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DeSoto Bend at DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge

General Information

County: Harrison
Location: 5 miles west of Missouri Valley at DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge
Acres: 811.00
Maximum Depth: 26 ft. (1980)
Motoring Restrictions: No Size Limit at No Wake

Amenities

Amenities at DeSoto Bend at DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge include:
  • Boat Access
  • Fishing Jetty
  • Accessible Pier
  • Picnic Area
  • Trails
  • Accessible Facilities
  • Hard Surface Boat Ramp

Fishing Report

No recent updates

Fishing Forecast

The Iowa DNR, Nebraska Game and Parks, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service continue a joint effort managing the fishery in DeSoto Bend Lake. The fishery survey from 2014 shows a moderate largemouth bass population with fish ranging from 12 to 19-inches. The channel catfish population benefited the most from the 2011 flooding and their population remains strong. Very few crappies were sampled again last year. Quality sized white bass have returned to the fishery in 2014. Walleye stocking continues on an annual basis in an effort to retore their numbers. Silver carp now jump in the boat wakes as a result of flooding.(2015)


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

  • 09/22/2009 - 4,800 Channel Catfish (7.5")
  • 05/05/2009 - 2,400,000 Walleye (Fry)
  • 10/13/2008 - 3,800 Walleye (9.6")
  • 10/16/2007 - 4,201 Walleye (10")
  • 10/16/2006 - 3,200 Walleye (9.7")
  • 10/04/2005 - 4,000 Walleye (5")
  • 10/03/2005 - 4,500 Channel Catfish (7.2")

Regulations

The Fishing Regulations brochure is available for download. The summaries listed below are a partial listing provided for your benefit.

  • Black Crappie
    • Season: 30 min prior to sunrise until 30 min after sunset; open water, Apr 15 - Oct 14; ice, Jan 2-31 & Feb
    • Daily Bag Limit: Federal Refuge regulations apply; combined bluegill and crappie, 15 fish
    • Possession Limit: Federal Refuge regulations apply
    • Length Limit: none
    • Other: The daily bag and minimum length limit for all fish species in De Soto Lake are the most restrictive limit of either Iowa or Nebraska. Anglers are limited to 2 lines, and 2 hooks per line.
  • Bluegill
    • Season: 30 min prior to sunrise until 30 min after sunset; open water, Apr 15 - Oct 14; ice, Jan 2-31 & Feb
    • Daily Bag Limit: Federal Refuge regulations apply; combined bluegill and crappie, 15 fish
    • Possession Limit: Federal Refuge regulations apply
    • Length Limit: none
    • Other: The daily bag and minimum length limit for all fish species in De Soto Lake are the most restrictive limit of either Iowa or Nebraska. Anglers are limited to 2 lines, and 2 hooks per line.
  • Channel Catfish
    • Season: 30 min prior to sunrise until 30 min after sunset; open water, Apr 15 - Oct 14; ice, Jan 2-31 & Feb
    • Daily Bag Limit: Federal Refuge regulations apply; 5 fish
    • Possession Limit: Federal Refuge regulations apply
    • Length Limit: Federal Refuge regulations apply
    • Other: Trotlines, bank lines, set lines, and float lines are prohibited. The daily bag and minimum length limit for all fish species in De Soto Lake are the most restrictive limit of either Iowa or Nebraska. Anglers are limited to 2 lines, and 2 hooks per line.
  • Flathead Catfish
    • Season: 30 min prior to sunrise until 30 min after sunset; open water, Apr 15 - Oct 14; ice, Jan 2-31 & Feb
    • Daily Bag Limit: Federal Refuge regulations apply; 5 fish, only one fish 30" or longer
    • Possession Limit: Federal Refuge regulations apply
    • Length Limit: none
    • Other: Trotlines, bank lines, set lines, and float lines are prohibited. The daily bag and minimum length limit for all fish species in De Soto Lake are the most restrictive limit of either Iowa or Nebraska. Anglers are limited to 2 lines, and 2 hooks per line.
  • Freshwater Drum
    • Season: Continuous
    • Daily Bag Limit: none
    • Possession Limit: unlimited
    • Length Limit: none
    • Other: May be taken by hand fishing, by snagging, by spear or by bow and arrow, day or night.
  • Gizzard shad
    • Season: Continuous
    • Daily Bag Limit: none
    • Possession Limit: unlimited
    • Length Limit: none
    • Other: May be taken by hand fishing, by snagging, by spear or by bow and arrow, day or night.
  • Largemouth Bass
    • Season: 30 min prior to sunrise until 30 min after sunset; open water, Apr 15 - Oct 14; ice, Jan 2-31 & Feb
    • Daily Bag Limit: combined black bass, 3 fish, only one fish 21" or longer; Federal Refuge regulations apply
    • Possession Limit: Federal Refuge regulations apply
    • Length Limit: 15-inch minimum; Federal Refuge regulations apply
    • Other: The daily bag and minimum length limit for all fish species in De Soto Lake are the most restrictive limit of either Iowa or Nebraska. Anglers are limited to 2 lines, and 2 hooks per line.
  • Paddlefish
    • Season: closed
    • Daily Bag Limit: none, protected species
    • Possession Limit: cannot be possessed
    • Length Limit: cannot be possessed
    • Other: none
  • Sauger
    • Season: 30 min prior to sunrise until 30 min after sunset; open water, Apr 15 - Oct 14; ice, Jan 2-31 & Feb
    • Daily Bag Limit: combined walleye/sauger/saugeye, 3 fish, only one fish 22" or longer
    • Possession Limit: Federal Refuge regulations apply
    • Length Limit: 15-inch minimum
    • Other: The daily bag and minimum length limit for all fish species in De Soto Lake are the most restrictive limit of either Iowa or Nebraska. Anglers are limited to 2 lines, and 2 hooks per line.
  • Walleye
    • Season: 30 min prior to sunrise until 30 min after sunset; open water, Apr 15 - Oct 14; ice, Jan 2-31 & Feb
    • Daily Bag Limit: combined walleye/sauger/saugeye, 3 fish, only one fish 22" or longer
    • Possession Limit: Federal Refuge regulations apply
    • Length Limit: 15-inch minimum
    • Other: The daily bag and minimum length limit for all fish species in De Soto Lake are the most restrictive limit of either Iowa or Nebraska. Anglers are limited to 2 lines, and 2 hooks per line.
  • White Bass
    • Season: 30 min prior to sunrise until 30 min after sunset; open water, Apr 15 - Oct 14; ice, Jan 2-31 & Feb
    • Daily Bag Limit: 15 fish, only one fish 16" or longer
    • Possession Limit: Federal Refuge regulations apply
    • Length Limit: none
    • Other: The daily bag and minimum length limit for all fish species in De Soto Lake are the most restrictive limit of either Iowa or Nebraska. Anglers are limited to 2 lines, and 2 hooks per line.
  • Yellow Bass
    • Season: Continuous
    • Daily Bag Limit: none
    • Possession Limit: unlimited
    • Length Limit: none
    • Other: Associated chutes and backwaters of the Mississippi River are included where intermittent or constant flow occur. In these areas, the daily bag and possession limit for the Mississippi River apply.

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.

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