As of Tuesday December 20th, ice thickness off the boat ramp is 5-7 inches. Use caution if venturing out and drill test holes often. Anglers are just starting to venture out on Arrowhead Lake and more reports will be available as we receive them. Nice sized bluegill and crappie are commonly caught out of this lake. Target panfish with a minnow or a wax worm fished on a small jig.
Black Hawk Lake
On Tuesday December 20th, ice thickness off Ice House Point boat ramp was 8-10 inches of good quality ice. Ice may be more variable out mid-lake. Use caution and drill test holes. The lake has an abundant panfish and walleye population. Find good numbers of bluegill and crappies up to 10 inches.
Black Hawk Pits
Ice was 7-10 inches thick on December 20th. Anglers are making their way out. Use a wax worm or small minnow on a jig to target the abundant panfish population this lake has to offer.
Brushy Creek Lake
Ice is still extremely variable on Brushy Creek Lake. As of December 20th, only the northern portions of the lake away from the creek channels had suitable ice. Five inches of ice was reported in the NE finger. The southern and mid portions of the lake are considered unsafe; these areas just recently iced over and may still have pockets of open water. If you do venture out, use extreme caution and test ice thickness often.
Storm Lake (including Little Storm Lake)
Anglers are making their way out onto Storm Lake and are having good luck. Always use caution when venturing out on the ice and test ice thicknesses often, especially mid lake where ice is more variable. Yellow Perch – Fair: Use wax worms and minnows fished on a jig in 5-8 feet of water. White Bass – Fair: Try minnow heads on a jigging spoon. Walleye – Good: Use a minnow head on a jigging spoon in areas 5-8 feet deep during mid-afternoon. Black Crappie – Good: Fish are suspended, use a jig tipped with a wax worm or a minnow. The bite is better late evening and after dark.
As of December 20th, most lakes in the district were covered with 5 to 10 inches of good quality ice. Use caution and test ice depths often, especially on larger water bodies where ice thickness is more variable. For more information, contact the Black Hawk District office at 712-657-2638.
Ice thickness is 6-8 inches on most of the little lake and 4-6 inches on the main lake. Both aeration systems are running, so avoid those areas. Yellow Bass – Fair: Use 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 5-6 inches. Fishing has been slow.
Ice thickness is 6-8 inches. Bluegills are biting on wax worms. The aeration system is running so avoid that area. Bluegill – Fair.
Ice thickness is 6-8 inches. The aeration system is running, so avoid that area. Walleye – Fair: Use jigging spoons tipped with a minnow head. Yellow Perch – Fair: Try small jigs tipped with live bait.
Silver Lake (Worth)
Ice thickness is 6-8 inches. The aeration system is running, so avoid that area. Bluegill – Fair: Use small jigs tipped with spikes. Yellow Perch – Fair: Try small jigging spoons and jigs tipped with bait.
For information in the north central area, contact the Clear Lake Fish and Wildlife office at 641-357-3517.
Big Spirit Lake
The ice on Big Spirit is starting to thicken. We sampled between 9-10 inches of ice about 50 yards out from the boat ramps. Yellow Perch – Good: Yellow Perch are being caught by anglers roughly 100 yards from the shore lines. Walleye – Fair: Anglers fishing for yellow perch have been occasionally picking up a few walleye.
The ice on Center Lake is starting to thicken. We sampled 6 inches of ice about 50 yards out from the boat ramps.
East Okoboji Lake
The ice on East Okoboji is starting to thicken. We sampled 9 inches of ice about 50 yards out from the boat ramps. Walleye – Good: If you’re on the hunt for walleye, East Okoboji might be where you want to start. We have had several reports of anglers catching a few keepers over by Parks Marina.
Five Island Lake
Black Crappie – Fair: A few black crappies have been reported. Channel Catfish – Fair: Some channel catfish have been caught.
Silver Lake (Dickinson)
The ice on Silver Lake is starting to thicken. We sampled 6 inches of ice about 50 yards out from the boat ramps.
Silver Lake (Palo Alto)
Yellow Perch – Fair: Although the fishing has not been great, there have been reports of the occasional yellow perch being caught.
West Okoboji Lake
The ice on West Okoboji is starting to thicken. We sampled 6 inches of ice about 50 yards out from the boat ramps. Bluegill – Good: Bluegill were biting hard in Little Millers Bay over the past weekend.
Fishing over the past week has been fairly slow with the extremely cold weather. The current forecast calls for some warmer weather in the next couple of weeks. If you find some free time this holiday weekend, spend it on the lake. Always take caution when venturing out on the ice as there may be some weaker areas. For more information throughout the week, contact the Spirit Lake Fish Hatchery at 712-336-1840.
Cedar River (above Nashua)
A few anglers have been braving the backwaters and the impoundments. Use extreme caution when going on river ice. There is no such thing as safe ice. Seven inches of ice have been reported in places. Bluegill – Fair: Use a small jig tipped with a spike or wax worm. Black Crappie – Fair: Find crappies around submersed trees or logs. Use small jigs tipped with wax worms.
Decorah District Streams
Trout streams are running crystal clear 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; be ready to walk through about five plus inches of snow. A spinner or small 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. Ice depths are 4-6 inches with snow on top. Bluegill – Slow: Use small brightly colored jigs tipped with a spike. 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 5 to 6 inches of ice, but should have more by the weekend. Snow depths vary depending on drifts. Water clarity is excellent. Fish are active in the afternoon and evenings. Bluegill – Fair: Use a jig tipped with wax worm. Largemouth Bass – Slow: Anglers report seeing fish on cameras, but they are not interested in bait. Black Crappie – Slow.
Turkey River (above Clermont)
Use extreme caution when going out on Vernon Spring impoundment; check ice depths often. Ice depths vary greatly in areas with current. Black Crappie – Slow: Find crappies around downed trees and submerged logs out of the current. Use a jig tipped with a wax worm.
Volga Lake is reporting 4-6 inches of ice with snow on top. Windy conditions have caused some drifting of snow. Use caution when going out on new ice. Few anglers were out last week due to cold. Bluegill – Slow: Use small jigs tipped with a wax worm. Black Crappie – Slow: Find crappies around brush piles early season.
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 six inches on Casey Lake. Fishing for bluegill and crappie has been good. Try near structure and the deeper end of the lake near the dam. Use extreme caution when venturing out on to ice. Bluegill – Good: Use a wax worm tipped on an ice fishing jig just off of the bottom. Black Crappie – Good: Try a wax worm tipped on an ice fishing jig at various depths to find active fish, especially near structure.
Reports were there has been some ice fishing activity on Martens Lake; there are no angling reports at this time.
South Prairie Lake
There have been reports of bluegill being caught on South Prairie Lake. Ice thickness is around 4 inches; use extreme caution when entering upon the lake. Bluegill – Fair: Use small ice fishing jigs tipped with a wax worm. Find fish using electronics near the deeper areas of the lake.
With current air temperatures, most lakes and ponds are making good ice. Ice thickness varies from three to five inches on most water bodies; use extreme caution. Interior river fishing has stopped 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 risen back up to 9 feet at Lansing and is starting to stabilize. There is five inches of ice in most backwaters; use caution around shoreline areas and any areas that may have current. Bluegill – Good: Ice anglers are catching bluegills on small teardrop jigs tipped with wax worms in backwater lakes. Good action for bluegills with a lot of sorting. Yellow Perch – Fair: Anglers are catching a few perch through the ice along vegetation beds in deeper backwater cuts.
Mississippi River Pool 10
River level has risen back up to 17.3 feet at Lynxville and is beginning to stabilize. There is five inches of ice in most backwaters; use caution around shoreline areas and any areas that may have current. The boat ramp at Lynxville is blocked with ice. Bluegill – Good: Ice anglers are catching bluegills on small teardrop jigs tipped with wax worms in backwater lakes. Good action for bluegills with a lot of sorting. 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 9.1 feet at Guttenberg and is beginning to stabilize. There is five inches of ice in most backwaters; use caution around shoreline areas and any areas that may have current. The boat ramps in Guttenberg are blocked with ice. Yellow Perch – Fair: Anglers are catching a few perch through the ice along vegetation beds in deeper backwater cuts. Bluegill – Good: Ice anglers are catching bluegills on small teardrop jigs tipped with wax worms in backwater lakes. Good action for bluegills with a lot of sorting.
Operation has been restored to Lock and Dams 7, 9 & 10 and water levels are starting to stabilize at higher levels. Although there is 5 inches of ice on most backwaters, anglers should still use caution near shorelines and anywhere current may exist. Predicted warmer temperatures this week may weaken ice in some areas.
Mississippi River Pool 12
The water level is near 7.1 feet at Dubuque tailwater and near 9.7 feet at the RR bridge. These levels are up slightly from last week and water levels are expected to be stable. The main channel is around 33 degrees. Shelf ice on the edge of the channel is making it hard 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 bluegill numbers are high. Anglers are fishing at nearly all the Marinas and deeper backwaters in Pool 12. Black Crappie – No Report: The crappie bite was off for many anglers this fall, but they seem to have pulled off a good spawn this year. 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 for the best results. Largemouth Bass – Good: Anglers are catching more bass on tip ups then northern pike. Use larger minnows for bait.
Mississippi River Pool 13
The water level is near 8.9 feet at Bellevue which is up from last week but now looks stable, and is expected to be somewhat steady all week. Water temperature is around 33 degrees. The tailwater is still mostly open but the access to Bellevue city ramp will be day to day, so call ahead. As of now, the ramp is frozen in but that may change. The DNR ramp downstream is completely frozen in. Walleye – No Report: Bitter cold temperatures and ice flows kept most anglers off the water. Black Crappie – No Report: The crappie bite was bit off this fall for many anglers, but some found good numbers. The year class of young crappie produced looks strong, so fishing should be good into the future. Bluegill – Good: Bluegill are on the bite in most places. Some nice fish reported, but many small ones were biting too. Yellow Perch – No Report: Lots of yellow perch were seen in our Fall surveys. Expect many yellow perch to be reported this winter by people fishing for bluegills.
Mississippi River Pool 14
The level is near 6.2 feet at Fulton, 10.0 feet at Camanche and 5.4 feet at Le Claire. Levels are stable. The water temperature is near 33 degrees. The first ice fishing of the season was reported on Pool 14 this week. Ice is up to four inches in spots; use caution, especially on snow covered ice. 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 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 14 to 15 inch fish reported again this year. Bluegill – Good: The first ice fishing is taken place in spots like Rock Creek with some bluegills reported.
Mississippi River Pool 15
The water level is 8.8 feet at Rock Island, which is up 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.
Ice fishing began in earnest this week. Be careful, snow covered ice makes for poor ice conditions in places. Never trust the ice and have your emergency equipment ready. Water levels fluctuated dramatically last week, but now are steady again. If you have any angling questions, please contact the Bellevue Fisheries Station 563-872-4976.
Mississippi River Pool 16
Tailwater stage is 8.78 feet at Lock and Dam 15 in the Quad Cities and has been rising the past few days. The Marquette St. boat ramp is frozen in. River levels have been fluctuating a lot the past few days which could create some poor ice conditions in the backwaters especially along the shoreline.
Mississippi River Pool 17
Tailwater stage is 5.87 feet at Lock and Dam 16 in Muscatine and has been rising the past few days. The boat ramps in Muscatine are frozen in. Unsafe ice conditions in the backwaters. River levels have been fluctuating a lot the past few days which could create some poor ice conditions in the backwaters especially along the shorelines.
Mississippi River Pool 18
Tailwater stage is 8.84 feet at Lock and Dam 17 at New Boston and has been rising the past few days. The boat ramps at Toolsboro are frozen in. Unsafe ice conditions in the backwaters. River levels have been fluctuating a lot the past few days which could create some poor ice conditions especially along the shoreline.
Mississippi River Pool 19
Tailwater stage is 4.69 feet at Lock and Dam 18 above Burlington and has been rising the past few days. We have not received any fishing reports for this pool this week.
River stages have been rising the past few days. Main channel water temperature is 32 degrees. With the main channel freezing in, boat ramps are not accessible. River levels have been fluctuating a lot the past few days creating unsafe ice conditions especially along shorelines. If you have questions on fishing Pools 16-19, contact the Fairport Fish Hatchery at 563-263-5062.
Big Hollow Lake
The lake has between four and five inches of ice on it. Nobody has been out on the ice yet to go fishing. The ponds in the park have five to six inches of ice on them; a few anglers have been catching bluegills and crappies out of them.
Lake Belva Deer
The ice is about four inches thick. No anglers have been out on it yet as of Monday.
Ice was 4.5 inches Monday afternoon. There are a few hundred geese out in the middle of the lake keeping about 8 acres of water open. No anglers have been out on the ice yet.
For more information on the above lakes, call the Lake Darling Fisheries Station at 319-694-2430.
The lake level on 12/19 is down to winter pool of 683.4′ With the past increase in outflow and dropping water levels, ice conditions should be considered unsafe at this time.
Most of the lake is reported as having 6-9 inches of ice, but still use caution when venturing out. Bluegill – Fair. Black Crappie – Fair.
Iowa Lake (Iowa County)
Most of the ice is about 5 inches, but there is a spot south of the ramp (in the middle) where geese are keeping it ice free. Nobody has been seen fishing here yet, so no fishing reports are available.
Kent Park Lake
Ice is reported as being about 5 inches. There have been ice fishermen out, but no reports are available.
All of the lake finally froze over this past weekend. Some of the upper reaches and pockets have been frozen for a week now. Those areas to freeze first have 5-7 inches, while the deeper areas may only have a couple inches. Use caution if heading out. There have been some ice fishermen out, but no reports are available. Target woody structure in 14-20 feet of water for crappies and rock/stumps in 14-20 feet for walleyes.
Otter Creek Lake
There have been ice fishermen out here, but no ice/fishing reports are available at this time.
Pleasant Creek Lake
The lake is currently down 13′ for the restoration project. The lake is reported as having up to 8 inches of ice, but a bit less towards the dam; it may be variable in areas. Use caution if venturing out. Please 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. Bluegill – Good: Quite a few bluegills are being caught along the dam on waxies. Size has been marginal but you can sort some keepers out. Yellow Perch – Slow. Walleye – Slow: Most fish are small.
Rodgers Park Lake
Most of the ice is about five inches thick. There are three small spots at the north end of the lake that appear to be very thin; use caution if venturing out. Black Crappie – Fair: Wax worms work best. Bluegill – Fair: Wax worms work best.
Wapsi River (Troy Mills to Oxford Junction)
Anglers are reported as ice fishing on the backwaters at Pinicon Ridge Park, but no ice/fishing reports are available.
Most lakes in the district have iced over, but some may have open or thin spots due to geese, springs, etc. Use caution if venturing out and don’t assume ice is safe. For more information, contact the Lake Macbride Fisheries Station at 319-624-3615.
Use caution if venturing out as ice thickness varies. Geese will often keep some areas open, so use caution and drill test holes often.
The lake still has open water due to the geese keeping some areas open. Ice conditions are variable so use caution if venturing out. There have been some anglers out at Tug Forks on the north side of the lake.
The lake still has open water in front of the lodge and out from the beach area. The ice formed at different times so thickness varies. Use caution if venturing out and drill test holes to check thickness as you go out.
The current lake level is 904.14 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 has frozen over, but the ice conditions are variable as the ice formed at different times. The coves and bays should have thicker ice, but use caution if venturing out as the ice thickness is variable.
Red Haw Lake
The lake still has some open water by the dam. Areas of the lake have frozen over at different times so the ice thickness is variable. Use caution if venturing out and drill test holes as you go.
Ice conditions vary across the district. Lakes have frozen over at different rates so ice thickness is variable. Contact the Rathbun Fish Hatchery at 641-647-2406 with questions about fishing in south central Iowa.
Ada Hayden Heritage Park Lake
Rainbow Trout – Fair: As of Tuesday, Dec. 20th the north portion of the lake had 7 inches of ice. Trout from the fall stocking can be caught on spoons or jigs tipped with wax worms. Trout tend to swim the perimeter in schools, so fish depths of 5 to 15 feet deep just out from shore.
Bluegill – Good: Find a decent first ice bluegill bite at Beaver Lake. Start in the standing trees mid lake or on the edge of the deepest water on the NE part of the lake. Black Crappie – Fair: Anglers fishing in the trees for bluegills are picking up some crappie as well. There is a group of crappies running from 9.5 to 10.5 inches.
Big Creek Lake
Anglers are now getting on Big Creek. The lake just froze completely around Dec. 16th; check thickness often, especially mid lake accessing from the West boat ramp, Williams Drive boat ramp and out from the Ensign Shelter. Bluegill – Fair: A few decent gills are being caught fishing the brush piles at the mouths of the bays and the Lost Lake area.
Bluegill – Good: Ice anglers are finding good bluegill fishing throughout the lake. The most popular area to start out is within the flooded timb