SATURDAY MORNING FISHING REPORT: Ice Remains Variable on Area Lakes

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.

NORTHWEST

Arrowhead Lake
On Jan. 31st there was 11 inches of ice near the boat ramp.

Bacon Creek Lake
An update will be posted on the DNR website when a reschedule date for the trout stocking is set.

Black Hawk Lake
The winter aeration system in Town Bay will start operation on Monday, Feb; 4th; beware of open water and thin ice in Town Bay. On Jan. 31st there was 16 inches of ice off the boat ramp of Ice House Point. Be aware of thin ice or open water near Ice House Point, Denison Beach area, and in the east basin near the outlet. Conditions are improving, but they are still extremely variable throughout the lake. Check ice thickness often. Bluegill – Fair: Bluegills have been picked up through the ice in between the boat ramp of Ice House Point and Gunshot Hill with a small jig tipped with waxworm. Black Crappie – Fair: Use a small jig tipped with waxworm near the Ice House Point boat ramp. . Yellow Perch – Fair: A few perch are being picked up in between the Ice House Point boat ramp and Gunshot Hill with jigs tipped with waxworm.

Black Hawk Pits
On Jan. 31st there was 12 inches of ice near the boat ramp. Ice is variable; check thickness often when venturing out. Bluegill – Fair: Use waxworms fished near the bottom.

Brushy Creek Lake
Anglers are fishing mostly near the north boat ramp and in the northeast arm of the lake. All other ice is variable. Look out for thin ice near the beach and in the main lake. Be cautious of thin areas that recently froze over. Ice conditions are improving; check ice thickness often. Bluegill – Fair: Try waxworms fished on a small jig in the northeast arm of the lake. Black Crappie – Fair.

Moorland Pond
The trout stocking and family fishing event at Moorland Pond has been rescheduled for Feb. 9 at 11:30 a.m.

North Twin Lake
Anglers have been out, but ice thickness is variable. Look out for thin ice in areas that have recently frozen over. Be aware of thin ice along the southeast shore and mid-lake by Featherstone Park.  Black Crappie – Fair: Anglers have picked up some crappie in the southwest part of the lake.

Storm Lake (including Little Storm Lake)
Ice conditions on Storm Lake are improving, but are still variable. Most areas of the lake have up to 15-18 inches of ice and have seen lots of fishing activity. Avoid ice along pressure seams, in the middle of the lake near the big island, and any other off colored ice in areas that were recently open water. Use caution and check ice thickness often. Walleye – Fair: Use minnows and jigging spoons during low light conditions. Yellow Perch – Fair: Try waxworms in 4-6 feet of water in mornings or evenings.

Ice conditions have improved in the Black Hawk district, ice thickness is still variable across lakes and ponds. Use caution and check ice thickness often. For more information, contact the Black Hawk District office at 712-657-2638.


Clear Lake
Ice depths are 10 to 18 inches. The lake aeration systems are currently not being operated. Yellow Bass – Fair: Use small spoons with insect larvae. You have to keep moving to stay on fish. Walleye – Fair: Anglers are picking up a few walleye around sunset. Jigging spoons tipped with minnows work best. The minimum size limit on Clear Lake is 14 inches.

Crystal Lake
Black Crappie – Slow: Anglers are getting a few crappie after sunset.

Rice Lake
Bluegill – Slow: Use small jigs tipped with insect larvae. Yellow Perch – Slow: Try small jigging spoons or small minnows. Angling success has been slow, but there are good numbers of yellow perch in Rice Lake.

Ice conditions in north-central Iowa are good. Most lakes have between 10 and 18 inches of ice. For information on the lakes and rivers in the north central area, contact the Clear Lake Fish and Wildlife office at 641-357-3517.


East Okoboji Lake
Yellow Bass – Good: Anglers are catching large yellow bass from the basin. Move often to stay on the school of active fish.

Five Island Lake
Yellow Bass – Good: Some activity reported on the lake; you need to search to find active fish.

Lake Pahoja
Bluegill – Recent surveys show good numbers of angler acceptable size bluegill in the lake with large fish over 8 inches not uncommon.

Lost Island Lake
Yellow Perch – Good: Report of fish being caught from the lake with “bonus mixed bag” of bluegill and crappie in the catch. Yellow Bass – Good: Yellow bass activity has picked up with good numbers of fish “on the bite.”

Scharnberg Pond
The trout stocking and family fishing event is this Saturday, Feb. 2 at noon.

Silver Lake (Dickinson)
Open water and thin ice conditions on the east side of the lake.

Spirit Lake
Walleye – Good: Angler acceptable size fish are being caught; best action is half hour before sunset to half hour after sunset. Yellow Perch – Good: Good numbers of angler acceptable size fish continue to be caught from the basin in 18 – 20 feet of water; sorting is needed as numbers of small fish will also be in the catch.

Trumbull Lake
Yellow Perch – Fair: Yellow perch continue to be harvested from the lake; anglers are very pleased with the quality of the fish caught.

Virgin Lake
Walleye – Good: Good opportunities to catch fish averaging 16 inches. Yellow Perch – Good: Fish averaging 8 inches are common.

West Okoboji Lake
Bluegill – Good: Action has slowed; persistent anglers will catch good numbers of bluegills from the lake. Yellow Perch – Good: Anglers report catching fish in 18 feet of water in Smiths Bay.

For more information throughout the week, contact the Spirit Lake Fish Hatchery at 712-336-1840.

NORTHEAST

Cedar River (above Nashua)
Fish backwaters and off channel areas with little to no current. Use caution as ice conditions vary and can change fast. Few anglers are out. Black Crappie – Slow: Use a small jig tipped with a minnow or spike jigging aggressively.

Decorah District Streams
Parking lots in wildlife management areas will not be plowed. Use care when parking along a roadside. A good quality trout stream will not freeze in the winter. Brown Trout – Fair: Use larger flies or lures mimicking minnows. Spin fishers using a small jig tipped with a minnow should find nice fish. Rainbow Trout – Fair: Rainbow Trout spawning is at its peak. Larger fish will move to headwaters to lay eggs. Use a weighted caddis stonefly or mayfly nymph. Brook Trout – Fair: Trout are actively attacking emerging midges on warm sunny afternoons.

Lake Hendricks
No motorized vehicles allowed on the ice. Ice depths are 8-10 inches with about 14 inches of snow. Open water zone around the aerator; keep away from this area. Few anglers are out. Bluegill – Fair: Early bite is best. Use small jigs tipped with waxworm or spike near deeper water drop offs. Black Crappie – Fair: Crappies 10-11 inches have been caught. Largemouth Bass – Slow: Anglers are catching a few small bass.

Lake Meyer
The bite is slow with storm fronts moving in. Ice depth is 10 inches under 14 inches of snow. Few anglers have been out. Bluegill – Slow: Early morning bite is best. Use small teardrop shaped jigs tipped with waxworm in brush piles in 12-15 feet of water. Black Crappie – Slow. Largemouth Bass – Slow: A few bass have been caught while fishing for panfish.

Volga Lake
Ice depths are about 10 inches with 12 inches of drifted snow. Few anglers have been out with the recent cold snap. Bluegill – Slow: Fish the brush piles. Black Crappie – Slow: Find Crappie in 1-12 feet water. Use waxworms with bright colored jigheads in the brush piles and drop off around the jetty on west side of lake.

A warm up is forecast for the weekend. Southerly winds will bring temperatures into the 30’s Saturday with some precipitation likely. For current fishing information, please call the Decorah Fish Hatchery at 563-382-8324.

MISSISSIPPI RIVER

Mississippi River Pool 9
River level at Lansing remains steady at 8.1 feet this week. Colder weather is starting to build ice again, but it may take time until edges and areas of current are safe. Try fishing in Shore Slough and Blackhawk Park area. Northern Pike – Fair: Some northerns are being caught on tip-ups using shiners in backwater lakes and marina areas. Bluegill – Slow: Mid-winter bluegill fishing can be variable, but providing good action with decent sized fish being caught. Yellow Perch – Fair: A few perch are being caught through the ice in deeper cuts in backwater lakes. Largemouth Bass – Slow: Several reports of bass being caught on pole or tip-ups in backwater lake areas. Black Crappie – Slow: The crappie bite picked up this week. Try glow jigs tipped with minnows toward early afternoon.

Mississippi River Pool 10
River level at Lynxville is steady near 16 feet. The ramp is now frozen over at the dam. Anglers have been crossing at Sny Magill with about 6 inches ice on Johnson Slough. Stay on the path as ice is weaker closer to the ramp. Northern Pike – Fair: Some northerns are being caught on tip-ups using shiners in backwater lakes and marina areas. Bluegill – Slow: Mid-winter bluegill fishing can be variable, but providing good action with decent sized fish being caught. Yellow Perch – Fair: A few perch are being caught through the ice in deeper cuts in backwater lakes. Black Crappie – Slow: The crappie bite picked up this week. Try glow jigs tipped with minnows toward early afternoon.

Mississippi River Pool 11
River level at Guttenberg is expected to remain steady near 7 feet. Ramps are frozen over at the dam. Ice is building this week. Panfishing has slowed, but some nice perch are still biting. Northern Pike – Fair: Some northerns are being caught on tip-ups using shiners in backwater lakes and marina areas. Bluegill – Slow: Mid-winter bluegill fishing can be variable, but providing good action with decent sized fish being caught. Yellow Perch – Fair: A few perch are being caught through the ice in deeper cuts in backwater lakes. Black Crappie – Fair: The bite has been variable. Try glow jigs tipped with minnows toward early afternoon.

Subzero temperatures continue to build ice on the Upper Mississippi River. Most areas have 10 inches plus of ice; use caution in areas of current and heavy snow cover. The bite has slowed. Anglers are moving around a lot to find fish.


Mississippi River Pool 12
Water levels are stable this week at 7.2 feet at the Dubuque Lock and Dam and 9.6 feet at the RR bridge. This is up from last week. Water clarity is good. The water temperature is around 33 degrees. The tailwater will be locked in with ice. Bluegill – Good: Some ice fishing is occurring in Pool 12; stay alert about ice conditions. Bluegill fishing has been good at times. Black Crappie – Fair: Few reports of nice crappies mixed in with bluegills. Yellow Perch – Fair: A few yellow perch are being seen mixed in with bluegills and crappies.

Mississippi River Pool 13
Water levels have bounced around this week and are 8.6 feet at the Bellevue Lock and Dam. Water clarity is good. The water temperature is around 33 degrees. Tailwater is  frozen in.The north ramp and parking area at Sabula is open after bridge construction. Sauger – No Report: Ice flows are occurring again and the tailwaters are expected to freeze later this week. Three way rigs with minnows or a jig and minnow is the most popular ways to catch walleye and sauger this winter. White Bass – Fair: Small white bass are reported at Sabula Lakes, but ice conditions have been marginal. Yellow Perch – Fair.

Mississippi River Pool 14
Water levels are rising and are 7.4 feet at Fulton Lock and Dam, 10.9 feet at Camanche and 6.1 feet at LeClaire. This is up from last week. The tailwater is now frozen in. Water clarity is good. The water temperature is around 33 degrees. Sauger – No Report: When anglers can successfully dodge ice flows, the walleye and sauger bite has been good. Jig and minnow or three way rigs with minnows are the most popular ways to catch walleye and sauger.

Mississippi River Pool 15
The water level is rising at Rock Island to 10.3 feet. Water clarity is good. The water temperature is around 33 degrees. No fishing has been reported to us in Pool 15.

The tailwater has frozen in the recent cold snap. Ice fishing conditions have improved; remain cautious about conditions. Snow is covering the ice in most locations and insulating the ice. Even with the extreme cold temperatures, some thin ice is still reported. Water levels are now stable to rising throughout the district. If you have any angling questions, please contact the Bellevue Fisheries Station 563-872-4976.


Mississippi River Pool 16 
Tailwater stage at Lock and Dam 15 in Davenport is 9.86 feet and has been fairly steady the past few days. The Marquette Street boat ramp is frozen in as well as the main channel. We have not received any ice fishing or ice condition reports for this pool. Use caution if venturing out on the ice and check ice conditions often as you move.

Mississippi River Pool 17 
Tailwater stage is 7.23 feet at Lock and Dam 16 in Muscatine and has risen some this past week. The boat ramps in Muscatine are frozen in as well as the main channel. We have not received any ice fishing or ice condition reports for this pool this week. Use caution if venturing out on the ice and check ice thickness often as you move.

Mississippi River Pool 18 
Tailwater stage is 9.03 feet at Lock and Dam 17 and has been fairly steady the past few days. We have not received any ice fishing or ice condition reports for this pool. Use caution if venturing out on the ice and check ice conditions often as you move.

Mississippi River Pool 19 
Tailwater stage is 4.98 feet at Lock and Dam 18 above Burlington and has risen slightly the past few days. We have not received any ice fishing or ice condition reports for this pool this week.

Tailwater stages have been steady to rising slightly. The main channel is frozen in with the recent cold temperatures. We have not received any ice fishing or ice conditions reports for these pools. Use caution if venturing out on the ice and check ice thickness often as you move. There is a lot of snow on the ice that could slow ice growth. Avoid areas with current. If you have questions on fishing Pools 16-19, contact the Fairport Fish Hatchery at 563-263-5062.

SOUTHEAST

Big Hollow Lake
A couple of anglers made it out Sunday and said that there was about 5 inches of ice where they went. They did not go to the area by the dam. Black Crappie – Slow: Anglers out Sunday picked up a few crappies in the flooded timber out from the boat ramp bay and beach.

Lake Belva Deer
Ice should be thick enough now. Little to no activity the last few days because of the weather.

Lake Darling 
Around half a dozen anglers were out on the ice Sunday afternoon. All were still avoiding the middle of the lake and the thin ice there; this area should be thick by now. Monday a couple of anglers made it out, but the wind sent them home fairly fast.

Lost Grove Lake
Good numbers of anglers on the area above the causeway and by the west ramp and a few down by the middle ramp. Black Crappie – Fair: Anglers were picking up a few crappies along the old creek channel and in the deeper water in the trees.

For more information on the above lake, call the Lake Darling Fisheries Office at 319-694-2430.


Cedar River (La Porte City to Cedar Rapids)
Before the cold snap, anglers in Benton/Linn County were having luck in the backwaters. Ice is reported as 6-8 inches. Bluegill – Good. Black Crappie – Good.

Coralville Reservoir
The lake level is at winter pool of 683.4 feet. The ice is variable; use caution if venturing out.

Diamond Lake
Most of the lake has 5-7 inches of ice. Before the cold snap, crappies were being caught in the deeper basin and bluegills were being caught around sunken trees. The pond in the campground was also producing bluegills.

Iowa Lake (Iowa Co.)
Last weekend there was about 6 inches of ice. There was a good bluegill and crappie bite before the cold snap; no reports since then.

Kent Park Lake
The lake is currently drained for a lake restoration project.

Lake Macbride
Most of the lake has 6-8 inches of ice, but it can be variable over the deep water. There has not been much fishing activity over the past week; no reports are available.

Otter Creek Lake
Ice anglers were out last weekend; exact ice conditions are not known.

Pleasant Creek Lake
The west end of the lake has 6-9 inches of ice, while the main lake may only have 3-6 inches. Use caution over areas of deep water.

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


Lake Miami
There are very few reports this week as ice anglers are just starting to get out with better ice conditions. Anglers are catching some bluegills and crappies. Check ice thickness often.

Lake Sugema
The lake has recently froze over; use caution. There are not many angler reports as ice conditions just started to improve with the cold weather.

Lake Wapello
Very few reports this week as anglers are just starting to get out with the better ice conditions. Use caution and check ice thickness often.

Rathbun Reservoir
The current lake level is 904.33 msl. Normal operating elevation is 904.0 msl. The lake recently froze over; variable ice thickness. Use caution and check ice thickness often. Lake Rathbun has zebra mussels, so make sure to properly drain, clean, and dry equipment before transporting to another water body.

Red Haw Lake
Anglers report about 4 inches of clear ice under about 4 inches of questionable ice. Anglers are catching some bluegills over submerged habitat. Use caution and check thickness often.

Ice conditions in the Rathbun district are variable across the district; use caution if venturing out. The district includes Mahaska, Lucas, Wayne, Monroe, Appanoose, Wapello, Davis and Van Buren counties. Contact the Rathbun Fish Hatchery at 641-647-2406 with questions about fishing in south central Iowa.

SOUTHWEST

Ada Hayden Heritage Park Lake
Rainbow Trout – Good: A trout stocking and family fishing event will be held this Saturday, Feb. 2nd. The trout will be stocked around noon. Several trout will be tagged for prizes donated by Jax Outdoors and local businesses. Use jigging spoons tipped with waxworms.

Big Creek Lake
Black Crappie – Fair: Use live minnows or waxies on glow jigs in the afternoons and evenings. Fish brush piles deeper than 15 feet and the edges of the roadbeds and creek channel mid-lake.

Don Williams Lake
Black Crappie – Good: Crappie fishing has been good especially late afternoon and evenings. Fish mid-lake near creek channel edges stumps and sunken habitat in 10 to 20 feet of water.

Hickory Grove Lake
Bluegill – Good: Conditions are ready for anglers. Good catches of bluegills with crappies mixed in are coming off the lake.

Lake Petocka
Rainbow Trout – Good: Trout are scheduled to be stocked tomorrow, Feb. 1 pending weather conditions at the Decorah Hatchery. Backup date is Feb. 4. Text or call 515-204-5885 after 12 p.m. Friday, Feb. 1 to verify stocking.

Good ice conditions have returned to Central Iowa. There is generally 6- to 10-inches of ice. For more information on Central Iowa lakes and rivers, call Ben Dodd at 641-891-3795 or Andy Otting at 515-204-5885.


Cold Springs District Farm Ponds
Caution is still needed on ponds, especially in the southern part of the district. Never fish alone and drill holes often when venturing out. Bluegill – Good. Black Crappie – Fair.

Lake Anita
All angling activity is taking place in the north arm of the lake. Bluegill – Fair: Anglers report catching bluegill in 6 feet of water in the upper end of the pontoon arm. Black Crappie – Fair: Crappies are being caught close to the creek channel. Early morning and late afternoon is the best bite.

Littlefield Lake
Ice conditions have improved at Littlefield. Find fish around cedar tree piles placed in the lake. Bluegill – Good: Fishing is good for bluegill if you can get to a cedar tree pile. Sorting is needed for larger fish. Black Crappie – Slow: A few large black crappie are being caught in the afternoon around cedar tree piles.

Prairie Rose Lake
Anglers report 7 inches of ice on a small portion of the lake. Use caution when moving around. Bluegill – Fair: Bluegills up to 10 inches are being reported east of the beach on the north side of the lake. Find a brush pile to fish around. Black Crappie – Slow: A few 10 inch crappie are being caught around the tree piles.

Viking Lake
Ice reports of 6 inches with the top two being bad ice. There is some angling activity taking place. Waterfowl have a large area of open water by the beach. Black Crappie – Slow: Target brush piles. Early morning and late afternoon bite is best.

Ice conditions have improved in the southwest district. Most reports are 5 to 7 inches of ice. Geese are still keeping areas open on some lakes. Trout will be stocked into Big Lake on Feb. 9th. For more information, contact the Cold Springs office at 712-769-2587.