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Getting outdoors and fishing is a little different for everyone. Some people want to get away from it all, and others enjoy a few extra amenities nearby to extend the fun. Whatever you prefer, we’ve got you covered! Here’s suggestions for some excellent Des Moines area fishing spots if…
…You’re fishing with little kids
Kids can get bored easily, even if they are catching fish. These spots have lots to see and do when your child needs a break from fishing.
Walker-Johnston Pond - in Walker-Johnston Park at 9000 Douglas Avenue in Urbandale. A toddler’s dream - swings and fun play houses just the right size to explore. Enjoy a “story walk” around the pond, admiring pages from a children’s book displayed along the path. Take a trip down the big metal slide build into a hill. Continue your outdoor fun at the nearby Jackaline Dunlap Park and Arboretum and the Urbandale Demonstration Garden.
Altoona Public Library Pond – behind the library at 700 8th Street SW. Spark your child’s imagination, acting out the pages of a favorite children’s book displayed along the trail. Lots of fun awaits at the end of trail at the children’s garden in the Enabling Garden (1050 1st Avenue South) – look for the colorful totem entrance. Smell the beautiful flowers, “I spy” the 30 birdhouses scattered around the garden, play in the fun sand pit, crawl on the logs and perfect your musical skills with the large instruments. Let your kid pick out a book from the Little Free Library and relax on the garden swing.
Ironwood Pond – at the east end of Stonegate Court SW near the intersection of 21st Street SW and 3rd Avenue SW in Altoona. A family pirate adventure, Pirate's Cove Ironwood Park (2222 3rd Ave SW), is just a short walk away on a paved trail. Explore the large pirate ship, walk the bouncing plank, climb the fun sea monster, pretend you’re at the beach with the palm trees and pose for a picture with the mysterious Easter Island stone head. Large hills behind the playground are irresistible to busy toddlers.
…You need easy accessibility
Quickly getting from where you park to where the fish are is essential when taking kids or friends with limited mobility fishing. Here’s a few spots that make it simple and easy.
Terra Lake – in Terra Park at 6300 Pioneer Parkway in Johnston. A large fishing pier, just a small walk from the parking lot on the east side, has different levels to fish from. Follow the large rocks to the pond – a great place to get your feet wet and explore. A paved trail surrounding the lake leads to both parking lots and playgrounds.
Blue Heron Lake – in Raccoon River Park at 2500 Grand Avenue in West Des Moines. A parking lot steps away quickly gets you to a large, accessible fishing pier along the western bank with easy access for all ages and abilities. Bring your boat, canoe or kayak - there’s a paved boat ramp and plenty of parking just inside the entrance to Raccoon River Park.
DMACC Lake – on the DMACC Ankeny Campus at 2006 South Ankeny Boulevard. A paved trail wraps around the lake – perfect to find the hotspots. Get on the fish with the ADA pier and fishing jetties. Easy to get to off of SW Oralabor Road and lots of parking options.
…You want to grab a bite to eat
These great spots have plenty of food and drink options close by to keep everyone happy.
Copper Creek – in Copper Creek Lake Park at 4390 East University Avenue in Pleasant Hill. Enjoy the amazing view of the lake while dining on Mexican favorites. Treat yourself to a refreshing drink or smoothie and a pastry or breakfast served all day.
Prairie Heritage Park Ponds and Civic Plaza Pond – south of 8th Street SW, between Venbury Drive and 5th Avenue SW. Satisfy the taste of your whole family with lots of options close by – from pizza, burgers and milkshakes to specialty sandwiches and comfort food.
Vintage Lake – in Vintage Park (corner of SW Vintage Parkway and SW State Street), west of the District at Prairie Trail in Ankeny. Lots of options for your favorite foods or try something new. There’s something for everyone with smoked meats, barbeque sandwiches, Cajun classics, grilled delights, signature pastas and comfort food.
…You like the wilder side
Get your adventure on and explore these great places with outdoor fun options for the whole family.
Big Creek Lake – in Big Creek State Park at 8794 NW 125th Avenue in Polk City. Lot of recreational opportunities for everyone in your group with picnic areas, a swimming beach, a large wooden playset, a marina with canoe, paddle boat, catamaran sailboats, and other rentals, and a shooting range. Sports enthusiasts will enjoy the disc golf, softball and volleyball areas. Easy access to all activities with the paved trail that extends through the Saylorville Lake area all the way to Des Moines.
Yellow Banks Pond – in Yellow Banks Park at 6801 SE 32nd Avenue in Pleasant Hill. Enjoy the beautiful scenery throughout the park – hiking trails lead to scenic overlooks of the Des Moines River valley, an oak savanna, a Native American burial mound and a unique backpacking camping area. The boat ramp at Yellow Banks Park provides easy access to the Des Moines River between Des Moines and Lake Red Rock.
Fort Des Moines Pond – in Fort Des Moines Park at 200 SE 5th Street, just west of Southridge Shopping Mall in Des Moines. Take a stroll on the pedestrian bridge over the pond, let the kids play on the playground or explore the two miles of trails that loop around the pond, the outdoor classroom and through the dense woodland. Learn more about 39 central Iowa trees in the arboretum – plaques help you identify each tree.
Find dozens more local fishing spots at www.iowadnr.gov/fishlocal! You can also buy your fishing license, get fishing tips and more. Fish local today!