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Find Your Fishing Partner! (Iowa Outdoors, Spring 2020)

Many opportunities for fishing in Iowa!

As temperatures warm up this spring, many Iowans are wondering if they can still fish in light of the COVID-19 health emergency. The answer is yes, but be careful and responsible.  Stay safe when fishing this spring with these tips:

  • Try a new fishing spot — if your regular fishing location is popular and busy, try out a new one where less people are fishing. 
  • Once you find your fishing spot, keep at least 6 feet of distance between you and other groups.
  • Stick with your immediate family, but keep groups to fewer than 10 people.
  • Bring lures from home instead of buying bait to minimize your interaction with other people.
  • Bring hand sanitizer and wash your hands often.

Getting outdoors and fishing is a little different for everyone. Iowa’s many waterways are the perfect backdrop to ponder life’s biggest questions, or ignore them completely, all while reeling in a few keepers.

Start exploring all that Iowa has to offer on this page, with links to lake, river and stream information that you need to have a great day on the water.

Buy Your Fishing Licenses Online

Lakes, Ponds and Reservoirs
Many of Iowa’s thousands of lakes and ponds number are stocked and managed by the Iowa DNR, offering abundant fishing, especially of panfish like crappie and bluegill. Several lakes are fishing destinations for muskie, northern pike and walleye.

Interior Rivers
Head to one of Iowa’s rivers or streams to catch a dozen or more different species, including prized-size catfish, walleye and smallmouth bass in one trip. Iowa’s interior rivers are known for growing large-sized fish, and lots of them.

Trout Streams
Northeast Iowa is a regional destination for exceptional trout fishing. Find both stocked and naturally occurring trout in the breathtaking forests and streams of this part of the state.

Mississippi River

Iowa’s eastern border river is nationally known for backwater fishing for bass, catfish, panfish, pike and walleye. It is the best fishery in Iowa for abundance and diversity of fish species. Dozens of access points are available for boaters and anglers.



Missouri River
On the western border, the Missouri River offers excellent fishing for catfish and sauger. The southern part of the river is one of the only places in Iowa to catch blue catfish.