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Missouri River Segments

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River County Location Length in miles
Missouri River (Sioux City to Little Sioux) Harrison Chris Larsen Park: 1280 Larsen Park Road/Sioux City, IA. Located on the Sioux City riverfront along the Missouri River. Larsen Park offers 110 acres on the Sioux City Riverfront. Managed by the City of Sioux City. 64.00
Missouri River (Council Bluffs to state line) Fremont Lake Manawa State Park: 1100 South Shore Drive/Council Bluffs, IA 51501 phone: 712-366-0220. Managed by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Lake Manawa State Park has boat ramps on the Missouri River within the park. 61.00
Missouri River (Little Sioux to Council Bluffs) Pottawattamie Wilson Island State Recreation Area: 32801 Campground Lane/Missouri Valley, IA 51555 phone-712-642-2069. Managed by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Wilson Island Recreation Area has 544 acres along the Missouri River near Missouri Valley Iowa. 53.00

Missouri River

The Missouri River is known for its channelized riverbanks and fast currentsIt can be a little intimidating for some anglers. If catfish is your species of choice, the Missouri River offers some of the best fishing in Iowa.

Fishing for channel and flathead catfish has historically been best along the main channel and in backwater areas. Look for fish behind wing dams (artificial structures that extend partway across the river), submerged sandbars and near brush piles. People typically use prepared commercial baits, cut bait or live bait (chubs and sunfish) for channel cats. Anglers targeting flathead catfish use live bait like sunfish or bullheads.

Other Species
In April and May, anglers do well catching shovelnose sturgeon behind wing dams and along sand bars using nightcrawlers fished on the bottom. In fall and winter, anglers can catch sauger and walleye behind wing dams or at the mouths of tributaries using a jig and minnow.

Backwater areas like Middle Decatur (southwest of Onawa in Monona County) and California (west of Modale in Harrison County) at times produce panfish like bluegill and crappie.

Smallmouth bass fishing can be excellent around Sioux City, downstream to Monona County, especially when the river is low. Typically fish are found along the outside bend and around the points of wing dams. Anglers usually fish with soft plastics (jigs) and crankbaits.

Overall, the DNR predicts good spawning and rapid growth for many species for the coming years because of high waters and flooded brushy areas along the river and backwater areas.

Additional Missouri River Information
Several government agencies and regional organizations are working to restore the Missouri River to some of its natural flow and ecosystems.