Iowa DNR Fishing Report – April 7th

Iowa DNR Fishing Report – April 1st

April 14, 2016 Comments (0) Fishing Report

Iowa DNR Fishing Report – April 14th


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:

Iowa Fishing Report
For lake locations, maps and other information, go to

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.

Brushy Creek Lake
Anglers are picking up bluegill, crappie and a few perch. Fish areas near structure and closer to shore where water temperatures are warming more quickly than the main part of the lake. Use a piece of crawler fished on a small jig under a bobber or small minnows.

Storm Lake (including Little Storm Lake)
Water temperatures are in the upper 40’s. A few walleye have been picked up near shore. Anglers have had the most luck fishing the north side of the lake near the Chautauqua Jetty.

Black Hawk Lake
Water level is 8 inches over the crest of the spillway. Black Crappie – Good: Anglers are having luck fishing near the inlet bridge and in Town Bay. Use small, bright-colored jigs fished about 2 feet below a bobber. Bluegill – Good: Bluegill are biting well on a small piece of crawler fished under a bobber. Most are having luck in Town Bay along shore and especially on the stone piers. Some sorting is required. Walleye – Fair: A few walleye have been picked up in Town Bay and along the east side of the lake. Fish a twister tail or a minnow below a bobber. Target areas near shore with gravel, sand and/or rock substrate.

For more information, contact the Black Hawk District Office at 712-657-2638.

Clear Lake
Water temperature is around 44-46. Courtesy docks are in at city, island, MacIntosh, and Ventura. The weather this weekend looks warm and should provide good fishing. Walleye – Good: Boat anglers have been catching fish near Dodges Point and Billys Reef on minnows with leadheads or on slip bobbers. Shore fishermen have been catching fish near the island, the east outlet, Ventura grade or on the State Dock on the north shore. Use minnows or a twister or swimbait. Channel Catfish – Good: Fish near inlets and windblown shorelines in the early season using cut bait, worms or minnows. The water is still very clear in the shallows, so fish a little deeper on the calm days. Muskellunge – Fair: Some muskies have been caught near the Ventura grade, the east outlet and the state dock area. Black Crappie – Good: Fishing has been good for crappies this week. Fish 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. Some anglers have caught crappies near the Ventura grade or in deeper water on the little lake outside the cattail beds. 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. White Bass – Fair: A few white bass have been caught on the Ventura grade on minnows or twisters.

Bluebill Lake
The access gates to the boat ramp are now 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: The Iowa River above Eldora: Northern pike are biting on spinner baits.

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
Smallmouth Bass – Good: Good numbers of fish have been caught fishing the shallow rock piles casting jigs tipped with live bait. Look for sunny warm days with calm conditions for the best action. Black Bullhead – Fair: Look for action at the north grade to improve as water temperatures warm. Fish crawlers on the bottom.

East Okoboji Lake
Channel Catfish – Good: Anglers fishing after dark will catch acceptable size and larger fish. Use cut bait on the bottom for this hard fighting game fish. Yellow Bass – Fair: Yellow perch and yellow bass action have been reported from the trestle located on the south end of the lake.

Silver Lake (Dickinson)
Walleye – Good: Shore anglers fishing after dark will have the best action. Cast slowing moving lures such as a modified minnow imitation lure.

West Okoboji Lake
Black Crappie – Fair: Look for action to pick up for this species as the water warms.

Due to the windy weather, fishing activity has been limited at the Iowa Great Lakes. Expect increased activity as warmer temperatures are expected.

Cedar River (Nashua to La Porte City)
Walleye and smallmouth bass fishing remains good on the Cedar River in Bremer and Black Hawk Counties. Walleye – Good: Jig and plastics or bucktail jigs tipped with a minnow has 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. Spinners and crankbaits work well as water temperatures increase.

Shell Rock River (Greene to Shell Rock)
Reports have been good for walleye on the Shell Rock River. Walleye – Good: Jig and plastics or bucktail jigs tipped with a minnow has been dynamite for walleye. Slowly bounce and retrieve while keeping contact with the river bottom.

Wapsi River (Tripoli to Troy Mills)
There have been a few reports of anglers targeting the Upper Wapsipinicon River for northern pike. Anglers have been catching walleye on the river as well. Northern Pike – Fair: Drift a live chub or shiner under a bobber near deep off-current areas. Walleye – Good: Jig and plastics or bucktail jigs tipped with a minnow has been dynamite for walleye. Slowly bounce and retrieve while keeping contact with the river bottom.

Maquoketa River (above Monticello)
There have been no reports for the Maquoketa River this past week.

The interior rivers remain in excellent condition and the extended forecast looks beautiful for the upcoming weekend. There are still good reports of walleye and smallmouth bass being caught on the rivers. Trout stocking season is in full swing with the streams remaining in excellent condition. For further information, contact the N.E. District Office at 563-927-3276.

Mississippi River Pool 12
Water level is 11.9 feet at the Dubuque tailwater 13.8 feet at the RR bridge. These levels are down from last week. Water temperature in the main channel is 44 degrees. 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 – Fair: 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 11.1 feet at Bellevue which is down from last week. Expect water levels to fall all week. Paddlefish season is underway through April 15, be cognizant of all paddlefish rules as they are somewhat complicated, especially at Bellevue. The DNR boat ramp is operational but may have debris on it. The roller gates just closed at Bellevue. Walleye – Fair: The walleye spawn is underway and will probably go in earnest the next few weeks. We are still at the lower end of their preferred spawning temperature range.

Mississippi River Pool 14
Water level was recorded at 10.8 feet at Fulton, 13.5 feet at Camanche and 7.9 feet at Le Claire.  These readings are all down a foot or more from last week. Water level 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. Walleye – Slow: Spawning for walleyes is getting near the tail end. The walleye bite can be difficult during the spawn.

Mississippi River Pool 15
Water level is 11.6 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 is at 47 degrees in the main channel. 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 is 11.60 feet at Lock and Dam 15 in the Quad Cities and has been falling. 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 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 is 11.39 feet at Lock and Dam 16 in Muscatine and has been falling. Flood stage is 15 feet. The ramps at Muscatine are open. The ramp at Big Timber (The Breaks) is closed due to high water. As of April 5th, the Kilpeck Landing was closed due to the high water. We have not received any fishing information for this pool this week.

Mississippi River Pool 18
Tailwater stage is 12.83 feet at Lock and Dam 17 at New Boston and has been falling. 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 9.39 feet. Flood stage is 10 feet. River stage at Burlington is 14.53 feet and flood stage is 15 feet. We have not received any fishing information for this pool this week.

Mississippi River Pools 16-19: River stages are still high and some boat ramps are still underwater. Main channel water temperature is around 48 degrees. 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.

Lake Macbride
Black Crappie – Fair: Crappies are starting to move shallower with the warming weather and water temperatures. Try fishing around sunned rock and wood. Walleye – Fair: Look for shallow walleyes around rock early/late in the day.

Pleasant Creek Lake
The lake is 10′ low due to the upcoming lake restoration project. The main 4 lane ramps have been extended with rock to allow smaller boats to still get in. The farthest east ramp is the deepest, but caution still should be used. 4×4 vehicles only. Muskellunge – Fair. Walleye – Fair.

Diamond Lake
No minnows are allowed here. Black Crappie – Good: Fishing is improving as the weather warms. Look for crappies around shallow rock and brush. Most fish are around 9 inches.

Coralville Reservoir
The lake is at normal spring pool of 679.4′. Boating above Bobbers Marina is not recommended. The water is still dirty. No fishing reports are available.

Sand Lake
This is the quarry on the east end of Marshalltown. Rainbow and brook trout will be stocked here on April 23rd at 11 a.m. Prizes will be given to anglers that catch brook trout until 2 p.m. Black Crappie – Fair: Crappie fishing is improving as the fish are moving shallower. Many fish are 8-10 inches, but larger fish are also occasionally being caught.

Prairie Park Fishery
Trout will be stocked here on April 16th. You must have a trout stamp to fish for and/or possess trout.

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

Red Haw Lake
Anglers should try crankbaits for largemouth bass. Bluegills can be caught using a chunk of night crawler under a bobber.

Lake Keomah
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.

Lake Sugema
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 also works well.

Rathbun Reservoir
The current lake level is 904.39 and the water temperature is 46 °F. Anglers have been catching channel catfish using cut bait or shad sides. Target areas with the wind blowing into the shoreline or around rocky shorelines. 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: Trout were stocked on April 9th. Cast small in-line spinners, small tube or twister jigs or live bait such as wax worms or live minnows under a bobber.

Des Moines River (Stratford to Saylorville Lake)
Walleye – Slow: River flows have dropped making for better fishing conditions. White bass and walleye are running. Popular areas to target first are 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: River levels have dropped making for better fishing conditions. Walleye fishing has been fairly slow so far this spring. Good areas to target are 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 as the larger lakes warm up. The pre-spawn crappie bite will pick up with the warm weather. 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 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
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 Lake. 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 – Fair: Anglers reported catching a few fish along the dam.

Littlefield Lake
Littlefield is a good spot for 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 – 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 – 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 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 – Fair: The crappie bite has picked up in the campground arm.

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 – Good: 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 warm before lakes and provide good spring fishing. Always get permission before fishing private ponds. Black Crappie – Good: Anglers reported large catches of crappies using jigs and minnows under a bobber. Bluegill – Fair: 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 has picked up with warming water temperatures. 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

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