Learn about the DNR's COVID-19 response and how the current health emergency is impacting DNR facilities, services and events.

Spirit Lake

General Information

County: Dickinson
Location: One mile North of Spirit Lake
Acres: 5684.00
Maximum Depth: 22.5 ft. (2014)
Motoring Restrictions: none

Nearby Parks

Lower Gar State Recreation Area
Mini-Wakan State Park
Gull Point State Park
Gull Point State Park
Marble Beach State Recreation Area
Emerson Bay State Recreation Area
Elinor Bedell State Park
Pikes Point State Park
Templar State Recreation Area

Amenities

Amenities at Spirit Lake include:
  • Boat Access
  • Accessible Pier
  • Picnic Area
  • Beach
  • Trails
  • Accessible Facilities
  • Playground
  • Restrooms
  • Camping
  • Good/Excellent Shorefishing
  • Hard Surface Boat Ramp
  • Accessible Shoreline
  • Fish Cleaning Station
The day bite trolling for walleye in the area has been very slow. The panfish/perch bite has been very good lately. The extended forecast calls for continued warm temperatures with highs in the 80s and 90s. Water temperatures have risen significantly with most being in the 70s - 80s. This quick increase has been tough on fish that have been already stressed due to spawning activity. This has caused some noticeable mortality of some fish.
The lake has begun to green up significantly due to an algae bloom. The Walleye bite has been hit or miss most nights. The day bite has been poor. Perch and panfish bites have been fair. Bluegill are starting to sit on beds. The current water temperature is 79°.
Walleye - Fair: Bite has been hit or miss at dusk.
Yellow Perch - Fair:
Download Printable Lake Map
Download Printable Fishing Structures Map

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

  • May 2019 - 22,653,000 Walleye (Fry)
  • 06/24/2019 - 595 Muskellunge (11.75)
  • 05/16/2019 - 186 Muskellunge (13.1)
  • 06/22/2018 - 329 Muskellunge (13.1)
  • 05/18/2018 - 23,213,758 Walleye (Fry)
  • 05/14/2018 - 145 Muskellunge (13.2)
  • 5/4/2017 - 2,900,000 Walleye (fry)
  • 5/2/2017 - 1,800,000 Walleye (fry)
  • 5/10/2017 - 552 Muskellunge (13.1")
  • 4/30/2017 - 8,200,000 Walleye (fry)
  • 4/29/2017 - 9,800,000 Walleye (fry)
  • 5/3/16 - 26,979,625 Walleye (Fry)
  • 5/10/16 - 550 Muskellunge (14.5")
  • 05/12/2015 - 720 Muskellunge (12.3")
  • 04/23/2015 - 25,250,000 Walleye (Fry)
  • annual 2014 - 23,022,291 Walleye (Fry)
  • 05/20/2014 - 595 Muskellunge (10.5")
  • 05/16/2013 - 850 Muskellunge (12.5")
  • 05/13/2013 - 21,150,000 Walleye (Fry)
  • 04/16/2013 - 128,812 Walleye (Fry)
  • 05/07/2012 - 400 Muskellunge (12.6")
  • 04/17/2012 - 14,489,339 Walleye (Fry)
  • 05/12/2011 - 831 Muskellunge (12.4")
  • 05/11/2011 - 21,419,028 Walleye (Fry)
The Fishing Regulations brochure is available for download. The summaries listed below are a partial listing provided for your benefit.

  • Bigmouth Buffalo
    • Season: Continuous
    • Daily Bag Limit: none
    • Possession Limit: unlimited
    • Length Limit: none
    • Other:
  • Black Bullhead
    • Season: Continuous
    • Daily Bag Limit: unlimited
    • Possession Limit: unlimited
    • Length Limit: none
    • Other:
  • 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: Except for border lakes
  • Common Carp
    • Season: Continuous
    • Daily Bag Limit: none
    • Possession Limit: unlimited
    • Length Limit: none
    • Other: May be taken by hand fishing, by snagging, by spear or by bow and arrow, day or night.
  • Freshwater Drum
    • Season: Continuous
    • Daily Bag Limit: none
    • Possession Limit: unlimited
    • Length Limit: none
    • Other: May be taken by hand fishing, by snagging, by spear or by bow and arrow, day or night.
  • Green Sunfish
    • Season: Continuous
    • Daily Bag Limit: none
    • Possession Limit: unlimited
    • 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:
  • Muskellunge
    • Season: Open from May 21 - November 30
    • Daily Bag Limit: combined: muskellunge and tiger muskellunge, 1 fish
    • Possession Limit: combined: muskellunge and tiger muskellunge, 1 fish
    • Length Limit: 40-inch minimum
    • Other:
  • Northern Pike
    • Season: Continuous, except for boundary lakes
    • Daily Bag Limit: 3 fish
    • Possession Limit: 6 fish
    • Length Limit: none
    • Other: Except for border lakes
  • Pumpkinseed
    • Season: Continuous
    • Daily Bag Limit: 25 fish
    • Possession Limit: unlimited
    • Length Limit: none
    • Other: No daily limit on private waters
  • Quillback
    • Season: Continuous
    • Daily Bag Limit: none
    • Possession Limit: unlimited
    • Length Limit: none
    • Other: May be taken by hand fishing, by snagging, by spear or by bow and arrow, day or night.
  • Smallmouth 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: Open from May 3, 2014 through February 15, 2015.
    • Daily Bag Limit: 3 fish
    • Possession Limit: 6 fish
    • Length Limit: all 17 to 22-inch walleyes must be immediately released alive
    • Other: No more than one walleye longer than 22 inches may be taken per day
  • White Bass
    • Season: Continuous
    • Daily Bag Limit: none
    • Possession Limit: unlimited
    • Length Limit: none
    • Other:
  • White Sucker
    • Season: Continuous
    • Daily Bag Limit: none
    • Possession Limit: unlimited
    • Length Limit: none
    • Other: May be taken by hand fishing, by snagging, by spear or by bow and arrow, day or night.
  • Yellow Bass
    • Season: Continuous
    • Daily Bag Limit: none
    • Possession Limit: unlimited
    • Length Limit: none
    • Other:
  • Yellow Perch
    • Season: Continuous
    • Daily Bag Limit: 25 fish
    • Possession Limit: 50 fish
    • Length Limit: none
    • Other:
Spirit Lake's fishery continues to be one of the most diverse and healthy in the region. Gamefish in the lake experience high growth rates and most populations remain consistent. Spirit Lake is one of Iowa's Walleye broodstock lakes and as such receives large walleye fry stockings each spring. A protected slot limit implemented in 2007 helped to protect and build the broodstock population (>17"). This slot has created a very high quality adult population with great opportunities to catch large fish. Walleye recruitment has become more consistent in recent years helping to provide good numbers of young fish growing into the fishery. Our sampling indicates that in 2021, anglers should find good numbers of walleyes around 14 inches. Like in most natural lakes, Yellow Perch numbers are erratic, but the last few years have seen some fairly consistent harvest years for this species. Anglers seem to be catching perch in more shallow water in recent years, so fishing closer to shore may be something to try. Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass numbers and quality remain excellent on Spirit Lake with 2020 seeing huge numbers of nice smallies caught. Most smallmouth and largemouth bass are voluntarily released adding to their size structure. Most of the smallmouth are caught in April, May, and early June. Northern Pike numbers remain good but not as high as in the mid 2000's when the population swelled dramatically. Most fish are caught early in the spring and through the ice. Fish up to 35 and even 40 inches are caught each spring for hatchery operations. Bluegill and Crappie populations on Spirit Lake are not usually the highlight for the lake, but high quality aquatic plant beds favor these species. Water clarity has been good over the past few years, increasing plant diversity and density. Panfish populations have responded with good numbers of young fish present in our sampling. This could translate into continued or improved panfish numbers. Muskie populations and fishing have improved with good numbers of young fish dominating the population. There are still some trophy fish out there, but the highest catch rates seem to be for fish between 30 and 42 inches. Improved stocking programs from recent research are creating more consistent year classes, and should continually improve the size structure of the population.(2021)
Tip: Click the arrow in the lower right corner to view the Fish Survey Data tool in full-screen mode.

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.