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Saturday Morning Fishing Report: Ice Fishing Rated Excellent to Fair on Area Lakes

Weekend weather is a tale of two different days. Saturday there will be snow in the area with highs near freezing. Sunday looks to be mostly cloudy with highs in the upper 20’s. Remember to stay safe and test the ice you intend to get out on. No ice is safe so make sure you have safety precautions in place and are working with a buddy system in case of an accident.

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 is 7-9 inches.in front of the boat ramp. Ice may be thinner near shore.

Bacon Creek Lake
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 9-10 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 in the 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.

Brushy Creek Lake
A pressure ridge with dangerously thin ice is covered with snow. It starts near the fishing jetty just south of the east boat ramp and extends across the middle of the lake. A 1-2 acre area of thin ice near the swimming beach is hidden under snow. The best ice conditions are around 7 inches at the north end and near the big island by the southeast boat ramp. Stay clear of the main lake basin. Drill test holes often and use caution. Yellow Perch – Fair: Bite slowed a little. 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|
Foot traffic only is recommended. Use caution; conditions are variable with several inches of poor ice over the clear ice. There was thin ice and open water off the boat ramp and along shore in some areas last week. Use a spud bar to check ice thickness as you venture out. 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.

Storm Lake (incl Little Storm Lake)
Ice conditions remain variable across the lake. Some locations have around 9 inches of ice on the west end. Reports of a pressure seam extending from Casino Point to the northeast. Areas near the big island that recently froze over with thin ice are covered with snow. Avoid these areas; use caution and check ice thickness often as you move around. Yellow Perch – Fair: Use waxworms and minnows near the dredge cuts along the west side of the lake. Morning and evening bite are best. Sorting is needed. 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 6-10 inches with the occasional pocket of open water near shore, seams or thin ice in the main basins. Ice is covered with snow. 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 8-12 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 bigger bait to catch keeper-sized fish. Walleye – Fair Best bite is near sunset. Black Crappie – Slow: Look for suspended fish along the dredge cuts. Bluegill – Slow: Try a small jig in the open areas near the rushes.

Crystal Lake
Ice thickness is 8-11 inches. Black Crappie – Fair: Use a jig and small minnow fished along the edge of the dredge cut. Yellow Perch – Slow. Northern Pike – Slow.

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 is 8-11 inches. Yellow Perch – Fair: Try small jigs tipped with waxworms. Walleye – Slow.

Silver Lake (Worth)
Ice thickness is 8-11 inches. Bluegill – Fair: Try a small jig tipped with red spikes near vegetation. Yellow Perch – Slow.

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
Okoboji Winter Games
 are taking place until Sunday with many events happening out on the ice. Ice conditions vary across the lake with averages around 13 inches or more. The walleye season is open 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 13 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
Ice thickness across the lake is around 13 or more inches. The walleye season is open. 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.

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

West Okoboji Lake
Okoboji Winter Games are taking place until Sunday with many events happening out on the ice. Ice thickness varies, starting around 13 inches. Caution: there are many seams across the lake. The walleye season is open. 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.

Okoboji Winter Games will be in effect January 28-31; many events and people are expected to be on the lakes. Iowa Great Lakes are fully iced up with thickness ranging from 13-14 inches. The use of full sized vehicles is not recommendedCaution: there are still many seams throughout the lakes area. The extended forecast calls for continued below freezing temperatures. For current conditions, call the Spirit Lake District Office at 712-336-1840.

NORTHEAST

Cedar River (above Nashua)
Backwaters have 6-10 inches ice. Ice depth varies in areas with current. Black Crappie – Fair: Anglers are finding nice sized crappie in the deeper holes out of current. Use minnows for best luck. Bluegill – Slow: A few nice sized gills are being caught while fishing for crappie. Try small pieces of bait and lures; bluegills have very small mouths. Walleye – Slow: Use live bait for best luck. Find an eddy or deeper pool.

Decorah District Streams
Streams are very clear with about 4 to 6 inches of snow in places. Don’t forget to buy a new trout fee and license. Iowa’s trout season is open all year. Many streams maintain excellent populations of brown trout and stocked catchable-size rainbow trout. Many trout streams flow through wildlife management areas. Use care when parking along road if a parking area isn’t plowed. Rainbow Trout – Good: Get tackle in front of fish and imitate prey movements. Minnow midge and caddis flies work well this time of year. Brown Trout – Good: Use tackle imitating forage fish; fish the edge of a weed bed or large rock. Brook Trout – Good: Try flies imitating prey drifting down in fish pool edges and heads. Fish the hatch on sunny afternoons.

Lake Hendricks
Ice thickness is 8-10 inches with about 6 inches of snow. Open water around the aerator; use caution around this area. Motorized vehicles are not allowed on the ice. Bluegill – Fair: Use a waxworm or spike on a small jig under a bobber. Find brush piles. Black Crappie – Fair: Minnows work best; fish deeper water. Largemouth Bass – Fair: Concentrate your effort along the rock reefs or brush piles.

Lake Meyer
Ice thickness is 6-10 inches with 4 inches of snow. Excellent clarity with 15 feet visibility. Use caution when walking to your favorite ice fishing hole; check ice thickness often. Bluegill – Fair: Use a small jig tipped with a waxworm or spike on overcast days. Activity is picking up some. Look for fish in 12-15 feet of water. Black Crappie – Slow.

Volga Lake
Volga Lake has about 8-10 inches of ice capped with 4 inches of snow. Use caution when going on ice; check ice thickness often. Best bite is morning and dusk. Bluegill – Fair: Use a small brightly colored jig tipped with a waxworm or spike under a bobber. Find fish in 10 feet of water; keep your lure 1 to 2 feet off the bottom.

Ice thickness varies on area rivers, especially areas with current. Check ice thickness often. Lakes are iced over with a cap of 2-6 inches of snow; ice thickness varies. Weekend temperatures in the 30’s to 20’s. Snow Saturday may impact area roads. 2021 licenses are available now. For current fishing information, please call the Chuck Gipp Decorah Fish Hatchery at 563-382-8324.


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 – Fair: 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)
Reports last week of anglers catching a few walleye on the Cedar River; concentrate on the deeper overwintering holes. Anglers are having some success on the Cedar River fishing tip-ups for northern pike. Use extreme caution when fishing on river ice. Walleye – Fair: Use a jig and plastic tipped with a minnow slowly retrieved off of the river bottom. Northern Pike – Good: Try tip-ups or rigs under the ice using a live shiner or chub.

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-ups. 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: Reports of anglers catching bluegill. Use an ice jig tipped with a waxworm fished just off of the bottom.

Plainfield Lake
Anglers are catching a few panfish on; catching fewer fish, but of quality size. Bluegill – Fair: Use an ice jig tipped with a waxworm fished just off of the bottom. Black Crappie – Fair: Try a jig tipped with a minnow fished around sunken structure.

South Prairie Lake
Reports of anglers catching bluegill. 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 and accumulating snow on the ice. 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 8.1 feet at Lansing. Use caution on snow covered ice and areas with current. Best panfish bite is early morning and evening. Yellow Perch – Fair: Look for perch hanging above vegetation from 4 to 12 feet of water with a jig and 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 is best in shallow backwaters fishing just below the ice surface.

Mississippi River Pool 10
Lynxville water level is 14.1 feet. Use caution on snow covered ice in areas that may have current as conditions can vary. 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 is best in shallow backwaters fishing just below the ice surface.

Mississippi River Pool 11
Water level at Guttenberg is 5.9 feet. Use caution on snow covered ice in areas with current. 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: Use tip-ups baited with minnows in backwaters. Black Crappie – Good: Crappie bite is best in shallow backwaters fishing just below the ice surface.

Ice conditions vary with heavy snow cover. Areas with current can have unsafe ice with fluctuating river levels. Ice thickness varies from 6-10 inches. 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 recede this week. Water levels are 5.7 feet at the Lock and Dam and 8.3 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. Ice conditions are decent, but no ice is 100 percent safe. Bluegill – Fair: Lots of small bluegills reported; use waxworms and tungsten jigs. Northern Pike – Good: Some nice pike were reported earlier this ice fishing season by anglers using minnows on tip-ups.

Mississippi River Pool 13
The water level is 6.2 feet at the Bellevue Lock and Dam and is receding. 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 of bass with tip-ups and minnows. Most ice fishing pressure is around the Sabula backwaters. Ice conditions in Browns Lake were reported as marginal in a few locations.

Mississippi River Pool 14
Water level at the Fulton Lock and Dam is receding at 5.1 feet, 9.6 feet at Camanche and 4.3 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 backwaters.

Mississippi River Pool 15
Water level is 5.4 feet at Rock Island and is receding. The water temperature is near 34 degrees. Water clarity is good.

Water temperature in the main channel is near freezing and water level is 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 5.52 feet at Lock and Dam 15 in the Quad Cities and is forecast to stay fairly steady. The Marquette Street boat ramp and the main channel are starting to freeze up. Reports of 8 inches of ice in Sunset Marina. Use caution on the ice; check ice thickness often as you move. 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 4.18 feet at Lock and Dam 16 in Muscatine and is forecast to stay steady. The main channel at Muscatine is starting to freeze up and there is some ice flow. Big Timber has 6-7 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. We have not received any information on how the bite has been in Big Timber.

Mississippi River Pool 18
Tailwater stage is 4.52 feet at Lock and Dam 17 at New Boston and is forecast to stay fairly steady. We have not received any ice fishing or ice conditions reports for this pool.

Mississippi River Pool 19
Tailwater stage is 2.46 feet at Lock and Dam 18 and is forecast to stay fairly steady. River stage is 8.74 feet at Burlington. River stage is 525.70 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.

Tailwaters are starting to freeze up with the cold temperatures. 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 thickness is highly variable with 5 inches in some areas to less than 3 inches in others. Black Crappie – Fair: Anglers are catching nice crappies down from the campground and out into the trees. Ice in this area is fairly good, but gets thin on both sides of this area.

Lake Belva Deer
Still very few anglers out; they are staying in the campground (south ramp) bay of the lake. The ice on the rest of the lakes is getting better, but use extreme caution if you are going out very far on the lake.

Lake Darling
A few anglers have been out on the ice; none have been out more than about 25 yards from shore. The cold weather, the last couple of days, has to be making ice; use caution venturing out very far.

Lost Grove Lake
Ice thickness is 6-8 inches; be careful down near the dam. The bite is getting a little more hit and miss. Black Crappie – Fair: Bite slowed down some. 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: Best bite is early morning or late afternoon down about 14 to 16 feet in the flooded timber. Be prepared to move to find a hot spot.

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 7-10 inches of ice. Bluegill – Fair: Most fish are smaller. Northern Pike – Fair: Angles are catching a few fish on tip-ups.

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
Bluegill – Fair: Most fish are small. Black Crappie – Fair: A few nice fish were reported.

Hannen Lake
Ice thickness is about 6-8 inches in most areas, with less in the center of the lake. Bluegill – Fair: Bite has been on and off. There are nice fish to be caught here. Black Crappie – Slow: Not many fish are being caught, but the ones that are tend to be 11+ inches.

Iowa Lake (Iowa Co.)
Ice thickness is 6-8 inches. Bluegill – Fair: Some decent fish were caught this week. Black Crappie – Fair.

Lake Macbride
Ice thickness is 6-8 inches on the edges and protected areas; deeper areas may only have 3-4 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. Walleye – Slow: Try spoons or minnows around rock piles and drop-offs.

Otter Creek Lake
Ice thickness is 8-10 inches. Bluegill – Fair: Try in brush piles. Yellow Bass – Fair.

Pleasant Creek Lake
The west end of the lake has 7-9 inches of ice; the main lake is more variable and potentially unsafe in spots. 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 9-10 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.

Union Grove Lake
Ice thickness is 7-10 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 brush below the cabins.

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


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

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

Lake Sugema
Very few anglers have been out. Ice thickness is variable and snow is covering thin areas. Use caution if venturing out.

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 904.21 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. The snowfall had not created any slush. 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
Ice thickness is 6-10 inches on Central Iowa farm ponds and community fishing ponds. 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 7-10 inches of ice. For more information on Central Iowa lakes and rivers, call Ben Dodd at 641-891-3795 or Andy Otting at 515-204-5885.


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.

Littlefield Lake
Ice thickness is variable from 4-8 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 6 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 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 6 inches. Nodaway Lake has a decent fish population that will provide good fishing this winter. Bluegill – Fair. Black Crappie – Fair.

Prairie Rose Lake
Ice thickness is 6-8 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
Viking Lake has 5 inches of ice if you stay far away from the open water where the geese are. Most anglers are fishing south of the concession and west of the dam. Bluegill – Fair: Fishing has been fair for bluegills averaging 7.5-inches. Black Crappie – Fair: Try around tree piles in the upper end of the lake to find 10-inch black crappie.

Ice conditions continue to be variable with 8 inches of snow on top. Use caution and drill check holes often when venturing out. 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: Catch bluegill of all sizes with jigs tipped with a waxworm fished along deep cedar tree brush piles.

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 a 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 jigs 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. There is 8-10 inches of snow on top of the 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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