Rathbun Reservoir

General Information

County: Appanoose
Location: 8 miles northwest of Centerville
Acres: 11000.00
Maximum Depth: 50 ft. (2008)
Motoring Restrictions: none

Amenities

Amenities at Rathbun Reservoir include:
  • Boat Access
  • Accessible Pier
  • Boat Rental
  • Picnic Area
  • Beach
  • Trails
  • Accessible Facilities
  • Playground
  • Restrooms
  • Camping
  • Concessions
  • Good/Excellent Shorefishing
  • Hard Surface Boat Ramp
  • Carry Down Boat Launch
  • Fish Cleaning Station
The district includes Mahaska, Lucas, Wayne, Monroe, Appanoose, Wapello, Davis and Van Buren counties. For more information, contact the Rathbun fish hatchery at 641-647-2406.
Channel Catfish - Good: Try cut bait or large chubs around areas with rip rap. The rocks around the bridge at the Bridgeview area is a good spot this time of year.
The current lake level is 904.27 msl. Normal operating elevation is 904.0 msl. Lake Rathbun contains zebra mussels so make sure to properly drain, clean, and dry equipment before transporting to another water body. The water temperature is in the upper 60's.
Walleye - Good: Anglers have been catching walleye using nightcrawler rigs. Some anglers have had luck with crankbaits around rock piles and submerged points.
White Crappie - Good: Anglers have been catching crappies around the docks at the marina and at the resort. Anglers have had luck in shallow water as well as in 4-10 feet of water.
Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) - Fair: Anglers have been trolling crankbaits along rocky shorelines. Wipers can also be caught using jig and minnow combos along the shoreline.
Download Printable Lake Map

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

  • spring 2016 - 52,400,000 Walleye (Fry)
  • fall 2016 - 87,899 Walleye (9.6")
  • 6/29/16 - 43,866 Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) (Fingerling)
  • 6/22/2016 - 79,663 Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) (1.5")
  • 6/20/16 - 76,043 Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) (Fingerling)
  • 5/11/16 - 2,427 Walleye (Adult)
  • 10/13/16 - 1,347 Walleye (9.4")
  • annual 2015 - 80,500 Walleye (8")
  • 10/13/2015 - 14,192 Walleye (8.8")
  • 06/29/2015 - 20,911 Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) (2")
  • 06/23/2015 - 185,495 Largemouth Bass (1,050/lb)
  • 06/18/2015 - 102,747 Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) (1.6")
  • 05/01/2015 - 9,863,955 Walleye (Fry)
  • 04/22/2015 - 319 Walleye (18.5")
  • 04/20/2015 - 18,097 Walleye (8")
  • 04/01/2015 - 36,221,084 Walleye (Fry)
  • annual 2014 - 74,551 Walleye (8")
  • annual 2014 - 38,815,441 Walleye (Fry)
  • annual 2014 - 245,528 Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) (2")
  • 10/24/2014 - 650 Largemouth Bass (5")
  • 05/14/2014 - 4,525,454 Walleye (Fry)
  • October 2013 - 83,139 Walleye (9.0")
  • 09/25/2013 - 7,500 Largemouth Bass (4.0")
  • 08/08/2013 - 30,695 Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) (1.6")
  • 06/28/2013 - 1,823 Walleye (2.0")
  • 05/03/2013 - 50,483,182 Walleye (Fry)
  • October 2012 - 88,006 Walleye (8.5"-9.5")
  • April 2012 - 40,500,000 Walleye (Fry)
  • 06/06/2012 - 596 Walleye (8.9")
  • 09/28/2011 - 79,683 Walleye (8.3")
  • 04/25/2011 - 36,298,421 Walleye (Fry)
  • 10/19/2010 - 88,030 Walleye (9.7")
  • 04/20/2010 - 53,800,000 Walleye (Fry)
  • 09/15/2009 - 77,802 Walleye (7.5-9.6")
  • 06/17/2009 - 19,070 Channel Catfish (2.3")
  • 06/03/2009 - 13,896 Walleye (2.0")
  • 04/30/2009 - 49,500,000 Walleye (Fry)
  • 10/23/2008 - 8,000 Walleye (6.9")
  • 10/07/2008 - 79,750 Walleye (9.2")
  • 07/17/2008 - 6,147 Walleye (3.0")
  • 07/17/2008 - 6,451 Walleye (3.7")
  • 06/05/2008 - 36,942 Channel Catfish (4.0")
  • 05/02/2008 - 42,803,750 Walleye (Fry)
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:
  • 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:
  • 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:
  • 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:
  • 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:
Channel catfish are very abundant in Rathbun and angling is excellent. Most fish are in the 13 to 24 inch range, but good numbers of larger fish are available. The walleye population at Rathbun remains low in abundance. A 2015 year class provided good angling in the early part of 2016 through June. These fish were in the 13 to 17 inch range by fall of 2017. While fish of all sizes are available, poor recruitment in recent years has lead to an overall decline in walleye abundance. Crappie abundance is moderating after strong year classes in earlier years. This moderation in abundance has allowed for growth and fish up to 12 inches are common (although small fish are more abundant than large). Largemouth bass density is low but growth is good. Fish in the 14 to 21 inch range are moderately common. White bass have produced successful year classes in recent years after a near collapse of the fishery in the early 2000's following a disease outbreak. In addition, the stocking of hybrid striped bass (which closely resemble white bass) has resulted in strong year classes of these fish. Hybrid striped bass up to 21 inches were collected in 2017 and should reach 24 inches in 2018. These fish are performing excellently and providing substantial angling opportunity.(2017)

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.