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Fall fishing is one of Iowa's best kept secrets. The air is cool, the views are picturesque and the fish are pulling out of their late summer slumber.
Add one of these destinations to your fall fishing itinerary.
Clear Lake, Cerro Gordo County - yellow bass fishing is excellent in the fall. Use small jigs tipped with nightcrawler, minnows and cut bait. Stay on the move to find schools of fish. The average size yellow bass is 9 inches. A number of Master Angler qualifying yellow bass (10 inches) are available to catch this fall.
Coralville Reservoir, Johnson County – fall bite is best for walleyes and white bass here; throw crankbaits on sloping rock banks. Catch crappies near brush or steeper rock banks on jigs or minnows.
Don Williams Lake, Boone County - a strong black crappie population welcomes anglers. Drift the middle of the lake with small jigs in early fall. Fish will move to structure in late fall – quickly locate structure in the lake with the printable fishing structures map.
Lake Anita, Cass County, and Viking Lake, Montgomery County - try around the numerous brush piles for largemouth bass over 20 inches. Fishing will heat up as the water temperature drops this fall.
Lake Iowa, Iowa County – try small jigs or worms around brush piles or along weed edges to catch bluegills up to 9 inches and redear sunfish up to 12 inches. Catch 9-11 inch black crappies around brush on jigs or minnows.
Lake Macbride, Johnson County - catch 13-20 inch walleyes, with much larger fish available; troll crankbaits or cast jigs to rock reefs and humps in 8-15 feet of water. Cast jigs or minnows around/over the brush piles for 10-12 inch crappies. Wiper fishing picks up in the fall; try crankbaits and swim baits fished off points and rock reef edges for 14-28 inch wipers with 3-6 pounders being an average fish.
Lake Manawa, Pottawattamie County - a fall trip has the potential to put a trophy walleye or wiper on the line. Use twister tails or shad raps on the rocks lining the west shore of the lake for walleyes. Wipers tend to hang out on the north shore near the inlet.
Mississippi River - fall smallmouth bass fishing can be fantastic. Cast close to rock piles or rocky shoreline with current; smallmouths often hide in rock crevices and rarely venture more than a foot from the rocks to feed. Locate where tributary streams enter the Mississippi River with electronic printable river maps. Find rock lines and piles near the confluence of these rivers starting in late September, early October for a hot bite.
Urban Trout Lakes - unique trout fishing opportunities for novice and young anglers across the state. Visit iowadnr.gov/ trout for a list of urban trout lakes and when each will be stocked. Watch the fish being stocked and attempt to catch your first trout.
Find a new favorite fishing spot with the interactive Fishing Atlas. A complete list of places to fall fish in Iowa including lake maps, directions and amenities, is available on the DNR Places to Fish webpage. Check conditions before you go with the weekly Iowa Fishing Report.