Renovations Complete, Excellent Fishing on the Way
Spring is officially here and it is time to grab the fishing gear and head to the water. Three newly renovated lakes and one lake under construction will need to be on the radar for trips in the future.
Green Valley Lake, near Creston, should offer excellent fishing this year. Lake Wapello, in Davis County, is about a year away for consistent fishing. Hawthorn Lake, in Mahaska County, is a year or two away.
Green Valley Lake, Union County
Green Valley Lake had extensive work done to improve water quality beginning in 2009 when the lake level was lowered 15 feet to fix the spillway. While the lake was down, fish habitat was added and the shoreline was protected from erosion. The fishery was renovated to eliminate yellow bass and common carp.
The work is done and lake is refilling but remains about eight feet low. The main boat ramp is easily accessible. Fish are growing well since the initial stocking in 2009. Anglers will find bluegills measuring nearly eight inches, channel catfish approaching five pounds and a large population of mid-sized largemouth bass. Walleyes were stocked in 2010 and are measuring 16 inches. Crappies are low in numbers but large in size.
While the lake improvements were underway, the state park campground underwent a renovation and has been operating with the upgraded electrical service, pull through sites and new shower house, among other things.
Lake Wapello, Davis County
Lake Wapello appears to be shad free and is quickly headed back to providing quality fishing once again. Wapello had battled gizzard shad for two consecutive years before finally ridding itself of the problem fish species.
The Wapello fishery received a boost when Hawthorn Lake was renovated. Wapello received more than 1,100 adult largemouth bass, most of which were longer than 14 inches, from Hawthorn Lake in late 2009 and early 2010 before it was drained.
Anglers experienced an excellent spring bite for largemouth bass in 2011. Bluegill quality increased in 2011 and anglers should find 6-inch-plus bluegills in 2012. Crappies will be introduced in 2012. Channel catfish angling is currently good and fish over 18 inches are available.
Hawthorn Lake, Mahaska County
A two-year, major renovation of Hawthorn Lake was completed in late summer 2011. The lake was drained, fish population eliminated to get rid of gizzard shad and common carp, five earthen/rock fishing reefs and two new fishing jetties were installed and about one mile of shoreline was protected to reduce shoreline erosion.
Installing nine structures in the watershed to catch sediment and nutrients before entering the lake are planned with five currently awaiting construction.
The lake refilled early last summer and the DNR stocked largemouth bass, channel catfish, bluegill, and redear sunfish by the fall. Additional largemouth bass will be stocked in 2012, and in 2013, adult crappies will be added to the mix.
Anglers can expect to find quality bluegill fishing in 2013, and even better fishing in 2014. Catfish angling should produce 15 –inch-plus fish in 2012 as growth tends to be fast in newly renovated lakes. Largemouth bass in excess of 15 inches should be available in 2013.
A lake currently under construction in Scott County should begin holding water later this summer. Construction on the dam at Lost Grove Lake was put on hold to allow the soil moisture to be reduced to acceptable levels to complete construction.
Lost Grove Lake, Scott County
The Lost Grove Lake Dam has been built to within 12-15 feet of completion. Construction was halted in late summer 2011 to allow the earthen dam to settle for 30 days as is required to reduce the level of soil moisture, but the dam was still retaining too much moisture.
It was allowed to settle for another 30 days, but moisture levels were still too high so the dam was allowed to settle over the winter to reduce the risk of bulge failure. Crews will begin working when the moisture content has reached acceptable levels. The expected completion date is this summer.
The fish habitat, shoreline access, and rip-rap are done. The boat ramp, parking lot, and fishing trail portion of the project will be advertised for bid in March, the bid opening will be in April, NRC approval will happen in May, and construction will begin thereafter. The projected completion date for this phase of the project is August 15.
Bluegill and redear sunfish will be stocked in October if a 6-8 feet deep pool has been impounded, followed by largemouth bass, channel catfish and walleye in June 2013.
Fishing is available nearby in the 220th Causeway Impoundment, which is the 27 acres of water located west of 220th Avenue. It has been stocked with bluegill, largemouth bass, and channel catfish since 2006. In recent years, anglers have reported nice catches of all of these species.