Thursday, March 17, 2016

Iowa Fishing Report

Pomoxis nigromaculatus

NORTHWEST
Storm Lake (including Little Storm Lake)
Storm Lake is ice free. Look for early spring temperatures to bring on the bite. This time of year is usually productive for targeting channel catfish from shore. Use cut bait or shad guts fished off the bottom to capitalize on the abundant channel catfish population. Surface water temperatures in the marina are in the upper 40's, but this area warms up much faster than the main lake. Expect good walleye fishing near shore as water temperatures continue to climb.

Black Hawk Lake
Water level is 9 inches over the crest of the spillway. Some walleye and crappie have been picked up in Town Bay. This time of year is also a good time to target channel catfish from shore. Use cut bait or shad guts fished off the bottom to capitalize on the abundant channel catfish population. Walleye - Fair: 12-18 inch walleye have been picked up in Town Bay. Anglers fishing twisters around the Ice House Point area are having the best luck. Black Crappie - Fair: Some crappie have been picked up near the south stone pier in Town Bay. A few have been picked up from the inlet bridge. Bluegill - Good: Bluegill are being caught in Town Bay. Those fishing from the stone pier are picking up good numbers of fish. Lots of sorting is required. Largemouth Bass - Fair: Anglers fishing crankbaits from the inlet bridge are picking up 12-16 inch largemouth bass.

Black Hawk Pits
Few reports are available at this time, but shore fishing should be productive in this area as the water temperatures increase. More reports will be added as open water fishing picks up.

Early spring weather has made for good shore fishing in some areas. More reports will be added as open water angling picks up. For more information, contact the Black Hawk District Office at 712-657-2638.

Beeds Lake
Channel Catfish - No Report: Channel cat fishing is usually good after ice-out on the causeway near the bridges. Use cut bait or worms.

Lake Smith
Lake Smith is ice-free. No reports of fishing activity.

Clear Lake
Ice out on Clear Lake was on March 16th. Walleye - No Report: Anglers will start wading the east shoreline as the ice melts. Walleye activity will pick up in the coming weeks. Use jig and minnow combinations, fished very slow. Channel Catfish - No Report: Catfish activity picks up during late winter. Fishing near the Ventura Grade on warm evenings should get some bites. Bluegill - Fair: A few bluegills have been caught in the canals. Use small ice jigs under a bobber or add a split shot or two and vertical jig near structure. Crappie - Good: Crappies have been caught in the canals. Use small ice jigs under a bobber or add a split shot or two and vertical jig near structure. Also check out the edges or inside the rushes around the lake as crappies will likely be found near them as well. Muskellunge - No Report: Anglers looking to catch an early season musky should target shallow flats along the shoreline on the east end of the lake. Use a jig and a minnow or a slow moving artificial.

Lake Cornelia
Yellow Bass - Fair: Anglers are catching a few small yellow bass after the ice-out. Channel Catfish - No Report: Try fishing the campground bay as it will likely have a little warmer water. Also the bridge/channel at the mouth of the bay might be a good spot to catch fish.

Shell Rock River (above Greene)
Northern Pike - Good: Look for backwaters and stream mouths to catch northerns. Anglers are catching a few northerns below the dams near Greene and Marble Rock. Walleye - Good: Some walleyes are being caught near Marble Rock.

Winnebago River
Northern Pike - Good: Northern pike fishing has been good this week on the Winnebago River along the public fishing access points through the Mason City area. Fish have been in the 22-30 inch range. Other backwater areas and creek mouths at various locations along the river should provide similar action. Use cut suckers, minnows, or a slow artificial presentation.

All area lakes are ice-free. 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
Black Crappie - Good: Reports of a good crappie population in Templar lagoon. Lots of sorting required. Use small tubes or a minnow under a slip bobber.

East Okoboji Lake
Not much activity this week. Look for fishing to pick up with the warming water temperatures.

Silver Lake (Dickinson)
Walleye - Slow: A few walleye have been picked up on the north bridge and the northeast shoreline. Jigs tipped with minnows fished slowly work best.

West Okoboji Lake
Bluegill - Fair: Anglers have been picking up a few nice bluegills on the trestle. Use small tungsten jigs tipped with maggots.

All the area lakes have become mostly ice free the past week. Look for fishing to pick up as the water temperatures begin to rise. Walleye season is closed on Big Spirit, West and East lakes.

NORTHEAST
Upper Iowa River (above Decorah)
Walleye - Slow: Use a jig tipped with a minnow fished off the bottom. Smallmouth Bass - Slow: A crankbait has been turning on smallies fished below impoundments or in deeper holes.

Upper Iowa River (below Decorah)
Anglers have been paddling and shore fishing with success. A variety of fish have shown up in the creel this week including walleye, perch, smallmouth bass, sauger and suckers. Walleye - Slow: Use red worms and night crawlers on a jig. White Sucker - Slow: Suckers are starting their pre-spawn runs. Use a jig tipped with night crawler fished on the bottom. Smallmouth Bass - Slow: Anglers using crankbaits and hair jigs are finding smallmouth bass. Brown Trout - Slow: Trout are coming to natural patterned crankbaits.

Yellow River
Fishing the Yellow River by canoe or kayak is the only legal means to trout fish without landowner permission. The river has been fishing well. Brown Trout - Fair: Spinner baits work well. Fly fishers using streamers are also finding fish.

Turkey River (above Clermont)
The river is open below the dams. The river is up about a foot.

Cedar River (above Nashua)
River conditions are great. Walleye - Slow: Use a jig tipped with a minnow or night crawler.

Decorah District Streams
Trout streams are in excellent condition. Flows are up due to snow melt. This is an excellent time of year to hook into a brown trout. Historically, March is a great time for Hendrickson hatches and with warmer temperatures look for some to come off early this year. Blue Wing Olives are starting to show up. Streamers or scuds are good for hungry 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.

River levels have stabilized and clarity is improving. For more information, please call the Decorah Fish Hatchery at 563-382-8324.

Cedar River (Nashua to La Porte City)
Anglers are catching walleye, smallmouth bass and northern pike on a consistent basis on the Cedar River near the Cedar Falls/Waterloo and Waverly areas. Walleye - Good: Cast and retrieve a jig tipped with a twister tail and minnow bounced off of the bottom; stay as light as possible with the weight of the jig if possible. Crankbaits have also been reported as successful. Smallmouth Bass - Good: Target smallmouth bass just as you would fish for walleye; jigs and twisters or crankbaits have been good. Northern Pike - Good: Try casting larger bucktail spinners or a live shiner or chub underneath a bobber near the deeper holes.

Shell Rock River (Greene to Shell Rock)
There have been good reports of anglers catching walleye and smallmouth bass on the Shell Rock River. Walleye - Good: Cast and retrieve a jig tipped with a twister tail and minnow bounced off of the bottom; stay as light as possible with the weight of the jig if possible. Crankbaits have also been reported as successful. Smallmouth Bass – Good: Target smallmouth bass just as you would fish for walleye; jigs and twisters or crankbaits have been good.

Wapsi River (Tripoli to Troy Mills)
Walleye and northern pike catches are being reported on the Wapsipinicon River. Concentrate efforts for northern pike in Buchanan County and further north. Walleye - Fair: Cast and retrieve a jig tipped with a twister tail and minnow bounced off of the bottom; stay as light as possible with the weight of the jig if possible. Crankbaits have also been reported as successful. Northern Pike - Good: Try casting larger bucktail spinners or a live shiner or chub underneath a bobber near the deeper holes.

Maquoketa River (above Monticello)
Some anglers have been fishing the Maquoketa River with success; a few nice walleye have been reported as being caught. Walleye - Good: Cast and retrieve a jig tipped with a twister tail and minnow bounced off of the bottom; stay as light as possible with the weight of the jig if possible. Crankbaits have also been reported as successful. Smallmouth Bass - Fair: Target smallmouth bass just as you would fish for walleye; jigs and twisters or crankbaits have been good.

Manchester District Streams
Spring Branch Creek has been good fishing this past week for both brown and rainbow trout. There is a 14 inch minimum length limit on all trout and artificial lure only regulation on this stream from the main spring downstream to Highway D5X. Brown Trout - Good: Mimic the hatch with dry flies on warmer days or try flashy artificial spinner baits or tiny tinsel jigs. Rainbow Trout - Good: Mimic the hatch with dry flies on warmer days or try flashy artificial spinner baits or tiny tinsel jigs.

Reports have been very good on the interior rivers for walleye, smallmouth bass and northern pike. Trout streams are in excellent condition and are seeing increased angling activity. For further information, contact the N.E. Manchester District Office at 563-927-3276.

MISSISSIPPI RIVER
Mississippi River Pool 12
Water level on Thursday at Dubuque tailwater is expected to be 9.1 feet and hit 11.3 feet at the RR bridge. Water levels have risen all week. It is expected to rise slightly this week.  Yellow Perch - Fair: Some nice perch are being caught in the tailwaters and openings to major backwater areas. Sauger - Good: Good catches reported of some nice fish mixed in with smaller sauger.  Jig and minnow work best for bigger saugers. Northern Pike - Good: The River has a good population of northern pike and anglers are already targeting them in the O’Leary’s backwater and other places as the ice recedes. Walleye - Good: Lots of small walleyes being caught.  Last year’s year class was the largest ever recorded on the Mississippi River.

Mississippi River Pool 13
Water level at Bellevue is expected to be around 10 feet on Thursday which is up from last week. Expect water levels to rise slightly all week. Paddlefish season is going strong with some nice fish being reported.  Be cognizant of all paddlefish rules as they are somewhat complicated, especially at Bellevue. Yellow Perch - Fair: Some nice yellow perch were caught in the tailwater this week. Not a lot reported but they are sizable fish. Sauger - Good: Reports for walleye and sauger fishing are all over the board but generally most people are catching some fish. Walleye - Good: Lots of small walleye from last year’s record year class are being caught.  This bodes very well for the near future of walleye fishing in the Mississippi River.

Mississippi River Pool 14
Water level at Fulton recorded at 9.3 feet, 12.5 feet at Camanche and 7.0 feet at Le Claire.  These readings are all up from last week but expected to stay somewhat stable.  Paddlefish snagging is going on and some fish are being caught. Review paddlefish rules before taking to the water. Walleye - Good: Lots of small fish (9 to 10 inch) reported as we had a very strong year class last year. Some very nice walleyes were also taken on jig and minnow.

Mississippi River Pool 15
Water levels at Rock Island are expected to be around 9.9 feet, which is up from last week. Expect water levels to rise slightly again this week. No fishing was reported from Pool 15. 

Water temperatures in some backwaters on Pool 13 have reached 55 degrees during the day which is unseasonably warm. Most of the main channel is near 45 degrees. Paddlefish snagging season continues through April 15. Review paddlefish rules or call the DNR station if uncertain.

SOUTHEAST
Lake Belva Deer
Little fishing activity the last few days, but once we get back to warmer weather expect the anglers to venture back out. Largemouth Bass - Slow: On the warmest days you will have the best chance to catch bass in the shallow sunlit bays on the North side of the lake during the middle of the day.

Lake of the Hills
Rainbow Trout - Excellent: Trout fishing is really good. Look for them to be just a few feet from shore in 3-4 feet of water around rocks and stumps. Largemouth Bass - Fair: Work the tree falls in the sunny and warmer side of the lake. Brook Trout - Excellent: Half of the trout stocked last Friday were brook trout. A good number were caught that first day.

Lake Darling
Water temperature is 49-50 degrees. The water is still a little muddy from the run-off from the rains. A few anglers have been out on the warmer days. Largemouth Bass - Slow: Anglers are picking up a few nice bass in the shallows during the warm days in the middle of the day. Crappie - Slow: Anglers are picking up some crappies in the shallower water around the habitat. Most are a little small.

Wilson Lake
The spring trout release is scheduled for April 1st at noon. 1000 trout, a mixture of rainbow and brook, will be released.

Environmental Discovery Park North Pond
The spring trout stocking is scheduled for April 1st. 1000 trout, a mixture of rainbow and brook, will be released.

Lost Grove Lake
The boat docks at the ramps are will be put in the water in the next couple of days. Largemouth Bass - Slow: Anglers have been picking up a few bass around the habitat in shallow water. Crappie - Fair: Anglers are picking up a few crappies on the nicer warm days.

Big Hollow Lake
Anglers are getting out on the warmer sunny days. Water temperature is around 50 degrees. Boat docks are back in the water. Largemouth Bass - Slow: Work the face of the dam and around the islands on the north side with a slowly fished jig or soft. Crappie - Good: Crappie fishing has been good on the sunny days with good numbers of nice sized crappies being caught. Work the north side of the lake around the flooded timber out in the sun. Bluegill - Good: Anglers are picking up some nice bluegills.

Deep Lakes
One of the few places you should avoid the bright sunny calm days in the spring. While it warms up the water, it also makes it very easy for the fish to see you against the blue sky through that ultra-clear water. A little wind can help. Largemouth Bass - Fair: Look for bass to be in shallow but not too far away from a ledge to deeper water to escape to.

For more information on the above lakes, please call the Lake Darling Fisheries Office at (319) 694-2430.

Hannen Lake
Fishing is reported as slow.

Rodgers Park Lake
Largemouth Bass - Good: Anglers are catching bass on soft plastics. Most fish are under the 15 inch length limit.

Lake Macbride
All courtesy docks are in. Surface temperatures this week were close to 50 degrees. Walleye - Fair: A few walleye have been caught in the past week. Crappie - Fair: Some fish are being caught on minnows.

Pleasant Creek Lake
The lake is currently about 10' low for the upcoming restoration project. Rock was added to the main ramp area last week to extend the boat ramps. These ramps are "Use at your own risk" to allow boaters to use the lake while the lake level is down. They are still shallow and could possibly be soft, especially below the water line. The far east lane is the deepest option. 4x4 vehicles only.

Diamond Lake
No minnows are allowed here. Crappie - Fair: A few crappies are being caught around the jetties.

Otter Creek Lake
Yellow Bass - Fair: Jigs work best. Bluegill – Slow. Crappie – Slow.

Union Grove Lake
The lake is currently drained for the renovation project.

Coralville Reservoir
The lake is down to spring pool of 679'. Boating above Bobbers Marina is difficult to impossible due to shallow water. Surface temperatures this week were in the low 50's. Channel Catfish - Fair: Catfish are hitting on shad. Some anglers are fishing from shore up around 380/965 while others are boat fishing channel edges of the main lake.

Sand Lake
Crappie – Fair.

Iowa River (Marshalltown to Coralville Lake)
Report is based from Marshall County. Northern Pike – Good.

Iowa River (Coralville Lake to River Junction)
There is 3200 CFS being released from the Coralville Dam as of March 17th. Outflows should continue to slowly decrease. Walleye - Fair: A few fish are being caught below the Coralville dam on jigs.

Cedar River (Cedar Rapids to Moscow)
Reports are from downtown Cedar Rapids. Channel Catfish - Fair: Shad and other cut bait work best.

Wapsi River (Troy Mills to Oxford Junction)
Channel Catfish – Fair. Walleye – Fair.
For more information, contact the Lake Macbride Fisheries Station at 319-624-3615.

Red Haw Lake
Anglers are catching some largemouth bass throwing plugs. Fishing activity has been slow. Look for areas with flowing water and try using cut bait for channel catfish.

Lake Keomah
The road construction project at Lake Keomah State Park has been completed. As the water warms up, look for crappies to start moving toward the shoreline.

Lake Sugema
Anglers are catching some largemouth bass on crankbaits. Try using minnows on rocky shorelines for walleye. Fishing activity has been slow.

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

Ottumwa Park Pond East (Trout Pond)
Trout are scheduled to be stocked on Saturday, March 26 around 11:00 a.m. A trout stamp is required to fish for or possess trout.

Rathbun Reservoir
The current lake level is 904.37. Try cut bait or shad sides for ice-out channel catfish. Target areas with the wind blowing into the shoreline or where water is flowing into the lake. Lake Rathbun contains zebra mussels so make sure to properly drain, clean, and dry equipment before transporting to another water body.

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
Des Moines River (Stratford to Saylorville Lake)
Walleye - Slow: River flows are slightly high, but stable. Conditions are fishable. Chances for good walleye fishing should increase between now and early April. Popular areas to target first are the Fraser dam and Boone Waterworks. Use slow presentations of jigs tipped with twisters, paddle tails or live minnows.

Des Moines River (Saylorville to Red Rock)
Walleye - Slow: Current river levels are elevated, but flows below Saylorville continue to drop making for better fishing conditions. Walleye fishing has been fairly slow. Good areas to target are below the Saylorville spillway and Scott Street dam. Use slow presentations of jigs tipped with twisters, paddle tails or live minnows. Channel Catfish - Good: Anglers fishing below Center Street dam in Des Moines have been doing well catching channel and flathead catfish slowly retrieving large plastic swim baits. Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) - Fair: Anglers fishing large plastic swim baits for catfish and walleyes below the dams in Des Moines are occasionally hooking into some good size hybrid striped bass.

River fishing is beginning to pick up. More fishing reports will resume when lake fishing picks up. For information on Central Iowa lakes and rivers, contact Andy Otting or Ben Dodd at 515-432-2823.

Greenfield Lake
We have received no information regarding fishing on this water body this week. Channel Catfish - No Report: Fish the windy side of the lake with cut bait. Crappie - No Report: Greenfield Lake has a good crappie population and is a good bet for spring fishing action.

Meadow Lake
We have received no information regarding fishing on this water body this week .Crappie - No Report: Try the face of the dam.

Mormon Trail Lake
We have received no information regarding fishing on this water body this week. Crappie - No Report: Try fishing jigs and/or minnows off the face of the dam for 9 inch crappies. Look for fish off the face of the dam.

Littlefield Lake
We have received no information regarding fishing on this water body this week. Channel Catfish - No Report: Fish the windy side of the lake with cut bait for early spring catfish.

Lake Anita
Fishing starts early at Lake Anita as crappies and bluegills move into the east arm on the warm sunny days. Crappie - Fair: Crappies are being caught on jigs in the upper end of the east arm. Anglers have to sort through 7 inch fish to get the larger 9 inch fish. Not very many fish are being harvested. Bluegill - Fair: A few bluegills are being caught in the upper end of the east arm of the lake.

Viking Lake
We have received no information regarding fishing on this water body this week. Channel Catfish - No Report: Try fishing the windy shoreline with cut bait for early spring catfish action. Crappie - No Report: Look for crappies to move into the upper end of the lake near the campground on warmer days. Use small jigs or minnows.

Lake Manawa
Anglers are catching crappies in the canals on the north side of the lake on warm sunny days. Crappie - Fair: Fish with a jig or jig and minnow combination under a bobber. The best action is on the warmer days. Channel Catfish - No Report: Lake Manawa has a good catfish population for anglers to tap into. Fish the windblown shoreline with cut bait. Cut shad works best. Walleye - Good: A few walleyes are being caught off the rocks on jigs and minnows. These fish are in shore attempting to spawn. Try the shoreline around the old campground. Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) - Fair: A few wipers are being caught on shad imitating crankbaits. Some of the best wiper fishing all year occurs in March.

Hacklebarney East
Anglers have reported catching few crappies at Hacklebarney. Crappie - Fair: A few crappies are being caught on jigs. Try the corners of the dam.

The early spring weather has jump started the fishing in some areas. Good catfishing has been reported on farm ponds and crappies are being caught in some locations. For more information, call the Cold Springs District Office at 712-769-2587

Lake Icaria
The dock at the main boat ramp is installed. Crappie - Fair: Crappie up to 10 inches have been caught using minnows fished near deep cedar tree brush piles. Channel Catfish - Fair: Channel catfish of all sizes have been caught using cut bait fished along windblown shallow flats and bays. Walleye - Fair: Walleyes up to 18 inches have been caught using minnows fished near rock mounds or along main lake points.

Little River Watershed Lake
Channel Catfish - Fair: Channel catfish of all sizes have been caught using cut bait fished near windblown shallow bays and flats. Walleye - Slow: Walleyes up to 20 inches have been caught using minnows fished near the roadbed or along rock fields.

Three Mile Lake
Channel Catfish - Fair: Channel catfish of all sizes have been caught using cut bait fished along shallow mudflats or bays.

Water temperature in most Mount Ayr district lakes is approximately 47 degrees. For more information, call 641-464-3108.