Saylorville Reservoir

General Information

County: Polk
Location: North edge of Des Moines
Acres: 4970.00
Maximum Depth: 44 ft. (1987 - 836 MSL)
Motoring Restrictions: none

Nearby Parks

Big Creek State Park

Amenities

Amenities at Saylorville Reservoir include:
  • Boat Access
  • Fishing Jetty
  • Accessible Pier
  • Boat Rental
  • Picnic Area
  • Beach
  • Trails
  • Accessible Facilities
  • Playground
  • Restrooms
  • Camping
  • Good/Excellent Shorefishing
  • Hard Surface Boat Ramp
Catfishing is good right now on Central Iowa rivers. White bass fishing on the reservoirs is good to excellent. For information on Central Iowa lakes and rivers contact Andy Otting or Ben Dodd at 515-432-2823.
Channel Catfish - Good: Good channel catfishing can be had drifting cut creek chubs above the mile long bridge.
White Bass - Excellent: The white bass bite is getting more active again during the hot weather. Cast or troll spoons, lipless crankbaits or squarebill crankbaits. Color patterns containing chrome or chartreuse work best. A good area to begin is the stretch from Sandpiper Beach to the marina bay.
Download Printable Lake Map
Download Printable Fishing Structures Map

You can zoom in on the map for bathymetric information for some lakes

  • May 21 2015 12:00AM - 18,123 Northern Pike (4.2")
  • May 20 2015 12:00AM - 41,607 Northern Pike (2.9")
  • May 12 2015 12:00AM - 50,000 Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) (Fry)
  • May 12 2015 12:00AM - 850,000 Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) (Fry)
  • May 5 2015 12:00AM - 50,000 Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) (Fry)
  • May 5 2015 12:00AM - 650,000 Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) (Fry)
  • Jun 23 2015 12:00AM - 20,000 Largemouth Bass (2")
  • Jun 19 2015 12:00AM - 31,226 Muskellunge (4.0")
  • Jun 16 2015 12:00AM - 188,102 Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) (1.5")
  • Jul 7 2015 12:00AM - 15,827 Muskellunge (4.5")
  • Apr 30 2015 12:00AM - 100,000 Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) (Fry)
  • Apr 28 2015 12:00AM - 10,000,000 Walleye (Fry)
  • May 12 2014 12:00AM - 76,000 Walleye (Fry)
  • May 12 2014 12:00AM - 78,000 Walleye (Fry)
  • May 9 2014 12:00AM - 7,000,000 Walleye (Fry)
  • Jun 24 2014 12:00AM - 76,500 Largemouth Bass (2")
  • Jun 13 2014 12:00AM - 12,097 Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) (2")
  • Jun 2 2014 12:00AM - 29,874 Northern Pike (2-3")
  • Aug 14 2014 12:00AM - 73,125 Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) (2")
  • annual 2014 - 195,440 Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) (2")
  • annual 2014 - 209,599 Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) (Fry)
  • annual 2014 - 2,100,000 Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) (Fry)
  • 08/08/2013 - 9,820 Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) (1.6")
  • 07/01/2013 - 124,031 Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) (1.9")
  • 06/27/2013 - 20,000 Largemouth Bass (1.5")
  • 06/07/2013 - 75,891 Walleye (1.6")
  • 05/31/2013 - 94,843 Northern Pike (2.9")
  • 05/24/2013 - 150,000 Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) (Fry)
  • 05/02/2013 - 1,000,000 Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) (Fry)
  • 06/21/2012 - 83,505 Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) (2.0")
  • 05/31/2012 - 20,000 Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) (2")
  • 05/14/2012 - 5,700,000 Walleye (Fry)
  • 05/14/2012 - 3,850,000 Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) (Fry)
  • 05/11/2012 - 3,000,000 Walleye (Fry)
  • 05/08/2012 - 63,220 Northern Pike (2.7")
  • 06/24/2011 - 20,000 Largemouth Bass (1.2")
  • 06/23/2011 - 49,335 Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) (1.8")
  • 05/23/2011 - 100,000 Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) (Fry)
  • 05/23/2011 - 1,000,000 Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) (Fry)
  • 05/20/2011 - 63,066 Northern Pike (2.9")
  • 05/12/2011 - 7,762,625 Walleye (Fry)
  • 04/08/2011 - 137,308 Northern Pike (Fry)
  • 06/24/2010 - 10,000 Largemouth Bass (1.2")
  • 06/22/2010 - 126,342 Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) (3")
  • 05/20/2010 - 63,064 Northern Pike (2.5")
  • 05/13/2010 - 1,000,000 Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) (Fry)
  • 04/25/2010 - 7,326,751 Walleye (Fry)
  • 07/27/2009 - 11,650 Largemouth Bass (2.5")
  • 06/18/2009 - 20,297 Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) (2.5")
  • 05/20/2009 - 100,000 Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) (Fry)
  • 05/20/2009 - 1,500,000 Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) (Fry)
  • 05/08/2009 - 63,126 Northern Pike (2.5")
  • 05/04/2009 - 7,000,000 Walleye (Fry)
  • 06/18/2008 - 134,775 Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) (1.8")
  • 06/10/2008 - 65,560 Walleye (1.7")
  • 05/14/2008 - 1,000,000 Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) (Fry)
  • 05/12/2008 - 12,000,000 Walleye (Fry)
  • 05/09/2008 - 73,316 Northern Pike (2.4")
  • 04/17/2008 - 150,000 Northern Pike (Fry)
  • 07/02/2007 - 40,128 Walleye (4.0")
  • 06/20/2007 - 82,273 Walleye (2.2")
  • 06/15/2007 - 25,000 Largemouth Bass (1.1")
  • 04/30/2007 - 4,200,000 Walleye (Fry)
  • 04/05/2007 - 85,000 Northern Pike (Fry)
  • April 2006 - 50,000 Northern Pike (Fry)
  • 06/28/2006 - 50,000 Largemouth Bass (1.4")
  • 06/21/2006 - 42,152 Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) (2.0")
  • 06/16/2006 - 31,705 Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) (1.9")
  • 05/11/2006 - 800,000 Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) (Fry)
  • 04/25/2006 - 7,000,000 Walleye (Fry)
The Fishing Regulations brochure is available for download. The summaries listed below are a partial listing provided for your benefit.

  • Bigmouth Buffalo
    • Season: Continuous
    • Daily Bag Limit: none
    • Possession Limit: unlimited
    • Length Limit: none
    • Other:
  • Black Bullhead
    • Season: Continuous
    • Daily Bag Limit: unlimited
    • Possession Limit: unlimited
    • Length Limit: none
    • Other:
  • Black Crappie
    • Season: Continuous
    • Daily Bag Limit: combined black and white crappie, 25 fish
    • Possession Limit: unlimited
    • Length Limit: none
    • Other:
  • Bluegill
    • Season: Continuous
    • Daily Bag Limit: 25 fish
    • Possession Limit: unlimited
    • Length Limit: none
    • Other:
  • Channel Catfish
    • Season: Continuous
    • Daily Bag Limit: combined: channel, blue and flathead catfish, 15 fish
    • Possession Limit: combined: channel, blue and flathead catfish, 30 fish
    • Length Limit: none
    • Other:
  • Common Carp
    • Season: Continuous
    • Daily Bag Limit: none
    • Possession Limit: unlimited
    • Length Limit: none
    • Other: May be taken by hand fishing, by snagging, by spear or by bow and arrow, day or night.
  • Flathead Catfish
    • Season: Continuous
    • Daily Bag Limit: combined: channel, blue and flathead catfish, 15 fish
    • Possession Limit: combined: channel, blue and flathead catfish, 30 fish
    • Length Limit: none
    • Other:
  • Freshwater Drum
    • Season: Continuous
    • Daily Bag Limit: none
    • Possession Limit: unlimited
    • Length Limit: none
    • Other: May be taken by hand fishing, by snagging, by spear or by bow and arrow, day or night.
  • Largemouth Bass
    • Season: Continuous
    • Daily Bag Limit: combined black bass, 3 fish
    • Possession Limit: combined black bass, 6 fish
    • Length Limit: 15-inch minimum
    • Other:
  • Northern Pike
    • Season: Continuous
    • Daily Bag Limit: 3 fish
    • Possession Limit: 6 fish
    • Length Limit: none
    • Other:
  • Quillback
    • Season: Continuous
    • Daily Bag Limit: none
    • Possession Limit: unlimited
    • Length Limit: none
    • Other: May be taken by hand fishing, by snagging, by spear or by bow and arrow, day or night.
  • Shorthead redhorse
    • Season: Continuous
    • Daily Bag Limit: none
    • Possession Limit: unlimited
    • Length Limit: none
    • Other: May be taken by hand fishing, by snagging, by spear or by bow and arrow, day or night.
  • Smallmouth Buffalo
    • Season: Continuous
    • Daily Bag Limit: none
    • Possession Limit: unlimited
    • Length Limit: none
    • Other:
  • Walleye
    • Season: Continuous
    • Daily Bag Limit: combined walleye, sauger and saugeye; 5 fish
    • Possession Limit: combined walleye, sauger and saugeye; 10 fish
    • Length Limit: none
    • Other:
  • White Bass
    • Season: Continuous
    • Daily Bag Limit: none
    • Possession Limit: unlimited
    • Length Limit: none
    • Other:
  • White Crappie
    • Season: Continuous
    • Daily Bag Limit: combined black and white crappie, 25 fish
    • Possession Limit: unlimited
    • Length Limit: none
    • Other:
  • White Sucker
    • Season: Continuous
    • Daily Bag Limit: none
    • Possession Limit: unlimited
    • Length Limit: none
    • Other: May be taken by hand fishing, by snagging, by spear or by bow and arrow, day or night.
Fall gill netting in 2015 found white bass present in good numbers overall, but not as many larger white bass that anglers like to target. There were three distinct size groups. The most abundant was a younger group from 7 to 9 inches. The midsize group was from 10.5 to 12 inches and the larger fish are running around 13.5 inches. Hybrid striped bass are present in fair numbers from 12 to 26 inches. Crappies were not sampled in high numbers with gill nets, but a good crappie fishery does exist with both white and black crappies at good sizes from 9 to 12 inches. Annual walleye stocking is maintaining a fair population that provides an occasional catch, especially for anglers trolling for white bass, but many of the walleye likely end up in the Des Moines River below Saylorville. Channel catfish are consistently found in good numbers and good size. Sizes in 2015 ranged from 12 to over 30 inches.(2015)

Contacts

Fish Surveys

Lake Fish Survey Data Data from the most recent fisheries survey of this lake is provided on this external web site. This data may include information from various netting surveys and/or electroshocking surveys. Data includes numbers of fish sampled, and fish size ranges. Not all lakes are sampled every year.

Lake Mini-report

Lake Reports Summary report information about selected (~130) lakes regarding water quality, upstream land use, usage, economic value and more. Reports are customizable by the user to include only that information which the user desires to include.

Water Quality

Iowa-Caught Fish Are Safe to Eat, In Almost All Cases

The vast majority of Iowa’s streams, rivers and lakes offer safe and high-quality fish that pose little or no threat to human health if consumed. Some limitations may apply for young children and pregnant women. Here’s a Fish Consumption Fact Sheet from the Iowa DNR and the Iowa Dept. of Public Health for more information. Here is a list of current fish consumption advisories for Iowa lakes and rivers.