Thursday, February 18, 2016

Iowa Weekly Fishing Report

English: Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)

NORTHWEST
Yellow Smoke Park Lake
Ice thickness can be inconsistent on lakes, use caution and check ice depths frequently when venturing out. With upcoming warmer temperatures, ice may become weak near the shoreline, near the dam, and in areas where trees protrude from the ice. Bluegill - Fair: Anglers have picked up some quality size (9”+) bluegill with wax worms fished in 12 to 16 feet of water. Black Crappie - Fair: Anglers have been picking up some 10 inch crappies while targeting bluegill.

Brushy Creek Lake
Use caution and check ice depths frequently when venturing out. With upcoming warmer temperatures, be extra careful in areas near the shoreline, near the dam, and where trees protrude from the ice; these locations may contain weak ice or open water. Bluegill - Fair: Anglers have picked up bluegills on wax worms. Most fish have been caught in 20-30 feet of water. Black Crappie - Fair: Crappie have been picked up while fishing for bluegill in 20-30 feet of water. Yellow Perch - Fair: Perch have been picked up with minnows fished in 20-30 feet of water. Walleye - Fair: Anglers are having luck catching a few walleyes using minnows fished in the flats at 20-30 feet of water.

Bacon Creek Lake
There are weak areas of ice near the dam. Use caution and check ice depths regularly.  Approximately 1500 rainbow trout were stocked on Jan. 26th. Rainbow Trout - Fair: Target rainbow trout using several methods such as live minnows fished under a bobber, small tube and twister jigs, in-line spinners, small casting spoons and power baits.

Storm Lake (including Little Storm Lake)
Ice thickness varies from about 10-15 inches. With the upcoming warmer temperatures, use caution near shoreline and inflows where weak ice conditions and open water areas may be present. Black Crappie - Slow: Crappie fishing has been slow, most caught are small. Walleye - Fair: Anglers have picked up a few walleye in the dredge cuts towards the east end of the lake using minnows and jigs. Others have had some success fishing the South Cove Park area, the inlet, and Chautauqua Point area using minnows and jigs. Yellow Perch - Fair: Some perch have been picked up near the inlet. The bite is hit or miss.

Black Hawk Lake
Aerators in Town Bay are in operation; there are areas of open water and thin ice. Ice thickness off of Ice House Point boat ramp was around 12-14 inches. Use caution if venturing out and test ice depths frequently. Bluegill - Fair: Fish for bluegill in areas near Ice House Point and off of Gunshot Hill using wax worms. Yellow Perch - Slow: Perch can be hit or miss. Try fishing minnows and wax worms near the dredge cuts in front of Denison Beach and Provost Point. The rock pile near Gunshot Hill and the 8 feet depths of water in the middle basin between the dredge cuts can also be productive. Walleye - Slow: Target walleye using minnows fished near the dredge cuts in front of Denison Beach and Provost Point. Also try the rock piles in front of Gunshot Hill, Ice House Point, and the rock pile in the middle of the basin north of Cottonwood Point.

Arrowhead Lake
As of Thursday Feb. 18th, there was about 11 inches of ice off the boat ramp. With warmer temperatures coming, use caution near shorelines and inflows where weak ice and open water may be present. Bluegill - Fair: Use wax worms fished on tungsten jigs. Sorting is required, but the bigger gills are around 8.5 inches. Target areas with structure and contour. Popular places include the east side and southern end of the lake. Black Crappie - Fair: A few larger crappies have been picked up using minnows. Fish areas with structure and bottom contour.

Black Hawk Pits
As of Thursday February 18, ice thickness ranged from 5-9 inches near the boat ramp on the east side. Areas of thin ice and open water were present along the west shoreline. Use caution and test ice depths frequently, especially with the warm temperatures predicted over the next week. Bluegill - Fair: Anglers are having success finding keeper-sized bluegills using wax worms. Yellow Perch - Fair: Anglers are picking up perch using minnows. Some sorting is required. Use larger minnows to target the keepers.

Moorland Pond
Use caution when venturing out and check ice depths frequently. Approximately 1,500 rainbow trout were stocked on Jan. 23. Rainbow Trout - Fair: Target rainbow trout using live minnows fished under a bobber, small tube and twister jigs, in-line spinners, small casting spoons and power baits.

As of Thursday, Feb. 18th ice thicknesses in the Black Hawk District ranged from 6-14 inches. Ice conditions may deteriorate quickly with the predicted warm temperatures, so use caution near shorelines and inflows, as these areas may contain weak ice or open water. Check ice depths frequently if venturing out. For more information, contact the Black Hawk District Office at 712-657-2638.

Beeds Lake
Some activity; not much for reports. Anglers have been catching bluegills, crappies, and yellows.

Lake Smith
Ice at Smith Lake on Feb.16 was 15-17 inches. Bluegill - Slow: Bluegills (mostly 6.5-7.25, with a few larger ones) are biting the last hour or so of daylight near the deeper structure.

Clear Lake
Shelters must be removed from all state-owned lands and waters by February 20. Clear Lake has around 16-18 inches of ice but the warm weather coming this weekend will make water run down the access on the little lake and melt ice quickly. There is a little bit of current flowing into the little lake from Ventura Marsh, so be aware of possible thin ice on the south side of the little lake. This week and beyond will likely be great for portable or open ice fishing. Yellow Bass - Good: Move often if not catching fish; fish 8-12 feet of water on the little lake and move until you find schools. The flats in 8-10 feet of water out from the Lynne Lorenzen have been good. Farmers Beach in 8-10 feet of water has been good and Baptist camp has been decent. Walleye - Good: Anglers have had good success on structure on the east end of the lake this week (East aerator, Hy-Vee Reef, Fisherman’s Reef, Gilmore Reef). An occasional walleye is being caught near the aerator or west to Baptist camp. Use jigging spoons, small lipless cranks, or 1/8 oz. jigs with minnows. Crappie - Good: Oxygen levels have been a little lower in the 15 and deeper water so anglers might want to target shallower flats. Yellow Perch - Fair: Occasional larger perch (9.5-10 inches) have been caught on the little lake. Channel Catfish - Good: No reports, but catfish activity picks up during late ice conditions. Use light jigs tipped with a small piece of cut bait or three to four spikes or wax worms. Farmers beach and the island have been good in the past.

Lake Cornelia
Action is slow, not very many anglers out. Yellow bass (mostly smaller ones) are being caught, though the action is not fast right now.

Blue Pit
Approximately 1,400 rainbow and brook trout were stocked on Jan. 16th. Rainbow Trout - Fair: One report of anglers having some success in the southeast corner. Trout seem to move in groups, so you may need to move up and down the shoreline to find them. Limit is 5 trout per trout stamp.

Bluebill Lake
There has been some activity with a few crappies being caught.

For lake updates and fishing information in the north central area, contact the Clear Lake Fish and Wildlife office at 641-357-3517.

Big Spirit Lake
Ice conditions: 16-18 inches of ice but thickness varied. Use caution while on the ice. Yellow Perch - Fair: Anglers are catching some nice perch off of Bakers point and north of marble beach in 20 feet of water. Small blue and silver spoons work well. Gold tear drops tipped with maggots or wax worms has been producing for less aggressive fish.

Center Lake
Ice conditions: 15-16 inches of ice but conditions varied. The aeration system is in use. Use caution while on the ice. Black Crappie - Fair: 9-10 inch crappies have been caught suspended in 17 feet of water. Evenings are the best bite. Try small light spoons tipped with minnow heads or wax worms.

East Okoboji Lake
Ice condition: 15-17 inches of ice but thickness varied. Use caution while on the ice. Yellow Bass - Fair: Some nice yellow bass have been caught on the north end of the lake off of Peppermint point and south of the hatchery. Bright tungsten jigs tipped with wax worms work well. Yellow Perch - Fair: Anglers are picking up some nice perch on the drop of Gingles point. Pilkie type lures tipped with maggots work well.

Minnewashta Lake
Ice conditions: 15-17 inches of ice. Use caution while on the ice. Yellow Bass - Slow: A few yellow bass have been picked up off Christys point in 10-12 feet of water. Try small tungsten jigs tipped with wax worms or maggots.

Silver Lake (Dickinson)
Ice conditions: 14-16 inches of ice but thickness varied. Use extreme caution during ice activities. The aeration system is in use. Walleye - Slow: A few 14-17 inch walleyes have been caught in the west bay and on the east side of the island.

West Okoboji Lake
Ice conditions: 14-16 inches of ice but thickness varied. Use caution while on the ice. Bluegill - Good: 8-12 feet of water on the north shoreline in Millers bay has been producing some nice bluegills. The north end of Haywards bay has also been producing some nice bluegills. Gold tear drops tipped with wax worms work well. Yellow Perch - Fair: Anglers are finding some nice perch on the north hump in Millers bay. Mornings are the best bite. The saddle in Emerson bay has also been producing some nice perch.

Ingham Lake
Ice conditions: 14-16 inches of ice but conditions varied. The aeration system is in use. Use caution while on the ice. Fishing activity has been minimal.

Five Island Lake
Ice conditions: 14-16 inches of ice but conditions varied. Use caution while on the ice. The aeration system is in use.

Upper Gar Lake
Ice conditions: 12-14 inches of ice. Use caution while on the ice. Fishing activity has been minimal. 

Silver Lake (Palo Alto)
Ice Conditions: 14-16 inches of ice. Ice conditions varied. Use caution while on the ice. Fishing pressure has been minimal.

Area lakes are 100 percent snow covered with slush pockets near shore. Walleye season is closed on Big Spirit, West and East lakes.

NORTHEAST
Volga Lake
Volga Lake has 8 plus inches of ice under about 8 inches of slush. Use caution when going out on ice. Driving on ice is not recommended at this time. Warmer weather forecast for the weekend can change ice conditions quickly. Fish seem to be hanging around brush piles and other structure. Crappie - Slow: Crappie can be found hanging around brush. More aggressive fish are hanging around above the brush. Tip a jig with a wax worm and golden rod wasp larvae. Bluegill - Slow: Try dropping your jig tipped with a wax worm slowly down to the bottom keeping it about a foot off the bottom. Jiggle your line for a short bit and stop. Repeat.

Lake Hendricks
Lake Hendricks has 6 plus inches of ice under about 6 inches of slush. Ice conditions will change quickly with warmer temperatures. Use care when going out on ice. The aerator is on so be careful around that area. Few anglers have been out this week. A reminder to ice anglers, Howard County Conservation Board does not allow permanent shacks or motorized vehicles on the ice. Bluegill - Slow: Much of angling has been off the pine tree point in about 10 feet of water. Anglers are using small jigs tipped with wax worms. If fish don’t bite, take the wax worm off and just use the jig. Crappie - Slow: Crappie are generally found suspended higher off the bottom than bluegills. Jiggle a jig tipped with a wax worm for a short time than let it rest. Repeat but don’t forget to set the hook especially for the light biters.

Lake Meyer
Lake Meyer has 6 plus inches of ice under about 6 inches of slushy snow. Use caution when going on ice especially around cracks and fissures. Few anglers have been out this week. Crappie - Slow: Anglers may have to drill a few holes to find fish this year especially with all the new habitat. Bluegill - Slow: Fish are hanging about 1 foot off the bottom. Fish have been slow to bite so be patient. Use a very small jig with small rubber tail.

Upper Iowa River (above Decorah)
We have received no information regarding fishing on this water body this week.

Upper Iowa River (below Decorah)
We have received no information regarding fishing on this water body this week.

Turkey River (above Clermont)
Ice conditions will change quickly with warmer weather temperatures, snow melt and potential rain. Use extreme caution when going across areas of flowing water under ice. Check ice depths often.  Crappie - No Report: Crappie will be hiding around submerged woody structure.

Cedar River (above Nashua)
Use extreme caution when going on river ice especially with increased flows, fluctuating water levels and warmer temperatures. Check ice depth often. Morning and evening bites are best.

Decorah District Streams
Trout streams are currently in excellent condition but weekend snow melt and rain could cause some streams to cloud up. Look for sporadic midge hatches on warmer days. For these hatches, use #18 or 20 emergers or nymphs with a #22 or #24 drop hook gnarly midge. Use more streamers or scuds as prey availability has changed and fish are looking for something meatier. Anglers using minnows and dark flashy hair jigs will catch fish. Brook Trout - Good: Overhead movement and shadows will scare a wily brook trout. Take care when approaching streams with exceptionally clear water. Use larger jigs or streamers that imitate minnows or small trout. Brown Trout - Fair: Sny Magill and North Cedar Fish and Wildlife areas were the first private lands purchased for the purpose of trout stream management open to the public, according to the 1975 Job Completion Report by Fisheries Management Section to the State Conservation Commission. Rainbow Trout - Good: Anglers will find larger rainbows moving upstream this time of year. Try using baits imitating minnows and small trout.

Our January thaw is coming in February. Temperatures in the upper 40's will cause snow and ice melt. With windy warmer temperatures, ice conditions will change quickly. For those who have ice fishing shelters out on state-owned waters or lands, they must be removed by February 20 or ice melt. For more information, please call the Decorah Fish Hatchery at 563-382-8324.

Brinker Lake
Bluegill - Fair: Tip an ice fishing jig with a wax worm fished near or just off of the bottom close to structure. Crappie - Fair: Look for crappies suspended near structure in 8 to 15 feet of water. Tip an ice fishing jig with a wax worm or small crappie minnow.

George Wyth Lake
Northern Pike - Fair: Try setting tip-up devices using live chubs or shiners for some great pike action below the ice.

Martens Lake
The report from Martens Lake has been slow this past week, anglers are still picking up a few smaller bluegill. Bluegill - Slow: Tip an ice fishing jig with a wax worm fished near or just off of the bottom close to structure.

Angling reports for the Cedar Falls/Waterloo area have been poor this week. Weekend forecast calls for warmer temperatures with a beautiful extended forecast ahead. Pay close attention to ice conditions as they may quickly deteriorate. Trout streams are in excellent condition, for further information contact the N.E. Iowa District Office at 563-927-3276.

MISSISSIPPI RIVER
Mississippi River Pool 9
Mississippi River level at Lansing is at 8.1 feet and is expected to begin to rise with snow melt over the next week. Ice thickness is around 15 inches but anglers should use caution in areas that may have current. Bluegill - Good: Shore Slough and the boat ramp at Lansing continue to be popular with mixed results typical of midwinter ice fishing. Yellow Perch - Slow: A few perch biting near the Village Creek boat ramp. Crappie - Slow: Occasional crappie catches in shore slough.

Mississippi River Pool 10
Mississippi River level at Lynxville has stabilized around 15.1 feet and should begin to rise with snow melt over the next week. Ice thickness is around 15 inches but use caution in areas that may have current especially near the boat ramp at Bussey Lake. Anglers are encouraged to park on Island Road on the north side of Bussey Lake for safe access to fishing. Parking is allowed on the south shoulder of Island Road only. Bluegill - Good: Getting mixed midwinter reports of fishing success. Norwegian and Greymore lakes continue to be popular spots. Crappie - Fair: A few more reports of some decent crappie being caught in the Norwegian Lake area near Sny Magill. Northern Pike - Fair: Action for pike on tip-ups is picking up in many areas. Yellow Perch - Fair: A few more yellow perch re being reported near Greymore Lake.

Mississippi River Pool 11
Mississippi River level at Guttenberg has been fairly stable at 7 feet and is expected to rise over the next week. Ice thickness is around 15 inches but caution should be used in areas that may have current. The boat ramp at the DNR office remains free of ice allowing access to tailwater fishing. Parking is limited, and visitors are reminded that vehicles with trailers must park on side streets near the office. Walleye - Fair: A few walleyes are being caught in the tailwaters on jig and minnow. Sauger - Good: Sauger bite can be good but many are smaller with a few nice sized fish. Bluegill - Good: Some decent catches of bluegills reported in Zollicofer and near the marina at Mud Lake. Yellow Perch - Fair: A mix of small and nicer sized perch are being caught in Sunfish Lake. Crappie - Slow: A few crappies being reported in Zollicofer.

Considerable snow melt is expected over the next few days. Although close to 15 inches of ice exist in many quiet backwaters, ice conditions can vary. Snowmelt and warmer temperatures can weaken ice quickly along shorelines and any place that has current. Ice conditions will become very slick with water on the ice so ice cleats may be necessary. River levels should be on the rise which can weaken shoreline ice and create new areas with current. Caution is advised.

Mississippi River Pool 12
Water level at Dubuque tailwater is 6.2 feet and the water level at the RR bridge is 8.8 feet.  This is about a foot lower than last week. Ice fishing is taking place in nearly all locals throughout pool 12.  A few positive reports sprinkled in with a lot of slow reports. Yellow Perch - Fair: Not catching many but some "wall mounter" type yellow perch have been reported. Black Crappie - Fair: An occasional nice crappie has been reported but generally slow. Bluegill - Slow: Bluegills have been hard to come by at times but we are hoping the weather change triggers a bite.

Mississippi River Pool 13
Water level at Bellevue is 6.9 feet which is down a bit from last week. Expect water to rise this coming week. Some sauger fishing is taking place in the tailwater but reports are mixed. Ice fishing in Pool 13 is going strong, but some anglers are reporting bad ice, especially in flowing sloughs. Big backwaters like Browns Lake seem to be fine but exercise caution when going to unknown areas. Bluegill – Slow. Yellow Perch - Fair: Fishing seems to be slow, but the rewards can be great.  Some very large "ring perch" have been reported approaching the state record.  If you feel you might have the state record, it needs to be over 15 inches and very plump.  The state record fish is 16 inches long and weighed 2 pounds 7 ounces.  If you think you have the new record, have it weighed on a certified scale immediately (such as in a meat department) and contact the DNR. Sauger - Fair: The Bellevue ramp is open for boat launching.

Mississippi River Pool 14
Water level at Fulton is at 5.3 feet, 9.7 feet at Camanche and 4.6 feet at Le Claire. Water levels are holding steady but may rise this week. Rock creek continues to receive some pressure and fishing has been good at times. Launching in the Clinton ramps was not available as of Thursday but they may open with warmer weather expected.  

Mississippi River Pool 15
Water levels at Rock Island are around 6.2 feet, down from last week. Expect water levels to rise significantly this week. Boat ramps in the upper parts of Pool 15 were open to most boats.  A lip of ice was present but warmer temperatures should take care of that.  

Good ice fishing conditions exist throughout the district. Be careful walking across flowing water sloughs and never cross ice if you are unsure of the conditions. We have lots reports of flowing water sloughs with unusual amounts of open ice free water. Non-flowing backwaters generally have decent ice conditions but please read the ice safety reminder on the Iowa DNR website at www.iowadnr.gov/About-DNR/DNR-News-Releases/ArticleID/450/Ice-Safety-Reminder.

Mississippi River Pool 16
Tailwater stage at Lock and Dam 15 is 6.16 feet. River stage is forecasted to begin rising on Sunday. There are unsafe ice conditions with the warmer temperatures and melting snow. The Marquette St. boat ramp is open. Sauger - Slow: Fishing for saugers has been slow. A few boats have been fishing up by the dam. Sylvan Slough is being reported as frozen in yet. Walleye – Slow.

Mississippi River Pool 17
Tailwater stage at Lock and Dam 16 is 5.08 feet. Tailwater stage is forecasted to begin rising on Sunday. There are unsafe ice conditions with the warmer temperatures and melting snow. Boats are able to launch at the lower ramps in Muscatine. The upper ramps have a ridge of ice at the bottom of the ramp that would make launching a boat difficult. Sauger - No Report: There have been some boats below Muscatine fishing for saugers but we have not received any reports on how the bite has been. Try vertical jigging with minnows or pulling three-way rigs with minnows or stick baits.

Mississippi River Pool 18
Tailwater stage at Lock and Dam 17 at New Boston is 7.31 feet. Tailwater stage is forecasted to begin rising on Sunday. The Toolsboro ramp is open but the road going in is muddy and snow covered. There is a little bit of flow ice coming down the river. With the warmer temperatures and melting snow there are unsafe ice conditions. Sauger - Slow: There have been a few boats fishing up by the dam but fishing has been slow. Try vertical jigging with minnows or pulling three-way rigs with minnows or stick baits. Walleye – Slow.

Mississippi River Pool 19
Tailwater stage at Lock and Dam 19 above Burlington is 5.14 feet. Tailwater stage has risen a foot the past couple days. We have not received any reports on tailwater fishing or if ramps are open. With the warmer weather and melting snow there are unsafe ice conditions.

Mississippi River Pool 16-19: With the warmer temperatures and melting snow there are unsafe ice conditions. There has been some tailwater fishing for walleye and saugers. Tailwater stages are forecasted to begin rising by Sunday. If you have questions on fishing pools 16-19, contact the Fairport Fish Hatchery at 563-263-5062.

SOUTHEAST
Lake Macbride
Most of the lake has 10-12 inches of ice. There is still open water around the causeway bridge area. Black Crappie - Fair: Target wood or rock in 15-20 feet of water with fish suspended over and around it. Reports are saying more small fish with a 10-12 inch fish mixed in. Early and late in the day is best. Bluegill - Good: Bluegill are generally easy to catch around wood or rock. Size is generally small, but some fish may be considered "keepers". Walleye - Slow: Most of the walleyes being caught are <12 are="" available="" but="" find.="" fish="" inches.="" nicer="" to="" tough="" u="">

Pleasant Creek Lake
The lake is currently about 12 feet low for the upcoming restoration project. Much of the lake has about 10-12 inches of ice. Yellow Perch - Fair: The bite has been hit and miss. Many fish are small, but 8-10 inch fish are also being caught on jigs/waxies or minnows off the dam and out from the main ramp in 25+ feet of wat. Sunrise and sunset has been best. Bluegill – Slow. Walleye – Slow.

Diamond Lake
No minnows are allowed here. Ice thickness is reported as 7-9 inches. Bluegill - Good: Bluegills are being caught around brush on jigs/waxies. Many sizes are being caught, but a good number of them are 7-8 inches. Crappie - Fair: Look for suspended fish around brush, off the dam, or out in the basin. Many fish will be around 9 inches.

Union Grove Lake
The lake is currently drained for the renovation project that will start this winter.

Coralville Reservoir
The ice is unsafe. There are areas of open water and skim ice.

Grundy County Lake
Bluegill – Slow. Yellow Perch – Slow.

Sand Lake
Bluegill – Slow.

For more information, contact the Lake Macbride Fisheries Station at 319-624-3615.

Lake Geode
Unsafe ice conditions. 

Lake Belva Deer
About 6 inches of ice were left earlier this week but it started to go bad Wednesday, Feb. 17th. There is open water at the beach and lots of ice that is rotten and headed towards being open water if the weather forecast holds. Bluegill - Fair: Anglers are having to do some sorting but are able to catch enough bigger ones to eat.

Lake Darling
Unsafe ice; most of the open areas that did refreeze are about to open back up. There is about 4 acres of open water in the middle of the lake over by the youth camp.

Big Hollow Lake
Unsafe ice.

For more information conditions on the above lakes and rivers, call the Lake Darling Fisheries Office at 319-694-2430.

Lake Wapello
The ice thickness has deteriorated and the lake still has areas of open water, primarily in front of the lodge. Ice thickness varies across the lake and not many anglers have been out due to the variable ice conditions which will continue to degrade with the warm and windy forecast.

Red Haw Lake
Anglers have reported catching bluegill and redear on teardrop jigs tipped with a wax worm. Ice thickness has been reported at 6 inches with slush on top of the ice. Avoid the area by the west arm and the fishing jetty as flowing water has formed an open area. With the warm weather forecasted, use caution as the ice will start to degrade.

Lake Keomah
Lake Keomah State Park is undergoing a road construction project so access to the park is limited. The boat ramps are still accessible by using the entrance to the north and east of the park.

Lake Sugema
Ice thickness has deteriorated and the ice along the shoreline has opened up so there is open water between the ice and the shore. The ice along the dam has also started to open up and with the warmer and windy forecast the ice will start to deteriorate faster.

Bob White Lake
A complete fisheries renovation was completed in September. Fingerlings were stocked this fall.

Rathbun Reservoir
Most of the lake has frozen over but use caution as the ice formed at different times. Due to the variable ice conditions, not many anglers have been out and with the warm and windy forecast the ice will continue to deteriorate. The current lake level is 905.87. Lake Rathbun contains zebra mussels so make sure to properly drain, clean, and dry equipment before transporting to another water body.

Use caution at any lake in south central Iowa. Take your trash with you so your favorite fishing spot is clean and litter free. Contact the Rathbun Fish Hatchery at 641-647-2406 with questions regarding angling in south central Iowa.

SOUTHWEST
Don Williams Lake
Crappie - Good: Good catches of crappie are being caught mostly on wax worms. Target deeper points at depths ranging from 15 to 25 feet. The bite is good late afternoon and slows at dark. The fish are a little smaller than most anglers prefer at 8-9 inches.

Beaver Lake
Crappie - Fair: Beaver Lake is worth a look for ice anglers seeking crappies. There are good numbers of 9.5 to 10.5 inch fish.

Big Creek Lake
Avoid the lower portion of the lake near the outlet structure construction project. Bluegill - Fair: Big Creek holds some large bluegills. It takes some exploration of sunken brush piles and old rock piles to get on fish. Much of this habitat is in 15 feet of water or greater. Crappie - Fair: Anglers fishing in the evenings are finding some good crappie over 10 inches. Target over deeper brush piles, the drop-offs into the original creek bed in the mid-section of the lake, and the old road bed out from the Ensign shelter running towards the east boat ramp. Walleye - Good: Walleye are being caught in the evenings and after dark. Generally the fish are coming off deep drop-offs and points in 25 feet of water or greater out from and south of the east and Williams Drive ramps. Fish with jigging spoons tipped with minnows or minnow heads, jigging style crankbaits tipped with a minnow head on the center treble hook, or just a lip hooked live minnow.

Hickory Grove Lake
Bluegill - Fair: Bluegills are being caught over habitat sunk in 15 feet of water or more using wax worms. The afternoon bite has been the most active.

Lake Petocka
Rainbow Trout - Good: Trout were stocked on Jan. 30th. Trout can be caught using jigging spoons or Swedish pimple style baits tipped with wax worms. Live minnow rigs can also work well.

Ada Hayden Heritage Park Lake
Rainbow Trout - Fair: Trout were stocked on Feb. 6th. Target trout by tipping jigging spoons or Swedish pimple style baits with wax worms and fishing with live minnows. In the past the trout have moved in schools around the perimeter, so begin by not fishing water over 20 feet deep.

As of Thursday, Feb. 18th ice conditions in Central Iowa are fair to good. Thicknesses range from 6 to 13 inches. Ice conditions may deteriorate rapidly over the weekend, especially south of I-80. Test ice conditions often. For information on Central Iowa lakes and rivers, contact Andy Otting or Ben Dodd at 515-432-2823.

Cold Springs District Farm Ponds
Ice out catfishing can be very good this time of year. Always get permission to fish private farm ponds. Channel Catfish - Good: Catfish actively feed after ice out on dead fish. Cast shad sides in the upper ends of ponds where water warms first.

Ice conditions in the southwest district have deteriorated to the point that ice fishing is not recommended. Open water catfishing has been reported on farm ponds. For more information, call the Cold Springs District Office at 712-769-2587