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Rick

Coralville Reservoir Fishing Reports

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The current lake level is 687 feet (as of 5/28) and is projected to fall to 686 feet. The water clarity is decent and water temperature is in the upper 60s. White bass - Fair: Some anglers are finding white bass. Run and gun looking for schools of fish. Small shad colored crankbaits or jigs work best.

Edited by Rick

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Coralville Reservoir

The current lake level is 684 feet (as of 6/11) and is projected to fall to 683 feet and hold at this level for the summer. The water temperature is right around 70. Channel Catfish - Fair: Some catfish have moved into the rocks to spawn. Try throwing a jig and crawler or live bait under a bobber around spawning habitat. White Bass - Fair: Some anglers are finding white bass. Run and gun looking for schools of fish near the bank. Small shad colored crankbaits or jigs work best.

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If anyone is thinking about going out to the Coralville Spillway to fish for walleye through the ice in the off-current areas, don't: there is no fishable ice there.

I drove out there today, thinking there would be a lot of good ice by now. I was a little surprised to find open water, save for a bit of ice right along the shoreline in places.

The reason for the open water at the Coralville spillway is that there was a good deal more flow going through the tube over the last week than there was last January when a cold snap like this one froze the river up. I thought to check the flow data after I got home.

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I live less than ten miles from the Coralville res., have been hearing stories about a hot crappie bite for a month now, and I have a very good idea of just exactly where it is, but I still haven't checked it out.

So: 15" white bass and 20"+ wipers on Macbride, or 12"+ crappies on the way to Macbride?

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I haven't had time to fish much this summer, but I have gotten in to some good bites for bluegill and channel cat right at dawn and dusk from shore on Coralville reservoir, with some crappie thrown in.

Nightcrawlers produced a lot of bluegill, minnows yielded some crappie, and the channel cat hit. It is usually more of a numbers than size bite, but I have gotten in to some nice channel cat between the little ones.

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The crappie bite has been pretty good. Fish the normal fishy spots and you will be successful. I like casting 2" Ripple Shads and jig the back.

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The end of summer/early fall crappie bite has picked up on Coralville reservoir.

I got out there one evening last week, and picked up a few, but nothing great.

Today, I got back from watching yesterday's debacle at TCF Stadium early enough to head out and do a little more crappie fishing on the res., and I'm glad I did. I caught probably fifteen crappie, two smallish channel cat, a couple white bass, and a spotted bass between 6:00 PM and 7:20, when I packed up and headed in. I kept seven crappie, with the biggest two of those hitting 11", and the rest between there and 8".

The fish were split about evenly between the two lines I had a live shiner set three or four feet below a small bobber, and the chartreuse/red hair jig I was pitching out from shore.

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It is definitely looking to be a good fall on Coralville res. this year. cool

I got out for a bit just before sundown earlier this week, and caught an 8" white crappie on my first cast with a yellow hair jig. That proved to be the best bait of the night, which was good because I only had a few minnows left in my tank.

full-3973-37534-10_3_13coralvillefirstca

My best fish of that evening was an 11" black crappie.

full-3973-37535-10_3_13coralville11crapp

This morning when the rain stayed away before sunrise, I got out again, and found the crappie were hitting minnows beneath a bobber about as fast as I could toss them in. A good thing, as I had more minnows this time out.

Here are my two best crappie of this morning, a 13" and an 11":

full-3973-37536-10_5_13coralville13crapp

full-3973-37537-10_5_13coralville11crapp

I also got a bonus channel cat, and a few largemouth and spotted bass:

full-3973-37538-10_5_13coralville15chann

The crappie bite slowed down after sunrise, but casting shad-colored crankbaits and hair jigs netted me a few white pass and wipers like this one:

full-3973-37539-10_5_13coralvillewiper.j

None of the white bass and wiper I landed were especially large, but I did have a nice wiper break me off near shore. All in all a good morning to be out.

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The front that blew through last weekend did not seem to hurt the panfish bite on Coralville any--I had another good outing one evening this week.

The crappie bite wasn't quite as fast as a week ago, but the size of the crappie did catch was nice. My first crappie, pictured below, came on a white and pink hair jig:

full-3973-37777-10_10_13coralville9crapp

Every other crappie I caught came on shiners, including these two, a 10" and an 11", that hit pretty much back to back:

full-3973-37778-10_10_13coralville1011cr

The slower crappie bite was fine, because the white bass and wiper were going nuts. I caught a few of them, along with a decent channel cat, on shiners, but hair jigs were definitely the bait for them. There wasn;t a lot of size to them, as the two pictured below pretty much capture the range from largest to smallest:

full-3973-37780-10_10_13coralvillewhiteb

full-3973-37781-10_10_13coralvillesmallw

It is nice to see some good crappie fishing so close to my house, given the way the Macbride bite has tanked the last two or three years now.

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With Macbride completely dead last night, and the Iowa River in town still a bit high, I decided to reach a bit and try the spot on Coralville res. itself this morning where I did so well on crappie and white bass last fall.

With the low water levels on the res. I thought this spot just might produce, although I think we are a couple weeks early for the shallow water crappie bite. I was right about that. The water is very muddy., just as it was on Macbride, and cold for this time of year. No luck this morning. I did get another look at all those big dead flathead that did not survive the winter.

On the bright side, we are just a week or two away from everything turning on: the Macbride pre-spawn crappie and post-spawn walleye, and white bass, channel cat, and walleye on the Iowa River (assuming it doesn't get too high).

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I haven't had time to get out fishing much in the last couple months, but I can always squeeze a trip in here or there.

I've hit one of my low-water level shore-fishing spots on Coralville res. once a week or so early in the morning. It is a better spot later in the summer and early fall, but it is also convenient, so I've been trying it out.

I usually get a few white bass/wiper, sunfish, a crappie or two and a channel cat or two at early light; then the bite stops.

With the heavy rains of the last week, that low-water spot is done for a while. laugh By the time the res. drops back to where it was a week ago the fishing there will be better at the beginning and end of the day.

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Water levels on Coralville are down about to where they were this time last year, but so far the fishing has been a little slower.

I've been out a couple times and caught a lot of 5" largemouth on shiners: either there was a bumper hatch this spring, or the IDNR has stocked the reservoir. Besides them, not a lot else. Fewer channel cat, fewer crappies, and fewer white bass than I was catching in August of 2013. Hopefully the crappie and white bass bite picks up in the next month or so.

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I've been doing a lot of complaining about the fishing around Coralville this spring, so here is a (mostly) positive report for the Iowa City area.:D

Last year the crappie fishing was pretty much a bust on Coralville reservoir, especially after how good the fishing was above the Coralville dam in 2013 and 2012. Having not been doing real well on Lake Macbride or the Iowa River below the Coralville dam this year, I decided this past week to hit up the res. from shore in the morning.

The crappie that were MIA last year were there in force, hitting both shiners and hair jigs. Most of the fish I caught were palm-sized crappies, but I caught a lot of them, which to me seems like a good sign for the next couple years.

I also caught a few nice crappie, with a couple pictured here that were right around 11" or so. 

Nightcrawlers only got sheepshead; no channel cat or flathead. 

The good news is that the crappie action may be back on Coralville; the bad news is the several inches of rain dumped in the Iowa River valley above Coralville is going to raise the res. several feet over the next few days. That is more than enough to kill the crappie bite I was on.

The good news is that experience tells me the crappie will be back later this summer once the water level drops back down to normal levels.

 

6-11-2015 Cville Small Crappie.JPG

6-11-2015 Cvile 11 Crappie.JPG

6-11-2015 Cville 11.5 Crappie.JPG

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Looks like the fall crappie bite on Coralville res. is underway.

I still don't know where the fish went in 2014, or what they were biting on, but the good multi-year crappie bite I found in early June of this year was on again last week when I got out one morning. I caught quite a few 4-5" crappie and 10"-ish crappie, along with one 12". That is a good mix of year-classes to see.

Of course, I went out again Labor Day weekend, and didn't catch much of anything for crappie, although I did get some nice bluegills on the nightcrawler I laid on the bottom. And carp, of course.

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I would agree with the IDNR's description of the Coralville crappie bite as "fair": http://www.iowadnr.gov/idnr/Fishing/FishingReports.aspx. There has been a decent crappie bite from shore at the very beginning and end of the day, with the crappie bite pretty much done when the sun is hitting the water. I have had no luck with hair jigs or Roadrunners, which usually work well this time of year. A shiner on a bobber has produced all my crappie so far this late summer/early fall on Coralville Res.

i suspect getting a boat out there might produce more crappie, as the fish probably are moving in shallow to feed during low-light periods, hence the bite from shore at sunrise and sunset.

The white bass have so far been MIA; I have not caught a single one on the res. Two and three years ago I caught as many or more white bass as crappie this time of year fishing from shore out there. Last year, as my reports here show, the res. was a total bust for me.

On the plus side, I've been picking up a fair amount of largemouth bass out there this fall as bonus fish, along with some decent bluegills, on crawlers. They bite after the crappie stop in the morning, or before the crappie bite starts at sunset. I have a couple pictures to add later here.

I haven't been out to Macbride since June, and I live less than ten miles from there, but with the Coralville shore bite only being so-so I am going to get the boat on Macbride tomorrow morning.

9-24-2015 Coralville 14 Largemouth (Small).JPG

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With the cooler weather starting, I believe the crappie bite may be winding down for the fall. In my experience, the hot "fall crappie bite" on Coraville is really more of a "late summer crappie bite". I have my best luck from late August through early October. although it may well be that if I got my boat out there I may find the crappie have moved elsewhere and are still biting as the water cools.

Things still look good for the future, as I caught multiple crappie from at least two, maybe three, different year classes over the last six weeks or so. Here a few pictures of those 6", 8", 10", and 12" fish from the last week and a half or so. Most of what I got there this year were black crappie, although I got a few white crappie as well, as the pictures show.

 

9-28-2015 Cville 10 Crappie.JPG

9-28-2015 Cville Crappies.JPG

10-3-2015 Cville 12 Crappie.JPG

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