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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


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

Fishing Report

No recent updates

Fishing Forecast

Lake Darling was drained in November 2008 to complete an in-lake renovation that included repair of the dam, sediment removal, shoreline armoring, and new construction of shoreline and boat accesses. Prior to draining, a portion of the sportfish community was relocated to watershed ponds within the park. Fingerling fish were stocked in additional ponds from 2009-2013. A map illustrating the location of 25 of the ponds 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. ----------- Lake Darling State Park has not been officially reopened to the public. Construction crews are optimistic that limited public access can be allowed by July 4th (swimming will not be permissible at this juncture); however, the campground is not expected to open until, at least, the week of July 24th. These dates are not firm; thus, please call 319-694-2430 for current information. ----------- Construction work on the lake is now completed, and the second formal gate setting for the Lake Darling Dam occurred on February 12, 2014. The lake filled within approximately 10 inches of full pool by June 18 before a storm on June 19 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 full-pool. Bluegills were stocked on April 2, channel catfish on May 30, and largemouth bass on June 20, 2014. Future stocking plans include fingerling redear sunfish and adult black crappie. A portion of the bluegill stock was already 4 inches on the date of stocking; exceptional growth has been observed since their introduction. Anglers can expect excellent fishing starting 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. (2014)

Lake Maps

Download Printable Lake Map

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

Popular Fish Species at this Lake

Fish Stocking

  • 08/07/2006 - 7,488 Channel Catfish (7.4")
  • 09/08/2005 - 2,052 Largemouth Bass (5")
  • 08/24/2005 - 7,478 Channel Catfish (6.6")
  • 07/01/2005 - 5,500 Largemouth Bass (1.3")


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:

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.