Saturday Morning Fishing Report: Ice Thickness Good on Local Lakes

This weekly fishing report is compiled from information gathered from local bait shops, angler creel surveys and county, and state parks staff. You can check the activity of your favorite lake or stretch of river within each district, including which species are being caught, a rating of the bite (slow, fair, good or excellent), as well as a hot bait or lure pattern.

For current information, contact the district fisheries office at the phone number listed at the end of each district report.

NORTHWEST

Arrowhead Lake
Conditions are variable; check ice thickness often if you venture out. Use waxworms and minnows near structure to target the larger bluegill and crappie this lake commonly produces.

Bacon Creek Lake
The DNR stocked rainbow trout at Bacon Creek Lake on Jan. 25th. You need a valid fishing license (age 16 and older) and pay the trout fee to fish for or possess trout. Use a piece of worm, small minnow, or power bait fished under a bobber. Put the bait on a small hook or small and shiny jig.

Black Hawk Lake
Areas around Ice House Point boat ramp and just north of Gunshot Hill currently has the thickest ice. Conditions are more variable in the east basin of the lake, there may be thin and open areas; use caution. The winter aeration system in Town Bay is in operation; expect open water and thin ice in Town Bay. Yellow Perch – Fair: Anglers are catching perch around Gunshot Hill and the Ice House Point boat ramp. Keeper-size perch are 8 to 12 inches. Waxworms and small minnows work well. Bluegill – Slow: Most anglers are using waxworms fished near the Ice House Point boat ramp and Gunshot Hill. Channel Catfish – Fair: Anglers have picked up catfish off the rock pile north of Cottonwood Point. Black Crappie – Fair: Anglers have had luck in the marina and off the rock pile near Gunshot Hill.

Black Hawk Pits
Conditions are variable; use caution and check ice thickness often.

Brushy Creek Lake
Most fishing activity has been in the northeast arm and around the island. Ice is variable; check ice thickness often. There are open areas in the middle of the lake and around shore near inflows. Expect thinner ice under bridges and anywhere with current. Yellow Perch – Fair: Use waxworms and small minnows. Walleye – Fair. Bluegill – Fair: Use a waxworm or small minnow on a jig fished near structure. Reports of 9 inch keepers.

Moorland Pond
The DNR stocked rainbow trout in Moorland Pond on Jan. 24th. You need a valid fishing license (age 16 and older) and pay the trout fee to fish for or possess trout. Use a piece of worm, small minnow, or power bait fished under a bobber. Put the bait on a small hook or small and shiny jig.

Storm Lake (including Little Storm Lake)
Ice thickness is 6-15 inches, with thinner ice on the east part of the lake and other areas that were open recently. Use caution and avoid open areas near the island, seams, and discolored ice. Snow cover is variable. Anglers are catching perch, walleye, white bass and channel catfish.

Ice thickness in west central Iowa is 5 to 15 inches. Some lakes have open seams and thinner areas. Use caution, check thickness often, and avoid discolored ice. There is open water and thin ice in Town Bay of Black Hawk Lake from the aeration system.  For more information, contact the Black Hawk District office at 712-657-2638.


Clear Lake
Ice thickness is 11 to 15 inches. Use caution near the aeration systems. Bluegill – Slow: Use a small jig tipped with a waxworm near the edge of vegetation. Yellow Perch – Good: Yellow perch are biting on a variety of baits. Use larger baits and change location to find bigger fish. Walleye – Fair: Try a jigging spoon tipped with a minnow head near the edge of vegetation. The best bite is during low light periods. Black Crappie – Slow: Use a jig tipped with a waxworm on the edge of vegetation. Yellow Bass – Fair: Try a small spoon tipped with cut bait or several waxworms. You have to move around to find fish.

Crystal Lake
Ice thickness is 11 to 15 inches.

Eldred Sherwood Lake
Ice thickness is 11 to 15 inches. Bluegill – Slow: Use small jigs tipped with a waxworm. Best bite is late afternoon.

Interstate Park Lake
Ice thickness is 12 inches. No fishing activity reported.

Lake Smith
Ice thickness is 10 to 12 inches. Bluegill – Fair: Best bite is from around 3:30 p.m. until dark.

Rice Lake
Ice thickness is 11 to 15 inches. Bluegill – Fair: Use small jigs tipped with a waxworm. Best bite is late afternoon. Yellow Perch – Slow:Try a small jigging spoon tipped with a waxworm.. Walleye – Slow.

Silver Lake (Worth)
Ice thickness is 11 to 15 inches. Bluegill – Slow.

Upper Pine Lake
Ice thickness is 7- 8 inches at the boat ramp.

For information on the lakes and rivers in north central Iowa, contact the Clear Lake Fish and Wildlife office at 641-357-3517.


Center Lake
Ice thickness is 14 to 16 inches. The aeration system has been started. Use caution on the west side of the lake, north of the boat ramp. Signs are up around the aerator hole.

East Okoboji Lake
Ice thickness is 14 to 15 inches. Bluegill – Good: Sorting is needed, but the bite has been good in the southern section of the lake along the weed line. Try near the trestle and the Hattie Elston Boat Ramp. Use small jigs and wigglers. Walleye – Fair: Fishing  has been good near Parks Marina in the evening. Use spoons, jigging raps or minnows in the early morning or evening. Yellow Perch – Fair. Black Crappie – Good. Yellow Bass – Fair.

Ingham Lake
Ice thickness is 12 to 16 inches. The aeration system has been started. Use caution on the southeast side of the lake and off of the northern boat ramp. Signs are up around the aerator hole.

Lost Island Lake
Ice thickness is around 12 inches. Yellow Perch – Fair. Walleye – Fair.

Silver Lake (Dickinson)
Ice thickness is 15 to 18 inches. The aeration system has been started. Use caution on the east side of the lake. Signs are up around the aeration holes.

Spirit Lake
Ice thickness is 15 to 18 inches. Walleye – Good: Fish 1 hour before and after sunrise or sunset. Use spoons or jigging raps tipped with minnow heads in 12-14 feet of water. Also try live minnows. Reports of lots of slot size and bigger fish. Bluegill – Fair: Use wigglers and small jigs in Anglers Bay and Trickles Slough. Yellow Perch – Good: Use minnows and small jigs in Anglers Bay and near Minniwaukon. Best bite is early and late. Be prepared to move around until you get on top of them. Black Crappie – Fair.

Trumbull Lake
Yellow Perch – Fair: Size quality is outstanding with some sorting. Use jigs and minnows or wigglers in the main lake.

West Okoboji Lake
West Okoboji ice conditions are variable. Beware of heaves at Atwell and Gull Point; don’t drive over heaves/seams. Ice thickness has been up to 14 inches in small bays and thinner on the main lake. Bluegill – Good: Little Emerson Bay is producing a few nice bluegills. Sorting is needed. Walleye – Fair: Fish rocky areas in 18-20 feet of water. Live minnows work best 1 hour before and after sunset.

Ice thickness is 12 to 18 inches on area lakes. Large amounts of snow have covered up seams and ridges making them less evident. The snow has made it harder to travel across the lake. Do not travel under bridges and other areas of flow; most of these areas have only recently frozen over. Aeration systems at Center Lake, Silver Lake (near Lake Park), and Ingham Lake have been started and signs are up; stay clear of these systems. For current conditions, call the Spirit Lake District Office at 712-336-1840.

NORTHEAST

Cedar River (above Nashua)
Backwaters and slack water areas have about 8 to 10 inches of ice with 5 inches of snow. Ice conditions may worsen with warmer temperatures. Use care when crossing areas with current. Check ice depths often. Anglers are finding fish. Black Crappie – Fair: Find deeper water or off-channel refuges out of current. Use waxworms or spikes. Yellow Perch – Slow: Anglers are finding a few perch mixed in with the crappie. Bluegill – Fair: Find deeper off-channel areas. Spikes or waxworms tipped on a small jig work well. Walleye – Fair: Anglers fishing below dams are finding walleye. Use jigs tipped with a ringworm, minnow, or crawler.

Decorah District Streams
Parking areas in wildlife management areas are not plowed. Heavy use areas should be packed enough for anglers to get around. Use care when parking on the roadside. Trout streams are clear and remain ice free. Brook Trout – Good: Midges and small mayflies are hatching on warmer sunny days. Use flies imitating insects hatching. Brown Trout – Good: Try a fly imitating small silvery fish. Feathered spinner baits work well when fished through pools. Rainbow Trout – Good: Fish are actively hitting the surface early afternoon. Use an ultra-light pole and reel for fun action. Try a spinner in eddies and around structure.

Lake Hendricks
Lake Hendricks has about 10 inches of ice with 6 inches of snow on top. Fish activity has slowed. Open water around the aerator; be careful around this area. Motorized vehicles are not allowed on the ice. Black Crappie – Fair: Use a small jig tipped with a waxworm. Fish are suspended off the bottom. A variety of sizes are being caught. Bluegill – Fair: Use a baited hook; gills are sitting closer to the bottom. Nine to 11 inch fish are common.

Lake Meyer
Lake Meyer has 10 inches of ice with 4 to 5 inches of snow on top. Use care when going on ice, especially around the dam. Check ice depths often. Hit or miss panfish action. Fish are hanging in 8 to 10 feet of water around brush piles. Bluegill – Fair: Anglers are marking a lot of fish, but few bites. Find gills around brush piles using a small jig tipped with a waxworm fished near the bottom. Morning bite is best. Black Crappie – Slow: Crappie are suspended above brush piles. Baited hooks work best. Largemouth Bass – Fair: Catching bass while fishing for panfish.

Turkey River (above Clermont)
Backwaters and slack water areas are ice and snow covered. Motorized vehicles are not allowed on Vernon Springs impoundment when covered with ice. Water is crystal clear. Check ice depths often, especially where there is current.

Volga Lake
Eight to 9 inches ice with 10 inches of snow on top. Use care when going on ice; check ice depths often. Black Crappie – Fair: Use waxworms or spikes fished in brush or rock piles. Bluegill – Fair: Try small bait on small hooks. Gills are small.

Chance of snow Thursday and Friday. Temperatures will warm through Sunday. Great time to take advantage of the weather. Use care on area rivers. Ice thickness varies on waterbodies with current. Area lakes have about 10 inches of ice with snow on top. For current fishing information, please call the Chuck Gipp Decorah Fish Hatchery at 563-382-8324.


Alice Wyth Lake
Anglers are catching a few crappie and bluegill. Bluegill – Fair: Use an ice jig tipped with a waxworm fished just off of the bottom. Black Crappie – Fair: Try an ice jig tipped with a waxworm fished just off of the bottom or use electronics to find suspended fish, which often are crappie. Also try a dead stick rig tipped with a live minnow.

Big Woods Lake
Anglers are catching a few crappie. Black Crappie – Fair: Find sunken fish structure. Use an ice jig tipped with a waxworm fished just off of the bottom or use electronics to find suspended fish, which often are crappie. Also try a dead stick rig tipped with a live minnow.

Casey Lake (aka Hickory Hills Lake)
A few reports of anglers ice fishing on Casey Lake. Best ice conditions on the lake are near the dam area. Bluegill – Fair: Find sunken fish structure near the dam. Use an ice jig tipped with a waxworm fished just off of the bottom; electronics are a bonus to find fish. Black Crappie – Fair: Find sunken fish structure near the dam. Try an ice jig tipped with a waxworm fished just off of the bottom or use electronics to find suspended fish, which often are crappie. Also try a dead stick rig tipped with a live minnow.

Cedar River (Nashua to La Porte City)
Backwater areas of the Cedar River are producing some crappie. Use extreme caution when venturing out onto river ice. Black Crappie – Fair: Use an ice jig tipped with a waxworm fished just off of the bottom or use electronics to find suspended fish, which often are crappie. Also try a dead stick rig tipped with a live minnow.

George Wyth Lake
There has been ice fishing activity on the lake. Reports of 4 to 6 inches of good ice. Use extreme caution, especially with the snow cover. Bluegill – Fair: Find sunken fish structure; use an ice jig tipped with a waxworm fished just off of the bottom. Black Crappie – Fair: Find sunken fish structure. Try an ice jig tipped with a waxworm fished just off of the bottom or use electronics to find suspended fish, which often are crappie. Also try a dead stick rig tipped with a live minnow. Northern Pike – Fair: Try setting up tip-up rigs with shiners for bait.

Martens Lake
Anglers are catching a few bluegill and crappie. Access is available crossing the reservoir from the north side of the lake; use caution. Bluegill – Fair: Use an ice jig tipped with a waxworm fished just off of the bottom. Black Crappie – Fair: Try an ice jig tipped with a waxworm fished just off of the bottom or use electronics to find suspended fish, which often are crappie. Also try a dead stick rig tipped with a live minnow.

Plainfield
Anglers report fair catches of panfish on Plainfield Lake this past week. Best bite is first light in morning and last hour before sunset. Bluegill – Fair: Find sunken fish structure. Use an ice jig tipped with a waxworm fished just off of the bottom; electronics are a bonus to find fish. Black Crappie – Fair: Find sunken fish structure. Try an ice jig tipped with a waxworm fished just off of the bottom or use electronics to find suspended fish, which often are crappie. Also try a dead stick rig tipped with a live minnow.

Ice anglers are getting out now with the more favorable ice conditions on area lakes and ponds. Use extreme caution on lakes and ponds, especially with the snow cover. Reports have been fair for both bluegill and crappie. Trout streams remain 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 is 10.2 feet at Lansing. Protected backwaters have around 8 to 10 inches of ice. Ice conditions have deteriorated with a rise in river levels causing water on top of the ice and along shorelines. Yellow Perch – Good: Reports of nice-sized perch from Pool 9 backwaters. Black Crappie – Fair: Few reports of crappie mixed with bluegills fished through the ice. Bluegill – Good: Bluegill are biting on waxworms fished through the ice in backwater lakes. Northern Pike – Good: Tip-up anglers are having success with shiners or suckers for larger pike. Largemouth Bass – Good: Try a lively shiner on a tip-up for some big bass through the ice.

Mississippi River Pool 10
River level at Lynxville rose to 620.2 feet and is expected to recede this week. Protected backwaters have around 8 to 10 inches of ice. Ice conditions have deteriorated with a rise in river levels causing water on top of the ice and along shorelines. Sny Magill road is flooded. Ice on Johnson Slough has deteriorated. Yellow Perch – Good: Reports of nice-sized perch from Pool 10 backwaters. Black Crappie – Slow: Few reports of crappie mixed with bluegills fished through the ice. Bluegill – Good: Bluegill are biting on waxworms fished through the ice in backwater lakes. Northern Pike – Good: Tip-up anglers are having success with shiners or suckers for larger pike. Largemouth Bass – Good: Try a lively shiner on a tip-up for some big bass through the ice.

Mississippi River Pool 11
River level at Guttenberg has risen to 11.8 feet this week. Boat ramps are all iced in. Protected backwaters have around 8 to 10 inches of ice. Ice conditions have deteriorated with an rise in river levels causing water on top of the ice and along shorelines. Yellow Perch – Fair: Perch are biting in Sunfish and Mud Lake. Use caution and avoid the creek area at Mud Lake; ice is not safe. Fish in deeper cuts with some vegetation in backwater areas. Black Crappie – Slow: Few reports of crappie mixed with bluegills fished through the ice. Northern Pike – Good: Tip-up anglers are having success with shiners or suckers for larger pike. Largemouth Bass – Good: Try a lively shiner on a tip-up for some big bass through the ice.

Upper Mississippi River levels are expected to gradually recede after bumping up several feet last week. Many areas have water over the ice. Avoid poor ice conditions on shorelines and areas with current.


Mississippi River Pool 12
The water level is 10.3 feet at the Dubuque Lock and Dam and 12.7 feet at the RR bridge. River levels at Dubuque are expected to crest. The water temperature is 32.5 degrees. Water clarity is good. The tailwater is fairly free of flowing ice, but boat ramps are iced in. Sauger – Fair: It takes some work to get into the tailwaters, but they are mostly open and can be fished. Bluegill – Fair: Bluegills are abundant, but not very aggressive. Use light equipment, small jigs and rod tips to detect small hits. Lots of sorting needed, but you can find some nice-sized gills. Yellow Perch – Fair: Anglers are catching a yellow perch or two when bluegill fishing. Some exceptional yellow perch creels were seen in early ice. Now anglers are only be catching a few each trip. Black Crappie – Fair: A few incidental crappies are being caught when ice fishing for bluegills. Reports of some nice crappies.

Mississippi River Pool 13
Water level is 11.9 feet at the Bellevue Lock and Dam and is expected to crest. The water temperature is 32.5 degrees. Water clarity is good. The tailwater is ice free. The city ramp has been open to boat launching. Lots of ice angling taking place, but anglers are reporting slush and water on top of the ice due to the recent river raise. The popular ice fishing parking lot at Spring Lake in Illinois is closed this winter due to construction.  Sauger – Fair: Anglers report lots of smaller sauger with a few nice-sized fish mixed in. Bluegill – Fair: Bluegills are abundant, but not very aggressive. Use light equipment, small jigs and rod tips to detect small hits. Lots of sorting needed, but you can find some nice-sized gills. Yellow Perch – Fair: Anglers are catching a yellow perch or two when fishing for bluegill. Some anglers targeted good numbers of yellow perch in early ice, but now are only catching a few each trip. Black Crappie – Fair: A few incidental crappies are being caught when ice fishing for bluegills.

Mississippi River Pool 14
The water level is 8.5 feet at the Fulton Lock and Dam, 11.7 feet at Camanche and 6.2 feet at LeClaire. Water temperature is around 32.5 degrees. River levels are rising and expected to crest this week. The tailwater has been ice free, but finding an open boat ramp may be difficult. Ice anglers report slush and water on top of the ice from the river rise. Sauger – Fair: Early winter catches were decent with lots of smaller sauger reported along with some nice walleye and sauger taken. Bluegill – Fair: Bluegills are abundant, but not very aggressive. Use light equipment, small jigs and rod tips to detect small hits. Lots of sorting needed, but you can find some nice-sized gills.  Black Crappie – Fair: A few incidental crappies are being caught when ice fishing for bluegills.

Mississippi River Pool 15
Water level is around 9.3 feet at Rock Island and has been falling. The water temperature is around 33 degrees. Water clarity is good.

Tailwaters are open, but ramps may have ice on them. Water levels fluctuated greatly this week. Backwater ice fishing conditions are variable; use caution, especially in snow-covered sloughs. Reported backwater ice depths are 2 to 7 inches. Water is often on top of the ice. If you have any fishing questions, please contact the Bellevue Fisheries Station 563-872-4976.


Mississippi River Pool 16
Tailwater stage is 9.31 feet at Lock and Dam 15 in the Quad Cities and has been fluctuating. Flood stage is 15 feet at Lock and Dam 15. The Marquette Street boat ramp is open. A little bit of flow ice is coming down the channel. We have not received tailwater fishing reports for walleye and saugers. Unsafe ice conditions. Fluctuating river levels have made unsafe ice conditions, especially along the shorelines.

Mississippi River Pool 17
Tailwater stage is 9.19 feet at Lock and Dam 16 in Muscatine and has risen close to 1 foot this week. Flood stage is 15 feet at Lock and Dam 16. As of Jan. 30th, the ramp at Muscatine was open, but the dock has been pulled out. Some flow ice was coming down the channel, but the gates were still in. We have not received any tailwater fishing reports for walleye and sauger. Unsafe ice conditions. Rising river levels have created unsafe ice conditions, especially along the shorelines.

Mississippi River Pool 18
Tailwater stage is 10.49 feet at Lock and Dam 17 at New Boston and has been rising the past few days. Flood stage is 15 feet at Lock and Dam 17. The gates are out of the water. The boat ramp at Toolsboro is still iced in. Unsafe ice conditions. The rising river levels have created unsafe ice conditions, especially along the shorelines.

Mississippi River Pool 19
Tailwater stage is 8.7 feet at Lock and Dam 18 and has been rising the past few days. Flood stage is 10 feet at Lock and Dam 18. River stage is 13.97 feet at Burlington; flood stage is 15 feet. River stage is 527.51 feet at Fort Madison; flood stage is 528 feet.
Unsafe ice conditions. The rising river levels have created unsafe ice conditions.

Tailwater stages have been rising the past few days. Main channel water temperature is around 32 degrees. Unsafe ice conditions. River levels have been fluctuating, creating unsafe ice conditions especially along the shorelines. If you have questions on fishing Pools 16-19 contact the Fairport Fish Hatchery at 563-263-5062.

SOUTHEAST

Big Hollow Lake
Four inches of good ice and an inch of frozen slush on top in the boat ramp bay. Use caution; there are a few places that don’t make good ice.  Black Crappie – Slow: Picking up some nice crappies just around the corner from the boat ramp bay out in the main lake.

Lake Belva Deer
Finally got to a fairly uniform layer of 4+ inches of clear ice with some frozen slush ice on top. Bluegill – Slow: Find bluegill near the bottom.

Lake Darling
The ice is thickening with recent below freezing days. Black Crappie – Slow: While we just got good ice, the fish are acting like it’s getting into late ice.

Lake Darling District Farm Ponds
Most of the Park ponds have good ice on them, but a couple (#9 and 14) had open water spots last weekend. Bluegill – Fair: Pick the right pond at the right time and you can do pretty well on nice-sized bluegills.

Lost Grove Lake
It’s been cold enough that the thin spots are gone. Always drill test holes before you go out. Black Crappie – Fair: Anglers are picking up some nice eater-sized crappies, but it’s a couple here and a couple there type of action.

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)
The backwaters in Benton County have about 7 inches of ice. Bluegill – Fair. Black Crappie – Slow. Largemouth Bass – Slow.

Central Park Lake
Ice thickness 6 to 8 inches. Bluegill – Fair: Most fish are around 4-6 inches. Use jigs tipped with waxies or plastics. Largemouth Bass – Slow: Most fish are around 8-12 inches.

Central Park Pond
Ice thickness is 6 to 7 inches.

Coralville Reservoir
The lake is froze over, but the channel has poor ice; travel is not recommended. The protected areas out of the current and wind have 4 to 6 inches of ice. The lake is at normal winter pool of 683.4 feet.

Diamond Lake
Ice thickness is 2 to 6 inches; use extreme caution.

Green Castle Lake
No ice or fishing reports are available. Anglers have been on the ice.

Hannen Lake
Ice thickness is 5 to 6 inches.

Iowa Lake (Iowa Co.)
Ice is 9 inches at the boat ramp; out farther is 7 inches. The east end of the lake may have less ice; check ice conditions as you go.

Lake Macbride
Much of the lake has 5 to 8 inches of ice; areas of deeper water that froze up late may have poor ice. Use caution and check often if you stray from the usual areas. Bluegill –Fair: Use small jigs/waxies fished over brush or rock pile. Size is marginal at best. Black Crappie – Slow: The bite has been tough. Isolated brush or stumps has been best. Best bite is early and late in the day.

Otter Creek Lake
Ice thickness is 6 to 7 inches. Bluegill – Slow: Use jigs and waxies. Black Crappie – Slow: Try jigs and waxies.

Pleasant Creek Lake
The lake has 3 to 8 inches of ice, depending on where you are. The west end of the lake has the best ice; the east end may not be safe for travel. Bluegill – Fair: Some fish are being caught at the west end of the lake. Try around brush or jetties near shore. Yellow Perch – Slow: Some smaller fish are being caught.

Rodgers Park Lake
Ice thickness is 5 to 6 inches.

Sand Lake
No ice or fishing reports are available. Anglers have been on the ice.

Union Grove Lake
Most of the lake has 4 to 6 inches of ice. The aeration system has been turned on; there is open water at the south end of the lake.

Some lakes have safe ice, while others are extremely variable. Always check ice thickness and use caution when venturing out. For more information, contact the Lake Macbride Fisheries Station at 319-624-3615.


Albia Lower Reservoir
Anglers are catching some bluegill around the submerged structure. Use caution; ice thickness has been variable in the district.

Lake Miami
Few reports this week; anglers are just starting to get out now with better ice conditions. Ice conditions are variable.

Lake Sugem
Ice formed recently and is variable in thickness; use caution if venturing out. Geese are keeping areas open; be aware of these areas.

Lake Wapello
The lake iced up recently; use caution if venturing out. There is thin ice or open water out in front of the lodge area due to geese keeping the water open. Anglers are catching some bluegills.

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