Lake Darling

General Information

County: Washington
Location: 4 miles west of Brighton
Acres: 303.00
Maximum Depth: 24 ft. (1972)
Motoring Restrictions: No Size Limit at No Wake

Nearby Parks


Amenities at Lake Darling 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
For more information on the above lakes call the Lake Darling Fisheries Station at (319) 694-2430.
Water temp on Tuesday morning was 64 degrees. After a cold rain Wednesday and nighttime temp of 46 the water temp, Thursday morning's water temp was back down to 58 degrees.
Black Crappie - Good: Tuesday the crappies were in right next to shore, Thursday morning even the little pre-spawners were back out to 3 to 4 foot of water. None of the females are releasing eggs yet.
Bluegill - Good: Anglers are picking up some nice fat bluegills in the 7.5 to 8.5 inch range while fishing for crappies.
Largemouth Bass - Good: The cool down didn't seem to bother the bass any as they were actively hunting the little crappies Thursday morning.
Download Printable Lake Map

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

  • Jun 18 2015 12:00AM - 30,300 Largemouth Bass (2")
  • Aug 31 2015 12:00AM - 266,241 Redear Sunfish (2")
  • May 30 2014 12:00AM - 30,400 Channel Catfish (2")
  • Jun 20 2014 12:00AM - 31,000 Largemouth Bass (2")
  • Apr 14 2014 12:00AM - 88,000 Bluegill (2")
  • Apr 2 2014 12:00AM - 68,630 Bluegill (3")
  • 08/07/2006 - 7,488 Channel Catfish (7.4")
The Fishing Regulations brochure is available for download. The summaries listed below are a partial listing provided for your benefit.

  • Black Crappie
    • Season: Continuous
    • Daily Bag Limit: combined black and white crappie, 25 fish
    • Possession Limit: unlimited
    • Length Limit: none
    • Other: No daily limit on private waters
  • Bluegill
    • Season: Continuous
    • Daily Bag Limit: 25 fish
    • Possession Limit: unlimited
    • Length Limit: none
    • Other: No daily limit on private waters
  • Channel Catfish
    • Season: Continuous
    • Daily Bag Limit: combined: channel, blue and flathead catfish, 8 fish
    • Possession Limit: combined: channel, blue and flathead catfish, 30 fish
    • Length Limit: none
    • Other:
  • 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:
The Lake Darling Restoration Project which included the repair of the dam, sediment removal, shoreline armoring, and new construction of shoreline and boat accesses has been completed. The park, campground, lake and other amenities are now open to the public. Lake Darling reached full crest in spring 2014. The lake filled within approximately 10 inches of crest by June 18, 2014 before a storm on June 19, 2014 brought heavy rainfall to Lake Darling State Park; thus, completing the lake-filling process.-------Fingerling (2”) stockings for the newly renovated lake were begun before the basin had reached crest. Bluegills were stocked on April 2, channel catfish on May 30, and largemouth bass on June 20, 2014; black crappie were stocked the same year. Future stocking plans include fingerling redear sunfish in fall 2015. Currently, the largest bluegills in the lake are running 7.5-8.5”; smaller ‘gills ranging from 2.5” (2015 year class) to 6.5” (2014 year class) are abundant. The largest crappies being caught by anglers range from 11-11.5”; there are numerous 4” (2015 year class)-8” (2014 year class) crappies in the lake. A good number of largemouth bass have reached 12.5”, but anglers will observe numerous 7” bass (2014 year class) or even stumble upon the occasional 15” bass. Most channel catfish are 10” in length, but a few larger cats may be found. Anglers have experienced good fishing in 2015, and can likely expect excellent fishing beginning in 2016-2017. Exceptional fish growth is often observed in new or renovated lakes, such as Lake Darling, due to the presence of abundant resources as compared to fish community size. Anglers may experience good fishing ahead of schedule.-------A map illustrating the location of 25 sediment retention/recreational ponds, which can also be utilized by anglers, is available for pick-up at the Iowa DNR Southeast Regional Office located within Lake Darling State Park. Initial stocking date is indicated on the map so that anglers can target the most mature ponds for bluegill, largemouth bass, and channel catfish.(2015)


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.