Rathbun Reservoir

General Information

County: Appanoose
Location: 8 miles northwest of Centerville
Acres: 11000.00
Maximum Depth: 50 ft. (2008)
Motoring Restrictions: None

Amenities

Amenities at Rathbun Reservoir include:
  • Boat Access
  • Accessible Pier
  • Boat Rental
  • Picnic Area
  • Beach
  • Trails
  • Accessible Facilities
  • Playground
  • Restrooms
  • Camping
  • Concessions
  • Good/Excellent Shorefishing
  • Hard Surface Boat Ramp
  • Carry Down Boat Launch
  • Fish Cleaning Station
The district includes Mahaska, Lucas, Wayne, Monroe, Appanoose, Wapello, Davis and Van Buren counties. For more information, contact the Rathbun fish hatchery at 641-647-2406.
Black Crappie - Slow: Crappie fishing has slowed with the recent rains and has been very hit and miss. Try jigs and minnows along rocky shorelines and around structure. Sorting is needed for larger fish.
Channel Catfish - Good: Try cut bait or shad sides in areas with flowing water.
The current lake level is 915.22 msl with normal operating elevation being 904.0 msl. The lake's water level has dropped about 2 feet in the last week. Lake Rathbun contains zebra mussels so make sure to properly drain, clean and dry equipment before transporting to another water body.
Walleye - Slow: Try trolling over submerged points or along rocky shorelines.
Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) - Good: Anglers have been successful trolling crankbaits along rocky shorelines.
Download Printable Lake Map

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

  • fall 2018 - 45,611 Walleye (9.5)
  • fall 2018 - 3,431 Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) (9.4)
  • 11/02/2018 - 116 Channel Catfish (8.5)
  • 07/03/2018 - 29,343 Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) (1.81)
  • 06/29/2018 - 107,616 Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) (1.68)
  • 06/18/2018 - 181 Walleye (3.5)
  • 06/15/2018 - 25,350 Channel Catfish (1.4)
  • 05/08/2018 - 38,300,000 Walleye (Fry)
  • 6/30/2017 - 26,852 Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) (2")
  • 6/28/2017 - 14,573 Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) (2")
  • 6/20/2017 - 48,288 Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) (1.7")
  • 6/15/2017 - 874 Walleye (3")
  • 5/1/2017 - 2,600,000 Walleye (fry)
  • 4/30/2017 - 3,000,000 Walleye (fry)
  • 4/27/2017 - 7,258,777 Walleye (fry)
  • 4/26/2017 - 5,400,000 Walleye (fry)
  • 4/23/2017 - 2,100,000 Walleye (fry)
  • 4/23/2017 - 2,200,000 Walleye (fry)
  • 4/23/2017 - 3,000,000 Walleye (fry)
  • 4/23/2017 - 4,400,000 Walleye (fry)
  • 4/23/2017 - 6,400,000 Walleye (fry)
  • 4/23/2017 - 7,900,000 Walleye (fry)
  • 4/22/2017 - 5,200,000 Walleye (fry)
  • 11/2/2017 - 2,796 Walleye (9")
  • 11/15/2017 - 1,045 Walleye (9.3")
  • 11/15/2017 - 3,545 Walleye (9.3")
  • 10/9/2017 - 180 Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) (6.13")
  • 10/31/2017 - 504 Walleye (9.9")
  • 10/20/2017 - 2,456 Walleye (9.3")
  • 10/20/2017 - 3,582 Walleye (9.3")
  • 10/20/2017 - 3,951 Walleye (9.3")
  • 10/20/2017 - 4,224 Walleye (9.3")
  • 10/18/2017 - 972 Walleye (9.4")
  • 10/18/2017 - 2,020 Walleye (9.4")
  • 10/18/2017 - 2,096 Walleye (9.4")
  • 10/18/2017 - 2,151 Walleye (9.4")
  • 10/18/2017 - 3,533 Walleye (9.4")
  • 10/18/2017 - 3,555 Walleye (9.4")
  • 10/18/2017 - 3,621 Walleye (9.4")
  • 10/18/2017 - 3,717 Walleye (9.4")
  • 10/17/2017 - 811 Walleye (9.6")
  • 10/17/2017 - 1,028 Walleye (9.6")
  • 10/17/2017 - 3,384 Walleye (9.6")
  • 10/17/2017 - 3,420 Walleye (9.6")
  • 10/17/2017 - 3,433 Walleye (9.6")
  • 10/17/2017 - 3,437 Walleye (9.6")
  • 10/17/2017 - 3,446 Walleye (9.6")
  • 10/17/2017 - 3,570 Walleye (9.6")
  • 10/16/2017 - 487 Walleye (9.1")
  • 10/16/2017 - 2,470 Walleye (9.1")
  • 10/16/2017 - 3,605 Walleye (9.1")
  • 10/16/2017 - 3,763 Walleye (9.1")
  • 10/11/2017 - 11,551 Walleye (9.1")
  • spring 2016 - 52,400,000 Walleye (Fry)
  • fall 2016 - 87,899 Walleye (9.6")
  • 6/29/16 - 43,866 Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) (Fingerling)
  • 6/22/2016 - 79,663 Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) (1.5")
  • 6/20/16 - 76,043 Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) (Fingerling)
  • 5/11/16 - 2,427 Walleye (Adult)
  • 10/13/16 - 1,347 Walleye (9.4")
  • annual 2015 - 80,500 Walleye (8")
  • 10/13/2015 - 14,192 Walleye (8.8")
  • 06/29/2015 - 20,911 Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) (2")
  • 06/23/2015 - 185,495 Largemouth Bass (1,050/lb)
  • 06/18/2015 - 102,747 Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) (1.6")
  • 05/01/2015 - 9,863,955 Walleye (Fry)
  • 04/22/2015 - 319 Walleye (18.5")
  • 04/20/2015 - 18,097 Walleye (8")
  • 04/01/2015 - 36,221,084 Walleye (Fry)
  • annual 2014 - 74,551 Walleye (8")
  • annual 2014 - 38,815,441 Walleye (Fry)
  • annual 2014 - 245,528 Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) (2")
  • 10/24/2014 - 650 Largemouth Bass (5")
  • 05/14/2014 - 4,525,454 Walleye (Fry)
  • October 2013 - 83,139 Walleye (9.0")
  • 09/25/2013 - 7,500 Largemouth Bass (4.0")
  • 08/08/2013 - 30,695 Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) (1.6")
  • 06/28/2013 - 1,823 Walleye (2.0")
  • 05/03/2013 - 50,483,182 Walleye (Fry)
  • October 2012 - 88,006 Walleye (8.5"-9.5")
  • April 2012 - 40,500,000 Walleye (Fry)
  • 06/06/2012 - 596 Walleye (8.9")
  • 09/28/2011 - 79,683 Walleye (8.3")
  • 04/25/2011 - 36,298,421 Walleye (Fry)
  • 10/19/2010 - 88,030 Walleye (9.7")
  • 04/20/2010 - 53,800,000 Walleye (Fry)
  • 09/15/2009 - 77,802 Walleye (7.5-9.6")
  • 06/17/2009 - 19,070 Channel Catfish (2.3")
  • 06/03/2009 - 13,896 Walleye (2.0")
  • 04/30/2009 - 49,500,000 Walleye (Fry)
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:
  • Channel Catfish
    • Season: Continuous
    • Daily Bag Limit: combined: channel, blue and flathead catfish, 15 fish
    • Possession Limit: combined: channel, blue and flathead catfish, 30 fish
    • Length Limit: none
    • Other:
  • Flathead Catfish
    • Season: Continuous
    • Daily Bag Limit: combined: channel, blue and flathead catfish, 15 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:
  • Walleye
    • Season: Continuous
    • Daily Bag Limit: combined walleye, sauger and saugeye; 5 fish
    • Possession Limit: combined walleye, sauger and saugeye; 10 fish
    • Length Limit: none
    • Other:
  • White Bass
    • Season: Continuous
    • Daily Bag Limit: none
    • Possession Limit: unlimited
    • Length Limit: none
    • Other:
Channel catfish are abundant in Rathbun and angling is excellent. Most fish are 13- to 24-inches, but there are good numbers of larger fish. The walleye population at Rathbun remains low in abundance. A 2015 year class provided good angling in the early part of 2016 through June. These fish were 13- to 17-inches by fall of 2017. While fish of all sizes are available, poor numbers of young walleye in recent years has lead to an overall decline in walleye abundance. Crappie abundance is moderating after strong year classes in earlier years. This moderation in abundance has allowed for growth and fish up to 12 inches are common (although small fish are more abundant than large). Largemouth bass density is low, but growth is good. Fish in the 14- to 21-inch range are moderately common. White bass have produced successful year classes in recent years after a near collapse of the fishery in the early 2000's after a disease outbreak. Stocking hybrid striped bass (which closely resemble white bass) has resulted in strong year classes of these fish. Hybrid striped bass up to 21 inches were collected in 2017 and should reach 24 inches in 2018. These fish are performing excellently and providing substantial angling opportunity.(2017)

Contacts

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.