As of Tuesday Dec. 27th, ice thickness off the boat ramp was 5-7 inches. Use caution if venturing out and drill test holes often, as ice is more variable out mid-lake. Bluegill – Good: Use a wax worm on a small jig fished in about 20 feet of water. Fish are up to 8-9 inches. Sorting is required, as quite a few smaller fish are biting as well. Black Crappie – Fair: Use a jig tipped with a wax worm fished in about 15-20 feet of water. Fish up to 10.5 inches have been caught.
Black Hawk Lake
On Tuesday Dec. 27th, ice thickness off Ice House Point boat ramp was 8-10 inches. Ice may be more variable out mid-lake. Aerators will start operation on Thursday, Dec. 29th; expect thin ice and open water in Town Bay. Some bluegill are being picked up off the Ice House Point area and near the rock pile just off Gunshot Hill. Use a small jig tipped with a wax worm for panfish or a minnow head on a jigging spoon for walleye.
Black Hawk Pits
Ice was 5-8 inches thick on Dec. 27th. Ice is variable so use caution. Anglers have had luck targeting bluegill and crappie with a wax worm or small minnow on a jig. Fish near contour and structure in 5-10 feet of water.
Brushy Creek Lake
Ice is still extremely variable on Brushy Creek Lake. Recent rainfall and warmer temperatures over the holiday weekend have caused ice conditions to deteriorate in some areas; thin ice or open water may be present at near-shore inflows and even in areas mid-lake.
Storm Lake (including Little Storm Lake)
Anglers are making their way out onto Storm Lake and having good luck. Ice is variable and there are still some pockets of open water; use caution when venturing out and test ice thicknesses often. Yellow Perch – Fair: Some perch are being picked up with wax worms and minnows fished on a jig in 5-8 feet of water. White Bass – Fair: Use minnow heads on a jigging spoon. Walleye – Good: Try a minnow head on a jigging spoon during mid-afternoon. Fish in areas 5-8 feet deep. Black Crappie – Good: Fish are suspended, use a jig tipped with a wax worm or a minnow. The bite seems to be better late evening and after dark.
As of Dec. 27th, most lakes in the district were covered with 4 to 10 inches of ice, with a few open areas on large lakes. Use caution and test ice depths often. Aerators on Black Hawk Lake will begin operation on Dec. 29th so expect thin ice and open water in Town Bay. For more information, contact the Black Hawk District office at 712-657-2638.
Ice thickness is 9-11 inches on most of the little lake and 8-10 inches on the main lake. The rain this weekend melted a lot of the snow on the lake; wear ice spikes when venturing out. The best bite is early morning and around 3:00 pm to dark. 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: Try jigs tipped with bait. Most are less than 14 inches but a few keeps are being caught. Black Crappie – Fair: The best crappie bite is at first light.
Ice thickness is 5-6 inches. Fishing has been slow.
Ice thickness is 8-10 inches. Bluegills are biting on wax worms. Bluegill – Fair.
Ice thickness is 8-10 inches. 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 8-10 inches. 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 9-10 inches thick about 50 yards out from the boat ramps. Yellow Perch – Excellent: Yellow Perch are being caught by anglers roughly 100 yards from the shore lines. Walleye – Good: Anglers fishing for walleye have been consistently reaching their limits.
The ice on Center Lake is around 6 inches thick about 50 yards out from the boat ramps. Aerators are currently in use on Center Lake so avoid areas with open water.
East Okoboji Lake
The ice on East Okoboji is about 9 inches thick about 50 yards out from the boat ramps. Walleye – Good: We have had several reports of people catching walleye behind Parks Marina. Yellow Bass – Fair: Some yellow bass are being caught in the basins.
Five Island Lake
Aerators are currently in use on Five Island Lake so avoid areas with open water. Black Crappie – Fair: A few black crappies have been reported but they weren’t too eager to bite. Channel Catfish – Fair: Some Channel Catfish have been reported caught.
Aerators are currently in use on Ingham Lake so avoid areas with open water.
Lost Island Lake
Walleye – Good: Angler acceptable walleye have been reported as being caught.
Silver Lake (Dickinson)
The ice on Silver Lake is about 6 inches thick about 50 yards out from the boat ramps. Aerators are currently in use on Silver Lake so avoid areas with open water.
Silver Lake (Palo Alto)
Yellow Perch – Fair: There have been reports of the occasional yellow perch being caught.
West Okoboji Lake
The ice on West Okoboji is about 6 inches thick about 50 yards out from the boat ramps Little Millers Bay is the spot to be fishing right now; get out there before all the fish are caught. Bluegill – Good: Reports have been coming in of bluegill biting hard in Little Millers Bay over the past weekend. Walleye – Good: Walleyes are starting to show up in Little Millers Bay and are very eager to bite. Yellow Perch – Good: Perch have been rolling in on Little Millers Bay over the past weekend.
Although the temperatures were more favorable last week, the high winds and storms over the weekend caused some slow fishing. This week it looks like we will still be experiencing some high winds but very few storms. Let’s hope that this allows for some good fishing to start off the new year. 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, but be ready to walk through about 5 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: Anglers are starting to catch nice bluegills using 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: Bluegills are taking 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 crappie around downed trees and submerged logs out of the current. Use a jig tipped with a wax worm.
Volga Lake has 4-6 inches of ice with snow on top. Windy conditions has caused some drifting of snow. Use caution when going out on new ice. Bluegill – Slow: Use small jigs tipped with a wax worm. Black Crappie – Slow: Find crappies around brush piles early season.
It looks like Northeast Iowa is in for some mild weather over the next week and into the weekend. Use extreme caution when going out on the ice this early in the season. Rain, snow and mild temperatures over the weekend may have weakened the ice. Check depths often especially where there is current or springs. For current fishing information, please call the Decorah Fish Hatchery at 563-382-8324.
Big Woods Lake
Bluegill – Fair. Black Crappie – Fair.
Casey Lake (aka Hickory Hills Lake)
Fishing has slowed, but is still decent. Bluegill are spread out and not necessarily associated with structure. Bluegill – Fair. Black Crappie – Slow.
Cedar River (Nashua to La Porte City)
River ice conditions are very questionable. Ice fishing is not recommended until river levels stabilize and cold weather returns.
George Wyth Lake
George Wyth has about 6-8 inches of ice; use caution when heading onto the ice. Bluegill – Fair. Black Crappie – Fair.
Manchester District Streams
Trout streams are in excellent condition and are open. With air temperatures at or near freezing, it is a great time for winter trout fishing. Expect to catch rainbow trout stocked late in the fall, as well as post-spawn brown trout in most streams. Streamers, spinners and crankbaits are the most consistent baits during this time of year. Fish can be skittish this time of year, so avoid walking in the stream and approach fishing spots from downstream. Rainbow Trout – Good. Brown Trout – Good.
North Prairie Lake
North Prairie Lake was stocked with about 1500 trout during mid-October; anglers are now having good luck catching trout through the ice using small jigs or spoons. Rainbow Trout – Good. Channel Catfish – Fair.
Plainfield has been receiving some pressure. The bite is not hot, but a few quality bluegills have been caught. Bluegill – Fair.
South Prairie Lake
Bluegill – Fair. Black Crappie – Fair.
Ice conditions in the Manchester District are generally fair with about 6-8 inches of decent ice. Ice edges may be poor due to recent rainfall and melting. Some larger water bodies may still have poor ice that should be avoided. Rivers and streams are generally in good condition, but are high for this time of year. Fishing has been slow for the past several days given strong weather fronts that have moved through the area. Fishing is expected to improve with more stable weather this week. For further information, call the N.E. District Office at 563-927-3276.
Mississippi River Pool 9
River level has risen back up to 9.9 feet at Lansing and is expected to be stable over the next week. Recent rains and high water levels have made ice conditions unpredictable in many areas. 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 2.5 feet to 19.7 feet at Lansing over the last week and is expected to be stable at this high level over the next week. Recent rains and high water levels have made ice conditions unpredictable in many areas. 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 11
River level has risen nearly 3 feet to 11.9 feet at Lansing over the last week and is expected to be stable at this high level over the next week. Recent rains and high water levels have made ice conditions unpredictable in many areas. Use caution around shoreline areas and any areas that may have current. The boat ramps in Guttenberg remain 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.
Recent rains have raised water levels nearly 3 feet higher than this time last week making ice conditions very unpredictable in many areas particularly along shorelines and any areas that have current. With such high levels there may be current in backwater areas that normally are quiet. Use caution if trying to ice fish until water levels begin to stabilize and flooded areas refreeze.
Mississippi River Pool 12
The water level is near 9.7 feet at Dubuque tailwater and near 12 feet at the RR bridge. These levels are up from last week and water levels are expected to raise again. The main channel is around 33 degrees. 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. People are fishing at nearly all the Marinas and deeper backwaters in Pool 12. Black Crappie – Good: Hard to pin down where the crappies were being caught, but some nice fish were caught last week on the River. 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 – No Report: Anglers last report were catching more bass on tip ups then northern pike. Most are using larger minnows for bait.
Mississippi River Pool 13
The water level is near 11.3 feet at Bellevue which is up from last week and water is expected to raise some more. Water temperature is around 33 degrees. The tailwater is still mostly open but the access to Bellevue city ramp could ice flow in, so call ahead. As of now the ramp is wide open. Walleye – Good: Good walleye and sauger angling was reported all week. Most anglers are using some sort of minnow rig. 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 looks strong, so fishing should be good into the future. Bluegill – Good: Bluegills 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. We expect many yellow perch to be reported this winter mainly by people fishing for bluegills.
Mississippi River Pool 14
The level is near 8.1 feet at Fulton, 11.4 feet at Camanche and 6 feet at Le Claire. Levels are raising, so be careful on the ice. Poor ice conditions may exist at the edges. The water temperature is near 33 degrees. Ice is up to 4 inches in spots and conditions could turn unsafe quickly. Walleye – No Report: Some ice flow were again reported, but we have not heard much from the tailwater fishing in Clinton. Good populations of sauger and walleye exist. Black Crappie – No Report: Crappies were hard 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. We 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 8.5 feet at Rock Island, which is down slightly from last week. Water will raise a foot or more 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 continued in earnest this week. Be careful, snow covered ice makes for some poor ice conditions in places. The Mississippi River is unusually high for this time of year, so current flow will occur in some sloughs that anglers are not accustomed to. Never trust the ice. Water levels are on the rise again this week, expect 1/2 foot or more rise. If you have any angling questions, please contact the Bellevue Fisheries Station 563-872-4976.
Mississippi River Pool 16
Tailwater stage is 8.53 feet at Lock and Dam 15 in the Quad Cities and has been rising the past few days. River stage is forecasted to rise close to a foot by the end of the week. The Marquette St boat ramp is being reported as open and a few boats have been launching as of today. We have not received any reports if saugers or walleyes are biting in the tailwaters. There is unsafe ice conditions in the backwaters due to recent rains, warm weather and rising river conditions.
Mississippi River Pool 17
Tailwater stage is 7.73 feet at Lock and Dam 16 in Muscatine and has been rising the past few days. Tailwater stage has risen a foot since this past Saturday. The upper boat ramps in Muscatine are open as of today and there were a couple of boats that had launched. As of Dec. 27th there is a lot of flow ice coming down the channel that would make getting to the dam difficult. Anglers were catching some walleye and sauger this past weekend. Unsafe ice conditions in the backwaters.
Mississippi River Pool 18
Tailwater stage is 9.90 feet at Lock and Dam 17 at New Boston and has been rising the past few days. As of Dec. 27th boats are able to launch at Toolsboro. There is some flow ice coming down the channel. There were a few boats out, but we have not received any reports on walleye and sauger fishing. Unsafe ice conditions in the backwaters. With the recent rain, warm weather and fluctuating river levels ice conditions are not safe.
Mississippi River Pool 19
Tailwater stage is 7.00 feet at Lock and Dam 18 above Burlington and is rising. River level is forecasted to reach 8.6 feet by the end of the week. There is unsafe ice conditions in the backwaters due to the recent rains, warm weather and rising river levels. We have not received any reports if ramps are open or not to reach the tailwaters for walleye and sauger fishing.
River stages have been rising the past few days. Main channel water temperature is 32 degrees. With the recent rain and warm weather there is unsafe ice conditions in the backwaters. 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
Unsafe especially around the edges.
Lake Belva Deer
Ice unsafe with open water around the boat ramps, a good portion of the shoreline, around the trees and down by the outlet. Don’t try it until it refreezes.
The weekend weather of warm (40+) temperatures and rain and strong winds effected ice conditions. Most of the shoreline near the rip rap and boat ramps had about 4 feet of open water until Monday night. Tuesday morning it had refroze to a little under a 1/2 inch thick.
Lake Darling District Farm Ponds
A good number of the ponds in this area had several inches of water on top of the ice around the edges or had open water around the shoreline on Monday. A combination of too much rain, too much wind and not getting below freezing between Sunday morning and Monday night, mostly 40+ degrees.
For more information on the above lakes, call the Lake Darling Fisheries Station at 319-694-2430.
Ice conditions should be considered unsafe at this time.
Cedar River (La Porte City to Cedar Rapids)
There are still some ice fishermen out on the backwaters, but shorelines are deteriorating with the rising water levels. Use extreme caution if venturing out.
Ice fishing is not recommended here.
There are still some fishermen ice fishing here. Ice ranges from 1-6 inches depending on where you are. The ice is extremely variable; use extreme caution if venturing out. Stick to protected areas and stay away from areas that were late freezing up, especially the dam arm and areas of the south arm. Bluegill – Good: Size is small. They are near the bottom around almost any type of structure. Black Crappie – Fair: Some brush is holding nice crappies while others have small crappies or none at all. Walleye – Slow.
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. Exact ice depths are unknown at this time, but there is still some ice fishing going on. Use caution and check ice often if venturing out. 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 – Fair: Most fish are small. Black Crappie – Fair.
Wapsi River (Troy Mills to Oxford Junction)
The backwaters at Pinicon Ridge are reported as having about 7 inches of ice, but rising river levels may damage shorelines. Bluegill – Slow. Black Crappie – Slow. Rock Bass – Fair.
Many lakes have experienced a decline in ice due to past rain/warmth. Use extreme 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 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 are variable. Contact the Rathbun Fish Hatchery at 641-647-2406