This 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.
Stay Where You Play
Make your next fishing trip an overnight stay. Take advantage of state park cabins and campgrounds near many of these bodies of water. Make your reservation now. For more information on availability and rates, visit iowastateparks.reserveamerica.com.
Ice thickness was 6 inches on Feb. 16th but is deteriorating fast and will likely be unsafe for travel by the weekend.
Black Hawk Lake
Town Bay is nearly ice-free. Most of the East Basin is open water. The remaining ice in the west part of the lake near Ice House Point boat ramp was 12 inches thick on Feb. 16th. This ice will deteriorate fast and will likely be unsafe for travel by the weekend. Bluegill – Fair: Try fishing from shore in areas with open water like Town Bay, Ice House Point, the east basin shoreline, and underneath the inlet bridge which connects the lake and marsh. Channel Catfish – Fair: Look to catch channel catfish from shore after ice out. Try cut bait and stink bait.
Black Hawk Pits
Ice fishing is not recommended.
Brushy Creek Lake
Ice thickness was 8-10 inches off the north ramp on Feb. 15th. Fishing activity has been minimal this last week. Ice in the south area of the lake and near inflows is likely unsafe. Ice will degrade fast with the warmer temperatures. Use extreme caution if venturing out and avoid areas with flow.
Storm Lake (including Little Storm Lake)
Storm Lake has about 12-14 inches of ice as of Feb. 16th. People are still venturing out and catching fish. There is an open water seam on the west end of the lake starting near the state marina and extending northeast all the way to the north shore; others may develop at any time. Ice conditions will change fast with the warm temperatures. Areas near shore will deteriorate the fastest. Check ice thickness often.
Ice conditions will deteriorate fast. Some lakes in our district have pockets of open water. Most lakes in Western Iowa south of the third county tier will likely be unsafe for ice fishing by the weekend. For more information, contact the Black Hawk District office at 712-657-2638.
Bluegill – Good: Use small jigs tipped with waxworms and jigging spoons. Black Crappie – Good: Try small jigs tipped with waxworms and jigging spoons.
With warm weather forecasted for the next several days, the lake accesses points and areas with vegetation sticking through the ice will deteriorate fast. Use caution when heading out and check ice conditions as you go. Yellow Bass – Good: Use waxworms and spikes fished near the bottom in 8-10 feet of water. Try near the Farmers Beach area. Black Crappie – Fair: The best crappie bite is near the rushes. Bluegill – Fair: Fish near the rushes in the little lake.
Catch bluegills and crappies near the dredge cut. Bluegill – Good: Catch 6.5 to 7.5 inch bluegills on small jigs tipped with waxworm or spikes. Black Crappie – Good: 8 to 9.5 inch crappies are biting on small jigging spoons.
Bluegill – Good: Use waxworms fished near the bottom. Lots of smaller fish are being caught with a few keepers.
With the clear water, the best bite is the last hour of light. Walleye – Slow: Use jigging spoons tipped with a minnow head. Yellow Perch – Slow: Try small jigs tipped with live bait.
Silver Lake (Worth)
Bluegill – Good: Use small jigs tipped with spikes. Yellow Perch – Good: Try small jigging spoons and jigs tipped with bait.
Permanent ice shelters must be removed from all state-owned lands and waters by Feb. 20. Ice shelter owners are encouraged not to wait until the last minute to get their shelter off the ice. For information in the north central area, contact the Clear Lake Fish and Wildlife office at 641-357-3517.
Aerators are currently in use on Center Lake; avoid areas with open water. Thin ice signs are out; stay outside of the signed in areas.
East Okoboji Lake
The yellow bass bite has been good on East Okoboji with many anglers leaving the lake with smiles and full buckets of fish. Use caution around the pressure cracks. The walleye season has closed until Walleye weekend on May 6th and 7th. Yellow Bass – Excellent: Catch lots of yellow bass on the south basin of the lake. Black Crappie – Fair: Many crappies have been caught on the south basin.
Five Island Lake
Aerators are currently in use on Five Island Lake; avoid areas with open water. Thin ice signs are out; stay outside of the signed in areas.
Aerators are currently in use on Ingham Lake; avoid areas with open water. Thin ice signs are out; stay outside of the signed in areas.
Silver Lake (Dickinson)
Aerators are currently in use on Silver Lake; avoid areas with open water. Thin ice signs are out; stay outside of the signed in areas.
The ice on Big Spirit is still good with about 12 to 15 inches once you get out on the ice. Many of the access points are becoming weaker; driving on with trucks is not advised. The walleye season has closed until Walleye weekend on May 6th and 7th. Yellow Perch – Slow: Perch on Big Spirit are hard to find right now; you may need to move around.
West Okoboji Lake
The fishing on West Okoboji has slowed with a few perch, crappies, and bluegills still being caught. The walleye season has closed until Walleye weekend on May 6th and 7th. Bluegill – Good: Lots of nice fish are coming off the ice. Yellow Perch – Fair: Perch are active in about 12 feet of water. They are hanging tight to the weed edges. Black Crappie – Good: Crappie have shown decent activity in the bays.
The forecast calls for warm weather in the upcoming week. This will cause areas of open water to become bigger; seems along the edge of the lake will begin to open up. Use caution when going out onto the ice. For more information throughout the week, contact the Spirit Lake Fish Hatchery at 712-336-1840.
Cedar River (above Nashua)
Ice fishing is not recommended. Edges are opening and more of the river ice has melted. Flows and water levels are increasing. Open water fishing is around the corner.
Decorah District Streams
Streams are in good condition, but flows remain high. Many streams turn off color later in the day with warmer temperatures, snow melt, and run-off from fields. Insect hatches should start to become more prevalent on warmer sunny afternoons. Brook Trout – Good: Use flies or lures that look like sculpins, dace, or suckers. Brown Trout – Good: Fishing when the water turns off color from run-off will turn the browns on. Try critters imitating mosquitoes, gnats or fly larvae hatching off the water. Rainbow Trout – Good: Black fly midge or hares ear wet flies are attracting bows fished in the riffles. Slowly pull a black bead head fly with a yellow scud dropper through the upper and lower ends of pools for trout in deeper water.
Ice depths are 8-10 inches. There is open water around it. There is little snow cover on the ice. All parking lots are open. No motorized vehicles are allowed on the ice. The aerator is on so be careful. Anglers have been marking quite a few fish but the bite is slow. Bluegill – Slow: Anglers are catching bluegills with small brightly colored jigs tipped with a spike but it’s slow going. Largemouth Bass – Slow: Use a small spinner tipped with a waxworm or minnow head. Black Crappie – Slow: Try small brightly colored jig tipped with a waxworm suspended about 3 to 4 feet off the bottom.
Lake Meyer currently has 12 inches of ice. Fish activity has been variable. Anglers need to move around to find fish. Early bite is best. Bluegill – Slow: Use a jig tipped with waxworm or red or white spike. Largemouth Bass – Slow: Anglers are seeing fish on cameras and a few have taken a jig tipped with waxworms. Black Crappie – Slow: Crappies are sitting higher off the bottom and are being more finicky. Find crappies hanging around fish cribs.
Turkey River (above Clermont)
Ice fishing is not recommended. Flows and water levels are increasing with snow melt.
Ice fishing is not recommended. The edges are beginning to open up and wind and wave action will help take the ice out.
Warmer weather is forecast for the weekend with highs in the upper 50’s. This may be the last weekend for hassle-free ice fishing in our northern counties. Ice conditions will change very fast with warmer temperatures and a warm rain. Check ice depths often especially where there is current or springs. For current fishing information, please call the Decorah Fish Hatchery at 563-382-8324.
Cedar River (Nashua to La Porte City)
There have been good to excellent reports of anglers catching northern pike and walleye on the Cedar River. Northern Pike – Good: Using jigs tipped with a minnow. Walleye – Excellent: Try jigs tipped with a minnow. Concentrate on the deeper overwintering holes.
Shell Rock River (Greene to Shell Rock)
Walleye – Fair: Use jigs tipped with a minnow. Concentrate on the deeper overwintering holes.
Wapsipinicon River (Tripoli to Troy Mills)
There have been no reports for the Wapsipinicon River this week but anglers have been doing well catching walleye on other interior rivers. Walleye – No Report: Use jigs tipped with a minnow. Concentrate on the deeper overwintering holes for walleye.
Ice fishing reports have stopped with the onset of spring-like weather; most anglers have put away their ice fishing equipment for the season. Reports have been good to excellent for walleye and northern pike on the interior rivers. Area trout streams are in excellent condition, contact the N.E. District Office at 563-927-3276 for more information.
Mississippi River Pool 9
River levels are 8.6 feet at Lansing and are expected to stay stable at this level over the next week. Although 8-10 inches of ice remain in quiet backwaters, shoreline ice has degraded and may continue to degrade over the next week with predicted warmer weather. Use extreme caution getting on and off ice and avoid any areas that may have current. Bluegill – Fair: Bluegill fishing has been consistent using small jig with waxies; sorting of small fish is necessary. Yellow Perch – Fair: Perch have been inconsistent, but some nice fish are still being caught along vegetation lines in deeper backwater lakes.
Mississippi River Pool 10
River levels are 16.8 feet at Lynxville and are expected to drop slightly over the next week. Although 8-10 inches of ice remain in quiet backwaters, shoreline ice has degraded and may continue to degrade over the next week with predicted warmer weather. Use extreme caution getting on and off ice and avoid any areas that may have current. Johnson Slough in Sny Magill is unsafe to cross. The boat ramp at Lynxville has opened and fishing has picked up. Bluegill – Good: Bluegill fishing has been consistent on Bussey Lake and Greymore areas and picks up in later afternoon. Walleye – Fair: Walleye fishing has been picking up. Use a jig tipped with a minnow. Sauger – Fair: Tailwater fishing has been consistent for saugers using jigs tipped with a minnow.
Mississippi River Pool 11
River levels are 8.7 feet at Guttenberg and are expected to stay stable at this level over the next week. Although 8-10 inches of ice remain in quiet backwaters, shoreline ice has degraded and may continue to degrade over the next week with predicted warmer weather. Use extreme caution getting on and off ice and avoid any areas that may have current. Zollicoffer Slough at Mud Lake is good, but anglers should avoid the spring area. The boat ramps in Guttenberg have opened. Bluegill – Good: Anglers are catching bluegills at Zollicoffers in Mud Lake with some sorting of small fish. Anglers are walking around the spring areas where ice is unsafe. Walleye – Slow: Use a jig tipped with a minnow. Sauger – Fair: Tailwater fishing has been consistent for saugers using jigs tipped with a minnow.
River levels in the Upper Mississippi pools 9-11 have been on a steady fall. Levels are expected to stabilize at current levels over the next week. Although 8-10 inches of ice remain in quiet backwaters, shoreline ice has degraded and may continue to degrade over the next week with predicted warmer weather. Use extreme caution getting on and off ice and avoid any areas that may have current.
Mississippi River Pool 12
The water level is 8.45 feet at Dubuque tailwater and near 10.8 feet at the RR bridge. Levels are expected to rise slowly all week. The edge ice is marginal in the backwaters but some ice fishing is taking place. Be careful and know your ice fishing safety rules. Ice flows will limit tailwater fishing at times. Bluegill – Good: Bluegills are numerous but smaller this ice fishing season. Yellow Perch – Good: Good sized yellow perch have been consistently reported by ice anglers this year. Yellow perch have been finicky; use small minnow heads or blood worms for bait. Sauger – No Report: There are still ice flows but some ramp options have opened up. No fishing was reported to us but it will begin in earnest soon.
Mississippi River Pool 13
The water level is near 9.3 feet at Bellevue. This is down from last week but levels are on the rise again. The tailwater is still mostly open but there are ice flows. The DNR ramp is now open but is subject to ice flows. Walleye – Fair: High water levels and water level changes are limiting walleye catches. Sauger – Fair: Most anglers are using a minnow rig.
Mississippi River Pool 14
The water level is near 8.3 feet at Fulton, 11.6 feet at Camanche and 6.7 feet at Le Claire. Water levels are once again rising this week. Poor ice fishing conditions were reported throughout Pool 14. Some tailwater angling is underway but no reports on the quality of angling.
Mississippi River Pool 15
The water level is 8.7 feet at Rock Island and rising. No fishing was reported in Pool 15 although tailwater angling will begin soon.
Ice fishing is occurring at scattered locations; use caution. The edge ice is often reported as poor. The Mississippi River is still unusually high for this time of year. Water levels are expected to raise slightly this week. If you have any angling questions, please contact the Bellevue Fisheries Station 563-872-4976.
Mississippi River Pool 16
Tailwater stage is 8.65 feet at Lock and Dam 15 in the Quad Cities. The Marquette St. ramp is open. There are unsafe ice conditions in the backwaters. Sauger – Fair: Some saugers are being caught below the dam. Try fishing with three-way rigs with stick baits or vertical jigging with minnows. We received reports that Sylvan Slough is open. Walleye – Slow: Some smaller walleyes are being caught in Sylvan Slough. Try vertical jigging with minnows or trolling three-way rigs with minnows or stick baits.
Mississippi River Pool 17
Tailwater stage is 7.41 feet at Lock and Dam 16 in Muscatine. River stage has risen some since this past weekend. The boat ramps in Muscatine are open. Some walleyes and saugers are being caught below the dam. There are unsafe ice conditions in the backwaters. Sauger – Fair: A few saugers are being caught below lock and dam 16 in Muscatine. Try vertical jigging with minnows or trolling three-way rigs with minnows or stick baits. Walleye – Fair: Some walleyes are being caught below the dam in Muscatine. Try vertical jigging with minnows or pulling three-way rigs with minnows or stick baits.
Mississippi River Pool 18
Tailwater stage is 8.86 feet at Lock and Dam 17 at New Boston. The toolsboro ramp is open. A couple of boats have launched from the Toolsboro ramp. Tailwater fishing has been slow. There are unsafe ice conditions in the backwaters.
Mississippi River Pool 19
Tailwater stage is 5.50 feet at Lock and Dam 18 above Burlington. We have not received any fishing reports for this pool this week. There are unsafe ice conditions in the backwaters.
River stages have risen some since this past weekend. Some walleyes and saugers are being caught below the dams. There are unsafe ice conditions in the backwaters. Main channel water temperature has been around 35 degrees. If you have questions on fishing Pools 16-19, contact the Fairport Fish Hatchery at 563-263-5062.
Big Hollow Lake
Unsafe ice conditions.
Lake Belva Deer
Unsafe ice conditions.
Unsafe Ice Conditions; about 3/4 of the ice is gone. Down by the dam is still frozen over and the upper ends of the bays still have ice.
Unsafe ice conditions.
For more information on the above lakes, contact the Lake Darling Fisheries Office at 319-694-2430.
The lake is holding at normal winter pool. There is lots of open water and the remaining ice should go out over the next week.
There are open water areas.
The lake is starting to open up but it is not possible to boat yet.
Iowa Lake (Iowa County)
Anglers were ice fishing here last Saturday, but the ice has now gone bad. No open water opportunities exist yet.
Iowa River (Coralville Lake to River Junction)
Flow coming out of the Coralville Dam on Feb. 16 is 1800 CFS. It is predicted to increase to 2100 CFS this weekend. Walleye – Fair: Jigs are catching some fish below the Coralville dam.
Kent Park Lake
There is open water here.
Portions of the lake have open water. The north arm has the most open water. The first boat was seen on Feb. 15.
Otter Creek Lake
Anglers were ice fishing here on Feb. 13, but the ice is degrading fast and ice fishing is not recommended.
Pleasant Creek Lake
The lake is currently down 13 feet for the restoration project. The shorelines are all opened up and the remaining ice is poor.
Rodgers Park Lake
There is some open water at the upper end of the lake.
Wapsipinicon River (Troy Mills to Oxford Junction)
The backwaters are unsafe for ice fishing. The ramp below Central City at Wakpicada is open. There is still a little ice at the Pinicon Ridge ramp but that may change in the next week.
Ice fishing for the Lake Macbride District is most likely done. Most areas have unsafe ice or areas of open water. For more information, contact the Lake Macbride Fisheries Station at 319-624-3615.
The lake is 75 percent open water with some thin ice in the south end. The north boat ramp is currently not iced in but the wind can shift the ice so use caution.
Lake Miss (Tug Fork W)
The lake is ice free.
The lake is 90 percent open with most boat ramps usable. Use caution if boating as there could be floating chunks of ice.
The current lake level is 904.15 msl. Normal operating elevation is 904.0 msl. The lake is 80 percent open water with the coves containing some thin ice. The Island View and Bridgeview boat ramps are usable. Other ramps are iced in with some thin ice. This ice can shift with the wind so use caution if boating as there could be some floating chunks of ice. Lake Rathbun contains zebra mussels so make sure to properly drain, clean, and dry equipment before transporting to another water body.
Red Haw Lake
The lake is 90 percent open water with some thin ice left in the bay by the campground. The boat ramp is not currently iced in but the wind can shift the ice so use caution.
Contact the Rathbun Fish Hatchery at 641-647-2406 with questions about fishing in south central Iowa.
Ada Hayden Heritage Park Lake
Rainbow Trout – Good: Trout were stocked on Feb. 9th. As the ice deteriorates around the shoreline the trout can be caught in this narrow area of open water fishing spinners, panfish jigs and waxworms or minnows under a bobber.
Big Creek Lake
Big Creek ice conditions have deteriorated on the north half of the lake with large areas of open water. All of the ramps had ice in front of them on Feb. 15th. Channel Catfish – Fair: There could be a good opportunity for ice out catfishing at Big Creek with a large number of young shad dying over the winter and freezing in the ice and now thawing. A large area of open water has formed mid-lake. Dead shad can be collected along the shoreline and fished on the bottom on the windblown side or near the ice edge.
Rainbow Trout – Good: Trout were stocked on Feb. 3rd. The lake is now open water and can be fished from shore. Cast small inline spinners, spoons, panfish jigs or wax worms under a bobber.
Channel Catfish – Fair: A large die off of young shad occurred on Big Creek over the winter. A lot of dead shad are flowing over the Big Creek spillway into Saylorville. This could produce some good channel catfish fishing below the Big Creek spillway using dead shad fished on the bottom or suspended under a bobber.
As of Thursday, Feb. 16th, Central Iowa ice conditions are deteriorating fast and anglers should avoid the ice. For information on Central Iowa lakes and rivers, contact Andy Otting or Ben Dodd at 515-432-2823.
Ice conditions are not safe.
The canals at Manawa are almost ice free. Crappie fishing the canals can be good on warm sunny days right after ice out. Manawa has a decent population of 10 to 12 inch white crappie.
Ice conditions are not safe.
Prairie Rose Lake
Ice conditions are not safe.
Ice conditions in the southwest district have deteriorated to the point it is not safe to fish. For more information, call the Cold Springs District Office at 712-769-2587.