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Iowa fishing report for April 11

April 11, 2013 at 11:15 PM

Iowa Department of Natural Resources

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources issues a weekly fishing report 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.

NORTHWEST
Beeds Lake
Most of the ice is gone from the silt dam to the causeway. It won't be long before some catfish will be feeding in the shallow open water. When the current opens cuts in the causeway, try for cats, bass and crappies.

Upper Pine Lake
Water temperature is just under 40 degrees; a few northern pike have been caught.

Lake Smith
The ice just went out. Little or no fishing activity.

Humboldt Impoundment
The ice is out.

Rutland Impoundment
Ice is out.

Clear Lake
Lots of rain and wind have melted Clear Lake's ice this past couple of days. A few anglers have already taken boats out on the east end. The water level has come up 8-10 inches with rain and snowmelt.

Lake Cornelia
The lake has open water in spots and will likely be ice free by the weekend.

Little Wall Lake
Little Wall's ice has gone out this past week. Crappie - Excellent: Fishing for Crappie has been excellent on the north end off the lake off the jetty. Most fish are 6-8 inches.

Crystal Lake
Ice is starting to deteriorate on the shoreline. Anglers should use caution if venturing out this weekend. Fishing success at Crystal has been consistent. Bluegill - Good: Bluegills were biting in 15 feet of water. Anglers are still catching 7-9 inch bluegills on spikes. Largemouth Bass - Fair: Largemouth bass and an occasional walleye or northern pike being caught on minnows.

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

Blue Pit
Rainbow trout were stocked on Jan 19.

Iowa River (Iowa Falls to Marshalltown)
Water level in the Iowa River is on the rise from runoff and recent local rains.
There is some activity below Steamboat Rock for walleye and northern pike.

Shell Rock River (above Greene)
The Shell Rock is rising with recent rains. Anglers might try below some of the dams on the Shell Rock for walleye, northern pike, or catfish. Northern Pike - Slow: A few northern pike are being caught with a chub and bobber, or slow artificial presentations. Between Northwood and Nora Springs below dams, backwater areas and anywhere a creek feeds into the river. Walleye - Slow: A few small walleye being caught on jig/twister.

Winnebago River
The Winnebago water level is rising with recent rain. Anglers might have success at some of the dams in Mason City, Fertile, or Forest City. Anglers might have success looking for eddy areas, where the current is slower, and fishing with minnows or cutbait for northern pike, walleye, or catfish. Northern Pike - Slow: Northern pike are being caught in Fertile by the dam and the park point east of the dam. Anglers are using a slow retrieval with Mepps number 4 and 5 spinner baits or a Rapala 3 in Countdown Minnow. Some pike are also hitting chubs presented below bobbers. Channel Catfish - Slow: Anglers might have success fishing with minnows or cutbait for northern pike or catfish.

East Fork Des Moines (Algona to Humboldt)



Walleye - Fair: Anglers are catching a few walleyes on the river on jigs/twister tails.

Ice is out on many of our area lakes. River temperatures are low and levels are up and down with rain and ice melt. Fishing activity has been limited with the variable weather but should be good with a day or two of warmer stable weather.

For ice condition updates and fishing information in the north central area contact the Clear Lake Fish and Wildlife office at 641-357-3517.

Mill Creek (Lake)
Look for some good bluegill, bass, and crappie fishing here this spring and summer. Good numbers of 7-8-inch bluegills and 9-10-inch crappies were caught during surveys last year as well as many bass in the 14-17-inch range.

Big Spirit Lake
Walleye season is closed until May 4. Bullhead - No Report: As the ice continues to go out and the water starts warming, look toward the grade for some early bullhead action. Smallmouth Bass - Good: Best angling during calm sunny days fish shallow rock piles and then work deeper. Crappie - Fair: As the water continues to warm the crappies will move inshore look for them around rock piles and in protected areas.

East Okoboji Lake
Walleye season is closed until May 4. Channel Catfish - No Report: try night fishing with cut bait for some hot early season action.

Silver Lake (Dickinson)
Walleye - Fair: Fishing near the shorelines in the evening with waders or by boat has produced a few walleye since ice out. Try slow presentations such as jig and minnow or slip bobbers but don't overlook twister tails.

West Okoboji Lake
Walleye season is closed until May 4. Once the water starts to warm, look for bluegill and bass to move into the canals.

Five Island Lake
Channel Catfish - No Report: Good numbers channel catfish exist in the lake. Early ice out is an excellent time to catch good numbers from the lake. Try cut bait around structure such as brush piles, points, and drop-offs.

Silver Lake (Palo Alto)
Good numbers of 9-inch bullheads await the serious bullhead angler. Expect the action to pick up as the water warms. There are also good numbers of 8-inch yellow perch and with continued good growth will provide an upswing to the fall 2013 season.

Little Sioux River (state line to Linn Grove)
Walleye - Fair: Try fishing the deeper holes with twister tails and minnows.

West Fork Des Moines (state line to Emmetsburg)
Walleye - Fair: Fishing with either minnows or twister tails has produces a few walleyes in the past week or so.

For more information contact the Spirit Lake Hatchery at 712-336-1840

NORTHEAST
Volga Lake
Ice went out on Volga Lake Wednesday. Bluegill - No Report: Crappie - No Report:

Lake Hendricks
Ice is unsafe to be on and will be out very soon.

Lake Meyer
Lake Meyer still has ice but is unsafe to be on. Water is very dirty. Bluegill - No Report: Largemouth Bass - No Report: Crappie - No Report:

Cedar River (above Nashua)
Anglers are catching a few small northern pike below the St. Ansgar Dam with a chub and bobber. A lone fisherman reported catching his limit of walleye on a green jig head and twister tail tipped with a minnow. The river level is still on the high side and river temperature on the low side. When the river warms up so will the chance of catching more fish.

Decorah District Streams
Recent rains and the last of the snowmelt are still affecting water clarity on many northeast Iowa streams. Last weekend there were magnificent Hendrickson hatches on a number of creeks. Try a #14 Adams, Brown Adams or similar Drake pattern for dry fly fishing. #12 Pheasant tail nymphs and Pheasant Tail Wets also produced excellent trout. Catchable trout streams were not stocked Tuesday or Wednesday this week. Call 563-927-5736 for current stocking information.

Currently, river and stream water levels have crested and most have dropped one foot. Rain is forecast for Sunday. For more on water levels, visit this website http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ia/nwis/rt. Trout streams are being stocked on a stream by stream basis. For more information, call the Decorah Fish Hatchery at 563-382-8324.

Casey Lake (aka Hickory Hills Lake)
Anglers have been catching crappie off of structure in Casey Lake. Crappie - Fair: Fish light tackle under a slip bobber near sunken structure for crappie.

Cedar River (Nashua to La Porte City)
The Cedar River is slowly rising with decent clarity. Walleye fishing has been hit or miss but with good reports of smallmouth bass and channel catfish in Bremer County. Channel Catfish - Good: Dead baits have been most effective fished on bottom near backwater areas or off of current breaks. Smallmouth Bass - Good: Lead head jigs tipped with plastics; with or without a minnow is a good combination. Walleye - Fair: Lead head jigs tipped with a minnow is good for walleyes. Cast upstream and bounce off of bottom while retrieving.

Shell Rock River (Greene to Shell Rock)
The Shell Rock has risen and is holding steady, walleye fishing should only improve as water levels begin to fall. Walleye - Fair: Lead head jigs tipped with a minnow is good for walleyes. Cast upstream and bounce off of bottom while retrieving.

Wapsi River (Tripoli to Troy Mills)
There have been good reports of anglers catching northern pike on the Upper Wapsipinicon River. The river is up but holding steady in the lower reaches of Buchanan County, walleye fishing should improve as water levels begin to recede. Northern Pike - Good: Floating chubs under a bobber has been really good for northerns. Walleye - Fair: Lead head jigs tipped with a minnow is good for walleyes. Cast upstream and bounce off of bottom while retrieving.

Maquoketa River (above Monticello)
The Maquoketa River has risen over three feet and is holding steady. Angling should improve once again as water levels begin to recede.

Manchester District Streams
Area trout streams are in good shape and trout stockings are back on schedule.

Walleye fishing on the interior rivers has been hit or miss due to weather and water level fluctuations. There have been good reports of smallmouth bass and channel catfish on the Cedar River in Bremer County. Northerns are biting well on the Upper Wapsipinicon River. Manchester District trout streams are back to regular schedule, call the trout stocking recording for additional information 563-927-5736. For more information call the district office in Manchester at 563-927-3276.

MISSISSIPPI RIVER
Mississippi River Pool 9
River level at Lansing is 10.3 feet and predicted to hit 11 feet before leveling off next week. Northern Pike - Fair: Northern have spawned and should get more active feeding on jigs and minnows. Yellow Perch - Fair: Some perch are being picked up in the backwater lakes and along rocks on jigs tipped with worm or minnow. Walleye - Fair: Walleye fishing has picked up during the pre-spawn using jig and minnows.

Mississippi River Pool 10
River level at Lynxville 19.6 feet and predicted to raise another foot this week. Northern Pike - Fair: Northern are actively feeding on jigs with minnow. Yellow Perch - Good: Sauger - Fair: Sauger bite is picking up but many smaller fish reported. Walleye - Good: Some very nice sized walleyes being caught in the tail waters.

Mississippi River Pool 11
Guttenberg tail water level has risen to 11 feet and expected to reach 13 feet next week. Tail water fishing has slowed but fishing away from the dam out of the main current has been excellent. Northern Pike - Fair: Pre-spawn northerns are feeding actively on jigs and minnows. Yellow Perch - Good: Perch are biting along the flooded shorelines and in the trees using jigs tipped with worm or minnows. Sauger - Good: Sauger bite is good. Lots of small fish with some good keepers mixed in. Walleye - Good: Walleye bite has been good with some nice keepers being reported.

Ice has rapidly disappeared this week and recent rains have raised river levels. Water temperature is 41 degrees. River levels will continue to rise slightly this week. The walleye and sauger spawn is beginning and fishing has picked up.

Mississippi River Pool 12
At the Dubuque Lock and Dam the water levels is at 9.6 feet and expected to rise to 11.7 feet by the middle of next week. The railroad bridge is presently at 11.8 feet and expected to rise to 15 feet by next week. Some ramps will experience minor flooding. Northern Pike - No Report: Some pike were being reported at O’Leary’s Lake and in the tail water. Rapidly rising water has hurt angler’s ability to find pike. The northern pike spawn is presently underway. Pike spawn on vegetated areas in the backwaters. High water levels are good for pike spawning efforts. Yellow Perch - No Report: Yellow perch were being caught in tail waters and in O’Leary’s Lake. Rising water levels have hampered any efforts to fish for perch. Yellow perch are expected to spawn in backwater areas in the next few weeks. Sauger - No Report: Saugers were abundant but small in the tail waters this season. High water levels are presently hampering angler’s ability to catch sauger. Sauger will spawn is not yet underway but will be in the next few weeks.

Mississippi River Pool 13
Water Level at Bellevue dam is at 10.8 feet and expected to rise to 12 feet by the middle of next week. The water is muddy. Water temperatures in the channel are around 47 degrees. Many ramps will experience minor flooding at 12 feet. Northern Pike - No Report: Some pike were being reported at in the tail waters and at the mouth of Mill Creek. Rapidly rising water has hurt angler’s ability to find pike. The northern pike spawn is presently underway. Pike spawn on vegetated areas in the backwaters. High water levels are good for pike spawning efforts. Yellow Perch - No Report: Some yellow perch were showing up in the tail waters and the size has been good. Rising water levels have hampered any efforts to fish for perch. Yellow perch are expected to spawn in backwater areas in the next few weeks. Sauger - No Report: Saugers were abundant but small in the tail waters this season. High water levels are presently hampering angler’s ability to catch sauger. Sauger will spawn is not yet underway but will be in the next few weeks. Walleye - No Report: Many nice slot sized walleyes (15 to 20-inch) were caught this spring. With hope these nicer walleyes released, they will make a significant contribution to future walleye populations. Walleye spawn has not started yet but will begin in the next few weeks. Many of the females can now be found in flooded backwater areas warming up, getting ready for their egg lying season.

Mississippi River Pool 14
Water levels at Fulton were at 7.6 feet and rising to 8.5 feet by the middle of next week. The water is muddy and difficult to fish. Northern Pike - No Report: Rapidly rising water has hurt angler’s ability to find pike. The northern pike spawn is presently underway. Pike spawn on vegetated areas in the backwaters. High water levels are good for pike spawning efforts. A few pike were reported in the tail water areas this spring. Bluegill - No Report: Last year was a banner year for bluegills and bass in Pool 14. Look for similar populations of these species this season. Populations are good and with the proper water levels anglers should again see nice fish. Sauger - No Report: Saugers were abundant but small in the tail waters this season. High water levels are presently hampering angler’s ability to catch sauger. Sauger will spawn is not yet underway but will be in the next few weeks.

Mississippi River Pool 15
We have received no information regarding fishing on this water body this week.

Recent rains have hampered angling on the Mississippi River as the water is rapidly rising and getting turbid. Most dams will open roller gates on the river this week, if they have not already done so. This is a reminder that anglers can snag paddlefish through April 15. The season closes on April 16.

Mississippi River Pool 16
River level at Lock and Dam 15 is 11.6 feet and rising. Water temperature is 46 degrees. Channel Catfish - No Report: There are still a lot of dead gizzard shad available from the winter die off catfish should be utilizing this resource but the bait shops are not reporting any recent catches. Walleye - Slow: Walleye fishing has slowed significantly with the rising water levels.

Mississippi River Pool 17
Water level at Lock and Dam 16 is 10.47 feet and rising, water temperature is 49 degrees. We have received no fishing reports for this area

Mississippi River Pool 18
Water level is 12.04 feet and rising at the New Boston Lock and Dam, water temperature is 48 degrees. Water level at Lock and Dam 18 is 7.97 feet and rising and temperature is 49 degrees. Channel Catfish - Good: Catfish are still biting on shad parts in the Burlington area. Crappie - Fair: Crappies are still being caught in the backwater areas and flooded timber. Try using a jig and minnow or small spinner.

Mississippi River Pool 19
Water level is 9.86 feet and rising fast at Lock and Dam 19 temperature is 51 degrees. The stage went up 1.25 feet in the past 24 hours due to local heavy runoff. We have received no fishing reports from this area.

Recent wide spread rainfall has the river rising slightly in all pools in the lower river. This will continue for a few days as water from the north makes its way through the system. The river is below flood stage in all four southern pools. Warming temperature should increase fish activity.

SOUTHEAST
Lake Wapello
Try windy shorelines for channel catfish using cutbait.

Red Haw Lake
There has not been much fishing activity. Try small jigs along the shoreline especially on sunny afternoons.

East Greater Ottumwa Central Park Pond
There were 2,000 trout were stocked on March 30. Use small spinners or prepared trout baits. Don't forget a trout stamp is needed to fish for trout.

Rathbun Reservoir
The lake level is 905.60 feet with 904 feet being normal. The water temperature is 45 degrees. Try using cut bait or shad sides for channel catfish. Target areas with the wind blowing into shore. Keep in mind some of the walleyes in Lake Rathbun have been tagged so if you catch a tagged fish call the hatchery at 641-647-2406 with any information.

For questions regarding fishing in south central Iowa, call the Rathbun Fish Hatchery at 641-647-2406.

SOUTHWEST
Big Creek Lake
Due to boat ramp construction, anglers should use the Williams Drive boat ramp. Walleye - Fair: April is the best month to target walleye in Big Creek casting jigs with twisters or minnows, or slow trolling live bait rigs. Good areas to start are the south shoreline of the east boat ramp bay, around the peninsula between the beach and marina, the face of the dam, and the first couple hundred yards of the canal.

Hickory Grove Lake
Crappie - Fair: This time of spring anglers can do well on crappies fishing the shallower upper end near the tubes with small live minnows.

Ada Hayden Heritage Park Lake
Rainbow Trout - Fair: Good numbers of trout left from this winter's stocking, as well as previous year's stockings, can be caught in both sections of the lake. Cast flashy inline spinners, small crankbaits, panfish tube jigs or live minnows under a bobber.

Banner Lake (south)
Rainbow Trout - Excellent: Trout were stocked on April 6. They can be caught through May on inline spinners, small crankbaits, and live minnows.

Des Moines River (Stratford to Saylorville Lake)
Walleye - Fair: Anglers fishing below the Boone waterworks and Fraser dams were having fair success on walleye and white bass. The river is currently rising. If the river rises over 2 feet these locations will become more challenging to fish.

Des Moines River (Saylorville to Red Rock)
Crappie - Fair: Anglers targeting walleye with jig presentations below Red Rock are also getting into some crappie. Walleye - Fair: During last weekend’s warm weather, walleye were being caught, especially below the dams. The stretches of river below Saylorville and Red Rock will be best. These stretches are the least impacted by the recent rains. Slowly retrieve jigs tipped with minnows, twister tails, or swim baits.

Boone District Farm Ponds
Crappie - Fair: Farm ponds in central Iowa are producing some fair to good crappie and bluegill fishing. Stick with ice fishing jig and wax worm presentations or small live minnows.

Due to cold and rain central Iowa lakes are receiving very little fishing pressure. More fishing reports will return when better conditions get anglers back out. River fishing conditions have deteriorated some with rain, but should remain fair in the stretches below the reservoirs. For questions on central Iowa lakes and rivers contact Ben Dodd or Andy Otting at 515-432-2823.

Greenfield Lake
Greenfield Lake has a good population of 2 to 3 pound channel catfish. The lake is low so use caution using the boat ramp. Channel Catfish - Fair: Fish shad sides on the shoreline the wind is coming into.

Nodaway Lake
A few crappies are being picked up with minnows. The lake is 5 feet low and the boat ramp is not useable. Bluegill - Slow: A few bluegills can be caught around brush piles using wax worms. Crappie - Fair: Fish minnows or jigs around rock and the corners of the dam on sunny days for best success.

Littlefield Lake
Littlefield is a good lake to target channel catfish after ice out. Channel Catfish - No Report: Shad is the best bait to use after ice out. Catfish average 2 pounds.

Lake Anita
Early season crappie fishing has begun in the pontoon area of the lake. Bluegill - Slow: Small jigs tipped with wax worms are producing 7 to 9-inch fish. Crappie - Good: Fish the pontoon area with minnows under a bobber. Sorting is necessary for 9 to 10-inch fish.

DeSoto Bend
Desoto Bend opens for fishing April 15. The lake has good catfish and crappie populations. Channel Catfish - No Report: Shad sides on the windy shoreline work well this time of the year for channel catfish. Crappie - No Report: Fish shallow areas around structure with minnows.

Lake Manawa
Crappie fishing was good last week in the canals. Wiper fishing has also been good on the main lake. Cool temperatures may slow fishing the first part of this week. Channel Catfish - Slow: Fish the windy shoreline with shad sides for catfish of all sizes. Crappie - Good: Crappies of all sizes were being caught using minnows in the canals. Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) - Fair: Wipers are being caught on the south side of the lake using cut bait.

Cold Springs District Farm Ponds
Water temperatures on ponds generally warm sooner than larger water bodies and can provide good early season angling. Remember to always get permission before fishing private farm ponds. Channel Catfish - Good: Channel catfish are being caught using shad sides. Bluegill - Good: Fish small jigs tipped with wax worms in the upper ends of ponds where water temperatures warm quickly. Crappie - Good: Fish minnows under a bobber in 6 to 8 feet of water.

Little River Watershed Lake
The shoreline stabilization and fish habitat work has been completed. The water level is currently 8 feet low and will be allowed to rise and run-off permits. None of the ramps are usable. Most of the fish habitat is partially exposed.

Fogle Lake S.W.A.
The water level lowered last fall to allow boat ramp repairs. Currently the water is 5 feet low but the ramp extension allows easy access.

Sands Timber Lake (Blockton Reservoir)
The lake was drained to allow completion of water quality improvements.

Green Valley Lake
The water level is currently 3 feet low. The main ramp is easy to use. Largemouth Bass - Good: The largemouth bass are hiding in the cedar tree piles. Several can be caught on slow moving worms or jigs.

Summitt Lake
The replacement spillway was completed last July. Very little run-off has reached the lake. Currently the lake is at least 6 feet low and no ramps are usable.

Three Mile Lake
The lake is open and the ramps are easily accessible. The water temp is 41 degrees. Channel Catfish - Fair: A few anglers are trying for early catfish in the shallows near shoreline areas. Shad bait is best.

Twelve Mile Creek Lake
The lake is open and the ramps are accessible. The water temp is 39 degrees. Walleye - Slow: A few walleye can be found on the rock reefs and rock fields.

The ice is gone. Boat access is possible at all lakes. Water levels are usually 15 to 30 inches low but rising slowly. Water temps are near 40 degrees.

Open water fishing has begun in southwest Iowa. Crappie and bluegill fishing was good last week. Cool temperatures may slow the bite for the coming week. For more information call the district office at Cold Springs at 712-769-2587.

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