SATURDAY MORNING FISHING REPORT: Ice Conditions Improve But Remain Variable

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 Feb. 7 there was 10 inches of ice near the boat ramp.  Bluegill – Slow: Catch keeper bluegills in the middle of the lake and along the east side with a small jig tipped with a waxworm fished in 10-15 feet of water.

Bacon Creek Lake
The DNR will stock rainbow trout at Bacon Creek Lake on Feb. 16th at 1:30 p.m.

Black Hawk Lake
The winter aeration system in Town Bay is in operation; beware of open water and thin ice in Town Bay. On Feb. 7 there was 14 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 variable throughout the lake. Check ice thickness often. Bluegill – Fair: Use a small jig tipped with waxworm in the rock pile out front of Gunshot Hill. Black Crappie – Fair: Use a small jig tipped with waxworm near the Ice House Point boat ramp.

Black Hawk Pits
On Feb. 7 there was 10 inches of ice near the boat ramp. Ice is variable; check ice 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, in the northeast arm of the lake, and near the southeast boat ramp near the big island. Look out for thin ice near the beach and in the main lake. 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: Use a minnow and spoon in about 20-30 feet of water near submerged structure. Try also waxworms and spikes on a small jig. Yellow Perch – Slow: Anglers are picking up a few yellow perch while fishing for crappie.

Moorland Pond
The trout stocking and family fishing event at Moorland Pond is this Saturday, Feb. 9 at 11:30 a.m.

Storm Lake (including Little Storm Lake)
Ice conditions on Storm Lake are improving, but are still variable. Most areas of the lake have 15-18 inches of ice. Avoid ice along pressure seams, in the middle of the lake near the big island, and any other off-colored ice. Use caution and check ice thickness often. Walleye – Fair: Use minnows and jigging spoons in the dredge cuts on the east side of the lake in about 10-14 feet of water. Low light conditions are best. Yellow Perch – Slow: Use a small spoon and waxworm. White Bass – Fair: Anglers are picking up some white bass in the east end of the lake and deeper dredged areas while fishing for walleye.

Ice conditions have improved in the Black Hawk district. Most ice reports are 10 to 18 inches. Be aware of any thin ice or open water; geese are keeping areas open on some lakes. Use caution and check ice thickness often. For more information, contact the Black Hawk District office at 712-657-2638.


Clear Lake
Ice thickness is 12 to 18 inches. Yellow Bass – Fair: Start shallow with a small jig or jigging spoon tipped with several spikes or a waxworm. You have to keep moving to stay on fish. Yellow Perch – Fair: Lots of small fish are being caught. If you’re not going to use the fish you catch, please release them. Black Crappie – Slow: Use jigging spoons tipped with a minnow head in the early morning. Walleye – Slow: Best bite is early morning and evening.

Crystal Lake
Ice thickness is 16 to 20 inches. No fishing activity reported.

Lower Pine Lake
Ice thickness is 6 to 8 inches. Bluegill – Fair.

Rice Lake
Ice thickness is 12 to 18 inches. No fishing activity reported.

Silver Lake (Worth)
Ice thickness is 12 to 18 inches. No fishing activity reported.

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. Bluegill – Good: Numbers of fish are being caught from the south end of the lake; sorting is needed.

Five Island Lake
Yellow Bass – Good: Some activity reported on the lake; you need to search to find active fish. Walleye – Fair: Report of fish being caught from the deep water dredge sites with traditional baits.

Lake Pahoja
Bluegill – Good: 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 – Fair: Yellow bass activity has slowed, but persistent anglers can catch good numbers of fish.

Spirit Lake
Walleye – Fair: Action has slowed; 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. Bluegill – Fair: Report of bluegill action fishing traditional sites.

Trumbull Lake
Yellow Perch – Good: 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; best action is half hour before sunset to half hour after sunset. 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.

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

NORTHEAST

Alice Wyth Lake
Reports of anglers catching a few bluegill and crappie. Bluegill – Fair: Try jigging a waxworm on an ice fishing jig; move around to find fish. Black Crappie – Fair: Jig a waxworm on an ice fishing jig or fish a crappie minnow under a bobber- dead stick rig. Electronics help find suspended fish.

Casey Lake (aka Hickory Hills Lake)
Good reports of anglers catching 7- to 9-inch bluegill. Concentrate on areas near the dam to find structure. Bluegill – Fair: Try jigging a waxworm on an ice fishing jig; move around to find fish.

Cedar River (Nashua to La Porte City)
Anglers were catching crappie on the backwaters of the Cedar River in Bremer County last week. Use extreme caution and check ice thickness often. Black Crappie – Fair: Use electronics to find structure; fish in these backwater areas.

George Wyth Lake
Reports of anglers having success on bluegill and crappie; some sorting is needed for bluegill. Bluegill – Fair: Jig a waxworm on an ice fishing jig; moving around to find fish. Black Crappie – Fair:  Try jigging a waxworm on an ice fishing jig or fishing a crappie minnow under a bobber- dead stick rig. Electronics help find suspended fish.

North Prairie Lake
Anglers have had success catching trout. Rainbow Trout – Fair: Try jigging a waxworm under an ice fishing jig.

Wintry weather has set in across Iowa. There have been few reports with the extremely cold weather and recent ice storms. Trout streams are in excellent condition. Call the N.E. Iowa district office at 563-927-3276 for more information.

MISSISSIPPI RIVER

Mississippi River Pool 9
River level at Lansing has risen to 8.7 feet this week. Avoid shoreline edges and areas of current.  Village Creek and Shore Slough areas are still producing fish, but the bite is slow. 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 – Fair: The crappie bite picked up this week. Try glow jigs tipped with minnows from mid-morning to early afternoon.

Mississippi River Pool 10
River level at Lynxville has risen to 17 feet. The ramp is 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. Access Bussey Lake from the upper end to avoid marginal ice. 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 crappie bite picked up this week. Try glow jigs tipped with minnows from mid-morning to early afternoon.

Mississippi River Pool 11
River level at Guttenberg has risen almost 2 feet. Ramps are frozen over at the dam. Avoid shorelines and areas of current. 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 crappie bite has picked up this week. Try glow jigs tipped with minnows from mid-morning to early afternoon.

The recent thaw and a rise is water levels have changed ice conditions. Use caution around the shoreline edges and any areas with current. Fishing has been variable with anglers moving around to catch fish.


Mississippi River Pool 12
Water levels are variable this week and are 8.4 feet at the Dubuque Lock and Dam and 10.8 feet at the RR bridge. This is up from last week. Water clarity is good. The water temperature is around 33 degrees. 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: A 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 10.5 feet at the Bellevue Lock and Dam. Water clarity is good. The water temperature is around 33 degrees. The tailwater is nearly open, but launching a boat is questionable. The north ramp and parking area at Sabula is open after bridge construction. Sauger – No Report: Three way rigs with minnows or a jig and minnow is the most popular ways to catch walleye and sauger this winter. No one was fishing this week due to poor weather conditions. White Bass – Fair: Small white bass are reported at Sabula and Browns lakes, but ice conditions are marginal in places. Yellow Perch – Fair.

Mississippi River Pool 14
Water levels are rising and are 8.8 feet at Fulton Lock and Dam, 11.7 feet at Camanche and 6.2 feet at LeClaire. This is up from last week. Water clarity is good. The water temperature is around 33 degrees. Sauger – No Report: Jig and minnow or three way rigs with minnows are the most popular ways to catch walleye and sauger. Poor weather conditions have limited fishing activity.

Mississippi River Pool 15
The water level is rising at Rock Island to 11.3 feet. Water clarity is good. The water temperature is around 33 degrees. No fishing has been reported to us in Pool 15.

Some tailwaters may open up, but ramps may have ice on them. Ice fishing conditions are variable with rainy conditions and changing water levels. Even with the extreme cold temperatures, some thin ice is still reported in backwaters. Water levels are stable to falling 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 11.11 feet and is rising. Tailwater stage has risen close to 1.5 feet since earlier this week. We have not received any ice fishing or ice condition reports for this pool. The rising river levels and recent rains could create unsafe ice conditions, especially on the shorelines.

Mississippi River Pool 17 
Tailwater stage is 11.69 feet at Lock and Dam 16 in Muscatine and is rising. Tailwater stage has risen close to 3 feet since Monday. We have not received any ice fishing or ice condition reports for this pool this week. The Big Timber ramp is closed due to water over the parking lot. The rising river levels and recent rains could create unsafe ice conditions, especially along the shorelines.

Mississippi River Pool 18 
Tailwater stage is 13.16 feet at Lock and Dam 17 at New Boston and is rising. Tailwater stage has risen close to 3 feet since Monday. Flood stage is 15 feet. We have not received any ice fishing or ice condition reports for this pool. The rising river levels and recent rains could create unsafe ice conditions, especially along the shorelines. The Toolsboro ramp is closed due to water over the ramp and parking area.

Mississippi River Pool 19 
Tailwater stage is 8.71 feet at Lock and Dam 18 and is rising. Tailwater stage has risen close to 3 feet since last weekend. River level is forecast to keep rising. Flood stage is 10 feet. We have not received any ice fishing or ice condition reports for this pool. The rising river levels and recent rains could create unsafe ice conditions, especially along the shorelines.

River stages have been on the rise this past week due to recent rains and snow melt. We have not received any ice fishing reports or ice conditions reports this week. River levels have risen close to 3 feet since earlier this week and are forecast to keep rising. The rise in river levels and recent warm temperatures could create unsafe ice conditions. If you have questions on fishing Pools 16-19, contact the Fairport Fish Hatchery at 563-263-5062.

SOUTHEAST

Big Hollow Lake
The edges of the ice are in poor condition especially where water entered the lake as well as anywhere the sun was hitting the riprap. Black Crappie – Slow: Hit and miss over the weekend.

Lake Belva Deer
Warm weather and rain and drizzle have damaged the ice, especially where the melt water entered the lake over the weekend. Bluegill – Fair.

Lake Darling 
A weekend of temperatures in the mid 50’s and above freezing temperatures for much of the early part of this week caused lots of melted or rotten edges on the ice.  Use caution getting on and off the ice.  Bluegill – Good: Some nice bluegills were caught over the weekend and earlier this week.

Lost Grove Lake
Last weekend’s warm weather hurt the ice conditions.  Earlier this week there was lots of weak spots on the ice and some open water areas at the lower end of the lake.  Use extreme caution if you venture out on the ice.

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)
Anglers in Benton/Linn County are having luck in the backwaters. Bluegill – Good. Black Crappie – Good.

Coralville Reservoir
The lake level has raised a foot and flows have reached 6000 cfs due to rain and melt off. Ice conditions are extremely variable and the water is dirty.

Diamond Lake
Black Crappie – Fair: Fish the basin or around deeper brush for 8- to 9-inch crappies. Bluegill – Fair: Try a jig/waxie around brush.

Hannen Lake
Most of the lake has 8-10 inches of ice. Bluegill – Fair. Black Crappie – Slow.

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

Lake Macbride
With recent thaws and freezes, the ice is variable. Most ice is 4-8 inches thick. Bluegill – Fair: Try jigs/waxies fished over rock or brush. Black Crappie – Slow: Fish around stumps or trees in 10-20 feet of water. Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) – Slow: Use minnows, spoons or jigs/waxies around stumps or off rock breaks in 15-20 feet of water.

Otter Creek Lake
Most of the lake has 10-12 inches of ice.  Bluegill – Slow. Yellow Bass – Slow.

Pleasant Creek Lake
The lake has 5-10 inches of ice depending on location. The west end has more ice than the east end. Fishing has been poor.

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 frequently and be careful getting on and off the ice.

Lake Sugema
The lake recently froze over; use caution. There are not many angler reports as ice conditions just started to improve with the cold weather. Use caution around the shoreline as the warm weather over the weekend has made this ice thin.

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 906.79 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
The warm weather over the weekend made the ice messy and thawed around the shoreline.  Use caution if venturing out on the ice.

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: Trout were stocked Feb. 2nd. Use jigging spoons tipped with waxworms. Trout tend to stay close to the perimeter of the lake; don’t setup over water deeper than 15 feet.

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. Walleye – Fair: Some walleyes are being caught on live minnows still fished and minnows or minnow heads on jigging spoons.  Fish creek channel edges humps and roadbeds throughout the lake from the Marina to just south of the west boat ramp.

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
The lake is drawn down around 9 feet, but ice fishing is still possible. Bluegill – Good: Good catches of bluegills with crappies mixed in are coming off the lake.

Lake Petocka
Rainbow Trout – Good: Trout were stocked on Feb. 1. Use small jigging spoons tipped with waxworms.

Good ice conditions continue in Central Iowa. There is 6 to 12 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
Ice conditions on ponds have improved;  use caution, 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
Anglers report good success fishing tree piles. Bluegill – Fair: Anglers report catching bluegill around brush piles. Fish average 8.5 inches. Black Crappie – Fair: Crappies are being caught close to the creek channel. Early morning and late afternoon is the best bite.

Littlefield Lake
Ice thickness is 8 to 10 inches. 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.

Nodaway Lake
Ice thickness is 6 to 8 inches. Finding fish in the brush piles. Bluegill – Fair: Look for bluegills in the tree piles. Fish will average 8 inches. Black Crappie – Fair: Late afternoon bite is best. Fish will average 10 inches.

Orient Lake
Anglers report good panfishing at Orient this week. Black Crappie – Good: Find 10 to 12 inch crappies in the tree piles out from the dam. Bluegill – Good: Use waxworms in the tree piles. Fish will average 7.5 inches.

Prairie Rose Lake
Anglers report good ice conditions at Prairie Rose.  Bluegill – Good: Bluegills up to 10 inches are being reported. Anglers were able to move around to look for fish with better ice conditions. 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 conditions have improved at Viking Lake. Black Crappie – Slow: Target brush piles. Early morning and late afternoon bite is best.

The southwest district has better ice conditions than last week. Most reports are 6 to 10 inches of ice. Geese are still keeping areas open on some lakes. Trout will be stocked into Big Lake this Saturday, Feb. 9th. For more information, contact the Cold Springs office at 712-769-2587.


Summit Lake
About 8-10 inches of ice; areas of thin ice especially near the HWY 25 bridge. Bluegill – Slow: Catch bluegill up to 8 inches with jigs tipped with a waxworm fished near cedar tree brush piles or near the creek channel.

Three Mile Lake
About 5-9 inches of ice; some areas of thin ice near flooded timber and open water near some shore areas. Walleye – Fair: Catch walleye up to 19 inches with minnows fished near the roadbed early and late in the day.

Twelve Mile Creek Lake
About 7-10 inches of ice; some areas of thin ice near flooded timber and some shore areas. Black Crappie – Good: Catch crappie up to 9.5 inches using jigs tipped with a minnow or waxworm fished near cedar tree brush piles or flooded timber near creek channels. Bluegill – Good: Catch bluegill up to 8 inches with jigs tipped with a waxworm fished near cedar tree brush piles or flooded timber near creek channels.

Most Mount Ayr district lakes have variable ice conditions from 5-10 inches of ice. Snow melt last week may have caused thin ice or areas of open water, especially near flooded timber and shoreline areas. Be cautious and drill test holes. For more information, please call the Mount Ayr Fisheries office at 641-464-3108.