Welcome to Iowa Trout Country!

Plenty of opportunities await trout anglers with 50 catchable rainbow and brook trout fisheries, seven special trout fisheries, seventeen urban trout fisheries, and 26 put-and-grow trout fisheries. Annual stockings maintain most of these since successful natural reproduction of trout occurs in a few Iowa waters. Catch wild, naturally-sustaining brown or brook trout at forty-five trout fisheries.

Explore Iowa Trout Streams
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 . Location maps are made using State of Iowa GIS maps and Rural Address Maps provided by the respective county engineer's office. 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 now available.

Schedule time during your next trip to northeast Iowa to visit one of Iowa's three trout hatcheries - Manchester, Decorah, or Big Springs. The grounds to each facility are open to the public year round from sunrise to sunset. Fisheries employees are available during office hours to answer all your trout fishing questions.
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Catchable Trout Streams

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.

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); McLoud Run (Linn), South Pine Creek (Winneshiek); and Waterloo Creek (Allamakee); and brown trout caught from French Creek (Allamakee) 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.

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.

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.

The majority of Trout Country is under private ownership, however, the Iowa DNR does purchase land along some Iowa trout streams from willing buyers 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 on 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.

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 adjacent 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 Fisheries

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.

All winter stocking events are weather dependent and ice quality dependent. Dates and times may change due to weather, please check back often for possible changes.

Blue Pit, Mason City Cerro Gordo County Jan 14 11:00 am
Scharnberg Pond,Spencer Clay County Jan 14 12:00 pm
Moorland Pond, Fort Dodge Webster County Jan 20 11:00 am
Big Lake, Council Bluffs - re-scheduled Pottawattamie County Feb 16 3:00 pm
Petocka, Bondurant Polk County Feb 3 12:00 pm
Ada Hayden, Ames Story County Feb 9 12:00 pm
Bacon Creek, Sioux City Woodbury County Feb 4 1:30 pm
Discovery Park, Muscatine Muscatine County March 24 10:00 am
Lake of the Hills, Davenport Scott County March 24 12:00 pm
Wilson Lake, Fort Madison Lee County March 24 12:00 pm
Ottumwa Park Pond Wapello County March 25 11:00 am
Terry Trueblood Lake, Iowa City Johnson County March 25 11:00 am
North Prairie, Cedar Falls Black Hawk County April 8 10:00 am
Banner Lake (South), Indianola at Summerset State Park Warren County April 8 12:00 pm
Prairie Park (Cedar Bend), Cedar Rapids Linn County April 15 10:30 am
Heritage Pond, Dubuque Dubuque County April 22 10:00 am
Sand Lake, Marshalltown Marshall County April 22 12:00 pm

Family Fishing Events

Contact our partners listed below for more information about each Family Fishing Event.

Location Date Time Partner Contact Info
Blue Pit 1/14/2017 11:00 am Mason City Parks & Rec 641-420-0241
Scharnberg Pond 1/14/2017 12:00 pm Clay CCB 712-262-2187
Moorland Pond 1/21/2017 11:00 am Webster CCB 515-576-4258
Big Lake - cancelled 1/21/2017 11:00 am Council Bluffs Parks & Rec 712-328-4650
Petoka - cancelled 1/28/2017 12:00 pm Bondurant Parks & Rec 515-967-2418
Ada Hayden - cancelled 2/04/2017 12:00 pm Story CCB 515-232-6989
Ottumwa Park 3/25/2017 11:00 am Ottumwa Parks & Rec 641-682-7873
Terry Trueblood 3/25/2017 11:00 am Iowa City Parks & Rec 319-356-5100
North Prairie 4/08/2017 10:00 am Dan Kirby 563-927-3276
Banner Lake 4/08/2017 12:00 pm Warren County Issac Walton League 515-229-7418
Prairie Park 4/15/2017 10:30 am Cedar Rapids Parks & Rec 319-286-5799
Heritage Pond 4/22/2017 10:00 am Dubuque CCB 563-556-6745
Sand Lake 4/22/2017 12:00 pm Marshall CCB 641-752-5490