Where Did the Wipers Go? Hybrid Striped Bass Emigration Downstream from Dams Each year, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) stocks millions of Hybrid Striped Bass (also known as “wipers”) to provide quality fishing opportunities to Iowa anglers. Hybrid Striped Bass, a cross between Striped Bass and White Bass, inherit many of the best qualities of their parents, including fast growth and aggressive feeding behavior. These qualities make for excellent fishing and more chances to bring home a trophy fish. Unfortunately, Hybrid Striped Bass may also inherit their parents’ tendency to move up and downriver. We want to study the effectiveness of fish barriers on the fish’s ability to emigrate out of their home lake, a behavior that reduces the effectiveness of stocking. Below is a link that provides details on the research that will be done and also offers an opportunity for interested anglers to participate in the project through contributions. The website below allows those interested to access the progress, data and results straight from the research team.
Here’s the link: https://experiment.com/projects/kafbddgakvdavtkkwlqw
Iowa Fishing Report
For lake locations, maps and other information, go to www.iowadnr.gov/Fishing/FishingReports.aspx
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. Fisheries staff is currently collecting walleye at Rathbun Lake, Storm Lake, Clear Lake and the Iowa Great Lakes, which is limiting the information for this week’s fishing report. The netting will conclude once the egg quota is met and more reports will be added.
Not much angler activity this week. Channel Catfish – No Report: Channel catfishing is usually good after ice-out on the causeway near the bridges. Use cut bait or worms.
Not much angler activity this week. Channel Catfish – No Report: Fish in the shallower water or bays on the warmer days or on the windward shorelines where bait is pushed.
Water temperature is around 44 degrees. Walleye – Good: Shore fisherman near the Ventura grade have caught some walleyes during the day and at dark on minnows and twisters. 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. Fish with small ice jigs under a bobber or add a split shot or two and vertical jig near structure. Muskellunge – Fair: Target shallow flats along the shoreline on the east end of the lake. Use a jig and a 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. Yellow Bass – Fair: Yellow bass have been caught in low numbers off the Grade. Farmer’s beach and Baptist camp shorelines can be good spots in the early season.
The fish cleaning station, boat launch dock, and the courtesy dock are in at Crystal Lake.
Rainbow Trout – No Report: Trout stocked in winter should still be able to be caught throughout spring. Try using a quick searching lure like an inline spinner.
The access gates to the boat ramp are now open and the courtesy dock has been installed. Minimal fishing activity has been observed to date. There is a 15 inch minimum length limit on largemouth bass.
Northern Pike – No Report: Fishing has been good but may shutting down on the Northern bite.
For lake updates and fishing information in the north central area, contact the Clear Lake Fish and Wildlife office at 641-357-3517.
Mississippi River Pool 9
Water level at Lansing is 10.4 and expected to level off before gradually falling. Water temperature is in the mid-40s. Yellow Perch – Good: Anglers are catching yellow perch on minnows along flooded shorelines. Sauger – Fair: Some smaller sauger are biting on jigs tipped with minnow below the lock and dam. Northern Pike – Fair: Northern pike have spawned and the bite has picked up. Some nice size northerns have been caught in shallow backwaters on crankbaits.
Mississippi River Pool 10
Water level at Lynxville has fallen to 20.4 and is predicted to level off this week. Water temperature is in the mid-40s. Yellow Perch – Good: Anglers are catching yellow perch on minnows along flooded shorelines. Sauger – Fair: Some smaller sauger are biting on jigs tipped with minnow below the lock and dam. Northern Pike – Fair: Northern pike have spawned and the bite has picked up. Some nice size northerns have been caught in shallow backwaters on crankbaits.
Mississippi River Pool 11
River level at Guttenberg is 12.1 and expected to level off this week before gradually receding next week. Water temperatures have dropped to the low and mid-40’s. Yellow Perch – Good: Anglers are catching yellow perch on minnows along flooded shorelines. Sauger – Fair: Some smaller sauger are biting on jigs tipped with a minnow below the lock and dam. Northern Pike – Fair: Northern pike have spawned and the bite has picked up. Some nice size northerns have been caught in shallow backwaters on crankbaits.
Upper Mississippi River levels are leveling off but remain high and turbid. Ramps and fishing docks remain under water with many inaccessible. Water temperatures have fallen into the low to mid-40’s this week and fish are scattered.
Mississippi River Pool 12
Water level is 11.9 feet at the Dubuque tailwater and 13.8 feet at the RR bridge. These levels are down from last week. Water temperature in the main channel is 47 degrees. Walleye spawning has probably just started for Pool 12. Males have been ready to go for some time but females are just becoming ripe. 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 don’t 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 12.8 feet at Bellevue which is down from last week. Expect water to fall a bit 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 close to being operational but may have debris on it yet. Yellow Perch – Fair: Some smaller yellow perch were reported from the tailwater this week, but so far this year it has been the best yellow perch fishing in most anglers’ history. They should be spawning very shortly. 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 has probably started and will go in earnest the next few weeks. We are at the lower end of their preferred spawning temperature range.
Mississippi River Pool 14
Water level was recorded at 12.4 feet at Fulton, 14.5 feet at Camanche and 8.7 feet at Le Claire. These readings are all down a foot or more from last week. Water is expected to fall slowly all week. Paddlefish season is still underway, review paddlefish rules before taking to the water. Many boat ramps are still under water or will have debris on them. The 9th Ave. ramp in Clinton was opened up Monday morning. Walleye – Fair: Spawning for walleyes has started and Exelon Power has been stripping some fish. The walleye bite can be difficult during the spawn. Yellow Perch – No Report: Some nice yellow perch have been taken in the tailwaters and backwater openings on small jigs with a minnow head. Largemouth Bass – Fair: Some reports that the largemouth bass bite has started. Expect another banner season on both largemouth and smallmouth bass in the Mississippi this year.
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 at 47 degrees. Temperatures have been fluctuating along with the water levels. Northern pike should be near the tail end of spawning now with yellow perch probably in the midst of spawning. Walleyes have also started. Water levels are predicted for a slow fall throughout the week. Paddlefish snagging season continues through April 15. Review paddlefish rules before going out.
Mississippi River Pool 16
Tailwater stage at Lock and Dam 15 in the Quad Cities is 12.88 feet and has been falling. Current forecast has tailwater stage rising a little due to the recent rain. Fishing has been tough but a few walleye and saugers are being caught in Sylvan Slough. Sauger – Fair: A few saugers are being caught in Sylvan Slough up by the Arsenal Dam. Try vertical jigging or pulling three-way rigs with stick baits. Walleye – Fair: A few walleyes are being caught in Sylvan Slough up by the Arsenal Dam. White Bass – Fair: Some white bass are starting to be caught up by the dam above the casino. Try casting jigs and twister tails.
Mississippi River Pool 17
Tailwater stage at Lock and Dam 16 in Muscatine is 12.15 feet and has been falling. The current forecast has the river coming up slightly due to the recent rain. Flood stage is 15 feet. The ramps at Muscatine are open. The ramps at Kilpeck and Big Timber are still closed due to the high water. We have not received any fishing information for this pool this week.
Mississippi River Pool 18
Tailwater stage at Lock and Dam 17 at New Boston is 13.81 feet and has been falling. . The current forecast has the river coming up slightly due to the recent rain. Flood stage is 15 feet. The Toolsboro Landing is still closed due to the high water. We have not received any fishing information for this pool this week.
Mississippi River Pool 19
Tailwater stage at Lock and Dam 18 above Burlington is 9.83 feet. Flood stage is 10 feet. The current forecast has the river rising above flood stage slightly over the next few days with the recent rain. We have not received any fishing information for this pool this week.
Mississippi River Pools 16-19: River stages are still high and many of the boat ramps are still under water. Main channel water temperature is between 44-46 degrees and water clarity is poor with the recent rain. Fishing has been tough with the high water conditions. If you have questions on fishing pools 16-19, contact the Fairport Fish Hatchery at 563-263-5062.
Red Haw Lake
Try crankbaits along the shoreline for largemouth bass. Use a chunk of night crawler under a bobber for bluegill.
The road construction project at Lake Keomah State Park is ongoing but the roads are now open to get to the lake. Anglers have been catching bluegills, crappies and largemouth bass.
Anglers have been catching largemouth bass using crankbaits. Anglers have been catching a few crappies. 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 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.
The current lake level is 904.41. The current surface water temperature is 44 °F. Use 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) Rainbow Trout – Excellent: The next trout stocking and family fishing event will be held on April 9th. The trout will be stocked around noon. Trout can be caught casting 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 slowly dropping. Conditions are fishable. White bass and walleye are running. Target the Fraser dam and Boone Waterworks. 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 conditions are fishable. 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 between Saylorville and Birdland and below Center Street dam in Des Moines have been doing well catching channel catfish slowly retrieving large plastic swim baits or still fishing with dead gizzard shad. 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.
Boone District Farm Ponds
Black Crappie – Fair: The crappie bite in small urban and farm ponds is picking up. Fish the wind-blown side of the ponds with small tube jigs under a bobber or live minnows under a bobber on sunny days when the air temperature is at least into the 50s.
River and small pond fishing is the best bite right now in Central Iowa until the larger 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 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 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 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. Black Crappie – Slow: Anglers reported catching a few fish along the dam.
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.
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 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.
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 the 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
Stay Where You Play
Make your next fishing trip an overnight stay. Take advantage of state park cabins near many of these bodies of water. Currently 12 state parks have cabins available to rent for two-night minimums. Between April 15 and May 1, seven more parks will open their cabins for the season, creating plenty of overnight opportunities during some of the best spring fishing. For more information on cabin availability and rates, visit iowastateparks.reserveamerica.com.