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Big Creek Lake

General Information

County: Polk
Location: 2 miles north of Polk City
Acres: 814.00
Maximum Depth: 53.4 ft. (2006 - Data collected as part of the statewide lake mapping program.)
Motoring Restrictions: No Size Limit at No Wake


Amenities at Big Creek Lake include:
  • Boat Access
  • Fishing Jetty
  • Accessible Pier
  • Boat Rental
  • Picnic Area
  • Beach
  • Trails
  • Accessible Facilities
  • Playground
  • Restrooms
  • Good/Excellent Shorefishing
  • Hard Surface Boat Ramp

Fishing Report

For good summer fishing anglers should drift/slow troll the open water for bluegill and crappie. The Des Moines River Reservoirs are producing some good white bass fishing. For information on central Iowa's lakes and rivers contact Ben Dodd or Andy Otting at 515-432-2823.
Bluegill - Good: 8 to 9 inch bluegills are being caught in good numbers fishing at the edges of the vegetation with 1/16oz jigs tipped with small pieces of crawler.
Walleye - Fair: Walleye are being caught trolling spinner rigs with minnows or crawlers in 8 to 12 foot of water or drifting jigs tipped with crawlers or leeches at the edges of the vegetation. Concentrate on the upper half of the lake during the summer months.

Fishing Forecast

Big Creek has a quality bluegill fishery. 2013 sampling showed bluegills from 3 to just over 9 inches. Both black and white crappies are present in fishable numbers, but their abundance is not currently high. Black crappie sampled in 2013 were 8 to 11 inches and white crappie were 8.5 to 10.5 inches. The white bass population was knocked back in 2013. The extent of this die-off will be more known after 2014 surveys. A reduction in white bass numbers may be beneficial to the crappie in Big Creek. Channel catfish were not targeted in 2013 surveys, but an abundant population is present with all sizes from 10 to 30 inches. The largemouth bass population is in good condition. Bass were sampled from 9 to 20.5 inches. There is a small population of smallmouth bass present with sizes between 9 and 14 inches. The smallmouth are most often sampled and caught by anglers along the dam face and in the canal. A small population of yellow perch also exists with some fish reaching good sizes over 9 inches. Due to changes in stocking strategy walleye numbers are on the rise. There is a good sized year class that should start to go over the 15 inch minimum length limit during 2014. The adult muskie population is currently very small. Muskie are continuing to be stocked. A fish barrier was placed at the spillway to decrease the numbers of adult muskie and walleye leaving the lake. An improvement in muskie numbers should be noticed by 2015.(2013)

Lake Maps

Download Printable Lake Map
Download Printable Fishing Structures Map

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

Popular Fish Species at this Lake


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.