Iowa's Fishing Report

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How to read our weekly Iowa fishing report

Our weekly fishing report is broken down by counties or regions – Northwest, Northeast, Mississippi River, Southeast and Southwest.

You can check the activity of your favorite lake or stretch of river within each region, including which species are being caught, a rating of the bite (slow, fair, good or excellent), as well as a hot bait or lure pattern.

Fishing reports may include information on stream or river flows (and if it is rising or dropping), ice conditions, depths that fish are biting (watch for trends if this changes), or safety issues like if the water suddenly becomes shallow in spots.




Fishing Podcasts

Each month, Jeff Kopaska of the Iowa DNR and Ross Peterson from KXnO Sports Fanatics get together to talk about fishing opportunities, seasons and events in Iowa and around the Midwest. They are often joined by other DNR staff and guest speakers.

The links below are the podcast recordings of their conversations, and can also be found on the iHeartRadio app.

February 2022 Fishing Report - Zak Slagle from the Ohio DNR joins us to talk about walleye populations, fishing and surveys at Lake Erie; plus plans for the Midwest Fish & Wildlife Conference hosted by Iowa DNR is Des Moines mid-February

March 2022 Fishing Report - Ben Neely, Kansas fishery biologist joins us to talk about a recent research project to determine if live scope sonar technology leads to anglers catching more/bigger fish; plus spring community trout stockings

April 2022 Fishing Report - new state record smallmouth buffalo, plus tips for catching trout in community fishing ponds and annual walleye gillnetting efforts

June 2022 Fishing Report - fishing tips and hotspots, plus sturgeon sampling on the Cedar River, Free Fishing Weekend and Iowa Walleye Challenge

July 2022 Fishing Report - summer catfish fishing, plus results of Iowa Walleye Challenge, great fishing at Clear Lake and Iowa State Fair aquarium updates

August 2022 Fishing Report - live from the Iowa State Fair; stop by the aquarim in the DNR building to see fish from across Iowa; plus local fishing information 

September 2022 Fishing Report - new community fishing ponds, fishing sampling and fishing tournaments 

October 2022 Fishing Report - fish diet research, fishing tournaments and the big walleye controversy on Lake Erie; plus fall fishing tips

November 2022 Fishing Report - Mike Siepker joins us to talk trout - stockings, spawning, management and more

December 2022 Fishing Report - Hank Kholer joins us to talk about his One4Water trip and new book; plus ice fishing season preview

January 2021 Fishing Report - Kevan Paul joins us to talk about ice fishing on Clear Lake

February 2021 Fishing Report - fishing in community ponds, plus hybrid striped bass in Big Creek, and the hot yellow perch bite at Clear Lake

March 2021 Fishing Report - Corey Goldsworthy from the Minnesota DNR joins us to talk about the fishing options at Lake Superior, plus ice-out catfishing

April 2021 Fishing Report - Jay Rudacille, Iowa DNR Warm and Coolwater Fish Culture Supervisor, joins us to talk about the annual spring walleye collection, production and stocking, plus spring community trout stockings and fun fishing stories

May 2021 Fishing Report - Hank Kohler joins us to talk about his upcoming paddling trip from central Minnesota down the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico to make people aware of and seek donations for clean water projects

July 2021 Fishing Report - Fish Local Community Fishing Program and river catfishing tips, plus trout stream sampling

September 2021 Fishing Report - freshwater drum fishing on the Mississippi River, plus drift fishing for crappie and recap of Iowa State Fair aquarium and courtyard presentations

October 2021 Fishing Report - fall fishing tips, plus fall community trout stockings annouced again this year and upcoming trout angler survey

December 2021 Fishing Report - Eric Brinkman, asssistant chief of aquatic conservation in Arkansas, joins us to talk about managing alligator gar in the Red River; plus the Iowa Urban Trout Challenge on urban/community trout locations through December 31, 2021.

Iowa Fishing Report
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Waterbody District Comments Date
Cedar River (above Nashua) Northeast Wintry mix through much of weekend. Temperatures ranging from mid 30's to upper 20's. Ice thickness variable depending on waterbody. For more information, please contact the Chuck Gipp Decorah Fish Hatchery at 563-382-8324. 12/08 10:20
Cedar River (above Nashua) Northeast Few anglers out fishing. Ice on backwaters about 5 inches. Impoundment iced over but thickness varies. Check depths often especially in areas with current. 12/08 10:20
Cedar River (above Nashua) Northeast Smallmouth Bass - Slow: Smallie bite variable. Try artificial lures or a lure tipped with a minnow. Find around rocky outcroppings or ledges. 12/08 10:20
Cedar River (above Nashua) Northeast Walleye - Fair: Walleye bite steady taking artificial lures or a lure tipped with a minnow. Find fish in deeper water. 12/08 10:20
Cedar River (Nashua to La Porte City) Northeast Interior rivers are in excellent condition but are beginning to freeze over. Walleye fishing has been good to excellent on the rivers. Weather conditions as of late has limited ice production on many lakes and ponds, ice fishing is not recommended at this time. Trout streams remain in excellent condition. For further information contact your local bait shop for the most recent up-to-date information. 12/08 08:20
Cedar River (Nashua to La Porte City) Northeast Walleye fishing on the Cedar River has been good to excellent. 12/08 09:13
Cedar River (Nashua to La Porte City) Northeast Walleye - Good: Most anglers have been having good success fishing plastics tipped with a minnow. 12/08 09:15
Decorah District Streams Northeast Wintry mix through much of weekend. Temperatures ranging from mid 30's to upper 20's. Ice thickness variable depending on waterbody. For more information, please contact the Chuck Gipp Decorah Fish Hatchery at 563-382-8324. 12/08 10:20
Decorah District Streams Northeast Streams in good condition. Hunting seasons in full swing. Second shotgun deer season opens Saturday continuing through Saturday, December 18. When fishing on public areas, be visible to hunters. Share the resource. Parking areas on public ground are not plowed. 12/08 10:20
Decorah District Streams Northeast Brook Trout - Fair: Please avoid walking on small areas of freshly cleaned gravel. These are trout nests or redds. 12/08 10:20
Decorah District Streams Northeast Brown Trout - Fair: Walk carefully around cleaned off gravel. These are trout nests or redds. Try using flies or lures imitating small minnows or scuds. 12/08 10:20
Decorah District Streams Northeast Rainbow Trout - Good: Community trout stockings continue. Check out our website https://www.iowadnr.gov/Fishing/Trout-Fishing to find out when and where. Fish along grassed edges, undercut banks, pools, and around boulders. 12/08 10:20
Lake Hendricks Northeast About 5 inches of ice reported with open water by the aerator. 12/08 10:20
Lake Hendricks Northeast Black Crappie - Good: Crappie suspended above bluegill. Use small jig tipped with a minnow. 12/08 10:20
Lake Hendricks Northeast Bluegill - Good: Find gills suspended off bottom near brush piles. Use small jig tipped with a waxworm. 12/08 10:20
Lake Hendricks Northeast Largemouth Bass - No Report: 12/08 10:20
Lake Hendricks Northeast Wintry mix through much of weekend. Temperatures ranging from mid 30's to upper 20's. Ice thickness variable depending on waterbody. For more information, please contact the Chuck Gipp Decorah Fish Hatchery at 563-382-8324. 12/08 10:20
Lake Meyer Northeast Few anglers out as anglers are transitioning from open to hard water fishing. Lake still has areas of open water. 12/08 10:20
Lake Meyer Northeast Wintry mix through much of weekend. Temperatures ranging from mid 30's to upper 20's. Ice thickness variable depending on waterbody. For more information, please contact the Chuck Gipp Decorah Fish Hatchery at 563-382-8324. 12/08 10:20
Lake Meyer Northeast Black Crappie - No Report: 12/08 10:20
Lake Meyer Northeast Bluegill - No Report: 12/08 10:20
Lake Meyer Northeast Largemouth Bass - No Report: 12/08 10:20
Manchester District Streams Northeast Interior rivers are in excellent condition but are beginning to freeze over. Walleye fishing has been good to excellent on the rivers. Weather conditions as of late has limited ice production on many lakes and ponds, ice fishing is not recommended at this time. Trout streams remain in excellent condition. For further information contact your local bait shop for the most recent up-to-date information. 12/08 08:20
Manchester District Streams Northeast There has been a lot of activity on area trout streams with the mild weather conditions lately. 12/08 09:22
Manchester District Streams Northeast Brown Trout - Good: Spinner baits and streamers seem to have been working well as of late. 12/08 09:23
Maquoketa River (above Monticello) Northeast Interior rivers are in excellent condition but are beginning to freeze over. Walleye fishing has been good to excellent on the rivers. Weather conditions as of late has limited ice production on many lakes and ponds, ice fishing is not recommended at this time. Trout streams remain in excellent condition. For further information contact your local bait shop for the most recent up-to-date information. 12/08 08:20
Maquoketa River (above Monticello) Northeast There have been no reports on the Maquoketa River at this time. 12/08 09:20
Maquoketa River (above Monticello) Northeast Walleye - No Report: Most anglers have been having good success fishing plastics tipped with a minnow. 12/08 09:21
Mississippi River Pool 12 Northeast Fishing conditions remain excellent and boat ramps are still open as of early December. Water levels are stable. and clarity is good. Please be mindful that the river is low, and boaters need to be careful not to back off the ends of boat ramps. Use the minimum amount of ramp to float boat and be careful to not damage prop. Also, ramps are slick especially early in the morning. If you have angling questions, please call the Bellevue Fisheries Management at 563-880-8781. 12/08 10:09
Mississippi River Pool 12 Northeast The water level at Lock and Dam 11 is at 4.7 feet and it is 7.3 feet at the RR bridge. Water temperature is around 34 degrees, and the water is clear. When River conditions are low, be careful not to back off the ends of the boat ramps. Rumors of ice fishing in the backwaters and marinas abound but ice thickness remain marginal. 12/08 10:09
Mississippi River Pool 12 Northeast Bluegill - No Report: Nearly all the panfish are in backwater areas for the winter which are lakes with no flowing water and hopefully deep enough to not freeze to the bottom. 12/08 10:09
Mississippi River Pool 12 Northeast Sauger - Fair: The bite for walleye and sauger has been up and down all year. One-eye jigs also have been very popular, but a simple jig and minnow is the lure of choice for many tailwater anglers. The bite at the Dubuque Pool for walleye/sauger has been somewhat poor as of late. 12/08 10:09
Mississippi River Pool 13 Northeast Fishing conditions remain excellent and boat ramps are still open as of early December. Water levels are stable. and clarity is good. Please be mindful that the river is low, and boaters need to be careful not to back off the ends of boat ramps. Use the minimum amount of ramp to float boat and be careful to not damage prop. Also, ramps are slick especially early in the morning. If you have angling questions, please call the Bellevue Fisheries Management at 563-880-8781. 12/08 10:09
Mississippi River Pool 13 Northeast The water level at Lock and Dam 12 at Bellevue is at 4.3 feet and stable. Water clarity is excellent, and the water temperature around 33 degrees. Both the Bellevue City boat ramp and the DNR ramp are still open but be careful not to back off the ends of the boat ramps when water is this low. The ramp is also slick in the mornings especially so use caution. Rumors of ice fishing in the backwaters and marinas abound but ice thickness remain marginal. 12/08 10:09
Mississippi River Pool 13 Northeast Sauger - Good: Most anglers are using a simple jig and minnow or a one eye rig in the tailwaters. The bite has been up and down but angling generally has been a good fall/winter season at the Bellevue Pool. 12/08 10:09
Mississippi River Pool 13 Northeast Bluegill - No Report: Nearly all the panfish are in backwater areas for the winter which are lakes with no flowing water and hopefully deep enough to not freeze to the bottom. 12/08 10:09
Mississippi River Pool 13 Northeast Rainbow Trout - Excellent: The Bellevue kid's trout pond is open and vegetation free. It is a nice safe place to fish with kids on warmer winter days. If you plan on keeping fish, please only keep two fish per child. 12/08 10:09
Mississippi River Pool 14 Northeast Fishing conditions remain excellent and boat ramps are still open as of early December. Water levels are stable. and clarity is good. Please be mindful that the river is low, and boaters need to be careful not to back off the ends of boat ramps. Use the minimum amount of ramp to float boat and be careful to not damage prop. Also, ramps are slick especially early in the morning. If you have angling questions, please call the Bellevue Fisheries Management at 563-880-8781. 12/08 10:09
Mississippi River Pool 14 Northeast The water level at Fulton is at 4.4 feet, 9.2 feet at Camanche and 4.3 feet at LeClaire. Water clarity is excellent and water temperature is near 33 degrees. When river conditions are this low, be careful not to back off the ends of the boat ramps. Also, ramps are slick in the mornings especially so use caution. 12/08 10:09
Mississippi River Pool 14 Northeast Sauger - Good: Most anglers are fishing in the tailwaters with a jig and minnow rig. 12/08 10:09
Mississippi River Pool 14 Northeast Bluegill - No Report: Nearly all the panfish are in backwater areas for the winter which are lakes with no flowing water and hopefully deep enough to not freeze to the bottom. 12/08 10:09
Mississippi River Pool 15 Northeast Fishing conditions remain excellent and boat ramps are still open as of early December. Water levels are stable. and clarity is good. Please be mindful that the river is low, and boaters need to be careful not to back off the ends of boat ramps. Use the minimum amount of ramp to float boat and be careful to not damage prop. Also, ramps are slick especially early in the morning. If you have angling questions, please call the Bellevue Fisheries Management at 563-880-8781. 12/08 10:09
Mississippi River Pool 15 Northeast The water level at Rock Island is at 4.2 feet. Water clarity is excellent and water temperature is 34. When River conditions are this low, be careful not to back off the ends of the boat ramps. 12/08 10:09
Mississippi River Pool 15 Northeast Walleye - No Report: Look for walleye and sauger in the tailwater areas. Anglers often use a simple jig and minnow rig. 12/08 10:09
Shell Rock River (Greene to Shell Rock) Northeast Interior rivers are in excellent condition but are beginning to freeze over. Walleye fishing has been good to excellent on the rivers. Weather conditions as of late has limited ice production on many lakes and ponds, ice fishing is not recommended at this time. Trout streams remain in excellent condition. For further information contact your local bait shop for the most recent up-to-date information. 12/08 08:20
Shell Rock River (Greene to Shell Rock) Northeast Walleye fishing on the Shell Rock River has been good to excellent. 12/08 09:15
Shell Rock River (Greene to Shell Rock) Northeast Walleye - Good: Most anglers have been having good success fishing plastics tipped with a minnow. 12/08 09:17
Volga Lake Northeast Wintry mix through much of weekend. Temperatures ranging from mid 30's to upper 20's. Ice thickness variable depending on waterbody. For more information, please contact the Chuck Gipp Decorah Fish Hatchery at 563-382-8324. 12/08 10:20
Volga Lake Northeast Black Crappie - No Report: 12/08 10:20
Volga Lake Northeast Bluegill - No Report: 12/08 10:20
Volga Lake Northeast Channel Catfish - No Report: 12/08 10:20
Volga Lake Northeast Few anglers out. Lake covered with ice. Ice depth about 2 inches thicker along edges. 12/08 10:20
Volga Lake Northeast Largemouth Bass - No Report: 12/08 10:20
Wapsi River (Tripoli to Troy Mills) Northeast Interior rivers are in excellent condition but are beginning to freeze over. Walleye fishing has been good to excellent on the rivers. Weather conditions as of late has limited ice production on many lakes and ponds, ice fishing is not recommended at this time. Trout streams remain in excellent condition. For further information contact your local bait shop for the most recent up-to-date information. 12/08 08:20
Wapsi River (Tripoli to Troy Mills) Northeast Walleye fishing on the Wapsipinicon River has been good to excellent. 12/08 09:18
Wapsi River (Tripoli to Troy Mills) Northeast Walleye - Good: Most anglers have been having good success fishing plastics tipped with a minnow. 12/08 09:19
Arrowhead Lake Northwest Lakes in the area have anywhere from 0-5 inches of ice. Anglers should use caution if venturing out as conditions are extremely variable. 12/08 11:51
Arrowhead Lake Northwest Ice is 3 inches off of the boat ramp. 12/08 11:59
Black Hawk Lake Northwest Lakes in the area have anywhere from 0-5 inches of ice. Anglers should use caution if venturing out as conditions are extremely variable. 12/08 11:51
Black Hawk Lake Northwest Ice is 4 inches thick off of the Ice House Point boat ramp. There were areas that had recently been open and just froze over, so conditions are extremely variable. Test ice often if venturing out. Anglers are just starting to venture out in some areas as of 12/8/22. 12/08 11:54
Blue Pit Northwest For information on the lakes and rivers in north central Iowa, contact the Clear Lake Fish and Wildlife office at 641-357-3517. 12/08 08:50
Blue Pit Northwest Blue Pit was recently stocked with rainbow trout. You need a valid fishing license and pay the trout fee to fish for or possess trout. 12/08 08:50
Blue Pit Northwest Rainbow Trout - Excellent: Use spinner baits and small jigs. 12/08 08:50
Brushy Creek Lake Northwest Lakes in the area have anywhere from 0-5 inches of ice. Anglers should use caution if venturing out as conditions are extremely variable. 12/08 11:51
Brushy Creek Lake Northwest As of 12/8/22 much of the area by the dam and the east ramp is still open. Any ice is unsafe. Skim ice has formed along much of the shore but is unsafe for walking. 12/08 11:56
Clear Lake Northwest For information on the lakes and rivers in north central Iowa, contact the Clear Lake Fish and Wildlife office at 641-357-3517. 12/08 08:50
Clear Lake Northwest Ice thickness is 0 to 5 inches. Use caution and check ice thickness as you go. Clear Lake has a protected slot on walleye. All walleye between 17 and 22 inches must be immediately released unharmed. No more than one walleye longer than 22 inches may be taken per day. 12/08 08:50
Clear Lake Northwest Walleye - Fair: Use jigging spoon tipped with bait. Best bite is after sunset. 12/08 08:50
Clear Lake Northwest Yellow Perch - Good: Try live bait and jigs near vegetation. Use a bigger bait to avoid the small fish. 12/08 08:50
Clear Lake Northwest Bluegill - No Report: 12/08 08:50
East Okoboji Lake Northwest Most lakes are almost entirely frozen over and have good enough ice to walk out on. Larger lakes have may have holes that have more recently iced over so use caution when going out. The forecast is calling for a good amount of snow in the area which will make reading ice conditions harder. Be sure to check ice often when going out and bring a friend. 12/08 08:59
East Okoboji Lake Northwest The lake is almost entirely iced over with around 4.5 inches in most areas. Use caution when going out as there are a few holes that have iced over more recently on the south bay. The water level is 10 inches below crest. 12/08 08:59
East Okoboji Lake Northwest Black Crappie - Good: Try small jigs tipped with a minnow or tube jig and bobber. 12/08 08:59
East Okoboji Lake Northwest Bluegill - Fair: Try tube jigs, plastics or other small jigs. 12/08 08:59
East Okoboji Lake Northwest Walleye - Fair: Try crawler harnesses, crank baits and minnows. 12/08 08:59
East Okoboji Lake Northwest Yellow Perch - Fair: Minnows have been working well, some sorting may be needed. 12/08 08:59
Lost Island Lake Northwest Most lakes are almost entirely frozen over and have good enough ice to walk out on. Larger lakes have may have holes that have more recently iced over so use caution when going out. The forecast is calling for a good amount of snow in the area which will make reading ice conditions harder. Be sure to check ice often when going out and bring a friend. 12/08 08:59
Lost Island Lake Northwest Walleye - Good: Try spinners, crankbaits and shallow shad raps. Evening bite has been getting better as the water cools. 12/08 08:59
Minnewashta Lake Northwest Most lakes are almost entirely frozen over and have good enough ice to walk out on. Larger lakes have may have holes that have more recently iced over so use caution when going out. The forecast is calling for a good amount of snow in the area which will make reading ice conditions harder. Be sure to check ice often when going out and bring a friend. 12/08 08:59
Minnewashta Lake Northwest There is a good amount of ice on the lake for fisherman traveling on foot and some light machines. The bluegill and crappie fishing has been great lately. 12/08 08:59
Minnewashta Lake Northwest Black Crappie - Excellent: 12/08 09:47
Minnewashta Lake Northwest Bluegill - Good: 12/08 09:47
Rice Lake Northwest For information on the lakes and rivers in north central Iowa, contact the Clear Lake Fish and Wildlife office at 641-357-3517. 12/08 08:50
Rice Lake Northwest Bluegill - No Report: 12/08 08:50
Rice Lake Northwest Ice thickness is 0 to 5 inches. 12/08 08:50
Rice Lake Northwest Yellow Perch - Fair: Fish a small jig tipped with bait near vegetation. 12/08 08:50
Silver Lake (Dickinson) Northwest Most lakes are almost entirely frozen over and have good enough ice to walk out on. Larger lakes have may have holes that have more recently iced over so use caution when going out. The forecast is calling for a good amount of snow in the area which will make reading ice conditions harder. Be sure to check ice often when going out and bring a friend. 12/08 08:59
Silver Lake (Dickinson) Northwest Currently ice conditions are in the 4.5 inch range. 12/08 08:59
Silver Lake (Dickinson) Northwest Walleye - Good: Try spinners, crankbaits and long and shallow shad raps. 12/08 08:59
Spirit Lake Northwest Most lakes are almost entirely frozen over and have good enough ice to walk out on. Larger lakes have may have holes that have more recently iced over so use caution when going out. The forecast is calling for a good amount of snow in the area which will make reading ice conditions harder. Be sure to check ice often when going out and bring a friend. 12/08 08:59
Spirit Lake Northwest The lake is almost entirely iced over with 5+ inches of ice in most places. Be weary of holes that have more recently iced over. The lake is currently 14 inches below crest. 12/08 08:59
Spirit Lake Northwest Walleye - Good: Bite is hit-or-miss at dusk, but the day bite is improving. Many anglers have started to fish in shallower with slip bobbers along weed edges. Try spinners, crankbaits and long and shallow shad raps; try to find weed lines to troll or jig off of. 12/08 08:59
Spirit Lake Northwest Yellow Perch - Good: Try small jigs tipped with a minnow. Sorting may be needed. 12/08 08:59
Spirit Lake Northwest Muskellunge - Good: Crank baits, buck tails and rubber baits. 12/08 08:59
Storm Lake (incl Little Storm Lake) Northwest Lakes in the area have anywhere from 0-5 inches of ice. Anglers should use caution if venturing out as conditions are extremely variable. 12/08 11:51
Storm Lake (incl Little Storm Lake) Northwest Ice is anywhere from 0-5 inches thick. Many areas were recently open and have just frozen over with skim ice. Use extreme caution if venturing out anywhere and test ice thickness often. More info as anglers begin to make there way out over the next week. 12/08 11:58
West Okoboji Lake Northwest Most lakes are almost entirely frozen over and have good enough ice to walk out on. Larger lakes have may have holes that have more recently iced over so use caution when going out. The forecast is calling for a good amount of snow in the area which will make reading ice conditions harder. Be sure to check ice often when going out and bring a friend. 12/08 08:59
West Okoboji Lake Northwest Many of the bays are beginning to freeze over, but the majority of the lake is still open. The water level is 10 inches below crest. 12/08 08:59
West Okoboji Lake Northwest Bluegill - Good: Try tube jigs, plastics or other small jigs. 12/08 08:59
West Okoboji Lake Northwest Black Crappie - Fair: Try small jigs tipped with a minnow. 12/08 08:59
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