Friday, October 7, 2016

Fall Urban Trout Stocking Schedule


 
Grab your neighbors, friends and kids and try trout fishing this fall. DNR fisheries staff will release between 1,000 to 2,000 rainbow trout in seventeen locations across Iowa as part of its cool weather trout program that brings trout to areas that cannot support them during the summer months. 

Fall urban trout stockings are a great place to take kids to catch their first fish. Trout are easy to catch using the most basic fishing gear. A small hook with a nightcrawler or corn under a small bobber to casting small simple spinners such as a panther martin or mepps is all you need to get in on the fun.
 
2016 Fall Urban Trout Stocking Schedule
Oct. 13, North Prairie Lake, Cedar Falls, 11 a.m.
Oct. 13,
Sand Lake, Marshalltown, Noon
Oct. 14, Lake of the Hills, Davenport, 10:30 a.m.
Oct. 14, Terry Trueblood Lake, Iowa City, 11 a.m.
Oct. 20, Big Lake, Council Bluffs, 3 p.m.
Oct. 20, Banner Lake (South), Summerset State Park, Indianola, 11 a.m.
Oct. 21, Lake Petocka, Bondurant, Noon
Oct. 28, Ottumwa Park Pond, Ottumwa, 11:30 a.m.
Oct. 29, Discovery Park, Muscatine, 10 a.m.
Oct. 29, Wilson Lake, Fort Madison, Noon
Oct. 29, Heritage Pond, Dubuque, 11 a.m.
Nov. 5, Scharnberg Pond, Spencer, Noon
Nov. 8, Bacon Creek, Sioux City, 1 p.m.
Nov. 9, Moorland Pond, Fort Dodge, Noon
Nov. 18, Ada Hayden, Ames, Noon
Nov. 18, Prairie Park (Cedar Bend), Cedar Rapids, 10:30 a.m.
Nov. 23, Blue Pit, Mason City, 11 a.m.

You 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. 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.
 
Find more tips for catching trout on the DNR website.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Fall Trout Fishing Destinations


Start a new fall tradition with a trip to northeast Iowa’s hundreds of miles of trout streams. From easily accessible streams in state or county parks, to those found in Iowa’s most wild and remote natural spaces, there are plenty of places to catch rainbow, brown and brook trout.

Admire the vibrant fall scenery while testing your trout fishing skills at one of these destinations.

  • Brush Creek, Fayette County – located in Brush Creek Canyon State Preserve near Arlington; a steep narrow path through the forest leads you to the stream. Catch stream-reared brown trout up to 17 inches. Stream access gets better after the first frost. Bring along a variety of minnow, creek chub or crawdad imitation lures or flies.
  • Ensign Hollow, Clayton County – abundant wild brown trout with 10-13 inch fish common at the Ensign Hollow Wildlife Management Area. Access along shorelines improves in the fall after frost. Trout are usually near bank habitat. Use spinners, jigs or flies in patterns that mimic minnows, hoppers or caddis.
  • Little Paint Creek, Allamakee County – find wild brook trout up to 11 inches in the upstream end of Little Paint Creek nestled in the Yellow River State Forest. The narrow valley of Little Paint offers some of the best fall colors. Rainbow and brook trout are stocked weekly through October.  Look for trout behind larger boulders and under rock ledges.
  • Maquoketa River, Clayton and Delaware County – miles of public access for stream-reared brown trout and stocked rainbow trout. Catch 10-12 inch rainbows as well as some browns up to 16 inches. Look for rainbows in pools and runs; brown trout will be near wood habitat. Try long casts with spinners, spoons and swim baits to search for active fish and cover lots of water. 
  • Mill Creek, Jackson County – catch wild brown trout and stocked rainbow trout on Mill Creek and wild browns at South Fork Mill Creek, located in the Big Mill Wildlife Area west of Bellevue.  Use spinners, jigs and live bait. Work from downstream to upstream with long casts for the best chances at catching “shy” trout.  Most trout here are 8-13 inches.
  • Sny Magill Creek, Clayton County – abundant wild brown trout with 12-14 inch fish common along with stocked rainbow and brook trout. Several access points are available along this 7.5 mile stretch of coldwater. Lots of habitat work has been done along this stream corridor enhancing the plethora of deeper holes and long runs. Try a flashy spinner or a worm on a hook under a bobber in the deeper holes.
  • South Pine Creek, Winneshiek County – find Iowa’s native brook trout here. Be prepared to walk 1.5 miles along a mowed path passing oak forests and upland prairies. The water is clear and the stream is very narrow, so be ready to sneak up on these fish. Bait cannot be used here; try terrestrial patterns such as ants, hoppers, crickets and small mayfly and midges. All brook trout must be immediately released alive.
  • Spring Branch Creek, Delaware County – one of the best opportunities in Iowa to catch a “trout trifecta” (brook, brown and rainbow trout) in a single trip. Bait is not allowed here; fish feed on a variety of insects including caddis, mayflies and midges.  Small patterns (size 16 and smaller) are the standard, but larger flies including hoppers and streamers are good fall choices. A favorite destination among fly fishers with its good insect hatches and great public access to more than 1.5 miles of coldwater stream.
  • Swiss Valley, Dubuque County – catch stream-reared browns as well as stocked rainbows at Catfish Creek in Swiss Valley Preserve and Campground near the attractions and convenience provided by the City of Dubuque.  A well-developed trail provides fishing access into an area known for fall beauty.  Fish large pools and along bank hides with nightcrawlers, plastics, spinners and jigs.  Most trout here are 8-13 inch with opportunities to catch a few large (16 inch) browns.
  • Turtle Creek, Mitchell County – this 3 mile gem with deep holes and long riffles is reminiscent of a stream once found in the rolling prairies. It’s open landscape and low banks make it fairly easy to access.  Rainbow and brook trout are stocked weekly through October. Catch wild brown trout up to 16 inches. Use terrestrial insects such as hoppers and crickets.

Learn more about Iowa’s trout streams, including maps, amenities, regulations and stocking schedules on the DNR trout fishing webpage. You need to have a valid fishing license and pay the trout fee to fish for or possess trout. Check conditions before you go with the weekly Iowa Fishing Report.


 
 
 

 
 
 

 

 
 

 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Iowa Outdoor Expo for Kids and Families

September 24th & 25th
Saturday: 9am - 6pm & Sunday: 10am - 4pm
Des Moines Izaak Walton League and Water Works Park
4343 George Flagg Parkway, Des Moines

Celebrate National Hunting and Fishing Day by bringing the entire family out for a fun weekend discovering new and exciting ways to enjoy Iowa's outdoors. 

With over 50 free hands-on activities and daily family presentations, visitor's are able to learn, observe and experience recreation opportunities in the great outdoors. Instructors will be on hand to teach the activities, offer guidance and tips for them to enjoy the activity when they are on their own.


Hands-on activities include, but are not limited to:

  • Fishing- Reel Fishing, Bow Fishing, Casting games, Fish ID tank, Fish Printing, Fish Cleaning & Cooking
  • Water Sports- Canoeing, Kayaking, Paddleboarding, Life Jacket Safety, Knot Tying
  • Kid's Corner- Fossil & Treasure Dig, Live Animals, Minnow Races, Build a Bird Feeder, Fish Cleaning
  • Camping- Tent Demonstrations, Dutch Oven and Game Cooking
  • Buckskinners Encampment- Traditional encampment, Blacksmith Shop, Tomahawk Range, Atl Atl
  • Archery- Beginners Foam Range, Traditional Range (9 and over), 3D Range, Aerial Range, Tree Stand Safety
  • Shooting Sports- Trap Shooting (height requirement), Sling Shot, BB Gun Range, Air Gun Range
  • Wildlife & Hunting- Furharvesting and Trapping in Iowa, Waterfowl Hunting, Turn In Poachers (TIP), Wild Game Care/Food Safety, Turkey Hunting
  • Conservation- Urban Garden Program, Polk County Soil & Water Conservation, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, Sierra Club, Urban Pollinator Program, Outdoor Health
  • Raptor Release- SOAR (release times available at the Registration Tent)
  • Live Game Field Dressing- Milo Locker
The Iowa Outdoor Expo is sponsored by the Izaak Walton League, Polk County Conservation, Des Moines Parks and Recreation, the U.S. Sportsman’s Alliance Foundation, SOAR Saving Our Avian Resources, Weatherby Foundation International, Friends of NRA, MidIowa Bassmasters, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Sportsman’s Warehouse, Theisens Home-Farm-Auto, Milo Locker, Shallow Water Investigators Bowfishing, Northern Lights Pizza, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and many more. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Fall Fishing Hotspots


Fall fishing is one of Iowa's best kept secrets. The air is cool, the views are picturesque and the fish are pulling out of their late summer slumber.

Add one of these destinations to your fall fishing itinerary.

  • Clear Lake, Cerro Gordo County - yellow bass fishing is excellent in the fall. Use small jigs tipped with nightcrawler, minnows and cut bait. Stay on the move to find schools of fish. The average size yellow bass is 9 inches. A number of Master Angler qualifying yellow bass (10 inches) are available to catch this fall.
  • Coralville Reservoir, Johnson County – fall bite is best for walleyes and white bass here; throw crankbaits on sloping rock banks. Catch crappies near brush or steeper rock banks on jigs or minnows.
  • Don Williams Lake, Boone County - a strong black crappie population welcomes anglers.  Drift the middle of the lake with small jigs in early fall. Fish will move to structure in late fall – quickly locate structure in the lake with the printable fishing structures map.
  • Lake Anita, Cass County, and Viking Lake, Montgomery County - try around the numerous brush piles for largemouth bass over 20 inches. Fishing will heat up as the water temperature drops this fall.
  • Lake Iowa, Iowa County – try small jigs or worms around brush piles or along weed edges to catch bluegills up to 9 inches and redear sunfish up to 12 inches. Catch 9-11 inch black crappies around brush on jigs or minnows.
  • Lake Macbride, Johnson County - catch 13-20 inch walleyes, with much larger fish available; troll crankbaits or cast jigs to rock reefs and humps in 8-15 feet of water.  Cast jigs or minnows around/over the brush piles for 10-12 inch crappies. Wiper fishing picks up in the fall; try crankbaits and swim baits fished off points and rock reef edges for 14-28 inch wipers with 3-6 pounders being an average fish.
  • Lake Manawa, Pottawattamie County - a fall trip has the potential to put a trophy walleye or wiper on the line.  Use twister tails or shad raps on the rocks lining the west shore of the lake for walleyes.  Wipers tend to hang out on the north shore near the inlet.
  • Mississippi River  - fall smallmouth bass fishing can be fantastic. Cast close to rock piles or rocky shoreline with current; smallmouths often hide in rock crevices and rarely venture more than a foot from the rocks to feed.  Locate where tributary streams enter the Mississippi River with electronic printable river maps. Find rock lines and piles near the confluence of these rivers starting in late September, early October for a hot bite.   
  • Urban Trout Lakes  - unique trout fishing opportunities for novice and young anglers across the state.  Visit iowadnr.gov/ trout for a list of urban trout lakes and when each will be stocked. Watch the fish being stocked and attempt to catch your first trout.
Find a new favorite fishing spot with the interactive Fishing Atlas. A complete list of places to fall fish in Iowa including lake maps, directions and amenities, is available on the DNR Places to Fish webpage. Check conditions before you go with the weekly Iowa Fishing Report.

 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

4 Lures That Walleye Can’t Resist

Elusive and defiant, the walleye has duped even the most determined fanatics for decades. Struggle no more to wrangle in these clever beasts with a few surefire methods.

Leadhead jig
Tip a leadhead jig with a minnow for an excellent spring and fall walleye bait. Depending on the depth of the water you’re fishing, try 1/16 to quarter-ounce jigs with a soft plastic swim bait body in white or shad color. They can be highly effective by vertically jigging or cast them with a slow retrieve.

Slip bobber                     
If you’re anchored, consider a slip bobber rig. Since slip bobbers are intended to be fished with live bait, bait your hook with leeches, minnows or night crawlers.

Bottom Bouncer/spinner rig
To fish off the bottom, you’ll need a weight to get bait to the bottom. This bottom bouncer can be rigged with a chartreuse or red spinner rig in front of live bait. Especially during spring and summer, finish baiting the rig with night crawlers, leeches or minnows.

Minnow-imitating crank bait
There are many varieties to choose from, but the crowd favorite when it comes to crank baits is minnow-shaped. Either troll or cast the minnow-imitating crank bait when you’re stationary, and you’re more likely to have success in warmer water.

Be sure to get the crank baits needed for the depth you want to fish – check the box to see the depth at which the lure runs. Also, make sure the crank bait runs straight. It should not pull to either side, or worse yet, twist in the water. Crank baits that do this are ineffective.

Find more tips for catching walleye on the DNR website.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

A Unique Angling Challenge Around Every Bend


You are never far from one of Iowa’s many rivers. Fall is a great time to give them a try.

Small “up-river” segments of interior rivers can be fantastic for walleye and smallmouth bass in early fall. Use crankbaits and spinners to catch smallmouth bass and crankbaits or jigs with crawlers for walleye.

Try the upper Wapsipinicon River (Buchanan and Linn counties) or upper Cedar River (Black Hawk and Bremer counties) for smallmouth bass. The Shell Rock River (Butler and Bremer counties) or upper Cedar Rivers (Black Hawk or Bremer Counties) are a great choice for walleye.


The Missouri and Mississippi rivers boast some of the best flathead catfishing in the Midwest. The Missouri River’s swift current, rocks and snags are good habitat and food is abundant for these predatory catfish. Use live fish as bait; green sunfish and bullheads tend to survive best on the hook.

Several state record fish have been caught on the Missouri River, including the blue catfish (101 pounds) and channel catfish (38 pounds 2 ounces).


Enjoy Iowa’s natural landscapes fishing Iowa’s rivers and streams this fall. An extensive list of Iowa’s rivers, with information on access points and native species, is available on the
DNR website. Check conditions before you go with the weekly Iowa Fishing Report.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Summer Tips to Land Iowa's Big Fish


The key to catching big fish is finding places that have big fish. Quickly find the best spots to catch master angler qualifying size fish with the electronic map recently added to DNR Master Angler program website (click on "Map" above the photos) or search for local hotspots by species or location.
Try these simple tips from DNR fisheries biologists to catch large bluegill, bass and crappie during the summer heat at one of these top locations identified through a search on the Master Angler webpage.
Bluegills (10 inches to qualify)
  • Farm Ponds – look for ponds surrounded by grass; fish the face of the dam or steep shorelines where the weed line is close to shore; drift or cast small jigs (1/32nd oz.) tipped with a 1-inch piece of worm 6 to 8 feet down; get permission from the landowner before entering.
  • West Okoboji Lake, Dickinson County – fish the rock reefs or rocky humps in 20-25 feet of water; jig live bait (small crayfish, Belgium worms, piece of night crawler or leech) with a split shot 8-10 inches above the hook.  
  • Big Spirit Lake, Dickinson County – try the outside weed lines and rock piles, drops offs or natural underwater reefs.  
  • Twelve Mile Creek Lake, Union County – fish the rock piles or cedar tree brush piles along the roadbed; try also along the weed line.
  • East Okoboji Lake, Dickinson County – try the outside weed lines and rock piles, drops offs or natural underwater reefs.    
Largemouth Bass (20 inches to qualify)
  • Farm Ponds – use top water lures at the edge of aquatic plants early and late in the day when the air is still; switch to a spinner bait or plastic worm later in the morning or late afternoon next to the weed line or around brush piles; get permission from the landowner before entering.
  • West Okoboji Lake, Dickinson County – cast topwater lures, plastic worms, suspended jerk baits, deep diving crank baits or spinner baits near shore or edges of weed lines.
  • Big Creek Lake, Polk County – cast topwater lures, plastic worms, suspended jerk baits, deep diving crank baits or spinner baits near shore or edges of weed lines.         
  • Lake Anita, Cass County – cast topwater lures, plastic worms, suspended jerk baits, deep diving crank baits or spinner baits near shore or edges of weed lines.
  • Badger Creek Lake, Madison County – fish the cedar tree brush piles near the fishing jetties or along the dam. 
Black Crappie (14 inches to qualify)
  • Farm Ponds – look for ponds with standing timber or brush piles; fish close to the brush with a minnow under a bobber or cast 1/32nd ounce jigs; get permission from the landowner before entering. 
  • Coralville Reservoir, Johnson County –  look for fish suspended on deeper rocks banks  in 8-10 feet of water in the main reservoir; cast larger chartreuse twister tails  and slowly drop down the bank.
  • Red Rock Reservoir, Marion County – focus on the Whitebreast arm of the lake or areas with rock (and rip-rap); keep moving along the shoreline until you find fish. 
  • Crawford Creek Impoundment, Ida County – drift fish 1/16 ounce chartreuse jigs tipped with a small minnow; try also fishing around the brush piles.
  • Lake Macbride, Johnson County – vertical jig a tube jig on the deep side of brush piles right above the thermocline (12 feet); work the outside or deeper end of the brush piles. 
  • Farm Ponds – look for ponds with standing timber or brush piles; fish close to the brush with a minnow under a bobber or cast 1/32nd ounce jigs; get permission from the landowner before entering.
  • Red Rock Reservoir, Marion County – focus on the Whitebreast arm of the lake or areas with rock (and rip-rap); keep moving along the shoreline until you find fish.  
  • Saylorville Reservoir, Polk County –focus on areas where the shoreline is protected with rip-rap.  
  • Lake Macbride, Johnson County – vertical jig a tube jig on the deep side of  brush piles right above the thermocline (12 feet); work the outside or deeper end of the brush piles.
  • Coralville Reservoir, Johnson County  – look for fish suspended on deeper rocks banks  in 8-10 feet of water in the main reservoir; cast chartreuse twister tails and slowly drop down the bank.

For information on how to submit a Master Angler entry including a list of the 41 fish species eligible and minimum lengths, visit the Master Angler website.