Storm Lake (including Little Storm Lake)
The recent cool down has slowed some fishing. As of Wednesday March 23rd, water temperature was 42 degrees in the main lake and 45 in the marina. Forecasted temperatures next week could warm things up again, expect good walleye fishing near shore as water temperatures rise.
Black Hawk Lake
Water level is 10 inches over the crest of the spillway. The recent cool down has slowed some fishing. As of Thursday March 24th, water temperature was 40 degrees. Forecasted temperatures next week could warm things up and improve the bite. More reports will be added as lake fishing picks up again.
Black Hawk Pits
Look for opportunities to target panfish as temperatures warm the water early next week. More reports will be added as open water fishing picks up.
Lake fishing has slowed a bit with the recent cooler temperatures. The bite should improve next week as water temperatures rise. River fishing this time of year can be productive. Most rivers in our area are on the high side right now. More reports will be available as lake fishing picks back up. For more information, contact the Black Hawk District Office at 712-657-2638.
Channel Catfish – No Report: Channel catfishing is usually good after ice-out on the causeway near the bridges. Use cut bait or worms.
Lake Smith is ice-free. No reports of fishing activity. Channel Catfish – No Report: Fish in the shallower water or bays on the warmer days or on the windward shorelines where bait is pushed. Largemouth Bass – Fair: Anglers were catching a few bass earlier this week.
Ice out on Clear Lake was on March 16th. Walleye – Fair: Anglers have had some success with keeper size males and an occasional bigger one wading the east shoreline. Walleye activity will pick up in the coming weeks. Use jig and minnow combinations, fished very slow. Some reports of a few walleyes being caught near the Ventura grade. Channel Catfish – No Report: Fish near inlets and windblown shorelines in the early season using cut bait, worms or minnows. Bluegill – Fair: A few bluegills have been caught in the canals. Use small ice jigs under a bobber or add a split shot or two and vertical jig near structure. Muskellunge – No Report: Target shallow flats along the shoreline on the east end of the lake. Use a jig and minnow or a slow moving artificial. Black Crappie – Good: Crappies have been caught in the canals. Use small ice jigs under a bobber or add a split shot or two and vertical jig near structure. Check the edges or inside the rushes around the lake as crappies will likely be found near them as well.
Yellow Bass – Fair: Anglers are catching a few small yellow bass after the ice-out. Channel Catfish – No Report: Try fishing the campground bay as that will likely have a little warmer water. The bridge/channel at the mouth of the bay could be a good spot to catch fish as the mouth into and out of the bay.
Rainbow Trout – No Report: Trout stocked this winter should still be able to be caught throughout spring. Try using a quick searching lure like an inline spinner.
Shell Rock River (above Greene)
Northern Pike – Good: Look for backwaters and stream mouths to catch northerns. Anglers are catching a few northerns below the dams near Greene and Marble Rock. Walleye – Good: Some walleyes are being caught near Marble Rock.
Northern Pike – Good: Northern pike fishing has been good this week on the Winnebago River along the public fishing access points through Mason City area. Fish have been in 22-30 inch range. Other locations that have produced are the dam at Pammel Park in Forest City and the Fertile dam. Use cut suckers, minnows or a slow artificial presentation. The bite may last another week with the colder weather.
For lake updates and fishing information in the north central area, contact the Clear Lake Fish and Wildlife office at 641-357-3517.
Big Spirit Lake
Black Crappie – Slow: The bite has slowed after the cold snap. Look for fishing to pick up as the water temperatures increase. Anglers are still catching a couple of crappies at Templar Lagoon and Buffalo. Use small tubes or a minnow under a slip bobber.
East Okoboji Lake
Not much activity this week. Look for the fishing to pick as the water temperatures warm.
Silver Lake (Dickinson)
Walleye – Slow: A few walleye have been picked up on the north bridge, the island and the east shoreline. Jigs tipped with minnows fished slow work best.
West Okoboji Lake
Bluegill – Fair: Anglers have been picking up a few nice bluegills on the trestle and in Triboji. Use small tungsten jigs tipped with maggots. Black Crappie – Slow: A few crappies were picked up in Triboji before the cold front pushed through. Try downsizing and slowing your presentation to coax fish into biting.
Walleye – Fair: Reports of a good walleye catch before the cold fronts. Use small jig heads tipped with a minnow or plastics fished slowly.
Walleye season is closed on Big Spirit, West and East lakes.
One boat dock is in and the other one will be in after a few minor repairs. Black Crappie – Slow: This is a good time of year to fish in shallow water later in the day.
Few people have been out fishing. Most are getting boats ready for the season. Black Crappie – Slow.
Few people have been out fishing. Water clarity is excellent. Bluegill – Slow.
Upper Iowa River (above Decorah)
Water levels had been dropping prior to the recent rain/snow. Water clarity is good. White Sucker – Excellent: Conditions are great for sucker fishing. Use a hook threaded with a long piece of worm and a small sinker about 6 inches from the hook and let your bait rest on the bottom.
Turkey River (above Clermont)
Anglers are getting their boats ready for the season, but not much luck finding fish yet. Water levels are a little high but water clarity is good. Water temperatures are in the mid-40’s but may cool some with cooler temperatures. Rock Bass – Slow.
Cedar River (above Nashua)
Water levels on the Cedar River leveled off, but the amount of rain and snow the watershed receives will determine how high water levels rise. It is currently fishable. Walleye – Fair: Catches are spotty but look out when it turns on. A variety of natural and artificial baits are working. Fish are congregating below the dams. Channel Catfish – Fair: Catfish are biting cut baits and chubs fished under a bobber in quiet backwaters and impounded areas of rivers. Smallmouth Bass – Fair: Smallmouth bass were hitting a variety of baits. Northern Pike – Fair: Anglers are finding pike over flooded timber or off channel areas.
Decorah District Streams
Streams with better water quality should be fishable over the weekend. It may take a day or 2 for the others to clear up. Late afternoon hatches have been good. Historically, March is a great time for Hendrickson hatches and with warmer temperatures look for some to come off early this year. Blue Wing Olives are starting to show up. Streamers or scuds are good for hungry fish. Brown Trout – Good: This time of year lends itself to great brown trout fishing. Off colored water and top water insect hatches in the afternoon can really spur a feeding frenzy. Brook Trout – Good: Overhead movement and shadows will scare a wily Brook Trout. Take care when approaching streams with exceptionally clear water. Use larger jigs or streamers that imitate minnows or small trout. Rainbow Trout – Good: Decorah will begin stocking catchable rainbow on Monday, April 4. Get out there and get the ones that escaped last year’s efforts.
Look for temperatures to be in the 40’s this weekend with a chance of showers on Saturday. Varying snow and rain fall amounts will determine conditions on many area rivers and streams. Frost is out of the ground, so much of this moisture should soak into the ground. This year’s Catchable Trout Stocking Calendar is out. See the DNR website at www.iowadnr.gov/Fishing/Trout-
Cedar River (Nashua to La Porte City)
Walleye fishing has been fantastic on the Cedar River in Bremer and Black Hawk Counties. Smallmouth bass and northern pike action has also been good. Walleye – Excellent: Jig and plastics or bucktail jigs tipped with a minnow have been dynamite for walleye. Slowly bounce and retrieve while keeping contact with the river bottom. Smallmouth Bass – Good: Apply the same techniques you would use while fishing for walleye for some great smallie action. Northern Pike – Excellent: A live chub fished under a bobber has been excellent for pike on the Cedar River.
Shell Rock River (Greene to Shell Rock)
There have been some good reports of smallmouth bass fishing coming from the Shell Rock River. Smallmouth Bass – Good: Use a jig and plastics or bucktail jigs tipped with a minnow.
Wapsi River (Tripoli to Troy Mills)
Northern pike fishing has been excellent on the Wapsipinicon River. Northern Pike – Excellent: Reports are fishing a live chub underneath a bobber has been very good for pike.
Maquoketa River (above Monticello)
There have been some fair to good reports for walleye on the Maquoketa River in Delaware County. Best reports have been from the Whitewater Park in Manchester and down river. Walleye – Good: Jig and plastics or bucktail jigs tipped with a minnow have been dynamite for walleye. Slowly bounce and retrieve while keeping contact with the river bottom.
Reports are walleye fishing has been exceptional with some quality sized fish being caught, particularly in the Cedar River in Bremer and Black Hawk Counties. There have been few reports on the Wapsi, Shell Rock and Maquoketa rivers. Trout stocking season begins Friday, April. 2016 trout stream stocking schedules are now available on the DNR webpage at www.iowadnr.gov/Fishing/Trout-
Mississippi River Pool 9
River levels at Lansing have crested at 12.7 feet and should begin falling slowly. Water temperature has fallen to 41 degrees. The boat ramp at New Albin is flooded.
Mississippi River Pool 10
River level at Lynxville is near crest at 23.6 feet and should begin falling slowly next week. Water temperature has fallen to 41 degrees. The boat ramp at Sny Magill is under water.
Mississippi River Pool 11
River level at Guttenberg is at 14.6 feet and expected to crest sometime this weekend just over 15 feet. Water temperature has fallen to 41 degrees. There is water on the Guttenberg city ramp but the DNR ramp is still accessible.
Much of the Upper Mississippi is in minor to moderate flood stage. Coupled with recent cold weather and a drop in water temperatures, now is not a good time to fish the big river. Water has over topped most islands and many boat ramps are under water. River levels are at or near crest and should begin falling slowly next week.
Mississippi River Pool 12
Water level is 13.6 feet at the Dubuque tailwater and 15.6 feet at the RR bridge. Water levels will rise a couple feet this week. Water temperature in the main channel is 44 degrees. Some minor flooding may be reported. Yellow Perch – Good: Some nice perch are being caught this spring in the tailwaters and opening to major backwater areas. Sauger – Good: Even in the higher flows some sauger are being reported. Lots of small fish. Northern Pike – Good: The River has a good population of northern pike and anglers are already targeting them in the O’Leary’s backwater and other places as the ice recedes. Walleye – No Report: Loads of small walleye were caught this spring. The 2015 year class measures one of the largest ever. It should bode well for the future of walleye fishing in the Mississippi River.
Mississippi River Pool 13
Water level is 13.6 feet at Bellevue which is up considerably from last week. Expect water to rise a couple more feet throughout the week. Paddlefish season is underway, be cognizant of all paddlefish rules as they are somewhat complicated, especially at Bellevue. The DNR boat ramp is presently flooded out. Yellow Perch – Good: Some nice yellow perch were caught in the tailwater again this week. Not a lot reported but they are sizable fish. Sauger – Fair: A few small saugers have been reported even in the high water. Walleye – Fair: Male walleyes especially are moving toward their spawning locations. The walleye spawn is expected to begin in earnest over the next few weeks.
Mississippi River Pool 14
Water level at Fulton was recorded at 12.1 feet, 14.4 feet at Camanche and 8.4 feet at Le Claire. All these readings are up two feet from last week. Water is expected to rise up to four more feet by next week and minor flooding will occur. Paddlefish season is still underway, review paddlefish rules before taking to the water. Walleye – No Report: Lots of small (9 to 10 inch) fish were reported as we had a very strong year class last year. Some very nice walleyes were also taken on jig and minnow! Yellow Perch – Good: Some nice yellow perch were caught in the backwaters on small jigs with a minnow head.
Mississippi River Pool 15
Water level is 11.9 feet at Rock Island, up from last week. Expect water levels to rise over four feet this week. No fishing was reported to us from Pool 15.
Water temperature in the main channel is 44 degrees. Northern pike are spawning now and yellow perch are soon to follow. Water level is rising throughout the district and minor flooding will be reported in some places. Paddlefish snagging season continues through April 15. Review paddlefish rules or call the DNR station if uncertain.
Mississippi River Pool 16
Tailwater stage at Lock and Dam 15 in the Quad Cities is 12.70 feet and rising. Flood stage is 15 feet. River levels are predicted to reach flood stage by the end of the weekend or early next week with current forecasts. Fishing has been slow with the high and muddy water conditions.
Mississippi River Pool 17
Tailwater stage at Lock and Dam 16 at Muscatine is 11.48 feet. Flood stage is 15 feet. River levels are predicted to reach flood stage by the end of the weekend or early next week. Fishing has been slow with the high and muddy river conditions. The ramp in Big Timber is closed due to the high water.
Mississippi River Pool 18
Tailwater stage at Lock and Dam 17 at New Boston is 12.96 feet and rising. Flood stage is 15 feet. River levels are predicted to reach flood stage by the end of the weekend. Fishing has been slow with the high and muddy river conditions. The toolsboro ramp is closed due to high water.
Mississippi River Pool 19
Tailwater stage at Lock and Dam 18 above Burlington is 8.74 feet and rising. Flood stage is 10 feet. We have not received any fishing reports for this pool this week but fishing will be difficult with the high and muddy river conditions.
Mississippi River Pools 16-19: River stages are on the rise and with current forecasts the river is predicted to reach flood stage by the end of the weekend or early next week. Fishing has been slow with the high and muddy water. Some ramps are starting to be closed due to the high water. If you have questions on fishing pools16-19, contact the Fairport Fish Hatchery at 563-263-5062.
Lake Belva Deer
The return of windy colder weather hasn’t helped the number of anglers on the lake. Largemouth Bass – Slow: On the warmest days, you have the best chance to catch bass in the shallow sunlit bays on the north side of the lake in the middle of the day.
Lake of the Hills
Plenty of the 2,000 stocked trout are left. Rainbow Trout – Excellent: The trout fishing is really good. Look for them to be just a few feet from shore in 3-4 feet of water around the rocks and stumps. Largemouth Bass – Fair: Work the tree falls in the sunny and warmer side of the lake. Brook Trout – Excellent: Half of the trout stocked last Friday were brook trout. A good number were caught that first day.
Water temperature is 49-50 degrees. The water is still a little muddy with the run-off from the rains. A few anglers have been out on the warmer days. Largemouth Bass – Fair: Anglers continue to catch some decent bass when the sun is out. The weather isn’t cooperating this week.
The spring trout release is scheduled for April 1st at noon. 1000 brook and rainbow trout will be released.
Environmental Discovery Park North Pond
The spring trout stocking is scheduled for April 1st. 1000 brook and rainbow trout will be released.
Lost Grove Lake
The docks went in last Thursday. Largemouth Bass – Slow: Anglers have been picking up a few bass around the habitat in shallow water.
Big Hollow Lake
Anglers are getting out on the lake on the warmer sunny days. Water temperature is around 50 degrees. The boat docks are back in the water. Largemouth Bass – Slow: Work the face of the dam and around the islands on the north side with a slowly fished jig or soft plastic. Bluegill – Good: Anglers are picking up some nice bluegills.
Fishing remains slow but expect it to pick up when it gets warmer. Largemouth Bass – Fair: Look for them to be in shallow but not too far away from a ledge to deeper water to escape to.
For more information on the above lakes, call the Lake Darling Fisheries Office at 319-694-2430.
All courtesy docks are in. Surface temperatures this week were in the mid-40’s. Walleye – Fair: A few walleye have been reported as being caught in the past week. White Crappie – Fair: Some fish are being caught off wood, east of the Causeway.
Central Park Lake
Black Crappie – Fair: Some 9-11 inch fish were being caught this week. The cool down may shut things down for a while.
Pleasant Creek Lake
The lake is currently about 10′ low for the upcoming restoration project. Rock was added to the main ramp area to extend the boat ramps. These ramps are “Use at your own risk” to allow boaters to use the lake while the lake level is down. They are still shallow and could possibly be soft, especially below the water line. The far east lane is the deepest option. 4×4 vehicles only.
No minnows are allowed here.
Union Grove Lake
The lake is currently drained for the renovation project.
The lake is down to spring pool of 679′. Boating above Bobbers Marina is difficult to impossible due to shallow water. Channel Catfish – Fair: Catfish are hitting on shad. Some anglers are fishing from shore up around 380/965 while others are boat fishing channel edges of the main lake.
Iowa River (Marshalltown to Coralville Lake)
Channel Catfish – Good: Worms work best. Walleye – Fair.
Cedar River (La Porte City to Cedar Rapids)
Northern Pike – Fair: Some fish are being caught in the backwaters.
Cedar River (Cedar Rapids to Moscow)
Walleye – Fair: Anglers are catching some fish below the dams, primarily on jigs.
Wapsi River (Troy Mills to Oxford Junction)
Channel Catfish – Good. Walleye – Fair.
Maquoketa River (Hopkinton to Canton)
Channel Catfish – Good. Walleye – Fair.
For more information, contact the Lake Macbride Fisheries Station at 319-624-3615.
Red Haw Lake
Fishing activity has been slow. For ice out channel catfish, look for areas with flowing water and try using cut bait. Some anglers have been catching largemouth bass throwing crankbaits along the shoreline.
The road construction project at Lake Keomah State Park is ongoing but the roads are now open to get to the lake. As the water warms up, look for crappies starting to move toward the shoreline.
Anglers have been catching some largemouth bass using crankbaits. Target the rocky shorelines and along the dam using minnows for walleye. Crappie fishing will improve as the water temperatures increase. Start using small jigs around the flooded timber and then follow the crappie toward the shorelines as they spawn. Fishing activity has been slow.
Bob White Lake
A complete fisheries renovation was completed in September. Fingerlings were stocked in the fall.
Ottumwa Park Pond East (Trout Pond)
Trout are scheduled to be stocked on Saturday, March 26 around 11:00 a.m. A trout stamp is required to fish for or possess trout. Try spinners or other baits that will catch the trout’s attention.
The current lake level is 904.26. Try cut bait or shad sides for ice-out channel catfish. Target areas with the wind blowing into the shoreline or where water is flowing into the lake. Crappie fishing will improve as the water temperatures warm. Lake Rathbun contains zebra mussels so make sure to properly drain, clean, and dry equipment before transporting to another water body.
Take your trash with you so your favorite fishing spot is clean and litter free. Contact the Rathbun Fish Hatchery at 641-647-2406with questions regarding angling in south central Iowa.
Three Mile Lake
Channel Catfish – Slow: Channel catfish of all sizes have been caught using cut bait fished along shallow mudflats or bays.
The dock at the main boat ramp is installed. Channel Catfish – Fair: Channel catfish of all sizes have been caught using cut bait fished along windblown shallow flats and bays.
Little River Watershed Lake
Channel Catfish – Fair: Channel catfish of all sizes have been caught using cut bait fished near windblown shallow bays and flats. Walleye – Slow: Walleyes up to 20 inches have been caught using minnows fished near the roadbed or along rock fields and piles.
Green Valley Lake
Largemouth Bass – Fair: Largemouth bass up to 18 inches have been caught using crankbaits fished near cedar tree brush piles.
Water temperature in most Mount Ayr district lakes is approximately 47 degrees. For more information, please call 641-464-3108.
Des Moines River (Stratford to Saylorville Lake)
Walleye – Slow: River flows are still slightly high, but stable. Conditions are fishable. Chances for good walleye fishing should increase between now and early April. Fraser dam and Boone Waterworks are popular areas to target first. Use slow presentations of jigs tipped with twisters, paddle tails, or live minnows.
Des Moines River (Saylorville to Red Rock)
Walleye – Slow: Current river levels are elevated, but flows below Saylorville continue to drop making for better fishing conditions. Walleye fishing has been fairly slow. Target areas below the Saylorville spillway and Scott Street dam. Use slow presentations of jigs tipped with twisters, paddle tails or live minnows. Channel Catfish – Good: Anglers fishing below Center Street dam in Des Moines have been doing well catching channel and flathead catfish slowly retrieving large plastic swim baits. Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) – Fair: Anglers fishing large plastic swim baits for catfish and walleyes below the dams in Des Moines are occasionally hooking into some good size hybrid striped bass.
River fishing is the best bite right now in Central Iowa until the ponds and lakes begin to warm up again. More fishing reports will resume when lake fishing picks up. For information on Central Iowa lakes and rivers, contact Andy Otting or Ben Dodd at 515-432-2823.
Greenfield Lake is a good spot to try some early spring catfishing and crappie fishing. Black Crappie – Fair: Crappies can be caught along the dam and around jetties on warm days during early spring. Fish will average 9 inches. Channel Catfish – No Report: Greenfield is a good lake for early spring catfishing. Cast shad sides or cut bait around jetties to catch fish averaging 2 pounds.
Meadow Lake has a good bluegill and crappie population and is a good spot for early spring fishing. White Crappie – No Report: Meadow has a small population of large white crappie. Fish around the jetties and underwater reefs to catch fish up to 14 inches. Black Crappie – No Report: Fish surveys indicate a large year class of black crappie in Meadow. They will average 8.5 inches. Bluegill – No Report: Meadow bluegill will average 8.5 inches.
Mormon Trail Lake
There is a big year class of 9 inch black crappies in Mormon Trail Lake that is expected to provide some good spring fishing.
Littlefield is a good spot for some early spring catfishing action. Channel Catfish – Good: Anglers are catching catfish in the upper ends of the lake where water warms first. Use cut bait or shad sides.
Fishing starts early at Lake Anita as crappies and bluegills move into the east arm on the warm sunny days. Black Crappie – Fair: Fish in the pontoon area of the lake with jigs and minnows 2 feet under a bobber. Sorting is necessary for 10 inch fish. Bluegill – Fair: Cast small jigs tipped with power bait to catch bluegills up to 9.5 inches.
Viking Lake has a good channel catfish population and is a good spot to try some early spring catfishing. The crappie bite also turns on early in the campground arm and behind the pontoon boats. Channel Catfish – No Report: Cast shad sides around structure to catch early spring catfish. Fish will average 2 pounds. Black Crappie – Slow: Next week with forecasted warm temperatures would be a good time to try catching crappies at Viking.
Anglers are catching crappies in the canals on the north side of the lake on warm sunny days. White Crappie – Fair: Cast jigs or minnows under a bobber on warm sunny days to catch crappies in the canals. Fish will range in size up to 12 inches.
Anderson Area Pond 1
Anglers have reported good catches of crappie along the dam on warm sunny days. Black Crappie – Good: Cast jigs 2 feet under a bobber along the dam to catch crappie averaging 10 inches.
Cold Springs District Farm Ponds
Farm ponds were good last week during the unseasonably warm spring temperatures. Always get permission before fishing private ponds. Black Crappie – Good: Anglers reported large catches of crappies using jigs and minnows under a bobber.
Recent cold weather has slowed fishing but it should pick up next week with forecasted warm temperatures. Good catfishing has been reported on farm ponds and crappies are being caught in some locations. For more information, call the Cold Springs District Office at 712-769-2587.