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Saturday Morning Fishing Report: Channel Catfish and Northern Pike Fishing Picking Up

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

Black Hawk Lake
Surface water temperature was 46 degrees on April 1. The courtesy docks are in. Black Crappie – Fair: Use a small jig with a small minnow in Town Bay and along Ice House Point. Bluegill – Fair. Channel Catfish – Fair: Use cut bait or shad fished on the bottom near any rock structure.

Brushy Creek Lake
Water levels remain about 4 feet low. The west ramp is the best option to launch a boat with the low water. Yellow Perch – Fair: Use crawlers or minnows on a jig. Black Crappie – Fair: Try tube jigs and a small minnow fished near structure. Bluegill – Fair.

North Twin Lake
Courtesy docks are in on the south and southeast boat ramps. Black Crappie – Fair: As water temperatures warm, target crappie along shore and along docks using a tube jig or a minnow fished on a small jig under a bobber.

Storm Lake (incl Little Storm Lake)
Water temperatures are in the mid to upper 40’s. Anglers continue to pick up perch, crappie, and walleye in the marina. Expect shore fishing action to pick up as water temperatures warm over the next week. Black Crappie – Good: Try a tube jig with a small minnow. Most have had good luck in the marina. Yellow Perch – Fair: Catch 8- to 11-inch perch in the marina with minnows fished on a jig. Some sorting is needed. Channel Catfish – Fair: Use cut bait or gizzard shad fished on the bottom along shore. Walleye – Fair: Walleye bite has been hit or miss in the marina over the last week. Expect the bite to get better better along the shoreline in the main lake as water temperatures start to gradually warm. Throw a twister or fish a minnow under a bobber along shore. Best bite is evenings or low light conditions.

Water temperatures, as of April 1, are in the mid to upper 40’s in most district lakes. Expect shore fishing action to pick up as these water temperatures increase with next week’s warmer weather. 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
The water temperature is in the low 40’s. The courtesy docks are in at the city and island boat ramps. Black Crappie – Slow: Fish open pockets in the rushes. Channel Catfish – Fair: Try a piece of cut bait fished off the bottom. Walleye – Fair: Walleye fishing is picking up as water temperatures rise. Try a jig and minnow fished near the outlet and around the island after sunset. Shore anglers are having some success fishing from the jetties.

Lake Cornelia
The docks are in. Channel Catfish – Slow: Try a piece of cut bait fished off the bottom. Yellow Bass – Fair: Use small jigs in the harbor.

Silver Lake (Worth)
The courtesy dock is in at the boat ramp.

Winnebago River
Northern pike are biting; try a chub or crankbait fished in slack water below dams and where smaller creeks enter the river. Northern Pike – Fair.

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


East Okoboji Lake
The walleye season is closed. 
East Okoboji is ice-free. None of the courtesy docks are in place yet.

Spirit Lake
The walleye season is closed. 
Spirit Lake is ice-free. None of the courtesy docks are in place yet.

West Okoboji Lake
The walleye season is closed. West Okoboji is ice-free. None of the courtesy docks are in place yet.

The walleye season is closed on Spirit, East Okoboji and West Okoboji Lake. The Iowa Great Lakes are ice-free. The extended forecast calls for much warmer temperatures with highs in the 70s. For current conditions, call the Spirit Lake District Office at 712-336-1840.

NORTHEAST

Cedar River (above Nashua)
Water levels are falling and low with clear water. Channel Catfish – Excellent: Shore anglers using dead chubs or worms on the bottom have been successful. Walleye – Fair: Walleyes are starting to move. Fish the shallow pools for best luck.

Decorah District Streams
Trout streams are in good to excellent condition. Catchable trout stream stocking started this week. All catchable trout stockings will be unannounced due to COVID-19 precautions. A stocking calendar will not be available this year. Please observe social distancing and mask rules when visiting hatchery grounds. Rainbow Trout – Excellent: Get tackle in front of fish and imitate prey movements. Minnow worm midge and caddis flies work well this time of year. Brown Trout – Excellent: Off-color water from rainfall will spur a brownie bite. Use tackle imitating forage fish or midges; fish the edge of a weed bed or large rock. Brook Trout – Fair: Eleven streams have naturally reproducing populations with public access; learn more on our Trout Fishing webpage. Try flies imitating prey drifting down in pool edges and heads. Fish the hatch on sunny afternoons.

Lake Hendricks
Fish deeper water with cooler water. The bite will improve as the water warms. This week’s winds stirred up water. Fish the mud or bubble lines. Channel Catfish – Fair: Try a dead chub or worm fished in wind rowed areas.

Lake Meyer
Few anglers have been out this week. Windy conditions stirred up shoreline materials; fish these edges. Channel Catfish – Fair: Use a worm or piece of dead chub fished near bottom in areas with wind pushed brush and ice. Northern Pike – Fair: Try fishing in shallow vegetated areas.

Turkey River (above Clermont)
Water levels are falling with improved water clarity. Water temperatures are in the mid to upper 40’s. White Sucker – Fair: Sucker activity is increasing. Use a worm fished on the stream bottom. Walleye – Fair: Walleye are starting to spawn. Try a minnow imitating jig.

Upper Iowa River (above Decorah)
Water levels are falling and clear. Water temperatures are in the mid to upper 40’s. White Sucker – Fair: Suckers will start spawning as water temperatures reach 50 degrees. Use a worm fished along the stream bottom. Walleye – Fair: Walleye are moving out of their overwintering areas into shallower pools with slower water. Try a jig tipped with a twister tail or minnow.

Volga Lake
The docks are in. Windy conditions stirred up sediments; fish these shorelines for best luck. The bite will improve as the water warms. Channel Catfish – Good: Try chunks of chubs or worms fished on the bottom along wind rowed shores.

Area river water levels are falling with good to excellent clarity. Sunny and 70’s makes for perfect weather to venture to your favorite fishing hole.  For current fishing information, please call the Chuck Gipp Decorah Fish Hatchery at 563-382-8324.


Cedar River (Nashua to La Porte City)
Anglers are getting after walleyes with success on the Cedar River. Walleye – Good: Cast and retrieve jig and plastics tipped with or without a minnow. Concentrate on pools and current breaks. Northern Pike – Good: Cast and retrieve large spinnerbaits or float a live chub or shiner underneath a bobber in off-channel pools. Smallmouth Bass – Fair: Try a jig and minnow or retrieve spinner baits.

Heritage Pond
Heritage Pond, located on the north side of Dubuque, was stocked with trout last week. You need a valid fishing license and pay the trout fee to fish for or possess trout.

Manchester District Streams
All area Manchester trout streams are in excellent condition and providing insect hatches with the recent warmer weather. Brown Trout – Fair: Spring Branch Creek is a favorite amongst anglers for quality and trophy-sized brown trout.

Maquoketa River (above Monticello)
The Maquoketa River in Delaware County has stabilized and should provide good angling opportunities this weekend Walleye – Fair: Cast and retrieve jig and plastics tipped with or without a minnow; concentrate on pools and current breaks.

North Prairie Lake
North Prairie Lake was stocked with trout last week. You need a valid fishing license and pay the trout fee to fish for or possess trout.

Shell Rock River (Greene to Shell Rock)
Reports of anglers catching walleye on the Shell Rock River. Walleye – Good: Cast and retrieve jig and plastics tipped with or without a minnow; concentrate on pools and current breaks.

Wapsipinicon River (Tripoli to Troy Mills)
The river continues to drop and should provide good angling opportunities this weekend. Reports of anglers catching walleye and northern pike on the Wapsipinicon River. Northern Pike – Good: Cast and retrieve large spinnerbaits or fish a live shiner or chub under a bobber near off-channel areas. Walleye – Good: Cast and retrieve jig and plastics tipped with or without a minnow; concentrate on pools and current breaks.

Interior rivers are providing fair to good angling opportunities for walleye, pike and smallmouth bass. Trout streams are in excellent condition and providing some insect hatches with the warmer weather. 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 9.7 feet at Lansing and is expected to gradually recede next week. Water temperature is 44 degrees. Yellow Perch – Good: Perch bite slowed this week. Look for perch hanging above vegetation from 4-12 feet of water with a jig and minnow or piece of worm. Northern Pike – Fair: Pike fishing will pick up again post-spawn. Try flashy spoons along openings of backwater lakes as fish move into the vegetation. Black Crappie – Fair: Fish submerged trees in backwaters and side channels. Walleye – Fair: Drift a three-way rig with a jig or crankbait off current breaks below the Lock & Dams. Sauger – Fair: Drift a three-way rig with a jig or crankbait off current breaks below the Lock & Dams. Bluegill – Good: Try a small piece of worm fished under a bobber in areas with little to no current.

Mississippi River Pool 10
Water level is 619.6 feet at Lynxville and is expected to remain steady. Water temperature is 46 degrees at Lynxville dam. Sauger – Fair: Try vertical jigging with jigs in tailwaters of the Lock and Dam. Walleye – Fair: Drift a three-way rig with a jig or crankbait off current breaks below the Lock & Dams. Yellow Perch – Good: Perch bite slowed this week. Look for perch hanging above vegetation from 4-12 feet of water with a jig and  minnow. Northern Pike – Fair: Pike fishing will pick up again post-spawn. Try flashy spoons along openings of backwater lakes as fish move into the vegetation. Black Crappie – Fair: Fish submerged trees in backwaters and side channels. Bluegill – Good: Try a small piece of worm fished under a bobber in areas with little to no current.

Mississippi River Pool 11
Water level at Guttenberg is cresting around 10.9 feet and is expected to gradually fall over the next week. Water temperature is 44 degrees at the Guttenberg dam. Sauger – Fair: Try vertical jigging with jigs in tailwaters of the Lock and Dam. Walleye – Fair: Drift a three-way rig with a jig or crankbait off current breaks below the Lock and Dams. Yellow Perch – Good: Perch bite slowed this week. Look for perch hanging above vegetation from 4-12 feet of water with a jig and minnow. Northern Pike – Fair:  Pike fishing will pick up again post-spawn. Try flashy spoons along openings of backwater lakes as fish move into the vegetation. Black Crappie – Fair: Fish submerged trees in backwaters and side channels. Bluegill – Good: Try a small piece of worm fished under a bobber in areas with little to no current.

Upper Mississippi River levels are cresting and expected to level off this week. Water temperature has risen into the mid-40’s this week; fish are more active. 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 rise this week. Water levels are 8.9 feet at the Lock and Dam and 11.2 feet at the RR bridge. The water temperature is around 46 degrees. Water clarity is good. Walleye – Fair: Walleye fishing in the tailwater is all over the place. A few anglers report excellent angling, but most are having poor luck. Anglers are using  a jig and minnow or pulling crankbaits. Largemouth Bass – Good: Report of ice-out bass fishing being very good in the sunny wind swept ends of backwater lakes.  Fish at a slow speed. Northern Pike – No Report: The pike spawn is underway on the Mississippi River. Pike generally go on a feeding frenzy soon after spawning is done. Yellow Perch – Fair: Reports of a few yellow perch. They will spawn in the Mississipp River in the next week or so.

Mississippi River Pool 13
The water level is 10.2 feet at the Bellevue Lock and Dam and is rising. Water temperature is around 47 degrees. Water clarity is good. The Bellevue City and DNR ramps are open for use in the tailwater. Paddlefish – Fair: Paddlefish season is open; check snagging rules before you go out.  Paddlefish have dispersed a bit as the water has risen. Walleye – Fair: The walleye bite is all over the place. A few anglers report excellent fishing, but most are having poor luck this spring. Conditions  are favorable for angling. Most anglers are using a jig and minnow or pulling crankbaits. Northern Pike – No Report: The pike spawn is underway on the Mississippi River. Pike generally go on a feeding frenzy soon after spawning is done. Yellow Perch – No Report: Yellow perch spawn will start in the Mississippi River in the next week or so. Some fish are usually caught in early spring.

Mississippi River Pool 14
Water level at the Fulton Lock and Dam is rising at 9.7 feet, 12.6 feet at Camanche and 7.4 feet at LeClaire. Water temperature is around 47 degrees. Water clarity is good. Paddlefish – Fair: Paddlefish season is open; check snagging rules before you go out. As water has risen, the catch of paddlefish is reduced as the fish are scattered. Walleye – Fair: The walleye bite is all over the place. A few anglers are report excellent fishing, but most are having poor luck this spring. Conditions are favorable for angling. Most anglers are using a jig and minnow or  pulling cranks. Northern Pike – No Report: The pike spawn has started on the Mississippi River. Expect pike to go on a feeding frenzy soon after spawning is done. Yellow Perch – No Report: Yellow perch will start spawning in the Mississippi River in the next week or so.

Mississippi River Pool 15
Water level is 10.5 feet at Rock Island and is rising. The water temperature is near 47 degrees. Water clarity is good. Channel Catfish – No Report: Try cut shad bait for early season catfish.

Water temperature in the main channel is around 46 degrees. Water level is rising throughout the district. If you have any fishing questions, please contact the Bellevue Fisheries Station 563-880-8781.


Mississippi River Pool 16
Tailwater stage is 10.90 feet at Lock and Dam 15 in the Quad Cities. Flood stage is 15 feet at Lock and Dam 15. Tailwater stages have been fairly steady the past few days. Sauger – Slow: Sauger fishing below the Lock and Dam and in Sylvan Slough is being reported as slow. Walleye – Slow: Look for walleyes below the Lock and Dam or in Sylvan Slough. Try jigs and minnows or three-way rigs with minnows.

Mississippi River Pool 17
Tailwater stage is 9.90 feet at Lock and Dam 16 in Muscatine and has been fairly steady. Flood stage is 15 feet. The gates are out of the water at the Lock and Dam. Sauger – Slow: Try vertical jigging with minnows or trolling three-way rigs with minnows. Walleye – Slow: Look for walleyes below the Lock and Dam or down by GPC. Try vertical jigging with minnows or trolling three-way rigs with minnows.

Mississippi River Pool 18
Tailwater stage is 11.43 feet at Lock and Dam 17 at New Boston and has risen slightly the past few days. Flood stage is 15 feet. The gates at the Lock and Dam are out of the water. Sauger – Slow: Try vertical jigging with minnows or trolling three-way rigs with minnows. Walleye – Slow: Try vertical jigging with minnows or trolling three-way rigs with minnows.

Mississippi River Pool 19
Tailwater stage is 7.86 feet at Lock and Dam 18 above Burlington and has risen slightly the past few days. Flood stage is 10 feet at Lock and Dam 18. Tailwater stage is forecast to fall over the weekend. We have not received any fishing report information for this pool this week. Sauger – No Report: Look for saugers below the dam. Try vertical jigging with minnows or trolling three-way rigs with minnows. Walleye – No Report: Look for walleyes below the dam. Try vertical jigging with minnows or trolling three-way rigs with minnows.

Tailwater stages have been fairly steady this past week. Main channel water temperature is around 45 degrees. Water clarity is poor. Tailwater fishing for walleyes and saugers has been slow. If you have questions on fishing Pools 16-19 contact the Fairport Fish Hatchery at 563-263-5062.

SOUTHEAST

Discovery Park Pond
Rainbow Trout – Good: The trout are getting used to their new home and are switching to more live baits and power bait. You need a valid fishing license and pay the trout fee to fish for or possess trout.

East Lake Park Pond
This city park pond is on the east side of Mount Pleasant by the airport. Rainbow Trout – Good: This 6.5 acre pond was stocked for the first time with rainbow trout last week. You need a valid fishing license and pay the trout fee to fish for or possess trout.

Lake Belva Deer
Water temperature is in the low 40’s. Cold weather and wind has kept angler numbers down this week. Channel Catfish – Fair: Catch catfish near where the marsh dumps in and in the campground arm of the lake.

Lake Darling
Water temperature are in the upper 30’s to low 40’s.Water temperatures should be in the mid-40’s next week with the warmer weather forecast. Channel Catfish – Good: Lots of rain last weekend brought the catfish into shallow water up by honey creek to feed. They went back out after the water level up there dropped.

Lost Grove Lake 
Channel Catfish – Fair: Catching some catfish below the causeway on cut bait and nightcrawlers. Walleye – Fair: Picking up a few walleyes along the face of the dam in the evenings.

Wilson Lake
Rainbow Trout – Good: Trout were stocked last week. Plenty of nice rainbow trout are waiting to be caught. You need a valid fishing license and pay the trout fee to fish for or possess trout.

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)
Walleye – Fair: Anglers are catching mostly males. Northern Pike – Slow.

Coralville Reservoir
The lake level is 683.3 feet. Docks are in at the Macbride State Park ramp and the Corps ramps. Channel Catfish – Good: Catch catfish with cut bait around and above the 380/965 bridges. Try shallow windblown flats at the upper end as well.

Diamond Lake
Little fishing activity yet. A year round boat dock is in and the fish cleaning station is open.

Gateway Park South
The dock is in. Black Crappie – Fair. Walleye – Fair.

Iowa Lake (Iowa Co.)
Water temperatures are in the mid-40’s. The docks are in and bathrooms are open. Largemouth Bass – Fair. Bluegill – Slow. Black Crappie – Fair.

Lake Macbride 
Water temperatures are in the mid-40’s. The boat docks are in. Black Crappie – Fair: Try minnows over brush in 10-15 feet of water. Channel Catfish – Fair: Some big fish were caught this week in the upper arms; use cut bait. Walleye – Fair: Use jigs and plastic/minnow in 10-20 feet of water. As the water warms, look for spawning fish in the shallows at sunset and after dark.

Liberty Centre Pond
Rainbow Trout – Good: You need a valid fishing license and pay the trout fee to fish for or possess trout.

Otter Creek Lake
Little fishing activity yet. The dock is not in and the fish cleaning station is still closed.

Pleasant Creek Lake
Water temperature is in the low 40’s. The docks are in. No fishing reports.

Prairie Park Fishery
Rainbow Trout – Fair: You need a valid fishing license and pay the trout fee to fish for or possess trout.

Sand Lake
This is the quarry on the east side of Marshalltown. Rainbow Trout – Fair: You need a valid fishing license and pay the trout fee to fish for or possess trout.

Wapsipinicon River (Troy Mills to Oxford Junction) |
All boat ramps in Linn County are open. Black Crappie – Fair: Try minnows under floats in the backwaters. Walleye – Slow: The bite should pick up below the dams soon. Try jigs or crankbaits.

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


Hawthorn Lake
Target channel catfish with nightcrawlers.

Lake Miami
Target channel catfish this time of year.

Lake Sugema
Target channel catfish with nightcrawlers or cut bait.

Lake Wapello
Target channel catfish with nightcrawlers.

Ottumwa Park Pond South (Trout Pond)
Trout have been stocked. Use live minnows fished under a bobber, small tube and twister jigs, in-line spinners and casting spoons. You need a valid fishing license and pay the trout fee to fish for or possess trout.

Rathbun Reservoir
The current lake level is 906.72 msl. Recreation pool is 904 msl. Lake Rathbun has zebra mussels, so make sure to properly drain, clean, and dry equipment before transporting to another waterbody. Channel Catfish – Fair: Target windblown shorelines with shad sides or nightcrawlers.

Red Haw Lake
The boat docks are in. Target channel catfish with nightcrawlers.

Angler activity has been low with the cooler water temperatures. 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

Banner Lake (south)
Rainbow Trout – Good: Trout were stocked on March 18. Cast small in-line spinners, spoons, jigs with plastics or live bait under a float. You need a valid fishing license and pay the trout fee to fish for or possess trout.

Big Creek Lake
Channel Catfish – Fair: Channel catfish are feeding on winter-killed gizzard shad as the ice goes off. Bottom fish dead shad from shore on the wind-blown side of the lake. Target the shallower shorelines on the upper half of the lake. Walleye – Fair: Jig or troll minnows in areas from the marina around to the beach, the east boat ramp bay and the west boat ramp bay.

Boone District Farm Ponds
Farm ponds and community ponds will warm up faster than larger lakes. Catch bluegills and crappies on live bait under bobbers or slowly retrieved jigs with small twister tails or swimbaits. Largemouth Bass – Good: Casting slowly retrieved spinner baits crankbaits and soft plastics.

Des Moines River (Saylorville to Red Rock)
Walleye – Fair: Catch walleyes below the dams from Saylorville to below Red Rock. Cast jigs tipped with twister tails, swimbaits or live minnows. Northern Pike – Fair: Catch pike below the dams and near the mouths of creeks entering the river. Cast jigs tipped with twister tails or swimbaits.

Terra Lake
Rainbow Trout – Excellent: Trout were stocked on March 17. Cast small in-line spinners, spoons, jigs with plastics or live bait under a float. 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.


Big Lake (Including Gilbert’s Pond)
Rainbow trout were stocked last week. Rainbow Trout – Good: Cast small spinners, spoons, jigs with plastics or live bait under a bobber. You need a valid fishing license and pay the trout fee to fish for or possess trout.

Greenfield Lake
Channel Catfish – No Report: Greenfield has a good population of channel catfish of all sizes. After the ice goes out is a good time to target catfish.

Lake Anita
Historically, Lake Anita provides good early spring fishing in the upper end of the north arm. Fish move in behind the pontoon area as the water temperatures warm. Black Crappie – Fair: Crappies will move up in the north arm of the lake with the forecast warm temperatures this weekend . Cast small jigs two foot under a bobber. Sorting is needed; there is a large year class of 6-inch crappies. Bluegill – Slow: Crappie anglers have caught a few nice bluegills behind the pontoon area.

Lake Manawa
Manawa is a good destination for ice-out catfish. Crappies will move into the canals as the water temperatures warm. Channel Catfish – Good: Channel catfish are actively feeding on winter-killed fish. Target catfish on wind-blown shorelines with shad sides. Black Crappie – Fair: Target black crappies in the canals this week. White Crappie – Fair: Cast minnows under a bobber in the canals.

Littlefield Lake
winterkill was reported to the DNR last week at Littlefield. Fishery staff will survey the lake this spring and restock if needed.

Meadow Lake
Meadow Lake has a good fish population. Bluegills will average 8-inches and black crappies 10- to 12-inches. Largemouth bass and channel catfish are also doing well.

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


Little River Watershed Lake
Courtesy docks are in at the main ramp and bait shop ramp. Walleye – Slow: Catch walleye of all sizes with jigs or crankbaits fished along the dam or rocky areas.

Three Mile Lake
Courtesy docks are installed at the main boat ramp. Walleye – Fair: Catch walleye of all sizes with jigs or crankbaits fished along the dam or rocky areas.

Twelve Mile Creek Lake
The dock is in at the main ramp. Walleye – Fair: Catch walleye of all sizes with jigs or crankbaits fished along the dam or rocky areas.

Water temperature in most Mount Ayr district lakes is in the upper 40’s to low 50’s. For more information, please call the Mount Ayr Fisheries office at 641-464-3108.

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