Saturday Morning Fishing Report: Area Fishing is Slow to Fair

Given Iowa’s current State of Emergency, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources has made adjustments to protect the health and safety of state employees, the public, and the angling community.

All Spring Community Trout stockings and family events have been cancelled to minimize crowds in an effort to minimize the spread of COVID-19. Trout will still be stocked this spring at various locations, but the date and time will not be announced. All trout stream stockings will continue, but will be unannounced.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t go fishing — we encourage small fishing groups of 10 or fewer people per CDC recommendations for social distancing.

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
Courtesy dock is in.

Black Hawk Lake
Courtesy docks are in at all boat ramps. Anglers are catching panfish in Town Bay using crawlers and minnows. Yellow Perch – Fair: Anglers are catching perch in Town Bay. Some sorting is needed. Bluegill – Fair: Anglers are catching bluegill in Town Bay. Black Crappie – Fair. Largemouth Bass – Fair.

North Twin Lake
Courtesy docks are in at the south boat ramps.

Storm Lake (including Little Storm Lake)
Fishing has been productive. Storm Lake has a daily limit of 3 walleye and all 17- to 22-inch walleye must be released; and no more than one walleye longer than 22 inches may be taken per day. Black Crappie – Fair: Use crawlers and minnows on a small jig fished from shore and in the marina. Walleye – Fair: Walleye fishing has been productive. Anglers have had luck from shore and in the marina. Yellow Perch – Good: Anglers have been picking up good numbers of perch in the marina. Channel Catfish – Fair: Target catfish from shore using cut bait fished on the bottom.

For more information, contact the Black Hawk District office at 712-657-2638.


Clear Lake
The main lake is ice free. Channel Catfish – Fair: Use a dead chub or cut bait fished on the bottom where water is following into the lake. Walleye – Fair: Wader fishing is picking up. Try a jig and minnow in the east shore after sundown. Yellow Bass – Fair: Yellow bass are being caught from the jetties. Yellow Perch – Fair: Yellow perch are being caught from the jetties.

Crystal Lake
Crystal Lake is about 50 percent ice free. No fishing activity reported.

Lower Pine Lake
Lower Pine Lake is free of ice. The courtesy dock is in at the boat ramp. No fishing activity to report.

Winnebago River
The Winnebago River is still up from recent rains. Fish the current breaks below a dam. Northern Pike – Slow. Walleye – Slow.

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
Much of the lake ice has melted, allowing boats to navigate.

East Okoboji Lake
The Walleye Season is closed.
 Much of the lake ice has melted, but there is still enough ice intact to make boat navigation difficult, with only a couple boat ramps available. Bluegill – Fair. Black Crappie – Good. Yellow Bass – Fair.

Ingham Lake
Much of the lake ice has melted, allowing boats to navigate.

Lost Island Lake
Much of the lake ice has melted, allowing boats to navigate. Yellow Perch – Fair. Walleye – Fair.

Silver Lake (Dickinson)
Much of the lake ice has melted, allowing boats to navigate.

Spirit Lake
The Walleye Season is closed.
 Much of the lake ice has melted, but there is still enough ice intact to make boat navigation difficult, with only a couple boat ramps available. Bluegill – Fair: Black Crappie – Good.

Trumbull Lake
Much of the lake ice has melted, allowing boats to navigate. Yellow Perch – Fair: Size quality is outstanding with some sorting. Use jigs and minnows or wigglers in the main lake.

West Okoboji Lake
The Walleye Season is closed. 
Much of the lake ice has melted, but there is still enough ice intact to make boat navigation difficult with minimal boat ramps available. Bluegill – Fair.

The Walleye Season is closed for the Iowa Great Lakes. Ice conditions have deteriorated significantly, creating open water fishing opportunities at many smaller area lakes. Spirit, East and West Okoboji are still mostly covered with ice, but there are a few boat ramps that are clear allowing access to the water. For current conditions, call the Spirit Lake District Office at 712-336-1840.

NORTHEAST

Cedar River (above Nashua)
The Cedar River has stabilized and cleared. Conditions may change, depending on precipitation amounts north over the next few days. Walleye – Good: Anglers using crawlers and minnows are doing well below dams. Anglers are catching a good number of small walleye mixed with keeper-size. Channel Catfish – Good: With ice-out, find windward shores to fish. Use chunks of dead chubs or other dead fish.

Decorah District Streams
Gravel roads are soft as the frost goes out. Stream clarity is improving. Trout stream stocking start the week of April 1.All trout stream stockings will be unannounced due to COVID-19 precautions. Get some fresh air and explore a new stream. Hatchery grounds are open to the public, but feeders and other conveniences are temporarily closed for prevention precautions. Brook Trout – Good: Midges and small mayflies are hatching on warmer sunny days. Use flies imitating insects hatching. Brown Trout – Excellent: Off-color water will turn brown trout on. Strong midge hatches are occurring. Feathered spinner baits work well when fished through pools. Use a fly imitating a midge emerging from its exoskeleton. Rainbow Trout – Fair:: With muddy water, use a worm or cheese floated through a pool under a bobber. Use an ultra-light pole and reel for fun action.

Lake Hendricks
Ice fishing is not recommended. Ice conditions are deteriorating fast.

Lake Meyer
Ice fishing is not recommended. Ice has totally pulled away from the shore.

Turkey River (above Clermont)
Water levels are stabilizing and clarity is improving. Water temperatures are in the mid 40’s. Walleye – Good: Use worms or minnows fished below dams or other impoundments.

Upper Iowa River (above Decorah)
Water levels are stabilized and clarity is improving. Walleye – Good: Find fish below dams as water warms. Use worms and minnows; also try flashy spoons and spinners.

Volga Lake
Ice fishing is not recommended. Ice has pulled away from the shore. Water is pooled on top of the ice.

Area rivers have stabilized and clarity is improving. Precipitation forecast for this weekend may change conditions. Air temperatures will fall through the weekend. For current fishing information, please call the Chuck Gipp Decorah Fish Hatchery at 563-382-8324.


MISSISSIPPI RIVER

Mississippi River Pool 9
River level at Lansing has risen to 11.9 feet and another bump is expected early next week. Ramps are under water. New Albin Army Road is closed due to high water. Sauger – Fair: Try a jig tipped with a minnow in the tailwaters of the Lock & Dam. Walleye – Fair: Walleye are moving up to the dams; use jigs tipped with a minnow. Northern Pike – Fair: Northern pike are going on a feed frenzy to prepare for spawning. Fish the warmer shallows in backwaters. Yellow Perch – Excellent: Use a small piece of crawler fished crawler just off the bottom.

Mississippi River Pool 10
River level at Lyxnville has risen to 22 feet with another bump expected early next week. Ramps are under water. Sny Magill road is closed. Sauger – Fair: Try a jig tipped with a minnow in the tailwaters of the Lock & Dam. Walleye – Fair: Walleye are moving up to the dams; use jigs tipped with a minnow. Northern Pike – Fair: Northern pike are going on a feed frenzy to prepare for spawning. Fish the warmer shallows in backwaters.Yellow Perch – Excellent: Use a small piece of crawler fished just off the bottom.

Mississippi River Pool 11
River level at Guttenberg has risen another foot to 13.7 feet and is expected to bump up again early week. Ramps are under water due to flooding. Sauger – Fair: Try a jig tipped with a minnow in the tailwaters of the Lock & Dam. Walleye – Fair: Walleye are moving up to the dams; use jigs tipped with a minnow. Northern Pike – Fair: Northern pike are going on a feed frenzy to prepare for spawning. Fish the warmer shallows in backwaters. Yellow Perch – Good: Use a small piece of crawler fished just off the bottom.

Upper Mississippi River levels are stabilizing, but remain high. Ice has gone out quickly, with rising flood waters. Locks are wide open. Anglers are open water fishing at the dams; expect high water, debris and swift current. Water temperature is near 40 degrees.


Mississippi River Pool 12
The water level is 14.3 feet at the Dubuque Lock and Dam and 16.2 feet at the RR bridge. River levels at Dubuque are expected to hold steady near action flood stages. The water temperature is 43 degrees. Water clarity is still fair. Sauger – Good: It was a good spring bite with anglers reporting all sizes of sauger being taken. In high water, anglers are concentrating near shores away from the strongest currents. Walleye – Good: Lots of nice slot walleyes are still being caught; the fishery looks to be healthy. Floating debris is starting to be an issue at times with anglers pulling crankbaits. Northern Pike – Good: Some northern pike are being taken using large spinners and cut bait in backwater areas. Pike are about to spawn in the Mississippi River, but may need a shot of warm weather.

Mississippi River Pool 13
Water level is 14.7 feet at the Bellevue Lock and Dam and is steady. The water temperature is 43 degrees. Water clarity is fair. The DNR boat ramp at Bellevue is mostly flooded. Sauger – Good: Anglers are still reporting all sizes of sauger. Use a jig and minnow fished near the banks out of the strongest current. Walleye – Good: Lots of nice slot walleyes reported this spring; the fishery looks to be healthy. Floating debris is starting to be an issue at times with anglers pulling crankbaits. Paddlefish – Slow: High water levels are impacting paddlefish snagging in the strong currents. See page 11 of the Iowa Fishing Regulations for paddlefish regulations. Yellow Perch – Good: Some yellow perch are being reported in the tailwaters and in flooded backwater near Sabula. Most anglers are using a nightcrawler for bait.

Mississippi River Pool 14
The water level is 14.7 feet at the Fulton Lock and Dam, 16.5 feet at Camanche and 10.5 feet at LeClaire. Water temperature is around 44 degrees. River levels are stabilizing at action flood stages. Sauger – Fair:Good numbers of sauger were reported this spring, with some especially impressive sized fish caught. With high water, anglers are concentrating along the shores away from the strongest currents. Paddlefish – Slow: Strong current flow is limiting snagging of paddlefish. See page 11 of the Iowa Fishing Regulations for paddlefish regulations. Walleye – Good: Nice slot walleyes are still being caught ; the fishery looks to be very healthy. Floating debris is starting to impact anglers pulling crankbaits. Yellow Perch – Fair: Some 8 to 9 inch yellow perch are being taken by walleye anglers in the tailwaters or angler fishing along flooded backwater edges.

Mississippi River Pool 15
Water level is around 15.3 feet at Rock Island and is rising. The water temperature is around 44 degrees. Water is stained.

Flooding has returned, but water levels appear to be stabilizing for now. Part of the district will experience minor flooding. If you have any fishing questions, please contact the Bellevue Fisheries Station 563-872-4976.


Mississippi River Pool 16
Tailwater stage is 15.31 feet at Lock and Dam 15 in the Quad Cities and is forecast to stay fairly steady the next few days then start to fall by next week. Forecasts may change with predicted rain. Flood stage is 15 feet at Lock and Dam 15. Docks have been pulled out of the water at the Marquette St boat ramp. Clark’s Ferry landing is closed. We have not received any fishing report information for this pool.

Mississippi River Pool 17
Tailwater stage is 14.99 feet at Lock and Dam 16 in Muscatine and is forecast to stay steady the next few days. Flood stage is 15 feet at Lock and Dam 16. River stage is 16.58 feet at Muscatine. Flood stage is 16 feet at Muscatine. The ramp at Big Timber and Kilpeck are closed. We have not received any fishing report information for this pool.

Mississippi River Pool 18
Tailwater stage is 16.38 feet at Lock and Dam 17 at New Boston and is forecast to stay steady the next few days. The river stage forecast may change with predicted rain. Flood stage is 15 feet at Lock and Dam 17. River stage is 15.53 feet at Keithsburg; flood stage is 14 feet. The Toolsboro ramp is closed due to high water. The Hawkeye Dolbee access will have water over it, We have not received any tailwater fishing reports for this pool this week.

Mississippi River Pool 19
Tailwater stage is 12.15 feet at Lock and Dam 18 and is rising. Tailwater stage is forecast to reach 12.3 feet by Thursday. Flood stage is 10 feet at Lock and Dam 18. River stage is 16.87 feet at Burlington; flood stage is 15 feet. River stage Madison is 528.99 feet at Fort; flood stage is 528 feet. We have not received any fishing reports or ramp condition reports for this pool.

River stages are at or above flood stage. Current forecasts have the river staying steady the next few days, then starting to drop around April 1st. Forecasts may change with predicted rain. Main channel water temperature is around 41 degrees. Some boat ramps have closed due to the high water. If you have questions on fishing Pools 16-19 contact the Fairport Fish Hatchery at 563-263-5062.

SOUTHEAST

Big Hollow Lake
Open water. The docks are in at the boat ramps. Largemouth Bass – Fair: A few boats are getting out on sunny days and picking up a few bass. Slow work soft plastic around the flooded trees in the bright sunshine.

Lake Belva Deer
Water temperature is around 44 degrees. Water is fairly clear. Largemouth Bass – Slow: A good place to try for early season bass is along the north side shorelines at the upper end of the lake where there is a rocky bottom.

Lake Darling
Open water. Warm nights and the rain have raised the water temperature to 46 degrees. Docks at ramps are not in yet. Channel Catfish – No Report: Ice-out is a good time to try for catfish. Use cut bait along the rocks with the wind blowing into them. Largemouth Bass – Fair: No Report: Very little angler activity last week.

Lost Grove Lake
Gates at the ramp by the dam are still closed. Boat docks at the ramps won’t be in for a while yet. Channel Catfish – Fair: If you find a sunny day, work the shoreline where the wind is blowing in with cut bait. Largemouth Bass – Fair: Work the shorelines where the sun is warming up the shallows with soft plastics worked slowly.

Skunk River (Rose Hill to Coppock)
The Skunk River is running about 3/4 bank full because of the rains and the snow melt from last weekend’s snow.

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


Coralville Reservoir
The Corps has been lowering the lake to spring pool. As of March 26, the lake level is 680 feet. It is predicted to reach spring pool of 679.5 feet next week. Boating is not recommended for most above Lake Macbride ramp at spring pool. Channel Catfish – Fair: Use cut bait around the 380/965 bridges. Shallow windblown bays can also be good.

Diamond Lake
The dock/kayak launch are in. Black Crappie – Slow: A few fish have been caught off the jetties. Try small jigs tipped with worms or waxworms.

Lake Macbride
Surface temperatures are in the low 40’s. The west dock at the main ramp has been put in and the dock in the bay of the four lane sailboat ramp is always in. The rest of the docks will be put in once more park staff is available. Black Crappie – Slow: A few fish are being caught along the causeway, especially on warmer days. Most fish are suspended in 10-20 of water over trees and stumps. Channel Catfish – Slow: Some fish have been caught on dead shad in the upper ends of the lake. Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) – Slow: Fish windblown banks where shad may be found. Walleye – Slow: A few smaller males are being caught shallow at close to dark. Most fish are out deeper.

Liberty Centre Pond
2000 trout were stocked in this North Liberty Pond. You need a valid fishing license and pay the trout fee to fish for or possess trout. Rainbow Trout – Good: Try small jigs, spinners, spoons, scented baits or worms.

Pleasant Creek Lake
Some anglers have been out. No fishing reports are available. The docks are in.

Prairie Park Fishery
2000 trout were stocked here. You need a valid fishing license and pay the trout fee to fish for or possess trout. Rainbow Trout – Good: Try small jigs, spinners, spoons, scented baits or worms.

Fishing reports are scarce due to lack of staff in most areas. For more information, contact the Lake Macbride Fisheries Station at 319-624-3615.


Lake Miami
Anglers are catching some largemouth bass along the shore.

Lake Sugema
Use nightcrawlers to catch catfish.

Lake Wapello
Catch catfish with nightcrawlers or cut bait.

Ottumwa Park Pond South (Trout Pond)
The trout event for Saturday, March 28th has been cancelled due to concerns of COVID-19. Trout will still be stocked this spring, but it will be unannounced to reduce crowd size. You need a valid fishing license and pay the trout fee to fish for or possess trout.

Rathbun Reservoir
The current lake level is 905 msl. Normal operating elevation is 904.0 msl. Lake Rathbun has zebra mussels, so make sure to properly drain, clean, and dry equipment before transporting to another water body. Channel Catfish – Good: Use nightcrawlers on windblown shores.

Red Haw Lake
Anglers are catching largemouth bass along the shore. The docks have been put in.

The district includes Appanoose, Davis, Lucas, Mahaska, Monroe, Wapello, Wayne and Van Buren counties. Contact the Rathbun Fish Hatchery at 641-647-2406 with questions about fishing in south central Iowa.

SOUTHWEST

Big Creek Lake
Walleye – Slow: Catch walleyes when water temperatures warm into the mid to upper 40s in early April. Water temperature is only 42 degrees. Use jigs tipped with plastics or live minnows in the evenings along rocky shores. Target the face of the dam, the first few hundred yards of the canal leading to the spillway and the East Boat ramp shore.

Boone District Farm Ponds
Black Crappie – Fair: Many of the community fishing ponds spread throughout the Des Moines Metro will offer a good early season crappie, bluegill and bass bite; they warm faster than the larger lakes. Use live bait under floats or slowly retrieve twister tail and swimbaits. If a pond has any rock shore, try there first. Fish Local signs mark which ponds are open to public fishing.

Des Moines River (Saylorville to Red Rock)
Walleye – Fair: March through April is a good time to target walleye and northern pike below the dams and mouths of creeks where clearer water is coming in. Use jigs tipped with twister tails, shad, and shiner imitating swimbaits or live minnows.

Lake Petocka
Rainbow Trout – Good: Catch trout left from the winter stocking with in-line spinners, small jigs with twister tails or swimbaits, or live bait under a bobber. You need a valid fishing license and pay the trout fee to fish for or possess trout.

Terra Lake
Trout were stocked on March 23rd. Rainbow Trout – Good: Use in-line spinners, small jigs with twister tails or swimbaits, or live bait under a bobber. You need a valid fishing license and pay the trout fee to fish for or possess trout.

For more information on Central Iowa lakes and rivers, call Ben Dodd at 641-891-3795 or Andy Otting at 515-204-5885.


Greenfield Lake
Greenfield is a good lake to catch ice-out catfish. It also gives anglers a chance to catch a trophy-size channel catfish. Channel Catfish – No Report: Fish shad sides on the wind-blown shore, especially in the upper end of the lake where water warms sooner.

Lake Anita
Lake Anita can provide good fishing this time of year. Fish will move into the upper end of the lake as water temperatures warm. Black Crappie – Slow: Early crappie fishing can be very good on warm sunny days behind the pontoon boats. Cast a minnow two feet under a bobber with a slow retrieve.

Lake Manawa
It’s time to target channel catfish at Lake Manawa. Crappies are biting in the canals. Channel Catfish – Fair: Fish the windblown shores with shad sides or cut bait to catch channel catfish of all sizes. Black Crappie – Good: Anglers are having the best success in the south end of the canals. Cast a minnow 2 feet under a bobber with a slow retrieve.

For more information on lakes in the Southwest District call the Cold Springs office at 712-769-2587.


Lake Icaria
Docks are back in the lake. No fishing report available.

Little River Watershed Lake
Dock is in at the main ramp. No fishing report available.

Three Mile Lake
Walleye – Fair: Use jigs tipped with live bait fished near main lake points or crankbaits fished along windblown rocky shores for walleyes up to 22 inches.

Twelve Mile Creek Lake
Dock is in at the main ramp. Walleye – Fair: Use jigs tipped with live bait fished near main lake points or crankbaits fished along windblown rocky shores for walleyes up to 26 inches. Black Crappie – Slow: A few anglers are catching crappies up to 11 inches with live bait fished along cedar tree brush piles. Largemouth Bass – Fair: Use crankbaits fished along windblown shores for largemouth bass up to 20 inches.

Lakes are 100% ice free. Water temperature in most Mount Ayr district lakes is in the  upper 40’s. For more information, contact the Mount Ayr Fisheries office at 641-464-3108.

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