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Crappies and bluegills are biting in small ponds and lakes across Iowa. Spring panfish fishing is a great time to introduce beginners of all ages to fishing. Catching panfish is easy and fun.
“Late May and early June is a great time to take kids fishing,” said Joe Larscheid, chief of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Bureau. “Fishing really heats up for easy-to-catch shore fish like bluegill and crappie.”
All Iowa lakes have panfish in them. Look for structures in the water, like rocks or a pile of brush or gravel, to find bluegills or crappies. Bass will be around brush or boat docks or rock piles. Quickly find fish structure locations with the interactive fishing atlas or download a catalog of 1,968 fishing structure locations for lakes across Iowa from the DNR’s fishing maps website at www.iowadnr.gov/Fishing/Fishing-Maps.
“Panfish have small mouths, so keep your hooks, bobbers and bait small,” Larscheid said. “Use as light of tackle as you can. Four pound line, a bobber the size of a quarter and a size 8 hook work well."
Make time to fish this spring and enjoy Iowa’s outdoors. Iowa waters teem with unprecedented numbers of fish, west to east from big river to big river, and the lakes, rivers and streams in-between. Find a list of 99 counties full of fish from the 2019 Iowa spring fishing forecast at www.iowadnr.gov/fishing.
“Remember the special memories you had fishing as a kid, and share this fun tradition with your kids and grandkids,” Larscheid said. Bring along snacks, take lots of photos and celebrate each fish as if it was a record breaker.