Interior Rivers

Maquoketa River (above Monticello)

General Information

Location: Access points begin below the dam at Backbone State Park.
Length in miles: 68.00
Motoring Restrictions: None

Nearby Parks


Amenities at Maquoketa River (above Monticello) include:
  • Boat Access
  • Boat Rental
  • Picnic Area
  • Trails
  • Playground
  • Restrooms
  • Camping
  • Good/Excellent Shorefishing
  • Gravel Boat Ramp
  • Hard Surface Boat Ramp
  • Carry Down Boat Launch
With the recent summer storms, interior river angling has been fairly unpredictable with fluctuating river levels. Most anglers now are targeting channel catfish during early morning or late evening hours to beat the summer July heat. Trout streams remain in good condition. For further information contact the N.E. District Office @ 563-927-3276.
Recent creel reports show that anglers are catching a variety of species on the Maquoketa River in Delaware County.
Walleye - Fair: Jig and twister tipped with a nightcrawler has been most productive for walleye on the river.
Smallmouth Bass - Fair: Anglers have been doing best catching smallmouth bass using plastics and spinner baits. Look for rocky shoreline or other instream habitat for smallmouth.
Channel Catfish - Fair: Best success has been using dead chubs, night crawlers or leaches fished on the bottom of the river.
Download Printable River Map

  • 06/04/2015 - 5,562 Walleye (1.6")
  • 06/02/2015 - 6,811 Walleye (1.8")
  • 06/02/2015 - 8,029 Walleye (1.8")
  • 05/29/2015 - 3,336 Walleye (2")
  • 05/19/2015 - 4,000 Northern Pike (2.9")
  • 06/05/2014 - 4,047 Northern Pike (2-3")
  • 06/05/2014 - 14,521 Walleye (2")
  • 05/28/2014 - 24,000 Walleye (2")
  • 05/29/2013 - 1,447 Northern Pike (2.7")
  • 05/24/2013 - 24,830 Walleye (1.3")
  • 05/18/2012 - 24,460 Walleye (1.2")
  • 05/08/2012 - 4,210 Northern Pike (2.7")
  • 05/31/2011 - 23,560 Walleye (1.5")
  • 05/18/2011 - 7,782 Northern Pike (2.7")
  • 06/16/2010 - 12,458 Walleye (1.6")
  • 05/20/2010 - 7,553 Northern Pike (2.5")
  • 05/20/2010 - 28,000 Walleye (1.1")
  • 05/28/2009 - 34,560 Walleye (1.3")
  • 05/11/2009 - 7,507 Northern Pike (2.6")
  • 06/06/2008 - 16,250 Walleye (1.6")
  • 05/09/2008 - 7,534 Northern Pike (2.3")
  • 06/01/2007 - 4,200 Northern Pike (4.8")
  • 05/24/2007 - 23,500 Walleye (1.3")
The Fishing Regulations brochure is available for download. The summaries listed below are a partial listing provided for your benefit.

  • 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:
  • Northern Pike
    • Season: Continuous
    • Daily Bag Limit: 3 fish
    • Possession Limit: 6 fish
    • Length Limit: none
    • Other:
  • Rock Bass
    • Season: Continuous
    • Daily Bag Limit: none
    • Possession Limit: unlimited
    • Length Limit: none
    • Other:
  • Smallmouth Bass
    • Season: Continuous
    • Daily Bag Limit: combined black bass, 3 fish
    • Possession Limit: combined black bass, 6 fish
    • Length Limit: 12-inch minimum
    • Other: There is a catch and release only regulation on a portion of this river in Delaware County. The catch and release regulation is in effect from below Lake Delhi Dam and extends downstream to the first county gravel road bridge
  • 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:
The Maquoketa River offers great paddling and angling opportunities throughout this seventy mile stretch. Good survival and growth of the 2014 DNR stocked fingerling walleye should please anglers as these fish approach 16 inches or greater in size. Very good smallmouth bass fishing occurs in many areas of this river due to all of the suitable rocky habitat. Concentrate efforts near these areas in which "smallmouth " love! Note, there is a Catch & Release Area for all bass in Delaware County extending downstream for four and a half miles from below Lake Delhi Dam as posted to the first county gravel road bridge, Pioneer Road. A strong population of channel catfish, existing from Manchester downstream will provide great fishing opportunities for anglers of all ages. It's not uncommon for an angler to catch a "memorable" northern pike in this stretch. Pike densities are low but sustained with additional DNR stockings in early spring (see fish stocking tab above for more info). This stretch of river is most accessible by means of a kayak or canoe as the river is fairly wide and shallow in places. Ten access points, mostly carry-down, provide paddlers and anglers many options throughout this entire scenic area of river. Be sure to stop and visit the newly constructed/dam removal project, "Manchester Whitewater Park," truely a must see for all outdoor enthusiasts! Voyage a ride down through the six drop structures or simply enjoy the view from the beautiful landscaped park. Fish habitat and passage were also designed into the new park adding exceptional habitat for smallmouth bass and walleye. A hard surface boat ramp located at Bailey's Ford County Park, Delaware County, provides boat anglers access to a popular overwinter staging area for walleye. Kayak and canoe rentals are available in the city of Manchester. Check the local directory for phone numbers and rental availability.(2016)


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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