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Iowa's natural resources plates include the state bird and flower, pheasant, eagle, buck and a Brook trout. Support conservation in Iowa by buying a natural resource plate for your vehicle.
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Get the most out of your trout fishing trip with information about each stream's location, qualities, and other fun facts on the trout streams webpage.
Check out the overview map of all trout streams in Northeast Iowa online, or email the DNR or call the DNR Phone Center at 515-725-820 to request a printed version. A mobile-friendly version of the trout map is also available.
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Find your favorite trout stream and when it will be stocked with the proposed stocking schedule. Call 563-927-5736 for current trout stream or urban stocking information.
Iowa Fishing Regulations
Trout Fee: Iowa residents and nonresidents who are required to have a fishing license must pay the Trout Fee ($12.50 for residents or $15 for non-residents) to fish for or possess trout. Exception: Iowa residents and nonresidents under 16 years old may possess or fish for trout without having paid the Trout Fee if they fish with a properly licensed adult who has paid the Trout Fee and together they limit their catch to the one person daily limit of five trout. Children under 16 have the option to purchase their own trout privilege, which allows them to fish without a properly licensed adult and keep their own daily limit (5).
Season: All waters - Continuous
Length Limits: None, except a 14-inch minimum length limit applies to all trout in Spring Branch Creek (Delaware Co.), from the spring source to County Hwy. D5X as posted, and on brown trout only in portions of Bloody Run Creek (Clayton Co.) where posted.
Daily Bag & Possession: All waters - Combined daily of 5 and possession of 10.
Catch & Release Only: All trout caught from the posted portion of Hewett and Ensign creeks (Clayton County); McLoud Run (Linn County), South Pine Creek (Winneshiek County); and Waterloo Creek (Allamakee County); and brown trout caught from French Creek (Allamakee County) must be released alive immediately.
Special Restrictions: Artificial Lure Only: Fishing in the posted areas of Bloody Run Creek, Ensign Creek, French Creek, Hewett Creek, McLoud Run, South Pine Creek, Spring Branch Creek and Waterloo Creek must be by artificial lure only. Artificial lure means lures that do not contain or have applied to them any natural or human-made substance designed to attract fish by the sense of taste or smell.
The majority of Trout Country is under private ownership, however, the Iowa DNR buys land along some Iowa trout streams from willing land owners to provide trout fishing on publicly owned land. Streams flowing through privately owned land require permission to fish from the landowner, unless the stream has an Angler Conservation Easement.Angler Conservation Easements along trout streams in northeast Iowa provide water resource protection, fish habitat restoration and public recreation. Conservation easements are an important partnership with participating landowners. Your cooperation helps protect these “Trout Trails” and allow the public to fish as guests of the landowner. Always respect private property and Leave No Trace.
Look for Public Fishing signs at one of your favorite trout streams indicating public fishing. Always ask the landowner for permission first, if the stream is not marked.
Iowa's put and grow streams offer unique trout fishing opportunities perfect for anglers looking for a solitary fishing experience with the chance to catch a few stream-reared trout as well as a real trophy-sized fish. Contact the local Fish Management Office for more information about a specific put and grow stream.
Brook trout from South Pine Creek and brown trout from French Creek are spawned and stocked as fingerlings into coldwater streams with suitable temperature and habitat requirements. These wild fingerling trout survive much better than their domestic hatchery counterparts and also have a better chance of spawning naturally in the stream in future years. Several populations of naturally reproducing brook and brown trout have been established in northeast Iowa streams with this stocking technique. These populations are self sustaining and need no additional stocking. Anglers can expect high numbers of 8-12 inch brown trout in these populations along with trophy fish up to 20 inches.
Fisheries personnel conduct an active stream habitat improvement program on trout streams to improve and maintain quality water and trout habitat that benefit both trout and trout anglers. Applying proper agricultural practices on the land upstream to minimize erosion of topsoil into the stream is the first step.
Habitat structures such as rock deflectors and bankhides are installed to provide protective cover, create holes and increase stream current to remove silt and expose the underlying rock streambed. Bank stabilization projects occur on public and private owned properties. Cutbanks are stabilized by backsloping, covering the lower bank with rock and seeding the entire bank with grasses. This stabilizes the bank and provides shade to the stream and overhead cover for the trout. Landowners interested in improving the habitat in their trout streams should contact the Decorah or Manchester fish management biologist for help with project planning and potential funding sources.
Big Spring Hatchery is home to Iowa’s first kid's trout fishing pond for anglers 16 and under. The series of interconnected ponds offers a safe and easy spot for young anglers to reel in their very first trout. Fishing poles and basic tackle is available in the shelter next to the pond if you don’t have the right equipment.
All kids must be accompanied by a properly licensed adult (fishing license + trout privilege). There is a 2-trout limit per day, which includes trout caught and released. Artificial tackle is recommended for anglers planning on catching and releasing.
Urban trout stockings offer a "close to home" option for anglers in cities and towns across Iowa who might not normally travel to northeast Iowa to discover trout fishing. These cool weather stockings, held each October through April, are a great place to take kids to catch their first fish.
Contact our partners listed below for more information about each Family Fishing Event.