The 146th walleye fishing season officially opens May 7 at Spirit Lake, East and West Okoboji lakes.
“Walleye populations on the Iowa Great Lakes are in great shape,” said Mike Hawkins, fisheries biologist for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
Walleye season opens the first Saturday in May and runs through February 14 each year on Spirit Lake, East Okoboji Lake and West Okoboji Lake. The protected slot limit on walleyes changed this year to 19 to 25 inches, with only one walleye over 25 inches allowed per day. Unlike the walleye season, the protected slot limit applies to Spirit Lake, East and West Okoboji Lake, Upper and Lower Gar Lake and Minnewashta Lake. The daily limit is three walleyes with a possession limit of six.
The walleye season will be opening in the Iowa Great Lakes, but the lakes offer great fishing for a variety of other species. Panfish, northern pike, and smallmouth and largemouth bass fishing can be very good as the water warms. Water levels on the Okoboji chain are near full pool, but Spirit Lake remains about 22 inches low. Use caution around shorelines and points and while loading and unloading boats at public ramps.
For many anglers, this will be their first trip on the water for the season. Check the safety equipment and make sure the boat is ready to get on the water. Boaters should also make sure their boat registration has been renewed at their local county recorder’s office.
The Iowa Great Lakes Chamber of Commerce will host the 40th annual Great Walleye Weekend Fishing Contest in conjunction with the opener. For more information on the contest, visit their website at https://okobojichamber.com/walleye-weekend/.