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Lake Darling

General Information

County: Washington
Location: 4 miles west of Brighton
Acres: 303.00
Maximum Depth: 21.6 ft. (2015)
Motoring Restrictions: No Size Limit at No Wake

Nearby Parks

Lake Darling State Park


Amenities at Lake Darling include:
  • Boat Access
  • Fishing Jetty
  • Accessible Pier
  • Boat Rental
  • Picnic Area
  • Beach
  • Trails
  • Accessible Facilities
  • Playground
  • Restrooms
  • Camping
  • Good/Excellent Shorefishing
  • Hard Surface Boat Ramp
For more information on the above lakes call the Lake Darling Fisheries Office at (319) 694-2430.
Black Crappie - Fair: With the hot weather expect the crappies to remain around the deeper (10-12 ft) habitat. Anglers are vertical jigging for them.
Water temperature at 77 degrees and climbing. Water clarity remains good at 38 inches. Still just a hint of green color.
Bluegill - Good: Hard pressed to find any of the males still on the beds but you might. Most have moved out to the mid-depth habitat in 6-8 foot of water.
Largemouth Bass - Good: Early in the morning or late evening look for them to be hunting for bluegills and green sunfish along the rocks and edges of the weedbeds.
Download Printable Lake Map
Download Printable Fishing Structures Map

You can zoom in on the map for bathymetric information for some lakes

  • 9/22/22 - 1,820 Channel Catfish (9.4)
  • 10/5/22 - 21,860 Redear Sunfish (2)
  • 09/28/2020 - 1,827 Channel Catfish (7.6)
  • 09/25/2020 - 26,829 Redear Sunfish (2)
  • 10/02/2018 - 1,822 Channel Catfish (8.2)
  • 9/26/16 - 1,823 Channel Catfish (9.5")
  • 08/31/2015 - 266,241 Redear Sunfish (2")
  • 06/18/2015 - 30,300 Largemouth Bass (2")
  • 06/20/2014 - 31,000 Largemouth Bass (2")
  • 05/30/2014 - 30,400 Channel Catfish (2")
  • 04/14/2014 - 88,000 Bluegill (2")
  • 04/02/2014 - 68,630 Bluegill (3")
  • Curlyleaf Pondweed
The Fishing Regulations brochure is available for download. The summaries listed below are a partial listing provided for your benefit.

  • Black Crappie
    • Season: Continuous
    • Daily Bag Limit: combined black and white crappie, 25 fish
    • Possession Limit: unlimited
    • Length Limit: none
    • Other: No daily limit on private waters
  • Bluegill
    • Season: Continuous
    • Daily Bag Limit: 25 fish
    • Possession Limit: unlimited
    • Length Limit: none
    • Other: No daily limit on private waters
  • Channel Catfish
    • Season: Continuous
    • Daily Bag Limit: combined: channel, blue and flathead catfish, 8 fish
    • Possession Limit: combined: channel, blue and flathead catfish, 30 fish
    • Length Limit: none
    • Other:
  • Largemouth Bass
    • Season: Continuous
    • Daily Bag Limit: combined black bass, 3 fish
    • Possession Limit: combined black bass, 6 fish
    • Length Limit: 15-inch minimum
    • Other:
The Lake Darling Restoration Project which included the repairing the dam, removing sediment, armoring the shoreline, and new construction of shoreline and boat accesses has been completed. The park, campground, lake and other amenities are now open to the public. Lake Darling reached full crest in spring 2014. The lake filled within about 10 inches of crest by June 18, 2014 before a storm on June 19, 2014 brought heavy rainfall to Lake Darling State Park, completing the lake-filling process. Fingerling (2”) stockings for the newly renovated lake started before the basin reached crest. Bluegills were stocked on April 2, channel catfish on May 30, and largemouth bass on June 20, 2014; black crappie were stocked the same year. Future stocking plans include fingerling redear sunfish in fall 2015. Currently, the largest bluegills in the lake are 7.5- to 8.5-inch; smaller ‘gills from 2.5 inches (2015 year class) to 6.5 inches (2014 year class) are abundant. The largest crappies caught by anglers are 11- to 11.5-inches; there are numerous 4 inch (2015 year class) -8 inch (2014 year class) crappies in the lake. A good number of largemouth bass have reached 12.5 inches, but anglers will observe many 7 inch bass (2014 year class) and the occasional 15 inch bass. Most channel catfish are 10 inches long, but a few larger cats may be found. Anglers have experienced good fishing in 2015, and can expect excellent fishing in 2016-2017. Exceptional fish growth is often observed in new or renovated lakes, such as Lake Darling, due to the presence of abundant resources as compared to fish community size. Anglers may experience good fishing ahead of schedule. A map showing the location of 25 sediment retention/recreational ponds, which anglers can use, is available at the Iowa DNR Southeast Regional Office located within Lake Darling State Park. Initial stocking date is listed on the map so that anglers can target the most mature ponds for bluegill, largemouth bass, and channel catfish.(2015)
Tip: Click the arrow in the lower right corner to view the Fish Survey Data tool in full-screen mode.


Iowa-Caught Fish Are Safe to Eat, In Almost All Cases

The vast majority of Iowa’s streams, rivers and lakes offer safe and high-quality fish that pose little or no threat to human health if consumed. Some limitations may apply for young children and pregnant women. Here’s a Fish Consumption Fact Sheet from the Iowa DNR and the Iowa Dept. of Public Health for more information. Here is a list of current fish consumption advisories for Iowa lakes and rivers.