Iowa DNR Fishing Report – March 24th

Iowa DNR Fishing Report – April 7th

March 31, 2016 Comments (0) Fishing Report

Iowa DNR Fishing Report – March 31st

Storm Lake (including Little Storm Lake)
Water temperatures are in the mid-40s. Expect good walleye fishing near shore this weekend and next week as water temperatures continue to climb and walleye exhibit spawning behavior. Try areas near shore that contain sand, rocks, and/or gravel substrate.

Black Hawk Lake
Water level is 9 inches over the crest of the spillway. Anglers have had luck catching bluegill and crappie in Town Bay and near the inlet bridge. Walleye are being picked up in Town Bay and along the shoreline around Ice House Point. This time of year you can expect good walleye fishing near shore as water temperatures continue to climb and walleye exhibit spawning behavior. Try areas near shore that contain sandy or gravel substrate.

Black Hawk Pits
Look for opportunities to target panfish as temperatures continue to warm.

Good crappie fishing has been reported on smaller bodies of water that are warming up quicker than our lakes. Walleye fishing has been good on our walleye lakes and especially the rivers right now. For more information, contact the Black Hawk District Office at 712-657-2638.

Beeds Lake
Channel Catfish – No Report: Channel cat fishing is usually good after ice-out on the causeway near the bridges. Use cut bait or worms.

Lake Smith
Channel Catfish – No Report: Fish in the shallower water or bays on the warmer days or fish on the windward shorelines where bait is pushed.

Clear Lake
Docks are in at MacIntosh State Park and Lynne Lorenzen ramp. Walleye – Fair: The bite has been slow this week for wader fisherman near the outlet on the east side of the lake. An occasional walleye has been taken near the Ventura grade. Channel Catfish – Good: Catfish action has been good this past week. Use cut bait, worms or minnows near inlets and windblown shorelines in the early season. The water is still very clear in the shallows, so fish a little deeper, on calm days. 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. Walleye anglers have caught a few near the outlet on the east end and also by the Marsh inlet by the Ventura grade. 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 out the edges or inside the rushes around the lake as crappies will likely be found near them as well. White Bass – Fair: Anglers have had some occasional good days in the past weeks for white bass near the Ventura grade.

Crystal Lake
The fish cleaning station, boat launch dock and the courtesy dock are in at Crystal Lake.

Blue Pit
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.

Bluebill Lake
The access gates to the boat ramp are open and the courtesy dock has been installed. Minimal fishing activity observed to date. There is a 15 inch minimum length limit on largemouth bass.

Iowa River (Iowa Falls to Marshalltown)
Northern Pike – Good: Northern and walleye are biting on the Iowa River near Pine Lakes. Walleye – Good.

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 being caught near Marble Rock.

Winnebago River
Northern Pike – Good: 20-28 inch northern pike still being caught in the Winnebago River through Cerro Gordo County at the public fishing access points. Sucker/bobber along with artificial baits works well. Fish have been more active when water levels are normal. When water levels are high, the bite has been reduced. Other locations that have produced are the dam at Pammel Park in Forest City and the Fertile dam.

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. Smallmouth Bass – Fair: Anglers have started to pick up some smallmouth bass on the rock piles. Use tubes or jerk baits.

East Okoboji Lake
Yellow Bass – Fair: Anglers have been picking up a few yellow bass in the evenings on Jingles point.

Silver Lake (Dickinson)
Walleye – Fair: The walleye bite has been picking up with the warming water temperatures. The north bridge, the island, and the east shoreline have been producing fish in the evening. Jigs tipped with minnows fished slowly works best.

West Okoboji Lake
Bluegill – Good: Anglers have been picking up a few nice bluegills on the trestle and in Triboji. Use small tungsten jigs tipped with maggots. Black Crappie – Fair: The crappie bite has picked up in Triboji. Small minnows or mini jigs worked well the past week.

Walleye season is closed on Big Spirit, West and East lakes.

Volga Lake
Few people have been fishing this week.

Lake Hendricks
Few people have been out fishing this week.

Lake Meyer
Few people have been out fishing.

Upper Iowa River (above Decorah)
Water levels have come up about 1/2 foot and it’s still rising. Information on current river conditions is available at  White Sucker – Good: 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. Walleye – Fair: Prior to this cold snap, anglers had been doing well. Fish were hitting on hair jigs and spinnerbaits.

Upper Iowa River (below Decorah)
Water levels are currently rising. The Dorchester area received about 1.3 inches of rain as of 7:30 a.m. with more coming. Walleye – Fair: Angler catches have slowed with rain and the drop in temperatures. A crawler hooked about mid body or small crankbaits were working for shore anglers. White Sucker – Good: Use a hook tipped with a worm fished off the bottom.

Turkey River (above Clermont)
Anglers haven’t had much luck finding fish, yet. Water levels have come up about 1 foot. Water temperatures are in the upper 40’s but may cool with cooler temperatures.

Cedar River (above Nashua)
Water levels on the Cedar River are on the rise, but the amount of rain and snow the watershed receives will determine how high water levels rise. It is currently fishable with most fishing the off-channel or backwater areas. Dropping water temperatures will slow fish activity. Walleye – Slow: Catches are spotty but when it turns on, look out. A variety of natural and artificial baits are working. Fish are congregating below the dams. Channel Catfish – Slow: Catfish are biting cut baits and chubs fished under a bobber in quiet backwaters and impounded areas of rivers. Smallmouth Bass – Slow: 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 clear faster, but it may take a day or two. Late afternoon hatches have been good. Look for strong hatches of Blue Wing Olives and stoneflies to show up. Streamers or scuds are good for hungry fish. Successful spin fishers are using spinnerbaits or jig tipped with a worm. 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 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.

Most of Decorah’s District received between 0.5 inches to 1.5 inches of rain over the last 24 hrs. with more forecasted through Saturday. Temperatures are also falling. This year’s Catchable Trout Stocking Calendar is out. See the DNR website at for details.  Additional questions or great fishing stories, please contact the Decorah Fish Hatchery at 563-382-8324.

Cedar River (Nashua to La Porte City)
Walleye fishing remains fantastic on the Cedar River in both 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 – Good: 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 walleye and smallmouth bass fishing coming from the Shell Rock River. Smallmouth Bass – Good: Jig and plastics or bucktail jigs tipped with a minnow has been good for smallmouth bass. 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.

Wapsi River (Tripoli to Troy Mills)
Northern Pike fishing has been good on the Upper Wapsipinicon River. Reports have been fair to good for walleye and smallmouth bass down river within Buchanan County. Northern Pike – Good: Reports are fishing a live chub underneath a bobber has been very good for pike. 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. Smallmouth Bass – Good: Apply the same techniques you would use while fishing for walleye for some great smallie action. Lead head jigs tipped with a white twister tail and crawler has been good.

Maquoketa River (above Monticello)
The City of Manchester received just over an inch and a half of rain last night. Current conditions are high and muddy, fishing is not recommended at this time or at least until another week. Walleye – Slow: Due to current high water and turbidity, fishing will be poor.

Reports are walleye fishing has been exceptional with some quality sized fish being caught, particularly in the Cedar and Shell Rock Rivers in Butler, Bremer and Black Hawk Counties. Trout stocking season begins Friday April, 1st. 2016 stocking schedules are available on our DNR webpage at For further information, contact the N.E. District Office at 563-927-3276.

Mississippi River Pool 9
River levels at Lansing have fallen to 10.4 after cresting at 12.7 feet a week ago.  A slight rise in levels is predicted with the recent precipitation. Water temperature is 46 and gradually rising.  The boat ramp at New Albin is flooded.

Mississippi River Pool 10
River level at Lynxville has fallen to 20 feet after a crest at 23.6 feet. A slight rise in levels is predicted with the recent precipitation.  Water temperature is 46 and gradually rising. The boat ramp at Sny Magill is under water.

Mississippi River Pool 11
River level at Guttenberg is 12 feet after cresting near 15 feet.  Water temperature is 46 and gradually rising. There is water on the Guttenberg city ramp, but the DNR ramp is still accessible.

Upper Mississippi River levels have receded slightly this week but remain high. Recent precipitation will delay a return to normal river levels and a slight rise is expected this week.  Ramps and fishing docks remain under water with many being inaccessible. Fish are still active but will be more difficult to find until the flood waters recede.

Mississippi River Pool 12
Water level is 12.6 feet at the Dubuque tailwater and 15 feet at the RR bridge. These levels are below what was reported last week as the water rapidly rose and fell. Water temperature is 46 degrees in the main channel. Some minor flooding may be reported. Not a lot of fishing activity this week with high water levels and rainy conditions. Yellow Perch – No Report: Some nice perch are being caught this spring in the tailwaters and opening to major backwater areas. No reports this week due mainly to few anglers. Northern Pike – Fair: The River has a good population of northern pike.  The northern pike spawn is underway and usually pike do not do much during that time. Once the spawn is over, they immediately go into feeding mode. This should occur in the next few weeks. Walleye – Good: Loads of small walleye were caught this spring and continue to be persistent in the creel. 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 13.7 feet at Bellevue which is up slightly from last week. Expect water to fall a foot or more and then stabilize. 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 but water is receding off of it. Yellow Perch – Good: Some nice yellow perch were caught in the tailwater again this week. Not a lot reported but they are sizable fish. Perch fishing in the Upper Mississippi has been excellent so far. Sauger – Fair: A few small saugers have been reported even in the high water. Walleye – Good: Male walleyes especially are moving toward their spawning locations.  The walleye spawn is expected to begin in earnest soon.  We are at the lower end of their preferred spawning temperature range. Northern Pike – Fair: Some northern pike are showing up in the backwater lakes and in Browns Lake and Green Island.  We are getting to the tail end of their preferred spawning temperature range and expect the bite to really pick up.

Mississippi River Pool 14
Water level was recorded at 13.8 feet at Fulton, 15.9 feet at Camanche and 9.8 feet at Le Claire.  These readings are all up a foot or more from last week. Water is expected to fall slowly and then stay steady. Paddlefish season is still underway, review paddlefish rules before taking to the water. Many boat ramps are still under water. Walleye – Good: Fishing was curtailed some last week with the rapidly rising water but some very nice walleyes were taken on jig and minnow. Yellow Perch – No Report: All Spring some nice yellow perch have been taken in the tailwaters and backwater openings on small jigs with minnow head for bait.  Not a lot of activity this week with rainy conditions and rising water levels.

Mississippi River Pool 15
Water level is 11.9 feet at Rock Island, which is up from last week. Expect water levels to recede this week. No fishing was reported to us from Pool 15.

Water temperature in the main channel is 47 degrees. Northern pike are still spawning with yellow perch soon to follow. Water level is steady to falling throughout the district and minor flooding is still reported in some places.  Paddlefish snagging season continues through April 15. Review paddlefish rules or call the DNR station if uncertain.

Wapsi River (Troy Mills to Oxford Junction)
Walleye – Fair: Try fishing with jigs below the dams. This is often the best time of year to catch a big fish.

Hannen Lake
Fishing is reported as slow.

Rodgers Park Lake
Fishing is reported as slow.

Lake Macbride
All courtesy docks are in. Surface temperatures this week were in the mid to upper 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
Largemouth Bass – Good: Some anglers are catching quite a few bass, although they are almost all under 15 inches.

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 be possibly soft, especially below the water line. The far east lane is the deepest option. 4×4 vehicles only.

Diamond Lake
No minnows are allowed here. Black Crappie – Fair: Trip jigs tipped with waxies or worms. Fish are being caught around jetties and/or brush piles. Most fish are around 9 inches.

Union Grove Lake
The lake is currently drained for the renovation project.

Coralville Reservoir
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.

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

Lake Geode
The water temperature dropped earlier this week and is now setting around 48-49 degrees. The water is a little dirty from the runoff and rain. Water clarity is just about four feet. The docks are in but the fish cleaning station isn’t yet. Largemouth Bass – Slow: Anglers are picking up a few bass along the northeast side on the flats and on the west side around the Johnsons bay area.

Lake Belva Deer
Water temperature in the lake dropped this week to 49 degrees. Water clarity is fairly good at 5 feet but is a little cloudier than normal because of the recent rains. 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. Black Crappie – Fair: If you get out on a warm cloudy day, you should be able to find some crappies in the shallow water feeding.

Lake Darling
Water temperature has dropped into the upper 40’s this week with the colder nights. Water is a little turbid from the rain, clarity is at 39 inches. Largemouth Bass – Fair: Anglers continue to catch some decent bass when the sun is out. Black Crappie – Slow: Anglers are picking up a few smaller crappies in shallow along the rocks while fishing for bass.

Wilson Lake
The spring trout release is scheduled for this Friday (April 1st) at noon. 1000 brook and rainbow trout will be released.

Environmental Discovery Park North Pond
The spring trout stocking is scheduled for this Friday (April 1st). 1000 trout, a mixture of rainbow and brook, will be released.

Lost Grove Lake
The docks have been in for a little over a week. Need some warmer less windy weather for the anglers. Largemouth Bass – Slow: Anglers have been picking up a few bass around the habitat in shallow water.

Deep Lakes
Fishing remains slow with the colder weather. 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.

Red Haw Lake
Some anglers have been catching largemouth bass throwing crankbaits along the shoreline. Try a chunk of night crawler under a bobber for bluegill. Use cut bait for channel catfish. Target windblown shorelines or areas where water is flowing into the lake.

Lake Keomah
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, look for crappies starting to move toward the shoreline.

Lake Sugema
Anglers have been catching some largemouth bass with spinnerbaits or crankbaits. Anglers have been catching a few crappies. Try different depths and colors until you find active fish. Try jig and minnow combos along the dam and other rocky shorelines for walleye.

Bob White Lake
A complete fisheries renovation was completed in September. Fingerlings were stocked in the fall.

Ottumwa Park Pond East (Trout Pond)
2000 trout were stocked on Saturday, March 26. A trout stamp is required to fish for or possess trout. Try spinners or other baits that will catch the trout’s attention. A piece of night crawler can also be productive.

Rathbun Reservoir
The current lake level is 904.32. The current surface water temperature is 47 °F. Try cut bait or shad sides this time of year for 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 up. 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 641-647-2406 with questions regarding angling in south central Iowa.

Banner Lake (south)
The next trout stocking and family fishing event will be held on April 9th around noon. Cast small in-line spinners, small tube or twister jigs or live bait such as wax worms or live minnows under a bobber. The Warren County Izaak Walton League will provide free food and drink first come first serve.

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 are the. 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 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 warm up. 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
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 in 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
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. Try 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. 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. Black Crappie – Slow: Anglers reported catching a few fish along the dam.

Littlefield Lake
Littlefield is a good spot for some early spring catfishing action. Channel Catfish – Slow: Anglers are catching catfish in the upper ends of the lake where water warms first. Use cut bait or shad sides.

Lake Anita
Fishing starts early at Lake Anita as crappies and bluegills move into the east arm on the warm sunny days. Black Crappie – Slow: 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 – Slow: Cast small jigs tipped with power bait to catch bluegills up to 9.5 inches.

Viking Lake
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: With forecasted warm temperatures, next week would be a good time to try catching crappies at Viking.

Lake Manawa
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 – Slow: Cast jigs 2 feet under a bobber along the dam or in the upper end by the parking area to catch crappie averaging 10 inches.

Cold Springs District Farm Ponds
Farm ponds slowed a bit last week but will pick up again with forecasted warm temperatures next week. Always get permission before fishing private ponds. Black Crappie – Fair: Anglers reported large catches of crappies using jigs and minnows under a bobber. Bluegill – Slow: Cast tear drops or very small jigs with wax worms or power bait under a slip bobber to find early spring bluegills. Channel Catfish – Fair: Cast shad sides or cut bait in the upper ends of ponds.

Crappie fishing slowed last week in the district. Continue to try fishing on warm sunny afternoons as the best crappie fishing is yet to come. For more information, call the Cold Springs District Office at 712-769-2587.

Lake Icaria
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
Docks have been installed. Walleye – Good: Walleyes up to 20 inches have been caught trolling crankbaits along points or along rock fields.

Green Valley Lake
Largemouth Bass – Fair: Largemouth bass up to 18 inches have been caught using crankbaits fished near cedar tree brush piles or near the silt dam.

Water temperature in most Mount Ayr district lakes is approximately 50 degrees. For more information, please call 641-464-3108.

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