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Saturday Morning Fishing Report: Wintry Weather May Hamper Slow to Fair Ice Fishing

This weekend will feature an interesting variety of wintry weather. Snow will grow in intensity during the day and into the evening Saturday while Sunday will be mostly cloudy in most locations recovering to highs in the mid 20’s. Anglers will have to deal with a potential of 1 to 4 inches of new snow covering the ice on area lakes and rivers. Use caution when venturing out on lakes and look at the reports below for a complete rundown on the ice thickness of the lake or river you want to go out on. Remember to always have someone with you or take all necessary safety precautions before venturing out. No ice is safe.

Stay safe when fishing with these tips:

  • Try a new fishing spot — if your regular fishing location is popular and busy, try out a new one that is not so crowded.
  • Once you find your spot, keep at least 6 feet of distance between you and other groups.
  • Stick with your immediate family, but keep groups to fewer than 10 people.
  • Bring lures from home instead of buying bait to minimize your interaction with other people.
  • Bring hand sanitizer and wash your hands often.
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
Ice thickness at the boat ramp is 6 inches of good ice. Ice may be thinner near shore.

Bacon Creek Lake
Roughly 6 inches of good ice under several inches of poor ice in most areas. Conditions are variable; check ice thickness often. Reports of open water and thinner areas in the southern part of the lake and along shore in some places. Rainbow Trout – Fair: The DNR stocked about 1500 rainbow trout on Jan. 20. Try a small hook with a piece of nightcrawler or corn fished under a bobber tube jigs or a small spinner. You need a valid fishing license and pay the trout fee to fish for or possess trout. Children age 15 or younger can fish for trout with a properly licensed adult, but they must limit their catch to one daily limit (5 trout). The child can purchase a trout fee which will allow them to catch their own limit.

Black Hawk Lake
Ice thickness is 8-9 inches in front of the Ice House Point boat ramp. Ice in the east basin is more variable and may have thinner areas. Most angling activity has been near the Ice House Point boat ramp and near the Gunshot Hill shoreline. Ice is thinner in the inlet bridge bay. Black Crappie – Fair: Try waxworms and small live minnows fished rock pile just off the shoreline from Gunshot Hill. Sorting is needed;  8-10 inch fish reported. Yellow Perch – Fair: Most have been picked up in the southwest portion of the lake between Provost Point and Ice House Point in 3-7 feet of water. You may have to move to find fish. Use waxworms or live minnows on a small jig. Most fish are 6- to 10-inches with some 11- to 12-inches. Walleye – Fair: Anglers have picked up occasional walleyes with jigging spoons and minnow heads. Low light conditions are more productive. Bluegill – Fair: Try a waxworm on a small jig fished in 3-6 feet of water. Sorting is needed with some fish up to 8-inches.

Black Hawk Pits
Ice thickness near the boat ramp is 6 inches. Ice conditions are variable; use caution and check ice thickness often. Ice has degraded along shore in some areas due to recent precipitation.

Brushy Creek Lake
Ice is variable; areas with fishing activity have roughly 6-7 inches of ice in most places. Reports of possible open water and thinner ice near the beach at the southwest part of the lake. Expect thinner ice near the spillway and near any inflows in the arms. Anglers have been out on foot at the north end, mid-lake and near the south end boat ramp. Use caution and check ice thickness often. Yellow Perch – Good: Try minnows and waxworms fished in 10-20 feet of water; 10- to 12-inch keepers with lots of sorting. Black Crappie – Fair: Anglers have had luck in 10-20 feet of water. Walleye – Fair: Try a jigging spoon with a small minnow or minnow head fished in the north end of the lake.

Crawford Creek Impoundment|
Anglers have been out foot traffic only. Use caution; conditions are variable with several inches of poor ice over the clear ice. There is thin ice and open water off the boat ramp and along shore in some areas. Use a spud bar to check ice as you venture out. Ice cleats are recommended with current ice surface conditions. Black Crappie – Fair: Pick up 7- to 10-inch fish in the main basin. Use live minnows fished about a foot off the bottom. Bluegill – Fair: Pick up 7- to 9- inch bluegills with waxworms in the main basin in 15-20 feet of water.

Moorehead Park Pond
Pockets of open water and thin ice along shore in some areas and near the dam. Use caution and check ice thickness often as you make your way out. Bluegill – Fair: Anglers are catching keeper-sized bluegill. Black Crappie – Fair: Catch crappie up to 10- to 12-inches.

North Twin Lake
Ice remains variable; use caution and check ice thickness often if you venture out. Anglers have been out; foot traffic only at this time. Anglers have had luck with panfish  while fishing the southwest corner of the lake and near the narrows in front the state park beach. Black Crappie – Fair.

Storm Lake (incl Little Storm Lake)
Ice conditions remain variable across the lake. Some locations have around 8 inches of ice with some thinner areas mid-lake and along shore. Reports of heaves and thinner ice near the big island. Use caution and check ice thickness often. Yellow Perch – Fair: Use waxworms and minnows near the dredge cuts along the west side of the lake. Walleye – Fair: Try jigging spoons with a minnow during low light conditions near the dredge cuts in the west end. Black Crappie – Fair: Use a waxworm or minnow on a small jigging spoon in 8-10 feet of water.

Ice thickness in district lakes and ponds is 5 -10 inches with the occasional pocket of open water, seam, or thin ice in the main basins. For more information, contact the Black Hawk District office at 712-657-2638.


Blue Pit
Rainbow Trout – Excellent: Trout are biting on a variety of baits. You need a valid fishing license and pay the trout fee to fish for or possess trout. The daily bag limit is 5.

Clear Lake
Ice thickness is 4 to 10 inches. Avoid the open water area by the island, the channel between the little lake, and the main lake; use extreme caution if you fish within the aeration holes boundary. Yellow Bass – Fair: Yellows are biting on a variety of baits. Use your electronics to find fish; stay mobile. Best bite is a half hour before sunset. Yellow Perch – Excellent: Try near vegetation in 2 to 6 feet of water. Use a jigging spoon and minnow to catch the bigger fish. Walleye – Slow: Best bite is near sunset. Black Crappie – Slow. Bluegill – Slow: Try a small jig in the open areas near the rushes.

Crystal Lake
Ice thickness is 6 to 10 inches. Black Crappie – Fair: Use a jig and small minnow fished along the edge of the dredge cut. Yellow Perch – Slow. Northern Pike – Slow.

Lake Cornelia
Ice thickness is 6 to 10 inches. Yellow Perch – Good: Anglers are catching lots of 3- to 7-inch fish. Yellow Bass – Fair: Catch 5- to 8-inch yellows on small jigs tipped with a waxworm. Black Crappie – Slow. Bluegill – Slow.

Lake Smith
Ice thickness is 8 to 12 inches.

Lower Pine Lake
Ice thickness is 7 inches off the boat ramp. Waterfowl have an area of water open to the northwest of the island.

Rice Lake
Ice thickness varies from 6 to 10 inches. Yellow Perch – Fair: Use jigs tipped with bait.

Silver Lake (Worth)
Ice thickness is 6 to 10 inches. Bluegill – Fair: Try a small jig tipped with red spikes near vegetation.

Upper Pine Lake
Ice thickness is 7 inches off the boat ramp. Black Crappie – Fair: Look for suspended fish in the deeper water. Best bite is early morning and late afternoon. Bluegill – Slow. Yellow Perch – 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
Caution: Winter aeration system is currently in use. Ice thickness is around 12.5 inches.

Dog Creek (Lake)
Fishing has been fair to good.

East Okoboji Lake
Caution: Snowmobile races will be ongoing Jan. 23-24 around the lake. The walleye season is openIce conditions vary across the lake with average of around 11 inches.  Bluegill – Good: Easily catch lots of bluegill; a lot of sorting may be needed with many 7.5- to 9-inch fish. Yellow Perch – Fair. Black Crappie – Fair.

Ingham Lake
Caution: Winter aeration system is currently in use. Ice thickness is around 8 inches with two major open holes caused by geese and the lake aeration unit. Yellow Perch – Fair: Anglers are catching larger yellow perch, but with low frequency.

Lake Pahoja
Bluegill – Fair: Use small jigs tipped with waxworms. Black Crappie – Fair: Try small jigs tipped with waxworms.

Lost Island Lake
Caution: Winter aeration system is currently running on the north east side near the nature center. Ice thickness is 10-13 inches. A good amount of fishing pressure has been seen recently. Yellow Perch – Good. Walleye – Fair.

Minnewashta Lake
Bluegill – Good: Lots of 4- to 6-inch fish are being caught. Black Crappie – Good.

Silver Lake (Dickinson)
Caution: Winter aeration system is currently in use. Ice conditions are around 10 inches, but can be variable. Use caution; a side-by-side went through the ice the last week of December. Walleye – Fair.

Spirit Lake
The walleye season is open. Ice conditions vary across the lake with 10-13 inches. Yellow Perch – Fair: Perch fishing has been tough, but once you find them, many quality 9- to 10.5-inchers have been caught. Walleye – Fair: Walleye bite has been tough, but anglers have been able to limit out.

Trumbull Lake
Ice thickness is around 11 inches with an open hole on the north end caused by geese.

West Okoboji Lake
The walleye season is open. Ice thickness varies from 9-11.5 inches. Caution: a handful of small holes have been opening up lately across the lake. Panfishing has been spotty in many of the bays where many anglers have been able to sight fish in around 10 feet of water along weed lines. Yellow Perch – Fair. Bluegill – Good.

Iowa Great Lakes are fully iced up with conditions ranging from 10-12 inches. Due to inconsistent freezing temperatures lately, many lakes may have irregular ice conditions as well as open holes. The use of full sized vehicles is not recommended. Remember to bring a form of ice picks, a form of flotation, a friend, and be smart out on the ice! A blizzard advisory is in affect until the end of Friday. This weekend temperatures should start to drop with highs in the upper teens and low 20s. This will hopefully create more consistent, safe ice conditions throughout the great lakes area. For current conditions, call the Spirit Lake District Office at 712-336-1840.

NORTHEAST

Alice Wyth Lake
Good reports of anglers catching crappie on Alice Wyth Lake in George Wyth State Park. Black Crappie – Fair: Try fishing a dead stick with a minnow on one rod and jigging an ice jig tipped with a waxworm or spike. Electronics are very helpful to find suspended crappie.

Casey Lake (aka Hickory Hills Lake)
Ice thickness is around 8 inches over most of lake. Anglers are catching bluegill and crappie. Bluegill – Good: Try an ice jig tipped with a waxworm fished just off of the bottom. Black Crappie – Fair: Use a jig tipped with a minnow around sunken structure.

Cedar River (Nashua to La Porte City)
There have been good reports of anglers catching a few walleye on the Cedar River, concentrate on the deeper overwintering holes. Walleye – Good: Use a jig and plastic tipped with a minnow slowly retrieved off of the river bottom; concentrate on the deeper overwintering holes.

George Wyth Lake
Use extreme caution; reports of thin ice on areas of the lake with the recent warmer weather. Reports of anglers catching panfish and northern pike. Black Crappie – Fair: Try fishing a dead stick with a minnow on one rod and jigging an ice jig tipped with a waxworm or spike. Electronics are very helpful to find suspended crappie. Bluegill – Fair: Use an ice jig tipped with a waxworm fished just off of the bottom. Northern Pike – Good: Anglers are catching quality northern pike on tip-up rigs. Try a live chub or shiner fished just off of the bottom.

Manchester District Streams
All area Manchester trout streams are in excellent condition and hold vast populations of brown trout. Brown Trout – Good: Spring Branch Creek is a favorite amongst anglers for quality and trophy-sized brown trout.

Martens Lake
Anglers are catching panfish; most activity is on the north end of the marsh as anglers cross the reservoir for access. Black Crappie – Fair: Try fishing a jig tipped with a minnow fished around sunken structure.

North Prairie Lake
Black Crappie – Fair: Try fishing a dead stick with a minnow on one rod and jigging an ice jig tipped with a waxworm or spike. Electronics are very helpful to find suspended crappie. Bluegill – Fair: Use an ice jig tipped with a waxworm fished just off of the bottom.

South Prairie Lake
Bluegill – Fair: Try an ice jig tipped with a waxworm fished just off of the bottom.

Ice thickness on most area lakes has set up well; use extreme caution with the milder winter. Lakes in and around the Cedar Falls/Waterloo area are producing catches of bluegill and crappie. For further information contact your area bait and tackle shops. All field stations and fish hatcheries remain closed. Call the Manchester Hatchery at 563-927-3276 for more information.

MISSISSIPPI RIVER

Mississippi River Pool 9
Water level is 8.3 feet at Lansing. Use caution on snow covered ice in areas that may have current as conditions can vary. Water temperature is 33 degrees. Ice thickness is 6-8 inches. Yellow Perch – Fair: Look for perch hanging above vegetation from 4 to 12 feet of water with jig and a minnow. Bluegill – Fair: Use jigs tipped with mousies in shallow backwaters. Northern Pike – Good: Try tip-ups baited with a minnow or shiners in shallow backwater lakes. Largemouth Bass – Fair: Use tip-ups baited with minnows in backwaters. Black Crappie – Fair: Crappie bite has improved in backwater dredge cuts.

Mississippi River Pool 10
Lynxville water level is 14.7 feet. Use caution on snow covered ice in areas that may have current as conditions can vary. Water temperature is 33 degrees. Ice thickness is 6-8 inches. Bussey Lake bite has been fair. Anglers are able to cross Johnson Slough in the Sny Magill area; many are fishing in Norwegian Lake. Sauger – Slow: Try vertical jigging with jigs in tailwaters of the Lock and Dam. Walleye – Slow: Use jigging spoons or a jig tipped with a minnow in tailwaters of Lock and Dams. Yellow Perch – Fair: Look for perch hanging above vegetation from 4 to 12 feet of water with jig and a minnow. Bluegill – Good: Use jigs tipped with mousies in shallow backwaters. Northern Pike – Good: Try tip-ups baited with a minnow or shiners in shallow backwater lakes. Largemouth Bass – Fair: Use tip-ups baited with minnows in backwaters. Black Crappie – Fair: Crappie bite has improved in backwater dredge cuts.

Mississippi River Pool 11
Water level at Guttenberg has fallen to 6.6 feet. Use caution on snow covered ice in areas that may have current as conditions can vary. Ice thickness is 6-8 inches. Ice anglers are catching panfish at Mud Lake. Use caution and avoid the creek area. Tailwater fishing is still accessible by both boat ramps in Guttenberg. Sauger – Slow: Try vertical jigging with jigs in tailwaters of the Lock and Dam. Walleye – Slow: Use jigging spoons or a jig tipped with a minnow in tailwaters of Lock and Dams. Yellow Perch – Fair: Look for perch hanging above vegetation from 4 to 12 feet of water with jig and a minnow. Bluegill – Good: Use jigs tipped with mousies in shallow backwaters. Northern Pike – Good: Try tip-ups baited with a minnow or shiners in shallow backwater lakes. Largemouth Bass – Fair: Reports of largemouth biting on tip-ups baited with minnows in backwaters. Black Crappie – Fair: Crappie bite has improved in backwater dredge cuts.

The bite has picked up with warmer weather. Backwater ice varies from 6-8 inches. Areas with current can have unsafe ice with fluctuating river levels. Walleye slot length limits now apply on the entire Mississippi River. All walleyes less than 15 inches long and between 20-27 inches long must be released immediately. Only one walleye greater than 27 inches can be kept. Combined walleye/sauger daily harvest limit of 6 and possession of 12.


Mississippi River Pool 12
Water level is expected to hold steady this week. Water levels are 6.5 feet at the Lock and Dam and 9.0 feet at the RR bridge. The water temperature is around 34 degrees. Water clarity is good. Ice fishing is underway in most of the usual locations; use caution on areas that have current flow. Bluegill – Fair: Lots of small bluegills reported; use waxworms and tungsten jigs. Northern Pike – Good: Some nice pike have been reported this ice fishing from people using minnows on tip-ups.

Mississippi River Pool 13
The water level is 7.2 feet at the Bellevue Lock and Dam and is holding steady. Water temperature is around 34 degrees. Water clarity is good. Launching into the tailwater at Bellevue is possible, but ice may need to be chipped or moved to launch. Walleye – Good: Most walleye and sauger angling is near the Lock and Dam. Jig and minnow is commonly used this time of year. The City of Bellevue ramp can be accessed, but ice chunks may need to be moved or chipped out of the way. Bluegill – Fair: Lots of small bluegills reported; use waxworms and tungsten jigs. Largemouth Bass – Good: Anglers are catching lots with tip-ups and minnows. Most ice fishing pressure is around the Sabula backwaters.

Mississippi River Pool 14
Water level at the Fulton Lock and Dam is holding steady at 5.9 feet, 9.9 feet at Camanche and 5.0 feet at LeClaire. Water temperature is around 34 degrees. Water clarity is good. Walleye – Good: Most walleye and sauger angling is near the Lock and Dam in 15 to 30 feet of water. Jig and minnow is commonly used this time of year. Access to the tailwater from area ramps is somewhat difficult with ice reported at most ramp locations. Bluegill – Fair: Lots of small bluegills reported; use waxworms and tungsten jigs. Most anglers are fishing at Rock Creek and Cattail Slough.

Mississippi River Pool 15
Water level is 6.3 feet at Rock Island and is holding steady. The water temperature is near 34 degrees. Water clarity is good.

Water temperature in the main channel is near freezing and water level is stable to receding throughout the district. Tailwater walleye fishing is underway, but access to the tailwaters is somewhat difficult with ramps mainly iced in. If you have any fishing questions, please contact the Bellevue Fisheries Station 563-880-8781.


Mississippi River Pool 16
Tailwater stage is 6.27 feet at Lock and Dam 15 in the Quad Cities and is forecast to stay fairly steady. The Marquette Street boat ramp is free of ice. Ramp conditions may change with cold temperatures in the forecast. Reports of 5-6 inches of ice in Sunset Marina. Use caution on the ice; check ice thickness often as you move. Ice conditions may change with recent warm temperatures and rain in the forecast. Bluegill – Good: Some bluegills are being caught in Sunset Marina on ice jigs and waxworms. Black Crappie – Fair: Some crappies are being caught in Sunset Marina.

Mississippi River Pool 17
Tailwater stage is 4.86 feet at Lock and Dam 16 in Muscatine and is forecast to stay steady. The ramp at Muscatine is free of ice. Some boats have been using the ramp this week. Ramps may freeze up with cold temperatures in the forecast. Big Timber has 5-6 inches of ice out from the parking lot. Ice conditions can be variable in Big Timber; check ice thickness often as you move. The road into Big Timber is snow and ice covered.  Walleye – No Report: We have not received any tailwater fishing reports this week.

Mississippi River Pool 18
Tailwater stage is 5.22 feet at Lock and Dam 17 at New Boston and is forecast to stay fairly steady. The Toolsboro road and ramp are snow and ice covered. We have not received any ice fishing or ice conditions reports for this pool.

Mississippi River Pool 19
Tailwater stage is 2.78 feet at Lock and Dam 18 and is forecast to stay fairly steady. River stage is 8.93 feet at Burlington. River stage is 525.48 feet at Ft. Madison. We have not received any ice fishing or ice condition reports for this pool. We have not received any tailwater reports or reports on boat ramp conditions for this pool.

Tailwater stages have been fairly steady the past few days. Main channel water temperature is 32 degrees. Water clarity is fair. Use caution out on the ice; check ice thickness often as you move. If you have questions on fishing Pools 16-19 contact the Fairport Fish Hatchery at 563-263-5062.

SOUTHEAST

Big Hollow Lake
Ice fishing not recommended on the main lake. Ice thickness at the boat ramp bay is about 4-5 inches. Ice thickness is thinner on the main body of the lake and highly variable.

Lake Belva Deer
Ice fishing not recommended. Haven’t seen anybody out on the ice for the last couple of days. Ice in the campground arm is the thickest (~4 inches); use extreme caution anywhere else on the lake.

Lake Darling
Ice fishing not recommended. Very few anglers have been out on the ice this week; none have been out more than about 25 yards from shore. The middle of the lake’s ice remains thin with standing water during the middle of the day on warm days.

Lost Grove Lake
Above the causeway is the best ice; the upper half of the main lake has improved to about 5 inches of ice. Use extreme caution if you go down lake off the middle (red barn) boat ramp. Black Crappie – Fair: Best bite is later in the afternoon into the night in about 12-14 feet of water or in 16-18 feet farther down the lake. Bluegill – Fair: Bite is getting a little more hit and miss as we get farther along in the season. Best bite is early morning or late afternoon down about 14 to 16 feet in the flooded timber.

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


Cedar River (La Porte City to Cedar Rapids)
The backwaters near Vinton have about 7 inches of ice. Bluegill – Fair: Most fish are smaller. Black Crappie – Fair: Most fish are smaller. Northern Pike – Fair: Angles are catching a few fish on tip-ups.

Central Park Lake
Ice thickness is 3-8 inches. Bluegill – Slow: Catch 4- to 6.5-inch fish on the bottom.. Largemouth Bass – Slow: Fish are 10- to 13- inches; no legal-sized fish are available yet.

Central Park Pond
Ice thickness is 4-8 inches. Fish are being caught on the bottom. Bluegill – Slow. Largemouth Bass – Slow.

Coralville Reservoir
The lake is at winter pool of 683.3 feet and is frozen over with variable ice.

Diamond Lake
The lake has about 2 to 6 inches of ice under the snow. Use caution if venturing out; check ice thickness often. Bluegill – Fair. Black Crappie – Fair: Most fish are 7- to 9-inches.

Green Castle Lake
Ice thickness is 4 to 6 inches. Bluegill – Fair: Most fish are small. Yellow Perch – Fair: Most fish are small. Black Crappie – Fair: A few nice fish were reported.

Hannen Lake
Ice thickness is about 6 inches in most areas, with less in the center of the lake. No fishing reports are available.

Iowa Lake (Iowa Co.)
Ice thickness is 6 inches on the edges and closer to 3 inches on the main lake. Use caution if venturing out; check ice thickness often. Bluegill – Fair: Some decent fish were caught this week. Black Crappie – Fair.

Lake Macbride
Ice thickness is 5-6 inches on the edges and protected areas; deeper areas may only have 2-3 inches. Use caution if venturing out; check ice thickness often. Bluegill – Fair: Try over rock piles or brush piles. Most fish are less than 7 inches. Black Crappie – Slow: Use jigs or minnows around brush or stumps.

Otter Creek Lake
Ice thickness is 6-8 inches. Bluegill – Good. Black Crappie – Fair. Yellow Bass – Fair.

Pleasant Creek Lake
The west end of the lake has up to 6 inches of ice; the main lake is more variable and potentially unsafe. Bluegill – Fair: Try around brush in coves. Most fish are smaller, but some are up to 7- to 8-inches. Black Crappie – Slow: A few around 9-inch fish have been caught around brush.

Rodgers Park Lake
Ice thickness is 9 to 10 inches. Most activity has been towards the north end of the lake around brush. Bluegill – Fair: Fish are reported as 5- to 8-inches. Black Crappie – Fair: Fish are reported as 10- to 12-inches.

Sand Lake
This is the quarry in Marshalltown. Ice thickness is up to 6 inches, but is variable. Use caution and check ice thickness often. You need a valid fishing license and pay the trout fee to fish for or possess trout. Rainbow Trout – Fair. Bluegill – Fair: Most fish are smaller. Largemouth Bass – Slow: A few nice bass have been caught this week.

Union Grove Lake
Ice thickness is 5 to 7 inches. The aeration system was turned on Jan. 13; there is open water on the southwest corner of the lake. Bluegill – Fair: Catch bluegill up to 8 inches. Most activity has been around the west ramp jetties and over the deeper water below the cabins.

Some areas have unsafe ice hidden under the snow. Use caution if venturing out; check ice thickness often. For more information, contact the Lake Macbride Fisheries Station at 319-624-3615.


Hawthorn Lake
Ice is of variable thickness. Use caution and test ice thickness often.

Lake Miami
Ice thickness varies; use caution if venturing out and test ice thickness often.

Lake Sugema
Ice is starting to form, but is unsafe. Open water is still in some areas.

Lake Wapello
Ice thickness varies; use caution and check ice thickness often. There is open water out from the lodge and beach.

Rathbun Reservoir
The current lake level is 904.15 msl. Recreation pool is 904 msl. The lake still has some areas of open water in the main lake. Bays and coves will ice over first. Use caution; unsafe ice is hidden under the snow. Lake Rathbun has zebra mussels, so make sure to properly drain, clean, and dry equipment before transporting to another waterbody.

Red Haw Lake
Use caution; variable ice thickness with some areas of open water.

Not many anglers have been fishing. Ice conditions are variable; use caution if venturing out. 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

Ada Hayden Heritage Park Lake
Rainbow Trout – Good: Trout were stocked on Jan. 13. Use jigging spoons or panfish jigs tipped with waxworms. Start by trying within 100 feet from shore. You need a valid fishing license and pay the trout fee to fish for or possess trout.

Big Creek Lake
Ice thickness near the accesses is 8 inches. Black Crappie – Fair: Catch crappies in the evenings with live minnows or waxworms on glow jigs in the main lake near roadbeds, brush piles and the creek channel. Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) – Fair: Try jigging spoons with live minnows or minnow heads fished mid-lake over the creek channel.

Boone District Farm Ponds
Farm ponds and community fishing ponds in Central Iowa have an average of 6 to 8 inches of ice. Bluegill – Good: Catch a mix of bluegills and crappies in many community ponds. Check the Fish Local webpage for a list of  public ponds where ice fishing is allowed; click on the location marker for where you want to go fishing and scroll down to the bottom of the left-hand menu – Ice Fishing (Yes/No)

Des Moines River (Saylorville to Red Rock)
Walleye – Fair: Cast jigs baited with shad imitating plastics or shiners below the Red Rock dam. Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) – Fair: Cast jigs baited with shad imitating plastics or shiners below the Red Rock dam.

Don Williams Lake
Black Crappie – Slow: Catch crappies with live minnows or glow jigs tipped with waxworms at sunset and after. The daytime bite has been very slow. Bluegill – Fair: Catch bluegills over brush piles and pallet piles during daylight with waxworms.

Lake Petocka
Rainbow Trout – Slow: Trout were stocked on Jan. 13. Try jigging spoons or panfish jigs tipped with waxworms. You need a valid fishing license and pay the trout fee to fish for or possess trout.

Central Iowa ponds and lakes have 7 to 9 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.


Lake Anita
Lake Anita is holding a large number of geese keeping a portion of the lake open. The upper end of the pontoon arm and the south arm has 8 inches of ice. Black Crappie – Slow. Bluegill – Fair: Anglers report good success in the south arm around the road bed or out from the campground in 12 feet of water.

Lake Manawa
The dredging project has provided excellent habitat to find fish this winter. Expect good numbers of black and white crappies plus good walleye numbers.

Littlefield Lake
Ice thickness is variable from 3 to 8 inches. Be prepared to find the cedar tree piles in the lake for best success through the ice. Bluegill – Fair: Best bite is in the afternoon. Use the fishing atlas to find one of the cedar tree piles in the lake for best success. Yellow Perch – Slow: Sorting is needed for the larger perch.

Meadow Lake
Ice thickness is 5 inches. Meadow Lake will be a good ice fishing destination this year. It has a good population of 8-inch bluegill and 9-inch black crappie. Bluegill – Fair: Look for bluegills around the tree piles; fish will average 8-inches. Black Crappie – Fair: Try close to the cedar tree piles in the lake. Late afternoon bite is best. Fish average 9-inches. 

Nodaway Lake
Ice thickness is 5 inches. Nodaway Lake has a decent fish population that will provide good fishing this winter.

Prairie Rose Lake
Ice thickness is 6 to 8 inches. Prairie Rose is a top pick for lakes with large bluegills. It also has a small population of large black crappies. Bluegill – Fair: Catch bluegills north of the pumphouse in the channel or east of the beach to the jetty in a cedar tree pile. Fish average 8.5-inches.

Viking Lake
A large number of geese are keeping big areas of water open and unsafe ice. Use  caution if venturing out; check ice thickness often. Viking has a very good crappie population that will provide good fishing this winter.

Ice conditions continue to be variable. Lakes in the northern part of the district average about 8 inches of ice. For more information on lakes in the Southwest District call the Cold Springs office at 712-769-2587.


Fogle Lake S.W.A.
Ice thickness is about 6 inches at the boat ramp. Bluegill – Good: Try jigs tipped with a waxworm fished along deep cedar tree brush piles for bluegill of all sizes.

Green Valley Lake
Ice thickness is about 7 inches at the south ramp and beach ramp. Black Crappie – Slow: Catch crappie up to 9.5 inches with jigs tipped with a minnow fished along deep cedar tree brush piles. Bluegill – Good: Use jigs tipped with waxworm fished along deep cedar tree brush piles to catch bluegill up to 8.5-inches.

Lake Icaria
Variable ice conditions with 0-5 inches of ice. Geese are keeping some areas of open water, especially near the beach and and dam area. Thin ice reported along the south side of the Moss Road boat ramp. Black Crappie – Fair: Catch crappie up to 11-inches with jigs tipped with a minnow along deep cedar tree brush piles. Walleye – Fair: Try jigs tipped with a minnow or jigging spoons along the submerged roadbed to catch walleye up to 16-inches.

Little River Watershed Lake
Ice thickness is about 7 inches at the main boat ramp and Paul Vonn boat ramp. No fishing reports.

Three Mile Lake
Ice thickness is about 4-7 inches at the main boat ramp and north ramp. Some areas of open water along larger flooded trees. Area of open water on south end. Bluegill – Fair: Catch bluegill up to 8.5-inches with jigs tipped with a waxworm fished in the flooded timber or rockpiles in the upper end of the lake. Walleye – Fair: Try jigging spoons fished in the flooded timber or rockpiles in the upper end of the lake to catch walleye of all sizes.

Twelve Mile Creek Lake
Ice thickness is about 7 inches at the east boat ramp and south boat ramp. Bluegill – Fair: Catch bluegill up to 8.5-inches with tipped with a waxworm fished near deep cedar tree brush piles. Black Crappie – Slow: Try jigs tipped with a waxworm fished near deep cedar tree brushpiles to catch crappie up to 9.5-inches.

Most Mount Ayr district lakes have variable ice conditions with 3-8 inches of ice. The recent warm weather deteriorated the top 2-3 inches of ice. If you venture out on the ice, use extreme caution and drill test holes often. For more information, please call the Mount Ayr Fisheries office at 641-464-3108.

 

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