pool 11 anglers have been catching more sauger and a few nice walleyes through the ice below Lock and Dam 10 at Guttenberg, but extreme caution should be used out on the ice.  In lower Pool 11, fishing has been slow to good in Mud Lake with fish being caught in the harbor and down in Zollicoffer’s Slough.
Pool 12 fishing is fair for bluegills in Kehough Slough—move to find fish.  Some anglers are also catching fish in the lower end of Tippy’s Lake. 
Pool 13 fishing is fair to good for crappies, bluegills and perch in Spring Lake as well as Miller’s Landing.  Much of Brown’s Lake is still anoxic; however, fish may still be caught near the springs in Lainsville Slough. 
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 January 21.
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 good for bluegills and crappies in these area lakes. 
Casey Lake (Tama):  Bluegill fishing is fair to good around stake beds and brush piles 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.
Lake Delhi (Delaware):  Bluegills and crappies are biting next to structure in 15 to 20 feet of 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.  Try dangling your worm at various depths as fish are likely suspended off the bottom at this time of year.  Fishing is best in the early morning and late evening hours.
Lake Meyer (Winneshiek):  Fishing as slowed, but try getting an early start as fish are more active in the early morning hours.  There is about 2 feet of ice in most areas.   
Volga Lake (Fayette):  Angling has been slow, but fishing pressure has picked up from previous years.  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 and anglers in the Decorah area are reporting catching nice trout on the streams.  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.  Recent stockings on urban lakes include:  North Prairie in Cedar Falls (January 17), Heritage Pond in Dubuque (January 21), Blue Pit in Mason City (January 22), Bacon Creek Lake in Sioux City (January 29).  Be sure to get your 2009 fishing license and trout fishing fee! 
For information on fishing in northeast Iowa, call the regional office in Manchester at 563-927-3276.

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