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Spring panfish bite is heating up

Crappies and bluegills are biting in small ponds and lakes across Iowa. Here's a few hotspots to try this spring.Crappies and bluegills are biting in small ponds and lakes across Iowa. Here's a few hotspots to try this spring! | Iowa DNR

  • Diamond LakePoweshiek County – catch lots of 7- to 10-inch crappie; excellent access with 11 jetties. Use a jig/waxworm around the jetties and shallow brush. Fish cleaning station, paved trails, playground and many picnic spots. Boats with electric trolling motors only allowed on the lake.
  • Don Williams Lake, Boone County – use minnows or small jigs near wood habitat to catch 8- to 10-inch crappies. Try also drifting jigs 5- to 10-feet down in 10- to 20-feet of water. A campground, beach, golf course and cabins offer added outdoor fun.
  • East Okoboji and West Okoboji Lakes, Dickinson County – crappie are active on the north end of East Okoboji; use mini jigs and artificial baits off public docks. Catch lots of keeper bluegill and crappie on West Okoboji; use light jig heads and artificial baits in the shallows.
  • Lake Manawa, Pottawattamie County – find 10- to 12-inch white crappie spawning in the rocky shorelines; use minnows under a slip bobber in the dredge cuts. Paddle boat, paddle board and kayak and canoe rentals available at the beach concessionaire.
  • Little River Watershed Lake, Decatur County – catch bluegill up to 9 inches with small jigs or nightcrawlers fished near cedar tree brush piles; use using small jigs or minnows fished near rocky shoreline areas or cedar tree brush piles to catch crappie up to 11 inches. The lake features several fishing jetties, camping and rental cabins.

Check the weekly fishing report to see where the bite is hottest.

Invite your mom, a kid, your best friend or a spouse to come along. Plan a day trip or reserve a cabin at one of our state parks and spend the whole weekend. We picked 6 Great State Parks for Spring Fishing to help you plan your spring fishing trips.

Insider Tips from Head of DNR Fisheries

“Don’t be afraid to switch your bait and fishing spot if you are not catching fish. Add a tube jig or try a different color jig – bright colors are best when the fish are aggressive, switch to duller colors if the bite is slow. Once you find the perfect combination, keep fishing with that until you fill your bucket.” Joe Larscheid, Iowa DNR Chief of Fisheries

Get insider tips for catching spring panfish from Iowa DNR Fisheries Chief Joe Larscheid | Iowa DNR

Fishing for crappie and bluegill is fun and easy! Check out these great tips:

 

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