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.
Mississippi River Pools 9 to 15: In Pool 9, anglers are catching
a few northern pike on tip-ups in Fish Lake and off Army Road in
New Albin, but fishing is slow. Indian Slough has had some good
sized crappies taken. Some panfish can be caught in the warm water
releases at the Lansing Power Plant. In Black Hawk Park, a few very
big bluegills and many bass are being reported.
In Pool 10, saugers can be caught below the dam at Lynxville
using a jig and minnow. A few walleyes can also be caught here on
jigs with twister tails. Use the smallest jig possible that can get
to the bottom for best success. For ice fishing, angling has slowed
near the spillway, but some northern pike and bass can be caught
using shiners on tip-ups. The sorting of panfish is going on at the
spillway as well. Some crappies are being caught at Spring Lake and
Mud Slough north of Prairie du Chien. The Sny Magill Access has
generally been slow but some fish are still being reported. Areas
to try include Sandbar and Norwegian Lake. Methodist Lake has
been the most consistent producer in the area but you may need an
airboat to get there after the resent warm spell. All year, Bussey
Lake has been hit or miss for bluegill and crappie. There are fish
to be caught, but you may need to move around until you find
In Pool 11, a few saugers are being caught below the dam at
Guttenberg using a jig and minnow. Both launches into the
Guttenberg tailwater are open. Tailwater anglers can now boat and
walk to Swift Slough and catch crappie and white bass. Only a few
bluegills are being reported. Some ice fishing is taking place on
Burtom Lake south of Cassville, but sorting of bluegills is
required. In both of the new project areas in lower Pool 11 (Mud
Lake and Sunfish Lake), yellow perch, pumpkinseeds and a few
largemouth’s are being caught, but they require much patience.
Anglers with electronics report that they are still seeing schools
of perch and bass, but they seem to be quite finicky. The best
fishing seems to be later in the afternoon.
In Pools 12 to 15, the best fishing can be found in O’Leary’s
Lake, Kehough Slough, Tippy’s and Frentress Lake (Pool 12), South
Sabula Lake, Spring Lake, Edict Lake, and Mickelson’s Lake (Pool
13), and Rock Creek (Pool 14). The best advice at this time of
year is to keep moving to find fish.
Black Hawk and Bremer County area lakes and ponds: Ice fishing
continues to be slow with no hot bites reported. Expect action to
pick-up during the next weeks as oxygen levels improve and spring
approaches. Ice anglers should use caution on lake edges and near
inlets because ice has eroded during recent warm weather and melt
Casey Lake (Tama): Fishing is fair for bluegills using small ice
jigs and wax worms. Use caution entering and leaving the ice, as
well as near the inlet and outlet.
Cedar River (Bremer and Black Hawk), Maquoketa River, Upper Iowa
River, Turkey River and Wapsipinicon River (Black Hawk and
Buchanan): Interior rivers lost considerable amounts of ice during
recent melt events, but some re-freezing has also occurred along
edges and in eddies. Anglers are starting to fish deep-water
pockets, below riffles, and near dams using jigs. Anglers should
use caution when fishing area rivers due to water temperatures at
freezing and unsafe ice.
George Wyth Lake and Big Woods Lake (Black Hawk): Anglers are
catching some crappies around and after sunset using spikes,
crappie minnows and Gulp maggots.
Hendricks Lake (Howard): Anglers continue to work to get fish
but nice crappies and bluegills are starting to bite. Fish are
being caught using a jig tipped with a wax worm or a small minnow.
Try fishing your bait at various depths as fish are likely
suspended off the bottom at this time of year. Evening is the best
time to fish.
Lake Meyer (Winneshiek): Fishing picked up a bit this week
especially around the jetty. Anglers have been using light colored
jigs tipped with a wax worm. Crappies are biting, but a soft touch
is required. Bluegill, largemouth and even some small perch have
been caught recently. Try fishing lures about 3 to 6 feet under
the ice. The best time to fish seems to be around mid-day.
Volga Lake (Fayette): Anglers reported a slow down but this
should be changing soon as some of the snow melts off the ice. Try
fishing a different spot if a fish doesn’t nibble right away. Also
try suspending lures in 3 to 6 feet of water this time of year.
There are a few areas with water on top of the ice out from the
Northeast Iowa Trout Streams: Many of the trout streams in
northeast Iowa are free of ice and most of the snow is gone.
Streams are in excellent condition and are expected to remain
fishable as daytime temperatures remain around freezing. Some
streams are experiencing insect hatches in the afternoon. Trout
stockings on urban lakes include North Prairie in Cedar Falls
(January 17), Heritage Pond in Dubuque (January 21), Blue Pit in
Mason City (January 22), Bacon Creek Lake in Sioux City (January
For information on fishing in northeast Iowa, call the regional
office in Manchester at 563-927-3276.
Mississippi River Pools 16 to 20: Many of the boat ramps in
Pools 16 to 20 of the Mississippi River are open but conditions
could change with colder weather and snow in the forecast for the
weekend. The main channel does have some chunks of ice and debris
floating in it so take caution when boating. Ice conditions in the
backwaters are unsafe for ice fishing.
In Pool 16, river stage at Lock and Dam 15 is 7.56 feet.
Walleye and sauger fishing in the tailwaters has been slow. Ice
jams breaking up in the Rock River have been bringing large chunks
of ice and debris into the river. In Pool 17, river stage at Lock
and Dam 16 is 6.36 feet. Walleye and sauger fishing in the
tailwaters has been slow.
In Pool 18, river stage at Lock and Dam 17 is 8.79 feet. A few
saugers are being caught at the dam on jigs and minnows. There
have also been reports of channel catfish being caught on dead shad
fished in deeper holes. In Pool 19, river stage at Lock and Dam 18
is 5.64 feet. Tailwater fishing for walleyes and saugers has been
slow. In Pool 20, river stage at Lock and Dam 19 is 7.60 feet. No
Lake Darling (Washington): The lake is completely drained.
Lake Belva Deer (Keokuk): Unsafe ice conditions.
Lake Geode (Henry): Unsafe ice conditions.
Lake Rathbun (Appanoose): Ice conditions are not suitable for
Lake Sugema (Van Buren): Ice conditions are not suitable for ice
Lake Keomah (Mahaska): Ice conditions are not suitable for ice
Lake Wapello (Davis): The lake has been completely drained.
Lake Miami (Monroe): Ice conditions are not suitable for ice
Lake Macbride (Johnson): The lake is about 8 feet down for
road/lake work throughout the fall and winter. BOAT RAMPS ARE NOT
For more information on fishing in southeast Iowa, call the
regional office in Brighton at 319-694-2430.
Hickory Grove (Story): Ice conditions are good with 12 to 15
inches of ice. Some anglers are doing well late in the afternoon
before sunset for crappies and bluegills using wax worms near the
island. Most of the bluegills being caught are 7 to 8 inches range
with some up to 9 inches, and the crappies are 9 to 10 inches with
some up to 11 inches.
Big Creek (Polk): Ice conditions are good with 12 to 16 inches
of ice. Both bluegill and crappie fishing is good over brush piles
in the afternoon. Bluegills slow down towards dark, but crappies
continue to be caught after sunset. The best night crappie bite
has been on the roadbed out from the Ensign shelter parking area.
Chartreuse or glowing jigs tipped with wax worms, spikes, or minnow
heads have been the best producers.
Contact Ben Dodd at (515) 432-2823, Ext.108, for information on
the above area lakes
Ice conditions have deteriorated during the past several weeks.
Recent cold nights have put skim ice on some of the small lakes and
ponds that were open a few days ago. Some mid-sized lakes have
more open water than ice covered areas. Walking on the ice is not
recommended anywhere in the southwest or south central portion of
the state. Anglers can use a boat to access many of the same
Three Mile Lake (Union): Ice is poor and open water exists
around the edges a several areas of the mid portion.
Twelve Mile Lake (Union): The lake has areas of open water and
the ice is in poor condition.
Lake Icaria (Adams): The mid portion of the lake is open.
Contact Gary Sobotka at (641) 464-3108 for information on the
above area lakes.
Skim ice has formed again on lakes and ponds with recent cold
temperatures. Late season ice is variable and dangerous. If
venturing out use extreme caution and test ice frequently. Ice
fishing is not recommended.
Contact Bryan Hayes at (712) 769-2587 for information on the
above area lakes.
For more information on general fishing in southwest Iowa, call
the regional office in Lewis at 712-769-2587.
If taking a child ice fishing this weekend in the Spirit Lake
area, take them to the North Grade on the north end of Big Spirit
Lake. Access is easy since most anglers have been fishing right
along the shore. Yellow perch and bluegills have been the most
frequently caught species along with a few black crappies. Use a
small ice jig a few inches off the bottom tipped with a wax-worm
jigged very lightly. If fishing for perch use a slip bobber and a
small hook. Place a split shot a few inches above the hook with the
minnow hooked lightly through the back. Set the depth of the
minnow six inches off the bottom.
Spirit Lake (Dickinson): Bluegills are being caught in Angler’s
Bay along the weed beds and in open areas, or at the North Grade
along the remnant lily pad field with small ice jigs tipped with
wax worms. Yellow perch are biting in the main lake basin from the
pump house north towards Crandall Beach or at the North Grade using
jigging lures tipped with live bait or a slip bobber rig baited
with a minnow. Crappies are biting in Angler’s Bay along weed lines
on small ice jigs tipped with wax-worms.
West Okoboji Lake (Dickinson): Bluegills are biting in Miller’s
and North bays along the weed beds, and between Pocahontas and
Eagle points on small ice jigs tipped with wigglers or wax worms.
Crappies are being caught between Pocahontas and Eagle points with
small ice jigs tipped with wax worms or wigglers. Northern pike are
being caught using live bait on tip-ups in Smith’s and North bays.
For yellow perch, fish the rock reef in Hayward’s Bay with small
teardrop jigs tipped with live bait.
East Okoboji Lake (Dickinson): Yellow bass are being caught at
sunrise and sunset between Stony and Jingles points with ice jigs
tipped with live bait or a slip bobber and minnow.
Larry Wilson Wildlife Management Area Lower Pond (Dickinson):
Bluegills are biting on a small ice jig tipped with a wax worm.
Sportsman Recreation Area (Palo Alto): Bluegills and crappies
are biting on small ice jigs tipped with live bait.
Clear Lake (Cerro Gordo): Yellow bass are still biting on the
west end of the lake around Dodge’s Point and Farmer’s Beach. A
few walleye and white bass are also being caught while fishing for
yellows. Fish are being caught in 7 to 10 feet of water on jigging
spoons. Ice depth remains 20 to 25 inches.
Silver Lake (Worth): A few yellow perch are being caught fishing
the north side of the lake by the county park. Try using a jig
tipped with a minnow for best results.
Storm Lake (Buena Vista): Fishing is fair to good for walleye on
minnows in 7 feet of water. The lake is covered by 10 to 20 inches
of ice but there are some open areas by storm drains. Don’t forget
there is a 17 to 22-inch protected slot on walleye in Storm
Brushy Creek Lake (Webster): Ice conditions have improved, but
ice in some areas around the trees and by the spillway is only
1-inch thick. A few crappies have been caught at sunrise using
For more information on fishing in northwest Iowa, call the
regional office in Spirit Lake at 712-336-1840.