Thursday, February 4, 2016

New Fishing Education Webpage

Check out the new Fishing Education page on the Iowa DNR website. Find resources to help you teach others how to fish along with basic fishing tips and information about Iowa's 148 fish species.

Studies show that kids who start fishing at an early age are less likely to get into trouble as teenagers.  All the more reason as educators and parents we need to get our kids "hooked" on fishing!

Get trained in Fish Iowa! and utilize these great resources to teach your students how to fish. Over 3,400 free-loan rods and reels are available at over 100 locations around Iowa.

Contact Barb Gigar, western Iowa training specialist at 515-494-3891 or Holly Schulte, eastern Iowa training specialist at 563-927-3276 to schedule a training session.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Ice Fishing Clinics

Learn the basics of ice fishing by attending a local fishing clinic – bring the whole family. Anglers are reminded to have a valid 2016 fishing license, if they are age 16 or older.

11:00 a.m. – Family Ice Fishing Clinic: Blue Pit, 1221 S Pierce Ave, Mason City
9:00 a.m. – Kids Ice Fishing Clinic: Backwater area of Pinicon Ridge Park, Central City

1:30 p.m. – Ice Fishing Basics: Sportsman's Warehouse, 921 SE Oralabor Rd., Ankeny
3:00 p.m. – Ice Fishing Meet-Up: Ankeny Lake (DMACC), 2006 S Ankeny Blvd., Ankeny

9:00 a.m. – Fishing Academy 201: Wickiup Hill Outdoor Learning Center, 10260 Morris Hills Road, Toddville
9:00 a.m. – Annual Lake Pahoja Youth Ice Fishing Derby: Lake Pahoja (West Shelter), 4 miles south and 2 miles west of Larchwood
1:00 p.m. – Fishing Academy 101: Wickiup Hill Outdoor Learning Center, 10260 Morris Hills Road, Toddville

6:00 p.m. – Fishing Academy 301: Wickiup Hill Outdoor Learning Center, 10260 Morris Hills Road, Toddville

11:00 a.m. – Family Ice Fishing Clinic: North Ridge Pavillion Pond, 2250 Holiday Rd, Coralville

9:00 a.m. – Youth Ice Fishing Clinic: Black Hawk Lake, 202 Main St., Lake View
1:00 p.m. – Ice Fishing Clinic: Terry Trueblood Recreation Area, 579 McCollister BLVD, Iowa City

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Ice Safety Reminder As Iowa Lakes Freeze Over

The recent blast of arctic air is growing ice on lakes and ponds over much of Iowa and sending anglers out for the coveted early ice fishing of the season.

“Ice fishing is one of our great winter sports and is really a fun, social activity best enjoyed with a group of friends,” said Joe Larscheid, chief of fisheries for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. 

Anglers heading out are reminded to check the ice often as they make their way to their favorite fishing spot.

“Even with this cold blast, there could be pockets of thin ice or places where the geese had kept ice from forming, so it would be wise to check ice thickness as you go out,” Larscheid said.

As a general guide, at a minimum, four inches of quality ice is recommended for fishing and at least five inches for snowmobiles and ATVs. 

“Ice thickness is not uniform on any body of water.  Things like current and springs slow ice growth.  Things that poke through the ice like rocks, trees or docks will conduct heat and make the ice around it less stable,” Larscheid said. 

Early ice offers an excellent chance for success.  If fish are finicky, plan to cut a series of holes and spend 15 minutes at each hole targeting active fish. Make sure to use small baits and light line.

Getting the equipment ready should also include ice safety tips.

“Now that we have ice, we need to go through our mental safety check list.  Go with a friend and be sure to cut some test holes for ice thickness as you go out,” Larscheid said. 

Safety Tips on the Ice
  • There is no such thing as 100 percent safe ice.
  • New ice is usually stronger than old ice. 
  • Ice fishing is a social activity, don’t go out alone. If the worst should happen, someone would be there to call for help or to rescue.
  • There could be pockets of thin ice or places where ice recently formed, so it would be wise to check ice thickness as you go out.
  • Avoid off-colored snow or ice. It is usually a sign of weakness.
  • The insulating effect of snow slows down the freezing process.
  • Safety items in the bucket: Ice picks, about 50 feet of rope and a throwable floatation seat cushion for use in case of rescue.


    Tuesday, January 5, 2016

    Winter Trout Stocking

    The Iowa Department of Natural Resources will release trout in seven locations this winter in areas that would not support them during warmer months.

    The popular program is supported by the sales of the trout fee. Anglers need a valid fishing license and pay the trout fee to fish for or possess trout. The daily limit is five trout per licensed angler with a possession limit of 10. 

    A family friendly event is paired with the stocking to help anglers have success and fun while fishing.

    Children age 15 or younger can fish for trout with a properly licensed adult, but they must limit their catch to one daily limit.  The child can purchase a trout fee which will allow them to catch their own limit.

    Winter stocking events are based on favorable weather conditions. 

    2016 Winter Trout Stocking Schedule
    Jan. 16, Bacon Creek, Sioux City, at 2 p.m.
    Jan. 16, Blue Pit, Mason City, at 11 a.m.
    Jan. 22, Big Lake, Council Bluffs, at 4 p.m.
    Jan. 23, Moorland Pond, Fort Dodge, at Noon
    Jan. 30, Petoka, Bondurant, at Noon
    Jan. 30, Scharnberg Pond, Spencer, at Noon
    Feb. 6, Ada Hayden, Ames, at Noon

    Monday, December 14, 2015

    DNR Asks for Anglers' Help with Study on Mudpuppies

    The mysterious mudpuppy is the largest member of the salamander family in Iowa. It’s mostly nocturnal, never leaves the water and unlike almost every other reptile or amphibian in Iowa, it is actually active in winter.

    The DNR, in cooperation with the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service and Minnesota herpetologist Jeff LeClere, recently launched a first-of-its-kind study of mudpuppy populations on the Mississippi River. Over the next several months, we hope to learn more about this mysterious creature and its habits on Pool 11 of the Upper Mississippi River near Guttenberg. 

    Historically, we’ve known these fully aquatic salamanders have existed in this area due to reports of accidental catches by local anglers, but little else is known about how many or how few exist.  Researchers are hoping the information gathered will aid in better understanding mudpuppy populations in the region and what we may be able to do to help. 

    Iowa anglers can help out by reporting any mudpuppies they may happen to catch.  Because mudpuppies are active in winter, this is the time of year that they become susceptible to being caught on a hook and line. Although they are very slimy and hard to hold onto, they are completely harmless. If you catch one, snap a photo and let us know the location you caught it. Be sure to release it right after that photo, as mudpuppies are considered threatened in Iowa, and cannot legally be collected or killed. 

    Wednesday, December 9, 2015

    Missouri and Big Sioux River Paddlefish License on Sale December 15

    Anglers can purchase the special Missouri and Big Sioux River paddlefish license beginning Dec. 15 through Jan. 31. A limited number of paddlefish licenses are available – 950 resident and 50 nonresident.

    This is the second year Iowans have the opportunity to fish for paddlefish on the Missouri and Big Sioux rivers. The paddlefish season was opened on these rivers March 1, 2015 after being closed since 1986 due to concerns of habitat loss and declining population numbers. The paddlefish slot limit on the Missouri River requiring the release of all 35-45 inch fish protects the primary breeding stock.

    Iowa anglers purchased nearly 700 special paddlefish licenses last year. All 50 nonresident special licenses were sold.

    Anglers must purchase the special paddlefish license on the DNR website or by calling 800-367-1188. A resident license sells for $22. Anglers must also have a valid Iowa fishing license. The Missouri and Big Sioux rivers paddlefish season runs from March 1 to April 15.

    The license, harvest tag, regulations and survey card will be mailed to purchasers in February. The postage paid survey card helps the Iowa DNR evaluate the success of the paddlefish season. Anglers are asked to report their paddlefish trips and number of paddlefish caught and released and if they harvested a paddlefish.

    The Iowa DNR received 137 survey cards from last year’s season. Anglers averaged just over four paddlefish trips last year. The mean length of fish harvested last year was 32.4 inches.  Forty-eight percent of respondents reported harvesting a paddlefish.

    For more on catching paddlefish in Iowa, check out our paddlefish regulations.

    Monday, November 23, 2015

    Iowa State-Fish Art Contest

    Contest Rules & Guidelines
    2016 Entry Form
    The Iowa DNR is partnering with the Wildlife Forever® State-Fish Art® Contest to host an Iowa State-Fish Art Contest. Students are encouraged to use their artistic skills to create an image of their favorite Iowa fish (see the eligible fish list) in its natural habitat.

    The first place artwork in each judging category will be submitted for National Awards. First place winners at the state level will be honored at the annual State-Fish Art Expo this summer. Each student submitting an entry will receive a Certificate of Recognition.

    Judging Categories
    Group 1 – Kindergarten-Grade 3
    Group 2 – Grades 4-6
    Group 3 – Grades 7-9
    Group 4 – Grades 10-12
    All entries must be postmarked by March 31, 2016.