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Rathbun Reservoir

General Information

County: Appanoose
Location: 8 miles northwest of Centerville
Acres: 11000.00
Maximum Depth: 50 ft. (2008 - No year listed.)
Motoring Restrictions: none


Amenities at Rathbun Reservoir include:
  • Boat Access
  • Boat Rental
  • Picnic Area
  • Beach
  • Trails
  • Playground
  • Restrooms
  • Camping
  • Concessions
  • Hard Surface Boat Ramp

Fishing Report

Please remember to take your trash with you so your favorite fishing spot is clean and unlittered. Contact the Rathbun Fish Hatchery at 641-647-2406 with questions regarding angling in south central Iowa.
The current lake level is 905.21. The water temperature is 75° F. Don't forget Lake Rathbun contains zebra mussels so make sure to clean, drain, and dry equipment before transporting to another water body. Spray boats and trailers with high pressure hot water (above 104 degrees) or let them dry for at least 10 days (5 days in the sun).
Walleye - Slow: Crankbaits have been the best baits. The gizzard shad hatch has occurred so use crankbaits that mimic gizzard shad. Look for areas with a variation in depth such as underwater islands and submerged points and try trolling or casting in these areas.
Channel Catfish - Fair: Try using chicken liver. Coves and bays are usually the best areas to target this time of year.
White Bass - Slow: Look for areas in the main lake where shad are breaking at the surface and cast or troll lures that mimic gizzard shad in these areas.
Crappie - Slow: Try finding submerged structure in 6-10 feet of water. Try a minnow and bobber in these areas. Tree piles and stump fields will be the best areas to target.

Fishing Forecast

Low water conditions in the mid-2000's had a negative influence on crappie production in those years. The lake refilled in the spring of 2007 and a large year class of crappies was produced. At this time these fish are running between 7 and 8 inches. These fish should begin to reach 10 inches in late 2009 and 2010. Walleye angling at Rathbun should be excellent as large numbers of fish between 14 and 19 inches are present. Most of these fish are members of the 2006 year class and range from 15 to 19 inches in length.(2009)

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 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.