Where they are biting in IowaIowa Department of Natural Resources' fishing report
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. The weekly fishing report is compiled from information gathered from local bait shops, angler creel surveys, and county and state parks staff. For current information, contact the district fisheries office at the phone number listed at the end of each district report.
Upper Iowa River (above Decorah)
The CR-V36 Bridge at Lidtke Mill is closed and will be closed for most of the season. The Lidtke County Park, boat ramp and canoe access will also be closed for the duration of the construction. Water levels continue to drop slowly but clarity has improved greatly. Sucker - Slow: Suckers will take a hook tipped with a worm fished on the stream bottom. Smallmouth Bass - Fair: Smallmouth bass action is picking up. Try using a crawdad imitation crankbait or jig tipped with twistertail. Fish around the mouth of tributaries or an undercut bank. Walleye - Fair: Walleye are hitting on spinners and jigs tipped with nightcrawlers or dark twistertails.
Upper Iowa River (below Decorah)
Water clarity has improved and water levels have stabilized. Sucker - Slow: Suckers are biting on worm rigs. Channel Catfish - Good: Anglers are catching catfish using a hook tipped with a nightcrawler bounced off the bottom. Smallmouth Bass - Good: Anglers have been catching lots of small fish. Smallies are actively taking crawdad imitation crankbaits. Walleye - Good: Walleye have been aggressive this week. Combinations of light and dark jigs tipped with twistertails are working.
Turkey River (below Clermont)
Water temperatures are in the upper 60s. Water levels have stabilized but still high and off-color. Sucker - Slow: Redhorse are actively taking worms threaded on a hook. Smallmouth Bass - Slow: Anglers are using a jig tipped with a worm. Walleye - Slow: Try using a jig tipped with a nightcrawler, minnow or plastic imitation minnow.
Cedar River (Nashua to La Porte City)
The Cedar River continues to fall and fishing has vastly improved in both Bremer and Black Hawk Counties. Channel catfish have been biting exceptionally well below the low head dams in Waverly and Waterloo. Anglers are beginning to catch both walleye and smallmouth bass as well. Channel Catfish - Excellent: Most baits; stinkbaits, cut baits, and crawlers have been real effective for cats. Concentrate below and near the riffle areas below the dam in Waverly. Smallmouth Bass - Fair: Try casting jig and crawler or spinner baits near rocky habitat areas for good smally action. Walleye - Fair: Half a nightcrawler tipped on a jig is a sure fire way to catch walleye this time of year.
Mississippi River Pool 12
The water level at Dubuque Lock and Dam is at 12.2 feet and water level at the Dubuque RR bridge is at 14.4 feet. Water levels are going to continue to drop for the next week. Channel Catfish - Good: Channel cats are starting to hit on stink bait. Fish a dip worm on rock piles, wing dam, or snags.
Mississippi River Pool 15
The water level at Rock Island is at 14.5 feet. It is expected to drop continuously for the next week. The water is still a little high, but the fish should start biting. Channel Catfish - Good: Fish using stink bait for channel cats. Fish wing dams or rock piles. Fish will be moving to their summer holes.
The river is dropping fast now. With water levels dropping, water clarity is improving. Fishing is starting to pick up as fish start to move into their usual summer holes.
Mississippi River Pool 17
River stage at Lock and Dam 16 at Muscatine is 15.14 and falling. Flood stage at Lock and Dam 16 is 15 feet. River stage at Muscatine is 16.81 feet and falling. Flood stage at Muscatine is 16 feet. Kilpeck Landing and Big Timber are still closed due to the high water. There has not been much fishing activity due to the high water conditions. Channel Catfish - No Report: Bluegill - No Report: Crappie - No Report:
Mississippi River Pool 19
River stage at Lock and Dam 18 upstream of Burlington is 13.37 feet and falling. Flood stage at Lock and Dam 18 is 10 feet. River stage at Burlington is 18.22 feet and flood stage is 15 feet. River stage at Ft. Madison is 529.83 feet and flood stage is 528.00 feet. Boat ramps are not accessible due to the high water. There has not been much fishing due to the high water conditions. Most fishing reports are coming from area lakes and farm ponds. Channel Catfish - No Report: Bluegill - No Report: Crappie - No Report:
Channel Catfish - Good: Catfishing has been pretty good lately. Stinkbaits and chicken liver seem to be what most are using.
Pollmiller Park Lake
Channel Catfish - Good: I like the area of the lake between the beach and the first bay to the West and also up into that bay. I would either go with chicken liver or your favorite stink bait. Bluegill - Good: You can still probably find some up in the shallows this weekend finishing up the second wave of the spawn but come next week I would start looking for them to move out into deeper water.
Lake of the Hills
REMEMBER LAKE OF THE HILLS is the ONLY lake in West Lake Park where the use of live minnows as bait is allowed. Channel Catfish - Good: Baits: chicken liver or stinkbaits. Locations: along the rocks and also where Railroad dumps in. Bluegill - Fair: Anglers continue to catch bluegills from shore using worm and bobber. I would expect the bluegills to start moving deeper next week with the return of the hot weather. Largemouth Bass - Good: Work the shallows with top waters in the early morning and late evening. The deeper habitat with soft plastics during the day.
Big Hollow Lake
Bluegill - Slow: Anglers are catching some bluegills but they really have to work to find them. Largemouth Bass - Slow: Most bass anglers are finding the bass suspended out in deeper water.
For more information on the above lakes and rivers call the Lake Darling Fisheries Office at (319)694-2430.
Lake Belva Deer
Lake is back to normal level. Water is still a little murky. Bluegill - Slow: Bluegill fishing has been slow lately with all the rains and the ever changing weather. Largemouth Bass - Excellent: Bass fishing has picked back up. Work the weed beds and the flooded timber.
REMEBER YOU CAN NOT USE LIVE MINNOWS FOR BAIT IN LAMBACH LAKE. Bluegill - Good: Anglers are catching plenty of nice bluegills in this smaller lake in West Lake Park. sWorm and bobber fished from shore is working good. Crappie - Good: Anglers fishing for bluegills are also picking up more than a few nice crappies.
The trout have been biting. Yes, trout in July, in Southeast Iowa. Rainbow Trout - Good: Trout have been caught using Berkley power baits, a wide variety of colors have been producing limits. Most anglers are having the best luck when they fish on the bottom and allowing the bait to float 1 to 3 feet seems to work best.
For more information on the above lakes call the Lake Darling Fisheries Station at 319-694-2430.
Remember, no minnows are allowed here. Channel Catfish - Fair: Stinkbait has been working best. Largemouth Bass - Fair:
Bluegill - Excellent: Fish around brush piles with a small jig or worm. Largemouth Bass - Fair: Crappie - Fair: Drift open water or fish next to brush piles with a small jig.
Kent Park Lake
Channel Catfish - Fair: Bluegill - Fair: Fish with small worms or jigs around brush piles.
Remember, the 10hp maximum at no wake speed is in effect. Anglers should keep in mind the lake is stratified and there is no oxygen below 10’ of depth. Channel Catfish - Fair: White Bass - Fair: Look for schooling fish chasing new shad in open water. Crappie - Fair: Some fish are being caught around shallow wood.
Pleasant Creek Lake
Remember, largemouth bass have to be 18” and muskies have to be 40” to keep. Channel Catfish - Fair: Chicken livers and stinkbait are working best towards evening. White Bass - Fair: Try small spinners, jigs, or crankbaits. Walleye - Slow: Fish live bait over humps and road beds towards evening. Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) - Fair: These are mixed in with the white bass schools. Fish for them the same way.
Remember, no minnows are allowed here. Anglers should keep in mind that the lake is stratified and there is no oxygen below seven feet of water. Also, Hwy. 63, north of Montezuma, is closed. Anglers should come in on F-57 to come in the South entrance. Channel Catfish - Good: Bluegill - Fair: Fish around brush piles with a small worm or jig. Crappie - Fair: Drift open water with a jig or fish around brush piles with a jig.
Otter Creek Lake
Bluegill - Fair: Fish around brush with small jigs or worms. Yellow Bass - Fair: Fish with small jigs or spinners around shorelines and brush.
For more information, contact the Lake Macbride Fisheries Station at 319-624-3615.
Channel Catfish - Fair: Try using stinkbait or nightcrawlers. Look for areas with large rocks and along the outer edge of the lily pads. Remember most lakes in Iowa stratify so don’t fish much below eight feet. Largemouth Bass - Good: Anglers have been using spinnerbaits or top water lures fished among the cedar trees that were placed in the lake during the last renovation. Use rubber worms along the aquatic vegetation and on the outer edge of the lily pads.
Red Haw Lake
Bluegill - Good: Anglers report the best bait has been a bobber and a chunk of nightcrawler. Target areas around the submerged structures. Largemouth Bass - Good: Try top water lures along the jetties. Use crankbaits along the shoreline and the face of the dam. Try rubber worms around the aquatic vegetation. Crappie - Fair: Anglers have been catching some crappies using the same bait while fishing for bluegills. Use a chunk of nightcrawler fished under a bobber.
Hawthorn Lake (aka Barnes City Lake)
The docks have been installed at Hawthorn Lake. Bluegill - Fair: Anglers have been catching bluegills with a chunk of nightcrawler under a bobber. Sorting is required for larger fish. Largemouth Bass - Good: Anglers have been catching good numbers of largemouth bass using spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Remember Hawthorn Lake has a slot limit so all 12-16-inch fish must be immediately released.
Channel Catfish - Fair: Anglers have been catching channel catfish using nightcrawlers or stinkbait. Try areas back in coves.
Bluegill - Fair: Try using a small jig tipped with a chunk of nightcrawler. Target the weed line and open pockets in the vegetation. Largemouth Bass - Good: Target shorelines with submerged structure or rock. Try top water lures along the weed line and use rubber worms or crawdad imitations in deeper water. Try spinnerbaits or crankbaits along the outer edge of the aquatic vegetation. Crappie - Slow: Try a slip bobber and minnow to find where crappies are suspended. Trolling crankbaits in the open water areas can also be productive.
The current lake level is 906.78 feet. The water temperature is 77 degrees. Don’t forget Lake Rathbun contains zebra mussels so make sure to clean, drain, and dry equipment before transporting to another water body. Spray boats and trailers with high pressure hot water (above 104 degrees) or let them dry for at least 10 days (5 days in the sun). Channel Catfish - Fair: Try using nightcrawlers or chicken liver. Target areas back in coves and bays. Try fishing about 6 inches off the lake bottom. Crappie - Slow: Anglers should try finding suspended schools of crappie and running small crankbaits through the school. Look for fish in the 4-10 feet depth range. Walleye - Slow: Trolling nightcrawlers along submerged points and underwater islands is usually productive this time of year. Crankbaits should also be tried around rock piles and submerged points.
Please remember to take your trash with you so your favorite fishing spot is free from litter. Contact the Rathbun Fish Hatchery at 641-647-2406 with questions regarding angling in south central Iowa.
Crappie - Good: Crappies are being caught in decent numbers fishing small panfish jigs 3 to 5 feet deep tight to the standing trees broke off at the water’s surface mid lake.
Rock Creek Lake
Crappie - Fair: Crappie fishing is now in a summer drifting pattern. Drift small panfish twister or tubes mid lake 4-8 feet deep.
Big Creek Lake
Bluegill - Good: 8-9-inch bluegills are being caught in good numbers fishing at the edges of the vegetation with 1/16 ounce jigs tipped with small pieces of crawler. Walleye - Fair: Walleye are being caught trolling spinner rigs with minnows or crawlers in 10-15 feet of water or drifting jigs tipped with crawlers or leeches at the edges of the vegetation. Concentrate on the upper half of the lake during the summer months.
Hickory Grove Lake
Bluegill - Good: Bluegill are now being caught off pallet piles in 5-15 feet of water. The bluegills are good size running from 7-9 inches.
Bluegill - Fair: Pitch or drift 1/16 ounce jigs tipped with small pieces of crawler close to the edge of the vegetation. Crappie - Fair: Crappie can be caught drifting jigs or minnows close the edge of the vegetation in 10 feet of water or more.
Des Moines River (Stratford to Saylorville Lake)
Channel Catfish - Good: The Des Moines River above Saylorville Reservoir’s influence is in good fishing condition again. Channel catfish are being caught best on stink baits.
For good summer fishing anglers should drift/slow troll the open water for bluegill and crappie. For information on central Iowa›s lakes and rivers contact Ben Dodd or Andy Otting at 515-432-2823.
Channel catfish are being caught around the jetties and along the dam. Channel Catfish - Good: Anglers have reported catching catfish using cut bait around the jetties and the dam. Fish average 2 pounds. Bluegill - Fair: Bluegill up to 8.5 inches can be caught drifting with small jigs. Crappie - Slow: A few crappies are being picked up drifting and around cedar tree piles. Fish range from 8-12 inches.
Water temperature at meadow is 80 degrees. Bluegill - Fair: 7 to 8 inch bluegills can be caught around underwater reefs casting black jigs tipped with power bait. Largemouth Bass - Good: Meadow has a large year class of 10 to 12 inch bass.
Mormon Trail Lake
Catfish have picked up at Mormon Trail. Anglers are still catching crappie. Channel Catfish - Fair: Catfish are being caught on cutbait or shrimp around the jetties. Fish average 2 pounds. Crappie - Fair: The lake has a large year class of 8 inch crappies. Anglers are catching them all around the lake drifting.
Catfish can be caught on the south shore and along the dam. A few crappies are being picked up around tree piles. Channel Catfish - Good: Catfish are being caught with shrimp. Fish are close to shore. Most fish caught are 18 to 20 inches. Bluegill - Slow: Bluegills can be caught drifting. Fish average 7.5 inches. Crappie - Fair: Cast small jigs around tree piles or minnows under a bobber to catch 8 to 10 inch crappies.
Cold Springs Lake
Bluegill fishing in Cold Springs is coming back after the 2006 renovation. Bass fishing is also good. Cold Springs has an 18 inch size limit on largemouth bass. Bluegill - Fair: Bluegills up to 7.5 inches can be caught casting small jigs or nightcrawlers under a bobber. Largemouth Bass - Good: Cast plastics or small spinnerbaits on the north side of the lake and along the dam to catch bass of all sizes.
Anglers are drifting to catch quality sized panfish at Anita. Bluegill - Fair: Anglers are picking up 9 plus inch fish drifting small jigs tipped with Powerbait. Largemouth Bass - Good: Anita has a good bass population with all sizes present. Crappie - Slow: Drift jigs tipped with power bait to catch 10 inch crappies.
Willow has extremely good water clarity. Channel Catfish - Fair: Catfish can be caught along the campground shoreline with cutbait or liver. Fish average 18 inches. Bluegill - Fair: Bluegills are being caught casting small jigs in the upper end of the lake.
Viking has a good crappie population ranging in size from 8 to 11 inches. A few crappies are being caught drifting the open water portion of the lake. Channel catfishing is good right now. Channel Catfish - Good: Channel catfish are being caught with cut bait close to shore. Fish average 2 pounds. Largemouth Bass - Good: Largemouth are being caught casting the shoreline with slow retrieve crankbaits and spinnerbaits. Fish are all sizes. Crappie - Fair: Try drifting open water or fishing around cedar tree piles for crappies ranging from 8 to 11 inches.
The refuge enforces a 4 walleye bag with a 15 inch minimum length limit and no more than 1 walleye may exceed 22 inches. The lake has a good catfish population. Channel Catfish - Fair: Channel catfish can be caught on the outside bend of the lake near rock or drifting with cutbait. Desoto has all sizes of catfish. Walleye - Slow: Walleyes are being caught slow trolling crankbaits or drifting crawlers. Fish range in size from 15 to 20 inches.
Catfishing has been good on the main lake. Channel Catfish - Fair: Catfish are being caught on the west and south side of the lake with cut bait or shrimp.
Farm Creek Lake
Farm Creek has a good overall fish population. Bluegill - Fair: Bluegills can be found in the open water part of the lake in 6 feet of water. Drift or slow troll with small jigs to catch 8 to 9 inch fish. Black Crappie - Slow:
Cold Springs District Farm Ponds
Bluegill and crappies are now in deeper water and around structure. Largemouth bass fishing is good. Channel catfish can be caught close to shore. Remember to get permission before fishing privately owned ponds. Channel Catfish - Fair: This is a good time of year to catch channel catfish close to shore. Bluegill - Fair: Bluegills can be caught along weed edges and around deeper structure. Use small tackle and light line for successful bluegill fishing. Largemouth Bass - Good: Largemouth bass can be caught casting a variety of plugs and lures. Crappie - Good: Ponds that support crappie populations have been picked up this week. Try fishing minnows under a bobber around structure.
Anglers are now drift fishing open water areas to catch bluegills and crappies. Channel catfish has been good in the southwest district. For more information call the Cold Springs office at 712-769-2587.
Binder Lake access is good. Largemouth Bass - Fair: Largemouth bass up to 16 inches have been caught on crankbaits and plastics along the dam and weed lines. Crappie - Good: Crappies up to 9.5 inches have been caught along the dam in the evenings with small jigs.
Lake Icaria access is good. Channel Catfish - Good: Catfish up to 19 inches have been caught with stink baits and cutbait along the rock structure and silt dikes. Largemouth Bass - Slow: Largemouth bass up to 16 inches have been caught on crankbaits near the cedar tree piles. Crappie - Slow: Crappies up to 9.5 inches have been caught on small jigs near the fish mounds. Walleye - Slow: Walleye up to 17 inches have been caught using crawler harnesses on 8 foot flats.
Little River Watershed Lake
Little River lake access is good. Largemouth Bass - Excellent: Largemouth bass up to 17 inches have been caught on crankbaits, spinners, and top water along the weed lines. Walleye - Fair: Walleyes up to 16 inches have been caught on shallow diving crankbaits along the dam and weed lines in the evenings.
Badger Creek Lake
Badger Creek Lake access is good. Largemouth Bass - Fair: Largemouth bass up to 18 inches have been caught on spinners and top water baits along the dam and in the flooded timber.
Loch Ayr lake access is good. Channel Catfish - Good: Catfish up to 18 inches have been caught on worms and cutbait along the dam.
Green Valley Lake
Green Valley Lake access is good. Channel Catfish - Fair: Catfish up to 20 inches have been caught on cutbait along the rock structure and jetties. Largemouth Bass - Good: Largemouth bass up to 17 inches have been caught using crankbaits and plastics along the rock structure and cedar tree piles.
Three Mile Lake
Three Mile Lake access is good. Largemouth Bass - Slow: Largemouth bass up to 15 inches have been caught on crankbaits and plastics near jetties and in the flooded timber. Crappie - Slow: Crappies up to 9 inches have been caught on small jigs in flooded timber near the channel.
Twelve Mile Creek Lake
Twelve Mile lake access is good. Bluegill - Fair: Bluegills up to 9 inches have been caught on small jigs in 12 feet of water along the weed lines and on the roadbed. Walleye - Slow: Walleyes up to 18 inches have been caught using leaches on crawler harnesses and under slip bobbers along the weed lines and roadbed.
Water temperatures in the Mount Ayr District area lakes have dropped over the past week with most lakes dropping into the mid to upper 70s. Also, most rivers have returned to base flow or near base flow. The district includes Page, Taylor, Adams, Union, Ringgold, Decatur, Clarke, and Madison counties. For more information call: 641-464-3108.
Black Bullhead – Good: Blue Lake is a good place to take kids fishing for fast action. Channel Catfish – Good: Try worms and dip bait for success.
Missouri River Sioux City to Little Sioux River
Channel Catfish – Slow: A few channel catfish are being caught by rod and reel and on trotlines. Dip baits, worms, chubs, and cutbait are baits of choice. Flathead Catfish – Fair: A few flathead catfish are being caught on trotlines and rod and reel. Live baits or fresh cut bait works best.
Missouri River Little Sioux River to Council Bluffs
Channel Catfish – Slow: Try dip bait, worms, chubs, and cutbaits. Flathead Catfish – Fair: A few flathead catfish are being caught on live bait and fresh cutbait. Blue Catfish – Fair: Anglers report catching a few blue catfish on trotlines and rod reel. Live bait and fresh cutbait are the baits of choice.
Missouri River Council Bluffs to Missouri State Line
Channel Catfish – Slow: Fishing should pick up for channel catfish. Try worms, dip bait, chubs and cutbait. Flathead Catfish – Fair: Flathead anglers are buying bait and getting out on the river. Try live bait and fresh cutbait for the best success. Blue Catfish – Fair: Anglers are catching a few blue catfish on trotlines and rod and reel on live bait and fresh cutbait.
The Missouri River at Decatur, Neb., is 22.2 feet, flowing at 34,700 CFS and is 73 degrees. The Missouri River has risen .29 feet from last week. The river has changed from the recent high water; watch out for logs and sandbars that are potential hazards. Most of the boat ramps are open on both sides of the river. Some ramps are still muddy and not accessible with the dropping of water levels.