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Iowa fishing report 10-16-09

October 16, 2009 at 08:11 PM

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The Iowa Department of Natural Resources issues a weekly fishing report on Thursdays in an effort to provide the latest information heading into the weekend. 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.


Crawford Creek Impoundment

The cold weather seems to be keeping anglers from going out, but those who are, have had some luck catching medium sized bluegill and crappie.  Channel Catfish - Slow: People have reported catching a few catfish.  Bluegill - Fair: Shore and boat anglers are catching bluegill with small hooks and jigs.  Majority of fish are medium sized.  Crappie - Fair: Boat and shore anglers have been catching some crappie on various baits.  Majority of fish are medium to fairly small.

Brushy Creek Lake

Water has cleared up.  A few bluegill and crappie are being caught.  Fish near trees and cover a lot of area.  Docks will remain in the lake until freezing weather moves in.  Bluegill - Fair: Anglers have been catching a few bluegills in 10 to 18 feet of water, just off the bottom.  Use small hooks and a slip bobber set up; best baits are red worms or wax worms.  Walleye - Slow: Try minnows along the rock shoreline in the evening hours.

Storm Lake (including Little Storm Lake)

No one is fishing, because of the cold weather, but walleye and catfish angling is fairly good.  Remember that Storm Lake has a 17 to 22-inch slot length limit.  All walleye in that range must be immediately released.  Channel Catfish - Good: Anglers are doing well using chubs and minnows.  Walleye - Fair: Try chubs and minnows.  Some anglers have caught fish casting twisters from shore or trolling shad rap type lures (hot steel or blue) along the dredge cuts and other traditionally good areas.  Make sure to immediately return slot length (17 to 22-inch) fish to the water.

North Twin Lake

Anglers are catching a few panfish.  Bluegill - Fair: Use a small hook and piece of crawler.  Crappie - Fair: Use small minnows and fish around docks.  Yellow Bass - Fair: Use a small hook and piece of crawler or small piece of cut bait; cast toward or jig around docks and keep moving.

Black Hawk Lake

Anglers have been catching a few small crappie and bluegill in Town Bay.

Cold fronts moving across the area have disrupted fishing. People were not fishing very much this week.  For more information about these lakes and rivers call Don Herrig (712-657-2638) at the Black Hawk District Office in Lake View.

Clear Lake

Water temperatures are in the middle 40s.  The fish cleaning station at McIntosh Woods State Park has been closed for the season.

Water temperatures have dropped into the 40s for most north-central Iowa lakes.

Big Spirit Lake

The water temperature at the lake is 42 degrees.  Yellow Perch - Fair: Using jigging lures or small jigs tipped with wax worms, minnows, or Belgian worms while anchored in 17 to 22 feet of water near Big and Little Stoney points.  Walleye - Fair: Wader fish after sunset at the Footbridge, Buffalo Run, and Marble Beach with a twister tail.  Walleye of all sizes are being caught.

East Okoboji Lake

Yellow Perch - Good: Vertical jig along weed lines or in the deep basin from the Narrows down to Jingle’s Point.  Walleye - Fair: Fish at sunset off boat docks, the bridges, or along shorelines with a twister tail or jig and minnow.  Yellow Bass - Excellent: Fish boat docks with small jigs tipped with a piece of worms or along weed lines.

West Okoboji Lake

Water temperature is 55 degrees.  Walleye - Fair: Wader fish after sunset with a twister tail or jig and minnow.

West Fork Des Moines (state line to Emmetsburg)

Recent rains have raised the river which has slowed the fishing some.  Walleye - Fair: Use a jig and minnow in eddies and deep water areas.

For more information on lakes and rivers in the Spirit lake area call 1-(712)-336-1840.


Volga Lake

Channel Catfish - No Report: This is one time of year where cut bait will work better than chicken liver.  Bluegill - Slow: There is a slow bite, but nice ones are being caught.  Largemouth Bass - No Report: The largemouth bass should start to turn on soon depending on the weather.  Crappie - Slow:

Lake Hendricks

Channel Catfish - No Report:  Bluegill - Slow: Bluegill are biting on a hook tipped with a wax worm.  Largemouth Bass - Good: Anglers report best success using a night crawler or artificial jigs tipped with a twister tail.  Crappie - Slow: A few crappies are being caught on twister tails fished near the woody structure in the upper end of the lake.

Lake Meyer

Lake Meyer has good oxygen throughout the water column.  The fish seem to be in deeper water at this time.  Channel Catfish - No Report: The catfish bite has slowed down, but there are reports of a few trophy-sized fish being caught on cut bait.  Bluegill - Slow: Anglers report have best luck using a feather jig or a hook, worm fished off the bottom.  The hot spot seems to be off the jetty.  Largemouth Bass - Slow: There are good numbers of quality-sized bass in the lake this year.  Crappie - Slow: If they aren’t holding on the bush piles, try locating the schools in the open water by drifting.

Upper Iowa River (above Decorah)

Northern Pike - No Report:  Smallmouth Bass - No Report: Last week quite a few fish over 14 inches were being caught on black jigs.  Walleye - Slow: Walleye angling in town are beginning to pick up.  Try fishing in those deeper holes.

Upper Iowa River (below Decorah)

Smallmouth Bass - No Report:  Walleye - No Report:

Cedar River (above Nashua)

Water clarity is excellent so fishing in the evening and on cloudy days may be your best bet.  Channel Catfish - Slow: Some catfish are being caught using cut bait or chicken liver below the dam at Nashua.  Smallmouth Bass - Slow: Start focusing on the over-wintering deeper pools.  Walleye - Fair: Anglers are beginning to catch walleye using a jig head and minnow below the dam at Nashua and by Howards Woods. Upstream of Charles City the bite is slower.

Decorah District Streams

Trout continue to be stocked in our streams but the stocking is now unannounced.  Hatchery folks are reporting the trout streams as being very fishable.  There have been some nice insect hatches occurring.

The Upper Iowa, Cedar and Turkey rivers water temperature is dropping rapidly.  River and stream water clarity is good to excellent.  Area lake temperatures are in the high 40s to low 50s.  For more information, please call the Decorah Fish Hatchery at 563-382-8324.

Silver Lake (Delaware)

Fishing has picked up for bluegill and largemouth bass.  Bluegill - Fair: Try using a small piece of redworm or night crawler underneath a small bobber casting out beyond the shoreline vegetation. If angling from a boat, fish near and around the pockets of vegetation throughout the lake.  Largemouth Bass - Fair: Cast weedless artificial baits for some good largemouth bass action.

Casey Lake (aka Hickory Hills Lake)

Anglers are catching both bluegill and bass in Casey Lake.  Bluegill - Fair: Anglers are catching nice sized bluegill in 6 to 8 feet of water off of the dam and above submersed structure. Try casting little jigs with small twister tail from the shoreline while slowly retrieving through the 6 to 8 feet of water. Some anglers have been having good success using fly rods as well.  Largemouth Bass - Fair: Largemouth are biting very well on almost anything thrown at them from shore. Fish tend to run in size from 10 to 13 inches but have been providing lots of fun action. Anglers are reminded that there is an 18-inch size limit on this lake for largemouth bass.

Brinker Lake

Anglers are beginning to catch crappies out of Brinker Lake.  Crappie - Fair: Try casting jigs or using crappie minnows under a slip bobber in 6 to 8 feet of water in and around brush piles.

Cedar River (Nashua to La Porte City)

The Cedar River has been fair for walleye, smallmouth bass and crappies over the last week. Fishing has slowed with the recent onset of cold air temperatures in October.  Smallmouth Bass - Fair: Smallmouth bass are biting on crankbaits. October is one of the better months for angling aggressive smallmouths!  Walleye - Fair: Anglers are catching some larger walleyes in the Cedar with the onset of late fall and winter. Try casting jigs or crankbaits in and around woody structure along current breaks or deeper holes.

Shell Rock River (Greene to Shell Rock)

Anglers have been having fair success fishing for both walleye and smallmouth bass.  Smallmouth Bass - Fair: Cast jigs with a twister tail or crankbaits on the downstream end of riffles for these actively feeding fish.  Walleye - Fair: Try casting jigs tipped with a minnow or casting crankbaits in and around woody structure along current breaks.

Wapsipinicon River (Tripoli to Troy Mills)

Anglers are catching a variety of fish in the Wapsi, both in the main river and in impoundments above low head dams.  Smallmouth Bass - Fair: Recent DNR fish surveys on the Wapsi reflected good numbers and size structure of smallmouth bass in this river. Crankbaits and spinner baits work well when fished in and around woody structure.  Crappie - Fair: Try fishing the rock piles located in the impoundment above Independence for some good crappie action.  Walleye - Fair: Try using jigs tipped with or without a twister tail and a minnow below the low head dam areas. Anglers are also having success casting crankbaits for walleye this time of year.

Maquoketa River (above Monticello)

The month of October is an excellent time to be pursuing walleye and smallmouth bass on the Maquoketa River.  Smallmouth Bass - Fair: Try the Catch and Release area below the Lake Delhi dam for some great smallmouth action. Crankbaits work well this time of year.  Walleye - Fair: Walleyes are aggressive this time of year with the onset of winter. Try jigging the deeper holes using a jig and minnow as they move into their overwintering areas.

Northeast Iowa interior rivers are still providing a good assortment of game fish. With the recent record cold temperatures arriving in October, fishing has slowed on most water bodies. Anglers in Black Hawk County are beginning to pick up some crappies on some area lakes. For more information contact the district office in Manchester at (563) 927-3276.


Mississippi River Pool 9

The river level at Lansing is 8.1 feet.  The water temperature has dropped dramatically and is at 46 degrees.  Northern Pike - Fair: Northern pike are being caught in some of the side sloughs using either crankbaits or spinner baits.  White colored lures seem to work best.  Bluegill - Fair: Bluegill fishing has been good around the Blackhawk lake area. Use night crawlers to catch these fish.  Smallmouth Bass - Fair: Fish are concentrated along rocky shorelines and wing dams with current. Use small inline spinners to catch these fish.  Crappie - Fair: Using jig and minnow in the running sloughs.  Walleye - Fair: A few walleyes being caught in Minnesota Slough trolling crankbaits.

Mississippi River Pool 10

The river level at Lynxville is 13.7 feet. The water temperature is 46 degrees.  Northern Pike - Good: Reports of pike fishing have slowed but fish are still being caught where the backwater lakes open up into sloughs. Use spinner baits or shallow running crankbaits for these fish.  Bluegill - Fair: Some bluegill are being caught below the spillway near Harpers Ferry using worms.  Largemouth Bass - Good: Some bass are being caught using crankbaits out from points.  Crappie - Good: Crappie fishing continues to be good using a jig and minnow in the side sloughs and fishing around woody structure.  Try Joyce Lake or Mud Hen Lake near Harpers Ferry.  Sauger - Fair: Some small saugers are showing up in the tail waters of the Lynxville Dam.  Most anglers using a three-way rig with a minnow.  Walleye - Fair: Fishing has been good along the wing dams and along the “s” curves south of Harpers Ferry. Use a jig tipped with minnow to catch these fish. Some smaller fish are being caught below the dam also.  Freshwater Drum - Good: Catch these fish using night crawlers on the bottom. Fish are also being taken jigging in the tail waters.

Mississippi River Pool 11

River levels at Guttenberg are at 5.3 feet.  The water temperature is 50 degrees.  Water clarity is excellent!  White Bass - Good: White bass continue to be caught in the tail waters and around some of the wing dams. Keep an eye open for schooling fish. Use small jigs or spinners to catch these fish.  Smallmouth Bass - Fair: Smallmouth bass fishing is good along rocky shorelines and wing dams with good flow over them. Use inline spinners to catch these fish.  Sauger - Fair: Some smaller sauger are being caught in the tail waters below the dam using a jig and minnow or 3-way rigs.  Walleye - Fair: Some walleye can be caught around the tips of wing dams. Either troll crankbaits or fish a jig and minnow.  Freshwater Drum - Good: Use a night crawler and fish around wing dams or moderate current areas.  Some drum are also being caught on jigs in the Guttenberg tail water.

Water levels have bumped up slightly in the last week but are still low. Boaters are still urged to use caution when boating outside the main channel. Boaters should also use caution when backing down the ramps so as not to back off of the end of the concrete. Call Guttenberg fisheries station for current conditions at (563) 252-1156.  Water clarity is excellent.

Mississippi River Pool 16

River stage at Lock and Dam 15 is 5.4 feet and is forecast to stay steady over the weekend.  Channel catfishing has been slow.  White bass fishing in Sylvan Slough has been slow.  Bluegill - Fair: Bluegills are being caught in Sunset Marina and the Andalusia Island complex fishing around brush piles.  Crappie - Fair: Crappies are being caught in Sunset Marina and the Andalusia Island complex fishing small jigs and minnows in shallow water around brush piles.  Tail water fishing for saugers has been slow.  Walleye - Fair: Some walleyes are being caught on the wing dams by Credit Island on three-way rigs. Most of the fish have been caught towards the ends of the wing dams next to the main channel. Some fish are also being picked up on jigs and minnows and crankbaits.

Mississippi River Pool 17

River stage at Lock and Dam 16 is 4.36 feet and is forecast to stay steady over the weekend.  Channel Catfish - Slow: Channel catfishing has been slow.  White Bass - Slow: White bass fishing has been slow.  Bluegill - Fair: Some bluegills are being caught in the backwaters fishing shallow water around brush.  Crappie - Fair: Some crappies are being caught in Big Timber fishing around brush piles along the bank on minnows and tube jigs. Some crappies are also being caught in the Muscatine Harbor.  Sauger - Slow: Tail water fishing for saugers has been slow.  Walleye - Fair: Some walleyes are being caught on three-way rigs and jigs/minnows fished above the wing dams towards the main channel. 

Mississippi River Pool 18

River stage at Lock and Dam 17 is 5.31 feet and is forecast to stay steady throughout the weekend.  Channel Catfish - Slow: Channel catfishing has been slow.  White Bass - Slow: White bass fishing has been slow.  Bluegill - Fair: Some bluegills are being picked up fishing jigs and small minnows around brush piles in the backwaters.  Crappie - Fair: Crappies are being caught in shallow water around brush using small minnows or tube jigs.  Sauger - No Report: Walleye - Fair: Some walleyes are being caught on the wing dams using three-way rigs. Some fish are also being caught on jigs and minnows.

Mississippi River Pool 19

River stage at Lock and Dam 18 is 2.67 feet and is forecast to stay steady over the weekend.  Channel Catfish - Slow: Fishing for channel catfish has been slowing down.  White Bass - Slow: White bass fishing has been slow.  Bluegill - No Report:  Crappie - Slow: Some crappies are starting to be caught around brush piles in the backwater areas on minnows.  Sauger - No Report:  Walleye - Slow: Walleye fishing has been slow on the wing dams.

Mississippi River Pools 16 to 20: River levels are forecast to stay steady over the weekend.  Main channel water temperature is around 50 degrees. For more information on fishing Pools 16 to 20 of the Mississippi River contact the Fairport Fish Hatchery at 563-263-5062.


Lake Geode

Water temperature is dropping fast. There has not been much activity on the lake.  Bluegill - Slow: Cold weather is driving the fish to deeper water.

Lake Belva Deer

The road work is done for the rest of the year.  They will let the road bed settle this winter and start the paving part of the project next year.  Bluegill - Excellent: The cloudy rainy weather has the bluegills out deeper.  Anglers are catching them at a depth of about 6 feet.  Crappie - Excellent: Crappie fishing remains very good.  Work along the rocks and trees in the lower part of the lake. Minnows and glitter tube jigs are producing the best.

Pollmiller Park Lake

The cold nights are making the water temp drop.  Look for the fish to be moving in shallow to feed.  Channel Catfish - Slow: Not much angling pressure on these fish as they get ready to take their long winter’s nap.  Bluegill - Fair: Night crawlers and bobber placed in structure have produced nice sized fish.  Largemouth Bass - Good: Shallow diving crankbaits have produced nice fish most often in the evening, yet can be caught throughout the day.  Crappie - Good: Small jigs tipped with minnows is what is working right now.  Smaller minnows seem to produce more fish.

Lake of the Hills

The cold wet weather has made the angler numbers drop off. Water temps are dropping fast.  Anglers should hit the shallow bays on any sunny warm days we get.  Rainbow Trout - Excellent: The fall stocking of trout into Lake of the Hills is scheduled for October 17 at 10:30.  The trout will be released at the Gate 1 boat ramp.  Anglers are also starting top catch some of last winter’s fish as they leave their refuges as the water cools off.  Channel Catfish - Fair: Some anglers are catching fish on chicken liver.  Hit the ledges to deep water during the day.  Bluegill - Good: Work them just like the crappies.  Largemouth Bass - Good: Lake of the Hills sister lake: Railroad lake has been producing some nice bass by flipping plastics close to the flooded trees.  Crappie - Good: Hit the brush piles with wax worms on small jigs and bobbers. Jigging small tube jigs tipped with wax worms in the deeper brush piles are producing the bigger fish.

Lake Darling

The lake remains drained.

Skunk River (Coppock to Mississippi River)

The water temperature on Oct. 15 was 46 degrees. The river level remains fairly steady.  Flathead Catfish - Slow: Most of these fish have arrived in their overwintering areas and are slowing down for the winter.

For more information on the above lakes call the Lake Darling Fisheries Office at (319) 694-2430.

Lake Macbride

Crappie - Fair: Some nice sized crappies are being caught on shallow brush. Fish over top of the brush with small jigs or minnows.

Coralville Reservoir

As of October 8, the lake level is 685.6’.  The water level is predicted to slowly rise until it reaches 686’ by November 1. The water clarity remains poor.

Iowa River (Coralville Lake to River Junction)

As of Oct. 15, the flows are 2,700 cubic feet per second and is predicted to stair step down to 1,400 CFS in the next week.

For more information contact the Lake Macbride Fisheries Station at 319-624-3615.

Lake Wapello

The lake has been renovated and is being allowed to fill.

Lake Keomah

Channel Catfish - Slow: Try night crawler or cut bait along the shoreline.  Bluegill - Fair: Anglers are using small jigs tipped with a wax worm fished around structure.  Largemouth Bass - Slow: Try rubber worms along the fishing jetties or around submerged structure.

Lake Miami

The lake is 6 feet low due to a planned drawdown.  The boat ramps are still usable.  Channel Catfish - Slow: Use night crawlers or cut bait.  Largemouth Bass - Fair: Use spinner baits around the flooded timber or areas with submerged structure.  Try using rubber worms in the same areas.

Lake Sugema

Bluegill - Fair: Use small jigs tipped with a wax worm or chunk of night crawler around the weed line.  Largemouth Bass - Good: Use spinner baits or crankbaits around submerged structure or the weed line.  Try Carolina rigged worms around areas of timber or the lily pads.  Crappie - Fair: Use jig and minnow combinations around the flooded timber.  Keep moving until finding active fish.  Walleye - Slow: As the water cools, the walleye will move onto areas with rocks.  Try a jig and minnow combination or crankbaits around areas with rocky shorelines.

Rathbun Reservoir

The lake’s water temperature is in the lower 50s.  The lake level is 903.44 with normal pool being 904.00.  The boat ramp at Honey Creek State Park is closed due to road construction.  Channel Catfish - Fair: Blood bait and cut bait have been catching some nice sized channel catfish.  South Fork has been a productive area to try.  White Bass - Slow: Try baits that mimic shad like chrome colored crankbaits or jigging spoons.  Crappie - Fair: Anglers are catching crappies around submerged brush piles in 10 to 15 feet of water.  Most fish are being caught on a jig and minnow combination.  Walleye - Slow: Trolling crankbaits around submerged drop-offs and underwater islands has been successful.

For additional fishing information in southeast Iowa, contact the Rathbun Fish Hatchery at 641-647-2406.


Rock Creek Lake

We have received no information regarding fishing on this water body this week. 

Roberts Creek Lake

We have received no information regarding fishing on this water body this week. 

Big Creek Lake

Crappie - Fair: Some crappies are being caught by fishing minnows or small tube jigs near submerged wood in deeper water or over the sunken brush piles.

Easter Lake

We have received no information regarding fishing on this water body this week. 

Hickory Grove Lake

Bluegill - Slow: Some bluegills are being caught fishing light tackle such as small tube jigs or ice fishing jigs tipped with small pieces of crawler or wax worms.  The fish can be caught in 10 to 15 feet of water near submerged brush or pallet piles.  Crappie - Slow: A few crappies are being caught fishing minnows or small tube jigs near the submerged brush and pallet piles in around 15 feet of water.  There is sunken habitat off most of the points.  A depth finder will help in locating the structure.

Red Rock Reservoir

We have received no information regarding fishing on this water body this week. 

Saylorville Reservoir

We have received no information regarding fishing on this water body this week. 

Des Moines River (Stratford to Saylorville Lake)

Walleye - Fair: A few walleyes are being caught using jig and crawler or jig and minnow.  Larger fish can be found near wood cover in 3 feet of water or more with a little current.  Throwing crankbaits along sandbar drop-offs can also be effective.

Des Moines River (Saylorville to Red Rock)

Walleye - Fair: A few walleye are being caught at Cottonwood and below the city dams using jig and twisters or jig and minnow.

Middle Raccoon River (above Van Meter)

Smallmouth Bass - Fair: Smallmouth are on their fall feeding pattern.  Some nice fish are being caught throwing small crankbaits imitating shiners or crayfish, inline spinners, or soft plastics.  Walleye - Fair: Decent catches of walleye are being caught anywhere there is good depth with slower moving water using jig and minnow, jig and twister, or small crankbaits.

Contact Ben Dodd or Andy Otting at (515) 432-2823 for information on the above area lakes and rivers.

Meadow Lake

Meadow Lake has a good largemouth bass population with many fish over 15 inches. During the winter of 2009, habitat was added to the lake consisting of underwater reefs, rock fields, catfish spawning tubes, and numerous red cedar tree piles. Try fishing plastic baits with a slow retrieve around deeper structure. The lake is full with one concrete boat ramp.

Cold Springs Lake

Cold Springs Lake fish population was renovated in 2006 and anglers are catching largemouth bass up to 17 inches.

Lake Anita

Lake Anita has provided good fishing most of the year. The size and condition of the bluegills and crappies has improved over the past summer setting Anita up for some good fall fishing.

Viking Lake

Viking Lake’s fish population was renovated back in 2006 and the initial stocking of largemouth bass has reached 17 inches, and the catfish are over 20 inches.

Lake Manawa

Anglers are having success fishing the canals on sunny days. Recent DNR survey showed good numbers of wipers on the east shoreline. Lake is full with slight algae bloom.  Crappie - Fair: Crappies are being caught in the canals on sunny days. You will need to sort for 9 to 10-inch fish.  Walleye - Slow: A few larger walleyes are being caught on east side of lake slow trolling crankbaits.

Cold Springs District Farm Ponds

With cold temperatures fishing has slowed on farm ponds. Always get permission before fishing privately owned ponds.  Bluegill - Slow: Try using small tube jigs and twister tails or night crawlers under a bobber.  Largemouth Bass - Fair: Largemouth bass are still being caught using plastic baits with a very slow retrieve around deeper structure.

Saganaush Pond

Saganaush Pond is scheduled to receive the first trout stocking of the year on October 23. The lake will be stocked with 1,500 catchable size rainbow trout. Access to the pond is by walk in only. There are two well maintained walking paths to the pond.

With near record low temperatures for October few people are fishing making it difficult to gather fishing report information. Water temperature is around 50 degrees in most lakes. For more information, contact Bryan Hayes or Mark Boucher at the Cold Springs District Office (712)769-2587.

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