Fishing Hitting its Peak in Iowa as Memorial Day Weekend Nears

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Good weather forecasted for the Memorial Day Weekend should provide excellent fishing across the state.

Fishing in the spring is often some of the best for the entire year and Memorial Day Weekend is right in the heart of it. Water temperature allows for fish to be active during the entire day, and many fish are in spawning mode, which usually means they are close to shore and willing to bite. Those two factors also make spring a good time to take children fishing.

“For the most part, our lakes are in really good shape and fishing should be really good for Memorial Day Weekend and for the next few weeks,” said Marion Conover, chief of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Bureau. “Our campers should bring their fishing rods and enjoy some excellent fishing during the holiday in the park.”

In many lakes, bluegills and crappies will be close to shore and aggressive. Conover said anglers can improve their success by using small hooks, bobbers about the size of a quarter and 4-pound test strength line. For crappies, bring a selection of 1/16 to 1/32-ounce jigs, and tip the jig either with a jig body or a small minnow. For bluegills, use the same size jigs and tip it with a small piece of night crawler.

“All of our lakes have panfish in them,” Conover said. “Look for any type of structure in the water, like rocks or a pile of brush or gravel. Those would be good places to fish for bluegills or crappies. Bass will be around brush or boat docks or rock piles.”

With gas prices reaching new record highs seemingly every other day, it is nice that Iowa lakes, streams and ponds are not far from any town. There is a good place to fish within 30 miles from about any town in the state.

“We have a lot of good fishing opportunities close to home and for anglers who only fish out of state, I would like to invite them to give Iowa fishing a try. We have some excellent fishing right here and they don’t have to drive hours to find it,” he said.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources issues a weekly fishing report each Thursday afternoon at, then click on fishing report in the left column. The website also has places to fish, lake maps and other information to help with success.

For more information, contact Conover at 515-281-5208.