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Walleye season opens May 1 on Iowa’s Great Lakes

  • 4/20/2021 3:24:00 PM
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The 145th walleye fishing season officially opens May 1 at Spirit Lake, East and West Okoboji lakes.

“Walleye populations on the Iowa Great Lakes are in great shape,” said Mike Hawkins, fisheries biologist for the Iowa DNR. “If the weather cooperates, anglers should have some good success.”

Walleye season opens the first Saturday in May and runs through February 14 each year on Spirit Lake, East Okoboji Lake and West Okoboji Lake. There is a protected slot limit on walleyes from 17- to 22-inches, with only one walleye over 22-inches allowed per day on Spirit Lake, East and West Okoboji Lake, Upper and Lower Gar Lake and Minnewashta Lake. The daily limit is three walleyes with a possession limit of six.

“Several strong year classes of walleye are present,” Hawkins said.  “Spirit Lake has very good numbers of walleyes around 14-inches in addition to continued good numbers of larger fish.”

The walleye season will be opening in the Iowa Great Lakes, but the lakes offer great fishing for a variety of other species.  Panfish, northern pike, and smallmouth and largemouth bass fishing can be very good as the water warms.

The Iowa Great Lakes Chamber of Commerce will host the 39th annual Great Walleye Weekend Fishing Contest in conjunction with the opener.  For more information on the contest, visit their website at