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Iowa Fisheries Research

Fisheries Research Highlights

Fisheries research is the foundation of smarter, more efficient and effective fisheries management. The DNR’s Fisheries Research Program focuses on evaluating existing fisheries management practices, innovating new techniques, and advancing the science and technology used to improve fishing in Iowa’s lakes, rivers, and ponds. This focus helps the Fisheries Bureau ensure that fishing license dollars are spent wisely and as efficiently as possible.

DNR’s Fisheries Research Program accomplishes all this with a relatively small group of highly skilled fisheries scientists. Seven research stations are located across the state. Each has a particular field of investigation. Five teams focus on fisheries in a specific Iowa water resource: natural lakes, reservoirs, small impoundments, interior streams, and the Mississippi River. The other two teams improve fish culture practices used in DNR fish hatcheries and investigate new ways to use technology to get information and data from fisheries managers to Iowa anglers.

All DNR offices are closed to the public except by appointment until further notice.

Natural Lakes Investigations

122 252nd Ave, Spirit Lake, IA 51360, 712-336-1840
Jonathan Meerbeek ; Daniel Vogeler

The Natural Lakes Research team provides high quality and relevant research information to fisheries management and hatchery programs to enhance fisheries resources in Iowa’s natural lakes.

+ Muskellunge in Iowa’s Natural Lakes
+ Renovating Shallow Lakes to Improve Fishing
+ Walleyes in Iowa’s Large Natural Lakes
+ Yellow Bass in Iowa’s Shallow Natural Lakes
+ Stocked Muskellunge in Spirit and Okoboji lakes
+ Electric Barrier Effectiveness in Natural Lakes
+ Bass Populations in Iowa’s Natural Lakes

Completed Projects:

Large River Investigations

24143 Hwy 52, Bellevue, IA 52031, 563-872-4976
Ryan Hupfeld; Gene Jones; Royce Bowman

The Large Rivers team conducts research to answer critical questions to help our Fish Management Teams and partners manage the fisheries and habitat of large rivers and tributaries in Iowa.

+ Walleye and Sauger in Upper Mississippi River
+ Mississippi River Habitat Restoration Projects
+ Yellow Perch Habitat Use in the UMR

Completed Projects:

Man-made Lakes Investigations

57744 Lewis Road, Lewis, IA 51544-5103, 712-769-2587
Lewis Bruce; John Lorenzen

Man-made lakes research provides fishery managers the tools they need to manage small public lakes for anglers.

+ Factors Affecting Mercury Concentration in Iowa
+ Estimating Fish Age & Known-age Fish Structures
+ Mapping Iowa Lakes
+ Best Management Practices for Community Fishing

Completed Projects:

Fish Culture Investigations

15053 Hatchery Place, Moravia, IA 52571, 641-647-2406
Alan Johnson; Steven Pecinovsky

The Fish Culture Research team evaluates potential solutions to problems hatchery staff face through carefully designed experiments. Culture research increases the efficiency and productivity of DNR hatcheries through research.

+ Better Disease Management in Fish Production
+ Walleye Culture Research
+ Best Mgmt Practices for Hybrid Striped Bass Prod
+ Recirculating Aquaculture Systems for Sportfish

Interior Rivers and Streams Investigations

22693 205th Ave, Manchester, IA 52057, 563-927-3276
Greg Gelwicks; Greg Simmons; Megan Thul

The Interior Rivers and Streams team gather and share information needed to better manage Iowa’s stream and river fishery resources and maintain and improve fishing opportunities for Iowa anglers.

+ Response of Fish and Habitat to Stream Rehab
+ Angler Response to Stream Rehab Practices in IA
+ Interior River Fingerling Walleye Stocking

Completed Projects:

Technology and Data Management

1436 255th St, Boone, IA 50036, 515-204-8021
Jeff Kopaska

Technology and Data Management provides computer-oriented technical help to field personnel by developing, modifying, installing and maintaining a statewide database and other software and hardware for fisheries applications, software and hardware training, and updating and maintaining systems. Technology and Data Management strives to make information about fish, fishing, and fisheries more available and easily accessible to the public.

+ Disseminating Fisheries Information to Anglers
+ Investigating Fishing License Purchase Patterns
+ Statewide Trout Angler Survey

Completed Projects:

Reservoir Investigations

24570 US Hwy 34, Chariton, IA 50049, 641-774-2958
Rebecca Krogman; Mark Richardson ; Savannah Muhlbauer

The Large Reservoir Research Team works with fisheries managers to identify and resolve issues affecting the fishery resources of large reservoirs. Large reservoirs provide many recreational opportunities throughout Iowa and include some of the state’s most popular fishing and boating destinations, such as Lake Red Rock, Rathbun Lake, the Creston area lake chain, and many others. Ongoing research projects ensure that Iowa’s reservoirs are managed with the best available science.

+ Evaluation of Walleye Stocking Strategies
+ Hybrid Striped Bass Management in Iowa
+ Fisheries & Habitat Response to Lake Restoration
+ Evaluation of Iowa’s Standard Fisheries Sampling
+ Walleye Genetic Performance in Large Reservoirs
+ Fish Movement and Mortality with Dam Passage
+ Fish Health/Discharge Downstream of Reservoirs

Completed Projects