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.
Black Hawk Lake
Black Hawk Lake is ice free. The panfish bite has been good this last week. Enjoy the nice weather this weekend and catch some fish. Bluegill – Good: Catch good numbers of bluegill from shore, especially from the stone piers in Town Bay. Try also along Ice House Point and near the inlet. Use small tube jigs or hair jigs tipped with bait fished under a bobber. Most fish are 6.5-7.5 inches. Channel Catfish – Fair: After ice out is a good time to catch catfish from shore. Use cut bait and stink bait at Ice House Point, Lakewood Point area, the rock pile north of Cottonwood Point, and the east shore near the outlet. Black Crappie – Fair: Use small jigs fished under a bobber. Walleye – Fair: Some walleye are being caught from shore on twisters and minnows. Most are being picked up in Town Bay and along Ice House Point, but anywhere along shore with rocky structure and drop-offs can produce fish (e.g., Gunshot hill and east end near the outlet). Muskellunge – Fair: Anglers have picked up a few musky since ice-out. There is a 40 inch minimum length limit on musky in Black Hawk Lake.
Brushy Creek Lake
Brushy Creek Lake is ice free. Little fishing activity this last week. More reports will be available as we receive them.
Storm Lake (including Little Storm Lake)
Storm Lake is ice-free. After ice-out is a good time to catch catfish from shore using stink bait and cut bait. As water temperature begins to slowly rise, look for walleye fishing from shore to pick up.
Swan Lake is ice free. A few panfish have been picked up, but overall fishing activity this last week was low due to the colder weather. More reports will be available as we receive them.
Lakes in Western Iowa are ice free. This is a good time of year to catch catfish from shore using stink bait and cut bait. Fishing the rivers for walleye can also be productive. For more information, contact the Black Hawk District office at 712-657-2638.
The ice is still considered unsafe, even with the colder temperatures the last few days. Use extreme caution if you decide to go out on the ice. The east end of the lake has opened up enough that a few boats have been out.
The cold temperatures and higher river levels have slowed the northern pike bite, but expect it to pick back up as the water levels drop. Northern Pike – Slow: Try fishing below the dams with live chubs.
For information in the north central area, contact the Clear Lake Fish and Wildlife office at 641-357-3517.
Ice fishing is not advised; ice conditions are very poor. The east side of the lake is open water; if you’re looking for a spot to cast out, check out the fishing dock.
East Okoboji Lake
Ice fishing is not advised on East Okoboji due to poor ice conditions. The north end of East Lake has poor ice conditions with open water at the highway nine boat ramp. The south end of the lake has many spots of open water.
Silver Lake (Dickinson)
Ice fishing is not advised due to poor ice conditions.
The ice on Big Spirit has deteriorated greatly along the shoreline making access to the lake difficult. Use caution if you venture out on the lake.
West Okoboji Lake
The fishing on West Okoboji has slowed with the increase in temperature. The ice has turned dark and is deteriorating fast. Use caution if you decide to venture out onto the ice.
The ice on all of the lakes has started to weaken with the warm weather. This trend will continue throughout this next week as temperatures get back up into the mid-fifties. Use caution if you decide to test the ice, there will be some very weak spots on the lakes. For more information throughout the week, contact the Spirit Lake Fish Hatchery at 712-336-1840.
Cedar River (above Nashua)
The Cedar River is ice free. Water levels are stabilizing and clarity is poor. Gaging stations are now operational. Visit the USGS Current Water Data website for more information. Channel Catfish – Good: Shore anglers are using dead chubs fished under a bobber with success.
Decorah District Streams
Streams are in good condition, but flows remain elevated. Gravel roads are soft in spots as the frost goes out. Decent hatches of caddis and stone flies and midges have been occurring with the recent spring-like weather. Spin fishers using swimbaits and spoons are catching nice fish. Brook Trout – Fair: 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 small caddis fly larvae or gnats hatching off the water. Rainbow Trout – Fair: 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 fishing is not recommended. It is still covered in ice, but conditions will deteriorate fast with warmer weather.
Ice fishing is not recommended. Ice is still covering the lake, but conditions will quickly deteriorate with warmer weather forecast for the weekend.
Turkey River (above Clermont)
Water levels have stabilized, but flows remain up. Water clarity is improving.
Upper Iowa River (above Decorah)
Water levels have stabilized and clarity is improving. Gaging stations are now operational. Visit the USGS Current Water Data website for more information. Walleye – Slow: Anglers were catching a few walleye below lower dam.
Ice fishing is not recommended. There is still ice on the lake, but not enough to fish on.
Put away your ice fishing gear and get ready for open water fishing. Many area rivers remain high, but are clearing. For current fishing information, please call the Decorah Fish Hatchery at 563-382-8324.
Cedar River (Nashua to La Porte City)
Reports are good for walleye, smallmouth bass and northern pike on the Cedar River. Most anglers are targeting walleye, but catching other species also. Walleye – Good: Use jig and minnow combinations in deeper holes or slack water areas off of main flow. Smallmouth Bass – Good: Try jig and minnow combinations.
Maquoketa River (above Monticello)
The Maquoketa River is holding stable and should offer some walleye fishing opportunities for the upcoming weekend. There have been no reports, but clarity remains fairly good for the river.
Shell Rock River (Greene to Shell Rock)
There are no fishing reports for this week.
Wapsipinicon River (Tripoli to Troy Mills)
There have been no reports for the Wapsipinicon River this week. The river is currently falling and is now at 7.27 feet.
Interior rivers are providing some fishing opportunities as they fluctuate this time of year with varying weather conditions. 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 at Lansing are expected to crest around 12 feet Thursday and are predicted to drop slowly over the next week. The ice is all out, but many boat ramps are under high water. Army road at New Albin is closed. Walleye – Fair: Walleye fishing is going on in the tailwaters and over closing dams, but may be more difficult with the high water and current. Sauger – Good: The sauger bite has been good vertical jigging in tailwater areas; the high water may create some challenges. Yellow Perch – Fair: Perch fishing continues to be successful on side channels and sloughs out of the current.
Mississippi River Pool 10
River levels at Lynxville are predicted to crest at 22.7 feet this week. Lock gates are open and boat ramps have water over them. Fish will be scattered and hard to find until water levels stabilize. Walleye – Fair: Walleye fishing is going on in the tailwaters and over closing dams, but may be more difficult with the high water and current. Sauger – Good: The sauger bite has been good vertical jigging in tailwater areas; the high water may create some challenges. Yellow Perch – Fair: Perch fishing continues to be successful on side channels and sloughs out of the current.
Mississippi River Pool 11
River levels at Guttenberg rose 4 feet last week and are predicted to crest at 14.4 feet on Friday. Levels are expected to slowly fall to 12.2 feet next week. Lock gates are up at Lock and Dam 10. Boat ramps are under water and finding fish will be a challenge. Walleye – Fair: Walleye fishing is going on in the tailwaters and over closing dams, but may be more difficult with the high water and current. Sauger – Good: The sauger bite has been good vertical jigging in tailwater areas; the high water may create some challenges. Yellow Perch – Fair: Perch fishing continues to be successful on side channels and sloughs out of the current.
The Upper Mississippi River levels rose about 4 feet since last week. Crests are predicted Thursday-Friday with a slow fall through next week. Many boat ramps are now under water and unusable. Fish are scattered up into the trees; main channel areas will be hard to fish due to debris and fast currents.
Mississippi River Pool 12
The water level is 14.4 feet at Dubuque tailwater and near 16.2 feet at the RR bridge. Levels are up five feet from last week and are expected to rise fast all week. Levels will reach minor flooding and action stages. Ice is mostly gone from the backwaters. Tailwater angling is underway, but high water has made finding walleye and sauger difficult. Sauger – Fair: Some tailwater angling is taking place. Anglers are rating tailwater fishing from fair to good with most anglers using a minnow rig. High water is making it difficult to find fish. Walleye – Fair: Walleye tailwater angling is underway; use a gig and minnow rig.
Mississippi River Pool 13
The water level is near 16.2 feet at Bellevue. This is up four feet from last week and will rise at least another foot next week. The tailwaters ramps are wide open and ice flows have stopped. Paddlefishing is underway – find rules and tips on the DNR paddlefish website. Walleye – Fair: High water levels are limiting catching walleye a bit. Sauger – Fair: Use a minnow rig. Yellow Perch – Fair: A few nice yellow perch have been caught in the shallow waters in the tailwaters and mouths of tributary streams. Dead minnows work best.
Mississippi River Pool 14
The water level is near 13.4 feet at Fulton, 15.5 feet at Camanche and 9.4 feet at Le Claire. The levels are up three feet from last week and are once again rising. Expect the water to rise almost two more feet. Paddlefish season has started – find rules and tips on the DNR paddlefish website.
Mississippi River Pool 15
The water level is 13.5 feet at Rock Island and is rising. The water is expected to rise to 15.7 feet by the end of next week. No angling was reported to us.
The Mississippi River water levels are high and will get higher. Most places will rise another 1 to 2 feet and levels are listed as flood Action or Minor Flooding water stages. The main channel water temperature is 38 degrees. Paddlefish season is underway, so please review the rules if you plan to snag. If you have any angling questions, please contact the Bellevue Fisheries Station 563-872-4976.
Mississippi River Pool 16
Tailwater stage is 13.50 feet at Lock and Dam 15 in the Quad Cities and is rising. Flood stage is 15 feet. Current forecasts show the river reaching flood stage by the weekend and 15.7 feet by early next week. Forecasts could change. The docks have been pulled at the Marquette St. ramp in Davenport. Tailwater fishing for walleyes and saugers has been slow due to the high water conditions. Sauger – Slow: Sauger fishing below the dam and in Sylvan slough has been slow with the high water levels. Walleye – Slow: Walleye fishing below the dam and in Sylvan Slough has been slow with the high water conditions.
Mississippi River Pool 17
Tailwater stage is 12.40 feet at Lock and Dam 16 in Muscatine and is rising. Flood stage is 15 feet. The current forecast has the river reaching flood stage by early next week. The gates are out of the water at the dam. Tailwater fishing for walleye and saugers has been slow with the high water conditions. The Big Timber access and Kilpeck Landing are closed due to the high water. Sauger – Slow: Fishing has been slow with the high water conditions. Walleye – Slow: Fishing has been slow with the high water conditions.
Mississippi River Pool 18
Tailwater stage is 14.06 feet at Lock and Dam 17 at New Boston and is rising. Flood stage is 15 feet. The current forecast has the river reaching flood stage tomorrow. The Toolsboro ramp is closed due to the high water. The gates are out of the water at the dam. Fishing for walleyes and saugers has been slow with the high water conditions. Sauger – Slow: Fishing has been slow with the higher water levels. Walleye – Slow: Walleye fishing has been slow with the higher water levels.
Mississippi River Pool 19
Tailwater stage is 9.64 feet at Lock and Dam 18 above Burlington and is rising. Flood stage is 10 feet. We have not received any fishing reports for this pool this week, but tailwater fishing for walleyes and saugers will be tough with the high water conditions.
River levels have been rising this past week. Current forecasts have river levels reaching flood stage by the weekend or early next week. Some of the lower lying boat ramps are underwater. Tailwater fishing for walleye and saugers has been slow with the high water conditions. If you have questions on fishing Pools 16-19, contact the Fairport Fish Hatchery at 563-263-5062.
The water level is at 681.4′ as of 3/2 and falling. It is predicted to reach spring pool of 679.4′ on March 8th. At that level, boating above Bobber’s Grill is difficult to impossible for most boats. Channel Catfish – Fair: A few catfish are being caught on shad guts and cut bait at the 965/380 bridges.
Bluegill – Fair: Use small jigs or worms/waxworms around brush and off the jetties. Many fish were reported as being 7-8 inches. Black Crappie – Fair: Try small jigs or waxworms around/off the jetties. Most fish were 7-9 inches.
Fishing action is reported as slow.
Iowa Lake (Iowa County)
Bluegill – Fair.
Iowa River (Coralville Lake to River Junction)
Flow coming out of the Coralville Dam on 3/2 is 5000 CFS. It is predicted to slowly decrease as the lake level nears spring pool.
Kent Park Lake
Fishing regulations will be relaxed starting March 1 for Kent Park Lake only. There will be no length or bag limits for fish in the lake at that time. This is to take advantage of the fish before the lake is drained later in the year for a scheduled renovation project. Contact the Johnson County Conservation Board at 319-645-2315 for questions about the project. Bluegill – Fair: Anglers were catching some fish on wax worms around brush.
All boats may run at no wake speed at this time. Boat docks are not in yet. Black Crappie – Slow: Some fish are being caught over structure in 15-20 feet on minnows. Walleye – Slow: Some fish were caught this week over structure in 15-25 feet on minnows.
Pleasant Creek Lake
The lake is currently down 12′ for the restoration project. The main boat ramp is open, but it is very shallow; use caution at these water levels.
For more information, contact the Lake Macbride Fisheries Station at 319-624-3615.
The lake is ice free. Use cut bait along windblown shorelines for channel catfish. As the lake continues to warm, look for areas along the shallows that will have active bluegills. Try small jigs in these areas.
Use cut bait along windblown shorelines for channel catfish. As the water warms, try the shallows for active bluegills.
The lake is ice free. Catch channel catfish with cut bait along the windblown shorelines or jetties. Try shallow areas for bluegill as the water continues to warm.
The lake is ice free and the current lake level is 904.13 msl. Normal operating elevation is 904.0 msl. Lake Rathbun contains zebra mussels so make sure to properly drain, clean, and dry equipment before transporting to another water body. Channel Catfish – Good: Use shad or shrimp along the windblown shorelines.
Red Haw Lake
Catch channel catfish with cut bait on the windblown shorelines. Try small jigs along the shorelines for bluegills as the water continues to warm up.
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. The lake is now ice free. Catch trout with fishing spinners, panfish jigs and waxworms or minnows under a bobber.
Big Creek Lake
The docks are in at the Beach boat ramp, Williams Drive boat ramp and East boat ramp. The docks at the West boat ramp and 100th St. boat ramp will be put in soon.
Des Moines River (Saylorville to Red Rock)
Walleye – Slow: Fishing below the dams from Saylorville through Des Moines is slow right now, but warmer weather returning this weekend and the following week may make it worth testing the waters for walleyes and white bass. Slowly retrieve jigs tipped with twister tails, paddle tail swimbaits or live minnows.
Rainbow Trout – Good: Trout were stocked into Lake Petocka on Feb. 3rd. Cast small inline spinners, spoons, panfish jigs and waxworms or live minnows 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.
All Central Iowa lakes are ice free. More fishing reports will resume when warmer weather brings anglers back out. For information on Central Iowa lakes and rivers, contact Andy Otting or Ben Dodd at 515-432-2823.
Big Lake (Including Gilbert’s Pond)
1000 rainbow trout were stocked on Feb. 16th. Rainbow Trout – Fair: Trout fishing has been very good at Big Lake. Cast small spinners or minnows under a bobber.
Greenfield Lake has a good fish population. It’s also a good destination for early spring fishing for channel catfish.
Lake Anita will provide good fishing this spring. Find a large crappie population in the lake averaging 9 inches and bluegills up to 9.5 inches.
The canals at Manawa are 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. Manawa is also a good destination for early season catfish. White Crappie – No Report: Cast twister tails or minnows under a bobber in the canals to catch ice out crappie.
Littlefield Lake has quality size black crappies and bluegill.
Prairie Rose Lake
Expect to catch quality size bluegills again this spring at Prairie Rose. The crappies stocked in 2014 will reach an acceptable size to harvest in 2017. The lake also supports a good population of channel catfish and the largemouth bass will provide good catch and release fishing.
Lakes in the southwest district are ice free. A few angler reports show good fishing for channel catfish. For more information, call the Cold Springs District Office at 712-769-2587.