Official State of Iowa Website Here is how you know

Search for a News Release

Press/Media inquiries:

DNR News Releases

6 Reasons You’re Not Catching Fish

  • 7/14/2015 8:58:00 AM
  • View Count 83911
  • Return

6 reasons why you're not catching fish | Iowa DNRAre you struggling to catch fish this summer? Don’t get discouraged – you are not alone. Here are some common reasons why you aren’t catching fish and tips for being more successful.

Fishing too deep 
Don’t fish deeper than 10-15 feet in most Iowa lakes after mid-June. Anglers often fish too deep – below the thermocline, a natural barrier between warm water in the top of the water column and cold water in the bottom.

These warm and cold layers do not mix. Cool water is heavy and sinks to the bottom of the water column. The lack of mixing with surface waters prevents new oxygen from entering this cool water and over time, organisms use up most of the oxygen. By mid-summer, the oxygen levels below the thermocline fall to the point where fish cannot stay for long. 

Use our handy infographic to know how to fish by depth. 

Wrong time of day
Fish bite best in the morning and evening. 

Hook too big 
Size 6 or 8 hooks are best for panfish.

Bobber too big 
Try a 1-inch or smaller bobber to catch panfish. 

Fishing in the wrong location 
Fish close to structure like brush piles and stumps. Downloadable fishing structure location maps are available on the DNR’s Where to Fish website. Use these maps to pinpoint panfish hotspots.   

Retrieving bait too fast 
Fish often become lazy and sluggish in the summer heat. Reel in your line a bit slower to make your lure an easier target. 

Find a great place to fish close to home on our website along with tips for catching specific fish species this summer. Sign up for our weekly fishing report to find out what’s biting where.