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Fishing regulations to be relaxed at Lake Keomah

  • 4/16/2024 12:48:00 PM
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OSKALOOSA - The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will relax the fishing regulations at Lake Keomah starting May 1, to allow anglers to more freely harvest fish before the lake is completely drained as part of a lake restoration project. 

“This long-awaited project will help stop shoreline erosion, improve water quality, increase the depth of Lake Keomah, and improve public access and fishing opportunities,” said Mark Flammang, area fisheries biologist for the DNR.

Anglers with a valid fishing license may harvest any size or number of largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, channel catfish, and all other fish species from Lake Keomah.  Any number of fishing poles or jug fishing is allowed. Anglers must remain in sight of these lines at all times, and follow all other fishing regulations and area rules. Trot lines will be allowed (name and address must be attached); lines may not be set across the entire waterbody. Nets, dynamite, poison, electric shocking devices, or any stupefying substances will not be allowed. It is illegal to sell fish or stock captured fish into public waters. 

Relaxed fishing regulations for Lake Keomah will remain in effect until the lake is drained. Anglers may fish anywhere within the lake during the normal park hours of 4 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

The DNR will begin lowering the lake water level mid-summer, after the 4th of July weekend. Quality game fish were collected from Lake Keomah in 2023 and relocated to recently renovated lakes across the area.

The fishery renovation is only part of a larger restoration project to improve the lake’s water quality. Planned improvements include additional watershed practices to protect the lake, stabilizing the shoreline, dredging in targeted areas, upgrading the boat ramp and trail, improving fish habitat, and expanding public access to the lake.

This project will continue through spring 2026. Park users should expect limited access to Lake Keomah until water levels return to normal. The DNR will restock the lake after restoration efforts are completed and the lake has refilled.