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6 Ways to Celebrate Iowa Hunting and Fishing Day

  • 9/18/2015 12:00:00 PM
  • View Count 6551
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Many Iowans love to share their passion for hunting and fishing with family and friends, while making memories of time spent outdoors. 

Recognizing this rich tradition, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad signed a proclamation declaring September 26 as Iowa Hunting and Fishing Day. The proclamation encourages all Iowans to share their outdoor pursuits with beginning adults and youth.

Celebrate Iowa Hunting and Fishing Day this weekend with these simple suggestions. Be sure to invite someone to come along.

Fall is a great time to go fishing in Iowa! Sept. 26 is Iowa Hunting and Fishing Day | Iowa DNRFall fishing is one of Iowa’s best-kept secrets. Fish are actively feeding in preparation for the spawn next spring. Go in the middle of the day when water temperatures are warmer. Use live bait, particularly minnows and small tackle. Find a new fishing hole to explore with the DNR’s interactive Fishing Atlas, and check out the week’s hot spots in the Iowa Fishing Report.

Dove hunting is an accessible sport for hunters of all ages and experience levels. Doves can be found in all 99 counties. They like bare ground and prefer open landscapes and larger food plots such as sunflower fields. If a sunflower plot is not available, try a weed patch or harvested grain field. Brush up on Iowa regulations for hunting migratory birds before you go.

Bowfishing for carp is a great outdoor activity that is easy to learn. It takes a quick eye and a fast shot to have a chance to reel in carp, as they often surface the water briefly. Be sure you can identify the fish before you shoot because game fish like largemouth bass and bluegill cannot be taken by bow and arrow. A fishing license is required to fish with a bow in Iowa, but there may be some local ordinances that don't allow bowfishing in certain areas.

Rabbit and squirrel hunting are inexpensive hunting opportunities for introducing beginners to hunting. Experienced hunters can test out their equipment and sharpen their outdoor skills before pheasant and deer seasons begin. If you’re looking for land to hunt, try our interactive Hunting Atlas, which shows public land as well as private land enrolled in the Iowa Habitat and Access Program. Through IHAP, Iowa landowners receive help establishing habitat and in turn, open their land to public hunting.

Trout fishing in the fall offers cooler weather and amazing fall colors – including the trout! Male brown and brook trout show off their most vibrant colors this time of year. Trout are beginning their spawning rituals and seem to always be hungry as they try to bulk up for winter. Anglers need a valid fishing license and trout fee to fish for or possess trout. Learn more about Iowa’s trout streams, including maps and stocking schedules.

Experience the fun of Iowa’s outdoors at the seventh annual Iowa Outdoor Expo, Sept. 26 and 27 at Waterworks Parks in Des Moines. Try fishing, bow fishing, canoeing and kayaking, outdoor cooking, trap shooting, archery, off road vehicles and more in a safe, controlled environment. The Expo is open September 26 from 9 a.m.- 6 p.m. and September 27 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Attendees can read and sign Governor’s Branstad’s Iowa Hunting and Fishing Day proclamation. A full list of activities is available at

Looking for more ideas? Check out our Iowa Fishing and Iowa Hunting boards on Pinterest.