Iowa Fishing Report – 7/17/2008

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The Iowa Department of Natural Resources will be releasing the weekly fishing report on Thursdays in an effort to provide the latest information heading into the weekend. The weekly fishing report is compiled from information gathered from local bait shops, angler creel surveys, and county and state parks staff.

For current information, contact the district fisheries office. Phone numbers are listed with each district report.


The unprecedented volume of water in many areas during the flood will minimize the impact from any chemicals, waste or other toxins mixed in with the water. Nothing in the water is going to hurt the quality or the edibility of the fish. These fish are safe to eat.

In general, more water means more fish. Growth of fish is great in expanded habitats when lake and stream water levels are high. It is expected the flood conditions in many streams will have an adverse impact on smallmouth bass reproduction this year. The floods will rearrange the habitat in streams with some deep holes filling in while others are created.

A larger issue is that of sediment washing into streams, lakes and ponds, covering and reducing habitat and causing water quality problems.


Mississippi River: Fishing success is excellent on the Mississippi River as water levels are now returning to normal for this time of year. On Wednesday, water levels were as follows: Lansing – 8.2 feet, Lynxville – 14.5 feet, Guttenberg – 6.7 feet, Dubuque – 9.34 feet, Bellevue – 7.55 feet, and Camanche – 11.05 feet. Water temperatures are in the high 70’s. Boaters in Pool 11 near the Pool Slough area must operate at no-wake speed. Pool Slough will remain closed to boating for a time as clean-up work continues for pockets of oil near the train derailment.

Now is the time to get out and do some walleye fishing! Walleye are biting from Pool 9 through 15 along the wing dams. Use a three-way rig tipped with either a leech or crawler fished along the front edge of the wing dams, or try casting or trolling crank baits along the wing dams late in the afternoon. Some wing dams will produce more fish than others depending on the depth and amount of flow on top of each dam. Sauger are being caught in good numbers in Pools 9 through 11 by anglers trolling crank baits in the side channels. Most saugers are in the 14-15 inch size range.

Fishing is also excellent for channel catfish that have moved off the spawning beds. Channel catfish can be found around the wing dams or in side channels near rock or woody structure in Pools 10 through 15. Stink bait and night crawlers are the baits of choice for hungry cats.

Anglers in Pools 9 through 15 are having very good success fishing for both smallmouth and largemouth bass. Look for areas with moderate current and structure such as riprap or snags. Fish are also concentrated along many of the points extending from the shoreline. Rip rapped shorelines below the locks and dams, especially in Dubuque and Bellevue, are excellent spots right now. The spillway area above Harpers Ferry (Pool 10) is a great area for largemouth bass. Spinner baits fished in the early morning and late evening hours have been the most effective on largemouth bass. Smallmouth bass are often found on the wing dams and rocky shoreline areas. Use crank baits or spinner baits, or try buzz baits in the evening.

Bluegill fishing is a little slower in Pools 9 through 15, but they can be caught on wax worms or garden worms suspended under a bobber fished along rip rapped shorelines or near woody structure adjacent to the channel. The bluegill bite will improve as the water continues to clear.

Freshwater drum (sheepshead) fishing continues to be very good in Pools 9 through 15 using night crawlers fished on the bottom. Drum can be found at nearly any shoreline location adjacent to the channel.

A few crappie are being caught by anglers in Pool 9 near the Sny Magill area. Use 1/32 oz jigs tipped with either a wax worm or a piece of crawler for best success.

Northern pick can be caught on spinner baits or top-water baits fished in the backwaters in Pools 9 and 10. Northern pike seek cooler water at this time of year, so search for areas where small streams or springs are entering the river.

White bass can be caught in the tailwater areas near Guttenberg (Pool 11). Watch for surfacing minnows to pinpoint the location of these fish and cast small minnow-imitating lures into the school.

Cedar (Mitchell, Floyd, Chickasaw, Black Hawk and Bremer), Maquoketa (Delaware and Jones), Shell Rock (Butler), Upper Iowa (Winneshiek and Allamakee), and Wapsipinicon Rivers (Black Hawk and Buchanan): Fishing has been slow recently on interior rivers in east-central Iowa due to heavy rainfall during the period from July 6 through July 12 that resulted in turbid water conditions and high water flows. Water conditions and fishing conditions have improve markedly over the past two days with most rivers now reaching water levels nearer average summer flows. Rivers remain turbid, but water clarity is increasing with each additional day of little to no rainfall. As of Wednesday (July 16) rivers are in fishable condition with some reports of fair walleye, channel catfish and smallmouth bass fishing using crank baits. Barring additional rain, fishing should be good by the weekend and anglers should focus on areas near rock or wood habitat, and areas adjacent to eddies or current breaks. Smallmouth bass are currently tight to shoreline habitat, so try dragging light-colored twister tails or crank baits off the shoreline and make short casts to improve your accuracy. A few channel catfish are also being caught in the slower-moving water using night crawlers or dead minnows.

Turkey River (Clayton): The upper stretch of this river is starting to clear up. Smallmouth bass fishing should continue to improve as the river level recedes.

Avenue of the Saints Lake (Bremer): Fishing has been fair for crappie and largemouth bass using small artificial lures.

Big Woods Lake (Black Hawk): Fishing has been good for 8-10 inch crappie using small artificial baits and minnows. Largemouth bass fishing is fair using surface lures, plastics and subsurface artificial lures.

Casey Lake (Tama): Casey Lake remains a bright-spot for fishing in east-central Iowa with reports of excellent bass and channel catfish bites underway. Bass are running 12-15 inches and are biting on most everything. Channel catfish are slow through mid-day, but an excellent bite is occurring in the early morning and in evening. Catfish can be caught from shore using prepared stink-baits, night crawlers, or chicken livers. Bluegill fishing is currently fair at Casey Lake using small pieces of worm, small jigs, or flies.

Lake Hendricks (Howard): Fishing is excellent for channel catfish using chicken livers fished on the bottom. Water clarity has been reduced due to a recent green algae bloom. Fishing is fair for bluegills on wax worms or a piece of night crawler suspended under a bobber. Black and white artificial flies are also working for bluegill anglers. Largemouth bass fishing is good using plastic worms worked next to structure.

Lake Meyer (Winneshiek): Water clarity is reduced with an algae bloom. Catfishing is fair using chicken liver near the south side of the dam. Crappie fishing is slow, but some can be caught in the snags using small, light-colored tube jigs. Bluegill fishing is fair using worms fished near shore or by the new jetty. Some sorting may be required. Largemouth bass fishing is fair using plastic worms.

Volga Lake (Fayette): Fishing is picking up for channel catfish and largemouth bass. Fish the early morning and late evening hours for bass using slower-moving artificial lures worked along structure. Bluegill fishing is good using wax worms under a bobber, but sorting is required.

Trout fishing continues to be very good. The three trout hatcheries are attempting to stock as close to the proposed stocking schedule as possible, with only the stockings by the Big Spring Hatchery changed last week. If you have a question about the recent stockings, call the trout stocking hotline at 563-927-5736 for updated information.

For information on fishing in northeast Iowa, call the regional office near Manchester at 563-927-3276.

Clear Lake (Cerro Gordo) – Walleye fishing has slowed down. With a new crop of forage food (yellow bass) in the lake it makes angling for walleye tougher. Yellow bass fishing has picked up; try fishing in 9 – 12 feet of water with jigs and minnows or cut bait on the reefs. A few Bullheads are being caught in the west end.

Crystal Lake (Hancock) – Channel catfish are hitting from shore and the jetties. Chicken liver and chubs are working the best.

Lake Catherine (Winnebago) – Bluegill fishing has been good for 8-9 inch fish. Use small jigs and crawlers for the best bluegill action.

Rice Lake (Worth) – Bullhead fishing is excellent. Crappies are being caught near inflow areas and downed trees.

Lake Cornelia (Wright) – Bullhead fishing is excellent for 8-10 inch fish. Bullheads are hitting on night crawlers on the bottom. Channel catfish are hitting of the jetty using liver and prepared baits.

Spirit Lake (Dickinson) – Walleye- Troll crank baits along weed line between Templar Park and Marble Beach. Fish rock piles in the evening with slip bobbers or cast with crank baits around Little Stoney. Look for crappies along weed-lines on the main lake, Anglers Bay, or fish at Buffalo Run. For smallmouth bass, fish rock area’s of Big Stoney, Little Stoney, using crank baits or top water lures in the evening. Use small ice jigs under slip bobbers or drift with a split shot rig with leeches or worms along weed lines and rock piles for bluegills. Yellow perch can be caught by fishing the rock reef at Buffalo Run or Little Stoney with live bait. Troll or cast along weed lines and cabbage beds in the main lake or Anglers Bay for northern pike.

East Okoboji (Dickinson) – Fish the 71 or Hinshaw’s bridge in the evening with a jig for walleye. White bass can be caught bye fishing at Hinshaw’s bridge at sunrise or sunset with a jig and minnow or try the south end of the Trestle along rocks. Fish rock piles in the south end of the lake using small jigs tipped with small minnow for yellow bass. Worms on the bottom at the spillway are being used for freshwater drum. Fish the spillway with night crawlers for bullheads.

Fish rock reefs on the south end of lake for bluegills. Fish rock reefs on the south end of lake f or yellow perch mixed with yellow bass and bluegills. Fish Stony Point south towards Jingle’s point for suspended fish relating to weed lines and rock reefs for muskies.

West Okoboji (Dickinson) – Largemouth bass are being caught around boat docks or weed lines in North, Emerson, and Millers Bay. For smallmouth bass, fish rock reefs in Miller’s bay, Pocahontas, Fort Dodge, Pillsbury, and Gull Points with jerk baits, crawdads, or leeches.

Bluegills are being caught fishing weed-lines while drifting with leeches in North, Miller’s or Smiths Bay. Fish at Triboji, Emerson, Smith’s, or Millers Bay along weed lines in 15 feet of water for yellow perch. Walleye are being fished for on weed lines near rock reefs with a slip bobber and leach or spinner rigs with worms or leeches or troll crank baits along outside weed lines in Emerson or Miller’s bay. Troll crank-baits or cast buck tails along weed edges for northern pike. Fish along weed lines at North, Smith’s, or Emerson Bays early in the morning or late in the evening for muskies.

Minnewashta (Dickinson) – Fish at Sawmill Bridge with hair jig and minnow for white bass.

Use a split shot and leech at the Sawmill Bridge at night for walleye.

For more information on fishing in northwest Iowa, call the regional office in Spirit Lake at 712-336-1840.

Fogle Lake (Ringgold): A few bluegills are being caught from the shallows at dusk on crawlers.

Lake of Three Fires (Taylor): Some bluegills can still be caught from the fish mounds and near the cedar trees. A few largemouth bass can be caught from the structure. Water clarity is about 3 1/2 feet at the dam.

Icaria (Adams): Some channel catfish are biting in the shallow bays. Water levels are currently normal. Water clarity is about 2 ½ feet.

Three Mile Lake (Union): Water clarity is about 3½ feet at the dam. A few bluegills are biting just off shore near structure on crawlers.

Twelve Mile Lake (Union): The walleye fishing is fair for mid-sized fish on crank baits over the rocky areas or steep drop offs. A few nice bluegills are being caught from the rock mounds. Water clarity is at least about 5 feet near the dam.

Green Valley (Union): The water control valve was opened this week to start draining 12 feet of water off the lake. Water levels are expected to be down 4 feet by the weekend and go lower all next week. Some boating access is possible but care must be used during launching. Water clarity is about 2 1/2 feet. Several channel catfish have been caught from the shallow bays on stink baits. Most are between 2 and 5 pounds.

Contact: Gary Sobotka (641)464-3108 for information on the above area lakes.

Don Williams (Boone): Crappies are biting on jigs or minnows fished in ten foot of water.

Big Creek (Polk): Bluegills are biting on night crawlers under a bobber fishing out from shore. Crappies are being caught on jigs drifting in 9 to 12 foot of water. Walleyes are biting, but sorting is needed – there is a 15 inch minimum length limit.

Raccoon River (Dallas): Catfish are being caught on stink bait and chicken liver.

Beaver Lake (Dallas): Bluegills are being caught on worms and catfish on cut bait.

Saylorville Lake (Polk): White bass are still being caught at the pump station and below the Big Creek Spillway. The water level keeps dropping and more and more fish are being caught in the main lake. Look for sea gulls or fish hitting the surface – fish the windy side of the lake. White bass and catfish are being caught below the dam.

Des Monies River (Polk): Catfish bite is really starting to turn on. Yellow banks, Runnels, and Beaver Creek have been some good spots.

Red Rock (Marion): White bass are really biting. Best spots are below the dam, Highway 14 Bridge and Teader Creek Bay. Use small crank baits and in line spinners most fish are being caught out in the main lake. Catfish are being caught on the old road bed.

Rock Creek (Jasper): Bluegill are slowing down – worms are the best bet. Catfish are still being caught on stink bait and cut bait. Crappies are biting on jigs in 6-8 foot of water.

Hickory Grove (Story): Bluegills are biting with a worm fished under a bobber. Crappies are being caught trolling or drifting small jigs or crank baits. Some catfish are being caught on crawlers or cut bait.

Easter Lake (Polk): Bluegills are biting on worms and bobbers. Catfish have really turned on and are being caught on stink bait and chicken liver.

Lake Ahquabi and Hooper (Warren): Shore fishing has been slow but catfish have been biting on worms. Crappies and bluegills have been biting on tube jigs fished next to rock piles out of boats.

Mariposa (Jasper): Bluegills are biting on worms fished under a bobber. Catfish are biting on worms and chicken livers.

Contact: Ben Dodd (515)432-2823, Ext.108, for information on the above area lakes

Anderson Area (Montgomery): Crappies are being caught off of the dam in the evenings using small jigs. Bluegill are slow but a few are being caught using night crawlers.

Hacklebarney (Montgomery): Largemouth Bass are being caught off of the dam area. Catfish is fair along the dam using worms and crayfish.

Viking Lake (Montgomery): Viking Lake was renovated in the fall of 2006. The lake refilled and restocked with largemouth bass, bluegill, red ear sunfish and channel catfish in the spring of 2007. Anglers can expect to catch largemouth bass up to 15 inches, bluegills are 6 – 7 inches, and catfish are reported 14 – 16 inches. Expect fish to grow rapidly in this newly renovated lake.

Lake Manawa (Pottawattamie): Catfish have slowed but a few are still being caught on worms and shrimp. Walleye are being caught at night jigging twister tails tipped with a minnow. A few crappies are being caught around docks and Boy Scout Island using large minnows with white tube jigs. Wipers have picked up and can be caught using artificial lures.

Willow Lake (Harrison): Bluegill fishing is fair for 8 inch fish around the jetties. Fishing for Channel catfish has been good using liver.

Orient (Adair): Catfish is fair using liver.

Greenfield (Adair): Bass fishing is fair using plastic baits around cedar tree piles. Bluegills are fair drifting small jigs and around jetties. A few catfish are being caught on liver.

Lake Anita (Cass): Crappie fishing is good for 7-8 inch fish around cedar trees. Bluegills have slowed but a few are being caught along weed edges using small jigs and worms. Boat anglers are also catching bluegills and crappies by drifting in some of the deeper areas of the lake. Bass fishing is fair using plastic baits around rocks and along the road bed during the day.

Littlefield Lake (Audubon): Catfish is fair using night crawlers.

Arrowhead Lake (Pottawattamie): Largemouth bass is fair casting plastic baits around jetties and underwater structure. Bluegills and crappies are being caught at the inlet tube using small jigs and worms.

Prairie Rose Lake (Shelby): Channel catfish is good using liver and stink bait. A few flatheads are also being caught using live bait.

Middle Raccoon River (Guthrie): Anglers are catching a few crappies below Lenon Mills dam using minnows. Anglers are also catching a few Channel catfish.

Farm Ponds: Anglers are catching bass and bluegills at some of the local ponds. Reminder: Please be sure to ask landowner for permission before fishing.

Contact: Bryan Hayes (712)769-2587 for information on the above area lakes.

For more information on general fishing in southwest Iowa, call the SW Regional Office in Lewis at 712-769-2587.

Mississippi River – Pools 16 – 20 – River stages throughout pools 16-20 of the Mississippi River continue to fall. Water clarity is till poor and water temperature is around 78° F.

Pool 16 – River stage at Lock and Dam 15 is 9.1 ft. and falling. White bass are being caught up by the Lock and Dam and in Sylvan Slough on jig and twister combinations. White in-line spinners and smaller crankbaits can also be effective. With muddy water conditions walleye fishing on the wingdams is slow. Some channel catfish are being caught along the rocks floating leeches and crawlers under a bobber. Some channel catfish are also being caught on stinkbait. Crappies are being caught in Sunset Marina on minnows. Freshwater drum (sheephead) is being caught fishing night crawlers on the bottom. A few flathead catfish are being caught on live bait fished around snags.

Pool 17 – River stage at Lock and Dam 16 is 8.57ft. and falling. Walleye fishing has slowed down but some fish are being caught on the wingdams using crawlers, leeches, and crankbaits. Channel catfish are being caught on stinkbait and floating crawlers or leeches under a bobber along the rocks. Largemouth bass are being caught in the backwaters on spinnerbaits sand crankbaits. White bass are being caught up by the dam and by the spillway on jig and twisters. The ramp at Big Timber is open.

Pool 18 – River stage at Lock and Dam 17 is 10.93 ft. and falling. Channel catfish are being caught on night crawlers.

Pool 19 – River stage at Lock and Dam 18 is 7.55 ft. and falling. Channel catfish are being caught on stinkbait, chicken livers, and night crawlers. Largemouth bass are being caught on soft plastics. Panfish are biting in the backwaters.

Pool 20 – River stage at Lock and Dam 19 is 11.06 ft. and slowly falling. Catfish are biting on stink bait and cut bait.

Lake Odessa – (Louisa Co.) – Odessa remains flooded. All boat ramps and the Toolesboro road are closed. Water levels are continuing to fall.

Lake Darling – (Washington Co.) – Catfishing is fair to good, early to midmorning and then again in the late evening is the best. Chicken liver seems to work the best. Work off the jetties and along the rocky shorelines. Rains forecasted for this weekend may get the streams up so that the catfish would move back up into the streams to feed, keep an eye on the weather.

Lake Belva Deer – (Keokuk Co.) – Bluegills are headed deep with the water temperatures going in the low 80 so fishing for them has slowed down. Catfishing remains very good with chicken liver being the bait of choice.

Lake Geode – (Henry Co.) – Catfishing remains fairly good. Down by the dam is always a good place to start looking for them up in the creek channel out from the beach is another place to look for them.

Lake Rathbun – (Appanoose Co.) – Walleyes have been hitting on crankbaits or night crawlers being trolled along rocky points and underwater islands. White bass have been biting on minnows and also on shad colored crankbaits. Areas of the lake with shad will hold white bass. Look for shad breaking the waters surface and there should be white bass chasing them. Channel catfish have been biting on night crawlers and dead minnows.

Lake Sugema – (Van Buren Co.)-. Bluegills and crappies are hitting on small jigs fished under a slip bobber. Try varying depths until you find fish. It may help to tip the jig with a chunk of night crawler or wax worm. Largemouth bass have been hitting on soft plastics such as rubber worms or rubber lizards. Try top waters in the mornings and evenings in some of the coves and bays.

Lake Wapello – (Davis Co.) – The lake is being drained.

Lake Keomah – (Mahaska Co.) – Largemouth bass have been hitting on soft plastics. Try areas around the jetties and also areas that are shaded and offer some cover. Channel catfish have been biting on night crawlers and chicken liver.

Lake Macbride – (Johnson Co.) – Crappies can be found on the outer ends of lay downs and on the outside weed edges. Largemouth bass are in and around almost any kind of structure, especially wood and rock.

Pleasant Creek – (Linn Co.) – Channel catfish can be caught on stinkbait or night crawlers in about 8 to 12 feet of water. Most fish are in the 12 to 14 inch range with a few in the 4 lb. size.

Diamond Lake – (Poweshiek Co.) – Catfish have been very active and most fishermen have been doing very well early morning or late evening. Catfish are biting on various stink baits, chicken livers or worms. Bluegills are hitting on worms and small jigs fished around brush piles.

Skunk River – (Washington and Henry Cos.) – The river is at near normal levels. Anglers are catching some nice catfish and flatheads. They are also setting out some bank lines.

For more information on fishing in southeast Iowa, call the regional office in Brighton at 319-694-2430.