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Iowa Fishing Report

October 16, 2008

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources issues a 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 at the phone number listed at the end of each district report.

Mississippi River Pools 9 to 15: Fishing is slowly picking up on the Mississippi River in Pools 9 to 15 with the drop in water temperature. The water level at Lansing is 8.01 feet, Lynxville 13.7 feet, Marquette 7.5 feet, Guttenberg 5.3 feet, Dubuque 7.97 feet, Bellevue 5.22 feet, and Camanche 9.57 feet. The river is forecasted rise slightly and then fall over the next week. Water temperature is in the upper 50s. Fishing continues to improve as we head into the cooler fall months.

Extra caution is still recommended at the boat ramps. The Mississippi River is still very low going into the fall and it is easy to back trailers into the blow holes created at the end of the boat ramp. Try putting trailers in the minimum amount of water needed to launch the boat. Remember too, you do not need a boat to fish the Mississippi River . There are access points for people of all abilities to fish along the shoreline of the Mississippi River . Here is a list of places you can combine leaf watching with some quality angling in the upper pools:

New Albin â€" Army Road boat ramp has easy shoreline access. Expect to catch largemouth bass and freshwater drum, maybe even a northern pike.

Lansing â€" Village Creek boat ramp has a new universally-accessible fishing dock complete with a sidewalk. Expect to catch largemouth bass and bluegill.

Harpers Ferry â€" Harpers Ferry city boat ramp has a new universally-accessible fishing dock. Expect to catch crappie and freshwater drum.

Waukon Junction â€" Just north of Waukon Junction at the Harpers Slough fishing access, the Allamakee County Conservation Board built a new walkway down near the slough’s edge for better access to freshwater drum and smallmouth bass fishing.

Guttenberg - At Bussey Lake , the DNR maintains a universally-accessible fishing pier. Expect to catch bluegill, crappie and yellow perch. Below the Guttenberg Fish Hatchery, a universally-accessible fishing sidewalk exists below Lock and Dam 10. Here, expect to catch sauger and drum.

Dubuque â€" At Mud Lake, just north of Dubuque , a new universally-accessible fishing sidewalk has been built the Dubuque County Conservation Board. Expect to catch bluegill, yellow perch and pumpkinseeds.

Walleye and sauger fishing continues to improve in the tailwaters near Lock and Dams 9 (Lynxville), 10 (Guttenberg), 11 ( Dubuque ), and 12 ( Bellevue ); however, many are small. Try using a three-way rig tipped with a night crawler, leech or minnow or throw crankbaits along the face of the wing dams. Walleye fishing along the wing dams in Pools 12 to 15 is good. Three-way rigs with floating crankbaits are also working very well. Fishing should only get better as the month progresses.

Fishing is fair to good for channel catfish using night crawlers on the bottom in Pools 9 through 15. Channel catfish are still on the tops of the wing dams so even a bobber floater over the dams may yield nice catfish.

Smallmouth and largemouth bass fishing is fair casting crankbaits along rocks with current in Pools 9 through 11. Bass are biting in the backwaters and connected sloughs in Pools 12 to 15. Fish spinner baits around snags or downed trees for best success. As the water cools, try fishing near the mouths of backwater lakes. Largemouth bass are packing near the entrances to their over-wintering lakes.

Bluegill fishing is very good in Mud Hen Lake south of Harpers Ferry (upper Pool 10) and Norwegian Lake near Sny Magill (middle Pool 10) near fallen trees. Bluegill fishing is good in Pools 12 through 15 on small jigs tipped with a wax worm in the snags along the side channel and around wing dams with little flow.

Crappie fishing is improving in Pools 9 through 15 along snags in the side channels, backwaters and connected sloughs. Fishing should pick up as water temperature continues to decline. Try using small jigs or minnows on a bare hook for crappies or tie up the boat to the snag and vertically jig a small jig and minnow. White bass and crappie are biting in South Sabula Lake (Pool 13). Fish structure for crappies. Watch for white bass busting the surface while chasing shad. White or silver jigs, spinners or crankbaits work very well.

Freshwater drum (sheepshead) fishing is good in Pools 9 through 11 using night crawlers on the bottom. Drum can be found at nearly any shoreline location adjacent to the channel. Use a sliding egg sinker with night crawler or crayfish for bait. Large crayfish often produce larger drum.

Northern pike are hitting jig and minnows, spinners, and crankbaits and 2008 has been one of the best years on record for quality northern pike fishing. Some of the best pike angling can be found in Minnesota Slough (Pool 9) and Harpers Ferry (Pool 10) and the tailwaters at Guttenberg.

Cedar River (Mitchell, Floyd and Chickasaw): The river is really clearing up from the fall diatom bloom d. A few smallmouth bass are being caught on jigs and crankbaits. Walleye fishing is picking up; try fishing in the deeper pools using jigs tipped with long piece of night crawler or minnow. Also, at Charles City , there are reports of some nice channel catfish being caught on large chubs. The warmer weather the past few weeks has allowed the bite to last longer than normal, so give it a try before the water cools down.

Cedar River (Bremer, Black Hawk), Maquoketa River ( Delaware , Jones), Shell Rock River ( Butler ), and Wapsipinicon River (Buchanan, Black Hawk): Fishing is currently good for channel catfish, smallmouth bass and walleye. Now is a great time to fish as water levels are favorable in all area rivers, water temperature is dropping, and water clarity is excellent. Fish activity is high during this time of year as fish feed in preparation for winter and next springs’ spawn. As water temperature cools, use more live bait presentations, such as a jig-and-crawler, and slow-down retrieval speeds.

Maquoketa River ( Delaware ): Smallmouth bass and walleye are excellent fishing below the Lake Delhi Dam.

Turkey River (Clayton): Smallmouth bass and walleye fishing have been fair. Try using a variety of lures and live bait for the smallmouth bass. Walleye can be caught in the deeper pools with slow moving artificial lures.

Upper Iowa River (Winneshiek and Allamakee): There are reports of larger trout being caught at the mouths of trout streams entering the river. The majority of these fish have been caught on smaller spinners. Smallmouth bass fishing has been fair. Try fishing white twister tails or crankbaits in the pools and riffles. A few larger walleyes are biting on jigs tipped with a night crawler. Also try crankbaits, Shad Raps or white twister tails in the deeper pools, fishing them slowly on the bottom of deep holes.

Avenue of the Saints Lake and Plainfield Lake ( Bremer County ): Fishing is good for largemouth bass and bluegills; try crankbaits and plastics for largemouth and use small night crawlers or red worms for bluegill.

Casey Lake (Tama): Fishing is good for largemouth bass on artificial lures and/or night crawlers suspended under a bobber. Fish the shallows for bass during the daytime as water temperature continues to decline.

Lake Delhi ( Delaware ): Fishing is fair to good for bluegill and crappie using live bait presentations. Bass fishing is good around structure using crankbaits and plastics.

Lake Hendricks (Howard): Largemouth bass fishing is good with a variety of artificial lures fished along shore. Channel catfish are actively looking for food in the shallows. Try using night crawlers or chicken liver fished on the bottom. Bluegill fishing is fair. Try using smaller gear when fishing midday to hook the finicky ones. Larger crappies are being caught by slowly trolling a minnow at 4 to 5 foot depths.

Lake Meyer (Winneshiek): Good numbers of 7 to 9-inch crappies are moving in on the brush piles on the south and east sides of the lake. They are being caught with small jigs or minnows under a bobber. Try throwing the rig a few feet past the snags and reeling in toward them. This works really well if the wind is blowing into the snags. Bluegill fishing is good for medium sized fish on night crawlers or angleworms. Some larger bluegills are being caught while fishing for crappie using jigs. Largemouth bass fishing is fair using artificial lures working the shoreline.

Volga Lake (Fayette): Largemouth bass fishing is fair throughout the day. Use slower-moving artificial lures worked along structure. Bluegill fishing is fair using wax worms or night crawlers on a very small hook under a bobber near structure. Bluegills have grown well this summer and now many are 6 to 7 inches. Crappies, 7 to 8-1/2 inches, are being caught while slowly drifting or trolling in deeper, open water using a slip bobber.

Trout streams are in excellent condition, fishing pressure is moderate while fishing continues to be outstanding, and fall colors are at their peak in northeast Iowa . Stream stockings are no longer announced, but don’t let this stop you as there are plenty of fish out there. During warmer days, hatches can persist throughout this fall. The mayflies and caddis flies are hatching mid to late afternoon so a nice evening outing may be best.

Anglers are reminded to help the DNR monitor the health of our streams and rivers by reporting fish kills immediately by calling 515-281-8694. This hotline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Only with your help can we continue to protect and enhance the aquatic communities in our public waters.

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

Mississippi River Pools 16 to 20: In Pool 16, river stage at Lock and Dam 15 is 5.27 feet with water temperature around 65 degrees. Channel catfish are being caught on shad and night crawlers. Crappies are being caught in the backwaters fishing brush piles with minnows and tube jigs. Some crappies are also being caught around Sunset Marina. Walleye fishing has been slow but some fish are being caught on the ends of the wing dams. In Pool 17, river stage at Lock and Dam 16 is 4.1 feet with water temperature around 63 degrees. Channel catfishing has been slow. Crappies are being caught on jigs and minnows fishing the brush piles in Big Timber. A few walleyes are being caught on the wing dams and fishing around the warm water discharge at GPC. White bass fishing has been slow. In Pool 18, river stage at Lock and Dam 17 is 4.67 feet. Channel catfish are being caught fishing shad and night crawlers along the main channel. Crappies are being caught in Huron Island fishing the brush piles with minnows and tube jigs. Walleye fishing has been slow. In Pool 19, river stage at Lock and Dam 18 is 2.25 feet. Channel catfish are being caught on shad and night crawlers. Some crappies are being caught in the backwaters on minnows. In Pool 20, river stage at Lock and Dam 19 is 4.23 feet. Tailwater stages are changing daily due to dam releases. Channel catfish are being caught on shad and night crawlers.

Lake Darling ( Washington ): Most of the fish have moved to deeper water. Try fishing the pallet beds along the old creek channel for crappies and along the steep rock shorelines along the same for the catfish. The DNR will begin draining the lake on Nov. 5.

Lake Belva Deer (Keokuk): Bluegills are still on the edges of the weed beds in 10 to 12 feet of water. Wax worms on small jigs are working the best and the action is picking up. Crappies do not seem to be doing much right now.

Lake Geode (Henry): Anglers are catching good numbers of bluegills along the weed beds in 6 to 8 feet of water.

Lake Rathbun (Appanoose): The lake continues to come down but still remains at about 13 feet above normal pool. Three boat ramps remain open: Bridgeview, Honey Creek, and Buck Creek high water ramp. Crappies have been hitting on minnows fished along the flooded shoreline. A few crappies have been caught using crankbaits along rocky structures.

Lake Sugema (Van Buren): Bluegills and crappies have been biting on small jigs fished around various types of structure. Drifting has been a successful technique to locate fish. Using a chunk of night crawler under a bobber has also been successful. Anglers looking to catch some walleyes should try areas with rocky shorelines such as along the dam and on some of the points. Jig and minnow combos as well as crankbaits can be effective this time of year.

Lake Wapello ( Davis ): The lake has been completely drained.

Lake Miami ( Monroe ): Anglers have been catching some crappies by drifting minnows and small jigs along the deeper contours of the lake.

Lake Macbride (Johnson): Crappies can be found in and around some of the brush piles throughout the lake. Minnows have been working best but small jigs are producing as well. As of October 16, the lake level will be drawn down to accommodate road/lake work. It will take approximately 2 weeks to reach the 6 to 8 feet drop in water level.

Union Grove Lake (Tama): Bluegill fishing around shallow structure has been good. A few crappies will also be found on the shallow brush, and boat anglers are picking crappies up by drifting the main lake.

Iowa River (Johnson): Walleyes and white bass can be found below many of the dams. Jig and plastics or jig and minnows are the preferred presentations.

Iowa River (Louisa): The river level seems to be holding fairly steady right now and is about average for this time of year. Anglers are catching catfish on cut bait and night crawlers. If you see a few frogs along the bank catch them and use them for bait, seldom will a catfish turn down a grass frog.

Skunk River (Washington and Henry): The river level is staying steady and it is a good time to set some bank poles because the flatheads are starting to fatten up for winter.

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


Fogle Lake (Ringgold): A few bluegills and big bullheads are biting near jetty shoreline areas.

Lake of Three Fires ( Taylor ): Several nice bluegills have been caught on night crawlers near shore or the fish mounds. Some real nice 10 to 12-inch crappies can be caught from the flooded cedar trees. Water clarity is at least 4 feet.

Icaria ( Adams ): Walleye fishing is good near the fish mounds or the old roadway. The bullheads are biting well on night crawlers. Bluegills have been biting well on night crawler tipped jigs off the fish mounds and steep shoreline.

Twelve Mile Lake ( Union ): Big bullheads are biting well on night crawlers anywhere in the lake. Some crappies and several big bluegills are biting well on night crawlers or jigs tipped with night crawlers near rock structure and fish mounds. Some walleyes up to 22 inches have been caught off the fish mounds and old roadways on crankbaits.

Three Mile Lake ( Union ): A few walleye have been caught off the dirt fish mounds at the upper end of the lake.

Walnut Creek Marsh (Ringgold): Several bluegills and crappies can be picked up off the edges of the weed lines using jigs or jigs tipped with night crawlers.

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

Don Williams (Boone): A few crappies and bluegills are being caught on jigs tipped with minnows.

Big Creek (Polk): Bluegill fishing is still reported as slow with a few fish being caught using a night crawler under a slip bobber. Crappie fishing is fair drifting or trolling with tube jigs and minnows under a slip bobber. There are still reports of decent catches of 10 to 12-inch white bass. Walleyes have also been biting mostly after dark. Catfish can still be caught on chicken liver, night crawlers or stink bait.

Red Rock ( Marion ): White bass bite varies. Some days have been very good while others are slow. Fish are being caught trolling crankbaits from 10 to 25 feet down until fish are located. Crankbaits imitating shad or chrome colored work best.

Rock Creek (Jasper): Crappie fishing is still good using small jigs tipped with wax worms. Most fish are 8 to 10 inches with a few over 11 inches.

Saylorville Lake (Polk): White bass fishing is good in the main lake trolling or jigging. Good numbers of catfish are being caught using cut bait and fishing on flats in around 15 feet of water.

Hickory Grove (Story): Crappie fishing is good with the cooler water temps. Fish are being caught over submerged brush piles using small crappie jigs or a minnow under a slip bobber. A mixed catch of white and black crappies can be expected with a few of the whites approaching 11 inches.

Lake Ahquabi and Hooper (Warren): Bass are hitting good on spinner baits fished near shore tight to wood and vegetation. Sizes range from 13 to 16 inches with a few over 18 inches. Bluegill and crappie bite is still slow, but some good sized crappies and bluegill are being caught drifting a small piece of night crawler, minnow, or panfish jig in the center of the lake under a slip bobber in 5 to 6 feet of water.

Des Moines River (Boone): Catfishing has been good for both channels and flatheads. The channels are being caught on chicken liver or cut bait.

Raccoon River ( Dallas ): Walleye fishing is good. Most fish are being caught using a jig head and minnow.

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

Viking Lake ( Montgomery ): Anglers are catching 16 to 19-inch channel catfish on stink baits or chicken liver.

Anderson Area ( Montgomery ): Bluegill fishing is fair along dam casting worms and bobber.

Lake Manawa (Pottawattamie): Crappies are being caught on northeast and the west part of lake and around boat docks. Fishing for wipers is fair on east side of lake. Walleyes are picking up using large minnows.

Willow Lake ( Harrison ): Channel catfish has been fair using liver.

Meadow Lake (Adair): Meadow is open to fishing, however the lake has been lowered 8 feet and the boat ramp is not usable. Habitat improvements are scheduled for this fall and winter.

Orient (Adair): Crappies are fair drifting small jigs.

Greenfield (Adair): Bluegills are fair drifting small jigs and around jetties. A few catfish are being caught on liver.

Mormon Trail (Adair): A few crappies are being caught around the jetties using minnows and bobber.

Lake Anita (Cass): Fishing is good for 8 to 9-inch crappies drifting a small white jig or anchored near structure. Schools of crappie have scattered around the lake and when anglers find the schools, they are able to catch quite a few. Bluegill fishing is fair around cedar trees using worms.

Middle Raccoon (Guthrie): A few bluegills and crappies are being caught below the Lennon Mills dam. Water levels are up but are still favorable for fishing the catch and release stretch for smallmouth bass from Lennon Mills Dam to Redfield.

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

For more information on general fishing in southwest Iowa , call the regional office in Lewis at 712-769-2587.

Spirit Lake ( Dickinson ): Yellow perch are being caught by vertically jigging with small jigging spoons or micro jigs tipped with worms or minnows across the main lake basin and by fishing from shore at Marble Beach . Cast jig and minnow along weed lines or fish from shore at the North Grade, Trickles Slough, Marble Beach or Buffalo Run with a jig and minnow around sunset for walleyes. Smallmouth bass are being picked up at the weed lines and rock piles around Big Stoney and Little Stoney points with crankbaits. Fish around boat docks with ice jigs tipped with live bait for bluegills. Work tube jigs or other soft plastics around boat docks and weed lines for largemouth bass.

East Okoboji Lake ( Dickinson ): White bass are being caught at the bridges and boat docks on a jig and minnow. Use live bait around boat docks or the Hwy. 9 Bridge for yellow bass. Channel catfish are biting on cut bait fished around boat docks. Fish around boat docks with ice jigs tipped with live bait for bluegills. Troll crankbaits in deeper water between Stony Point and Jingles Point or wade fish from shore with a jig and minnow around dark for walleyes.

West Okoboji Lake ( Dickinson ): Work the docks or weed lines with soft plastics or crankbaits for largemouth bass. Smallmouth bass are being caught around the points with soft plastics and jerk baits. For walleyes, use a jig and minnow along weed lines and rock piles during the day or wader fish from shore at sunset. Fish the rock piles and weed lines around points and bays with small jigging spoons tipped with live bait for yellow perch. Troll or cast along weed edges in Miller’s, North, Smith’s and Emerson bays for northern pike. Cast or troll along the weed lines and rock piles in Emerson, Miller’s, North and Smith’s bays with crankbaits and spinners for muskies.

Minnewashta (Dickinson): Fish around boat docks with small ice jigs tipped with live bait for panfish.

Upper Gar ( Dickinson ): Use ice jigs tipped with live bait around boat docks for panfish.

Center Lake ( Dickinson ): Fish with a jig and minnow for white bass.

Silver Lake ( Dickinson ): Use a jig and minnow along shore lines after sunset for walleyes.

West Fork of the Des Moines River : Fish the holes and riffles with a jig and minnow for walleyes.

Little Sioux River: Fish with a jig and minnow at the riffles and holes for walleyes.

Black Hawk Lake (Sac): A few small crappie and bluegills are being caught.

Brushy Creek (Webster): Water temperature has cooled and the clarity is better. Fishing remains about the same. A few nice walleye and crappie have been caught on minnows.

Clear Lake ( Cerro Gordo ): A few walleyes are being caught but fishing continues to be slow. Yellow bass fishing is good at the grade and McIntosh beach area using cut bait or a piece of night crawler. White bass are still biting around the island and any sandy areas in the morning and late evening.

Crystal Lake (Hancock): Crappies are biting on the north shore and a few yellow perch are being caught on the old road bed.

Silver Lake (Worth): Yellow perch are biting on the south side.

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