As of Wednesday Dec. 14th, ice thickness off the boat ramp ranged from 3-5 inches. There are likely unsafe areas out mid-lake; use extreme caution if you do venture out and drill test holes often. Air temperatures the next few days should continue to build quality ice. More reports will be available as we receive them.
Black Hawk Lake
On Wednesday Dec. 14th, ice thickness off Ice House Point boat ramp ranged from 4-6 inches. Ice depths in mid-lake areas are likely less; use extreme caution if venturing out anywhere on the lake. Drill test holes frequently. Below-average air temperatures the next few days should continue to build quality ice. Anglers are just starting to venture out; more reports will be available as we receive them.
As of Wednesday, Dec. 14th, most lakes in the district were ice covered with variable thicknesses of 2-6 inches. Anglers are just starting to venture out on some lakes and are reminded to use extreme caution and check ice depths often, as there may be pockets of unsafe ice. The next few days will continue to build good quality ice. As angling activity picks up, more reports will be available. For more information, contact the Black Hawk District office at 712-657-2638.
Ice thickness is 3-5 inches on most of the little lake and 2-4 inches on the main lake. Check ice conditions as you go. Yellow Bass – Fair: Yellows are taking wax worms and spikes fished near the bottom in 10-12 feet of water. Yellow Perch – Slow: A few smaller perch are being caught. Walleye – Fair: Walleyes are hitting jigs tipped with bait. Most are less than 14 inches but a few keepers are being caught.
Ice thickness is 3-4 inches. No fishing activity reported.
Ice thickness is 4-6 inches. Bluegills are biting on wax worms. Bluegill – Fair.
For information in the north central area, contact the Clear Lake Fish and Wildlife office at 641-357-3517.
Big Spirit Lake
Very little fishing activity due to the extreme cold and high winds. Weekend forecast shows cold conditions, high winds and snow thru Sunday. Look for an improvement as more typical temperatures are in the forecast starting Monday. Ice conditions have improved with 5 inches of ice in most locations on the lake.
Ice condition – four inches at the boat ramp.
East Okoboji Lake
Fishing activity has been almost nonexistent. Lake is ice covered with 5 – 6 inches at the boat ramps. Extreme cold and snow thru Sunday with more seasonal temperatures in the forecast starting on Monday.
Five Island Lake
Anglers report five inches of ice on the lake.
West Okoboji Lake
No fishing activity reported from West Okoboji Lake. The majority of the lake has open water; expect ice up once the high winds diminish.
For more information on the above lakes, call the Spirit Lake Fisheries Station at 712-336-1840.
Cedar River (above Nashua)
A few anglers have been braving the backwaters. Use extreme caution when going on river ice. There is no such thing as safe ice.
Decorah District Streams
Trout streams are in excellent condition and continue to fish well. Parking lots are not plowed in the winter; use care when parking on the side of the road. It is very pretty along the trout streams this time of year, but be ready to walk through about 5 plus inches of snow. A spinner or crank bait will catch trout. Brook Trout – Good: Use flies or lures that look like sculpins, dace, or suckers. Brown Trout – Good: Anglers have had success using a nymph rig with a scud dropper, but most fish were hitting wet flies. Rainbow Trout – Good: Find rainbow trout hiding in the upper and lower ends of pools. Dance a meaty looking fly or lure in these areas and wait.
All parking lots are now open. No motorized vehicles are allowed on the ice. The aerator is on so be careful. There is open water around it. Reports of 2.5 inches of ice are coming in with quite a bit of snow on top. Ice depths will depend on snowfall amounts. Largemouth Bass – Slow: Use a small spinner tipped with a wax worm. Black Crappie – Slow: Crappies are biting. Try a small brightly colored jig tipped with a wax worm near the bottom.
Lake Meyer has about 2.5 inches of ice but should have more by the weekend. There is about an inch of snow on top of the ice. Weekend snowfall amounts will dictate how quickly ice forms.
Turkey River (above Clermont)
Use extreme caution when going out on Vernon Spring impoundment; check ice depths often. Snowfall amounts will affect ice depth and formation, especially in areas with current.
Turkey River (below Clermont)
We have received no information about fishing on this water body this week.
Upper Iowa River (above Decorah)
We have received no information about fishing on this water body this week.
Upper Iowa River (below Decorah)
We have received no information about fishing on this water body this week.
The lake is iced over. Use caution when going out on new ice. Snow amounts may slow ice development.
Ice fishing season is here. Use extreme caution when going out on the ice this early in the season. Check depths often, especially where there is current or springs. There is a good chance for another snowstorm over the weekend. Amounts are unknown at this time. Be prepared for single digit cold and blowing and drifting snow. For current fishing information, please call the Decorah Fish Hatchery at 563-382-8324.
Casey Lake (aka Hickory Hills Lake)
Ice thickness is currently around three inches. Ice conditions should vastly improve by the upcoming weekend, use extreme caution.
There has been some ice fishing activity on Martens Lake, but there are no angling reports at this time.
With current air temperatures, most lakes and ponds are making good ice. Ice thickness is varying from three to five inches on most water bodies and extreme caution is still recommended. Interior river angling has ceased due to current winter conditions. Trout streams remain in excellent condition. For further information, call the N.E. District Office at 563-927-3276.
Mississippi River Pool 9
River level has dropped to 7.9 feet at Lansing and is fluctuating. Avoid snow covered areas and unsafe ice around the shorelines with the dropping water levels. Bluegill – Fair: Ice anglers are catching bluegills on small teardrop jigs tipped with wax worms in backwater lakes. Yellow Perch – Fair: Anglers are catching a few perch through the ice along vegetation beds in deeper backwater cuts.
Mississippi River Pool 10
Water level has fallen 3 feet to 16 feet at Lynxville due to ice freezing the lock gates. Water level remains extremely unstable. Avoid snow covered areas and unsafe ice around the shorelines with the dropping water levels. Bluegill – Fair: Ice anglers are catching bluegills on small teardrop jigs tipped with wax worms in backwater lakes. Yellow Perch – Fair: Anglers are catching a few perch through the ice along vegetation beds in deeper backwater cuts.
Mississippi River Pool 11
River level is 10.7 feet at Guttenberg and is fluctuating due to ice frozen in the lock gates. Avoid snow covered areas and unsafe ice around the shorelines with the dropping water levels. Yellow Perch – Fair: Anglers are catching a few perch through the ice along vegetation beds in deeper backwater cuts. Bluegill – Fair: Ice anglers are catching bluegills on small teardrop jigs tipped with wax worms in backwater lakes.
Ice fishing is not recommended this week on the upper Mississippi River pools. Unpredictable changes in water levels are occurring on the Upper Mississippi River pools this week due to ice in the Lock and Dam gates at Locks 7, 9 and 10. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is working to remove the ice frozen on the gates, but water levels could drop as much as 4 feet. This could leave air pockets and open water making ice conditions extremely unstable.
Mississippi River Pool 12
The water level is near 6.5 feet at Dubuque tailwater and near 9.3 feet at the RR bridge. These levels are down a lot from last week and water levels have been erratic all week. The main channel is around 33 degrees. Shelf ice on the edge of the channel is making it difficult to get onto the ice in some places. Bluegill – Good: Expect to see a number of medium sized gills this ice fishing season with some nice ones thrown in. You may need to sort, but the bluegill numbers are high. Black Crappie – No Report: The crappie bite was off for many anglers this fall, but they appear to have pulled off a good spawn this year. Walleye – No Report: A few braved the cold to fish the tailwater this week with most walleye fishing taking place in the tailwater by anglers using a jig and minnow. Yellow Perch – Good: Looks to be another excellent perch year with another strong year class present. Most ring perch have been caught by anglers targeting bluegills. Some anglers report using minnow heads works best.
Mississippi River Pool 13
The water level is near 8.6 feet at Bellevue which is down from last week, but water levels were erratic with the changing of tainer gates. Water levels are expected to be somewhat steady. Water temperature is around 33 degrees with lots of ice flows. Walleye – No Report: Some braved the cold temperatures and ice flows, but opportunities were limited. Black Crappie – No Report: For many anglers the crappie bite was bit off this fall, but some found good numbers. The year class of young crappie appears strong, so fishing should be good into the future. Bluegill – Good: The first ice fishing bluegills were reported to us this week. Yellow Perch – No Report: Lots of yellow perch were seen in our Fall surveys. We expect many yellow perch to be reported this winter, mainly by anglers fishing for bluegills.
Mississippi River Pool 14
The level is near 6.0 feet at Fulton, 11.5 feet at Camanche and 6.6 feet at Le Claire. Levels have been unpredictable all week, but mostly falling. The water temperature is near 33 degrees. Walleye – No Report: Ice flows are common in the tailwater limiting fishing. Black Crappie – No Report: Crappies were difficult for some to find this fall. Yellow Perch – No Report: Before the ice, some anglers were reporting catching yellow perch in the backwaters when fishing for bluegills. A few were being taken in the tailwaters by sauger anglers, especially when in 10 foot or less water. Expect to see some nice fish in the 14 to 15 inch range reported again this year. Bluegill – No Report: No fishing was yet reported to us, but cold temperatures should open up ice fishing at places like Rock Creek and Cattail Slough.
Mississippi River Pool 15
The water level is 7.2 feet at Rock Island, which is down a lot from last week. Water will be somewhat steady this week. Water temperature is around 33 degrees in the main channel. No fishing was reported in Pool 15 this week. Ice fishing in Pool 15 generally is limited and takes place in Marina areas.
The first ice fishing in the district was reported this week. Snow covered ice makes for some poor ice conditions in places, so be careful. Water levels fluctuated a lot this week and it was somewhat unexpected. If you have any angling questions, please contact Bellevue Fisheries Station 563-872-4976.
Mississippi River Pool 16
Tailwater stage is 7.24 feet at Lock and Dam 15 in the Quad Cities and has been falling the past few days. There is lots of flow ice coming down the main channel. Unsafe ice conditions in the backwaters.
Mississippi River Pool 17
Tailwater stage is 4.77 feet at Lock and Dam 16 in Muscatine and has fallen the past few days. The boat ramps in Muscatine are frozen in. Unsafe ice conditions in the backwaters.
Mississippi River Pool 18
Tailwater stage is 6.47 feet at Lock and Dam 17 at New Boston and has been falling. The main channel is frozen in as well as the Toolsboro ramps. Unsafe ice conditions in the backwaters.
Mississippi River Pool 19
Tailwater stage is 5.05 feet at Lock and Dam 18 above Burlington and is falling. We have not received any fishing reports for this pool this week.
River stages have fallen the past few days. Main channel water temperature is 32 degrees. With the main channel freezing in, boat ramps are not accessible. Unsafe ice conditions in the backwaters. If you have questions on fishing Pools 16-19, contact the Fairport Fish Hatchery at 563-263-5062.
Lake Belva Deer
The majority of the lake just froze over Tuesday night; there is still a spot open where the geese are. Not safe.
Still about 10 acres of open water where the geese are. About 30 acres just froze over Monday night. Around the edges there is about two inches, but the rest of the frozen part of the lake has much less than that.
Not safe; thin ice what there is of it.
This 10 acre pond north of Sigourney had two inches of ice on it on Wednesday. Still too thin to be safe.
For more information on the above lakes, call the Lake Darling Fisheries Station at 319-694-2430.
The lake level on 12/15 is at 684′ and dropping. It is being lowered to winter pool and will reach 683.4′ this weekend. With the increase in flow and dropping water levels, ice conditions should be considered unsafe at this time.
Most of the lake is frozen over except the small arm towards the dam. The lake just crusted over this week and most of the ice should be considered unsafe. Small pockets near shore will be safest first.
Pleasant Creek Lake
The lake is currently down 15′ for the restoration project. The lake is reported as having up to 6 inches of ice, but it may be variable in areas. Use caution if venturing out. Stay off of the construction access roads and keep vehicles on the main roads as the construction equipment needs to drive/work in the lake bed.
Most lakes in the district have iced over and some areas have up to 6 inches of ice. Many areas have less or variation in thickness across the waterbody. Use extreme caution if venturing out. For more information, contact the Lake Macbride Fisheries Station at 319-624-3615.
The ice is not thick enough to support anglers.
The lake still has open water. The ice is not thick enough to support anglers.
The lake still has open water and the ice formed so far is not thick enough to support anglers.
The current lake level is 904.21 msl. Normal operating elevation is 904.0 msl. Lake Rathbun contains zebra mussels, so make sure to properly drain, clean, and dry equipment before transporting to another water body. The lake is starting to freeze over around the edges and in the coves, but this ice is not thick enough to support anglers. The lake is mostly still open water.
Red Haw Lake
The lake still has open water by the dam. The ice is not thick enough to support anglers.
Smaller ponds are freezing over but the larger lakes still have some open water. In general, the ice is not thick enough to support anglers. Contact the Rathbun Fish Hatchery at 641-647-2406 with questions about fishing in south central Iowa.
On Wednesday, Dec.14th, Beaver Lake had 3 to 4 inches of ice. Ice conditions should be suitable for fishing late week into the weekend.
Big Creek Lake
As of Wednesday, Dec. 14th no ice fishing was occurring and Big Creek had large areas of open water mid lake near most of the popular access points. Use caution as first ice conditions will be very variable over short distances.
Don Williams Lake
Don Williams is completely froze over, but no ice fishing had occurred as of Wednesday, Dec. 14th. Ice fishing will likely begin late week and over the weekend. Check ice thickness often when going out.
As of Wednesday, Dec. 14th farm ponds and small lakes are froze over in central Iowa with 3 to 5 inches of ice. Larger lakes had variable conditions from 3 inches to large areas of open water. More fishing reports will become available soon as anglers start getting out on the ice. For information on Central Iowa lakes and rivers, contact Andy Otting or Ben Dodd at 515-432-2823.
Greenfield is historically a good lake to ice fish. The lake has a good crappie population and bluegills averaging 8 inches.
Hacklebarney East has a small population of large black crappie. The lake also supports good numbers of 8 inch bluegill.
Lake Anita will provide good panfishing this winter. Find a large crappie population in the lake averaging 9 inches and bluegills up to 9.5 inches. As of Wednesday the 14th, the lake had 4.5 inches of ice.
Littlefield lake has quality size black crappies and bluegill. Try around the cedar tree piles placed in the lake. As of Wednesday the 14th, the lake had 5.5 inches of ice.
Fisheries samples in 2016 showed good numbers of 8 to 11 inch crappies. Bluegills will average 8 inches.
Orient has a good population of 9 to 10 inch crappies. The lake will be a good ice fishing destination this winter.
Prairie Rose Lake
Expect to catch quality size bluegills again this winter. The crappies stocked by DNR personnel are 7 to 8 inches at this time. As of Wednesday the 14th, the lake had 4.5 inches of ice.
Viking lake supports populations of white and black crappies. The blacks will range from 7 to 9 inches, while the white crappies are fewer in numbers but are larger on average 9 to 12 inches. Expect to catch bluegills averaging 7 inches.
DNR staff checked ice conditions on Wednesday the 14th and found 4 to 5 inches of ice in the northern part of the district. Ice thickness is less as you go south. More fishing reports will become available when anglers begin to venture out. For more information, call the Cold Springs District Office at 712-769-2587.