Fish Habitat Enhancements
Iowa DNR Fisheries staff use many habitat enhancements on Iowa waters to improve your chance of catching fish. They build some enhancements on the dry or frozen bottom and place others from a boat in existing water. Each habitat enhancement has its own limits and benefits that are usually focused on a specific species, season or type of fishing. Common enhancements are tree piles, rock reefs and mounds, spawning attracting areas, stake beds, benched jetties, bank hides and others.
Where these enhancements are placed can vary widely. All depths and locations can offer benefits to many species during some time of the year. A site is chosen based on a many factors such as the natural bottom contour, where fishing would be best to avoid conflicts with other activities, siltation, behavior patterns of the desired fish species, as well as any other concerns. Branches from brush piles are sometimes left exposed to help anglers find these submerged locations. Habitat structures placed in deeper water offer shelter during summer months, and structures placed in the deepest areas can provide excellent cover for winter panfish.
Iowa DNR keeps a catalog of habitat structures put in in Iowa lakes, as well as other important features. This data is available via downloadable GPX file
. Right click and choose "save target as" or "save as", and save the file to your computer (not to your device's card). When saving, change from XML file type to All Files, and type in .gpx at the end of the FishingStructures file name. After saving to your computer, you should be able to add the data to your GPS. The saved file "FishingStructures.gpx" should be universally useable on most GPS units.
Lake and Watershed Construction
The Department of Natural Resources Lake Restoration Program (LRP) helps restore impaired lakes to improve the quality of life for Iowans. Communities, such as the Iowa Great Lakes Region, Storm Lake, Creston and Clear Lake, are rallying around their water resources as they seek population growth and economic success.
Shallow Lake Restoration
Many of Iowa's shallow lakes have been known to have the worst water quality in Iowa. They have grown murky and green. Vegetation is limited or non-existent. With improved water quality; fishing, hunting, and wildlife viewing will also improve.
Diamond Lake Restoration:
Diamond Lake, Dickinson County
Advanced Walleye Fingerling Stocking
High quality and quantity of walleye
fingerlings are vital to Iowa's lakes and rivers. Through extensive research, the Rathbun Fish Culture Research Facility focuses on producing advanced walleye fingerlings. Through this work, the Rathbun hatchery i successfully raises 9.5-10 inch walleye that are stocked throughout Iowa each year.
As managers of public fishing waters, we work to provide the best fishing possible using a combination of good water quality, balanced fish populations and adequate angler access. Aquatic plants play a part in each of these aspects. A sustainable fishery needs a good amount of plant habitat. Our goal is to find and introduce non-invasive plants to our lakes that benefit both water quality and fish while not stopping those who fish and enjoy other forms of lake recreation.