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fishing reports
Iowa River Fishing Reports--Johnson County

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Went out shore-fishing in Johnson County a bit on the Iowa River--walleye are still biting. Also, the catfish spawn seems to be over, as the flathead and channel cat fishing has picked up in the last week. Water levels are still up, but off-current areas are yielding fish.

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Nice report eyehunter. How about the rest of you???

Iowa River - Columbus Junction to Mississippi River.

The river is steadily dropping and looks to be going to continue that trend. Water temps range in the low 80s. Channel Catfish - Good: Look for the channel cats along the edges of the sand bars and in the mouths of any feeder creeks. Flathead Catfish - Fair: Setting bank lines with the dropping water levels is constantly dropping water levels is going to be tough.

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Made a couple of early-morning trips to the Iowa River in Johnson County this week--things have slowed a bit, but some fish were still biting. I missed a couple of pre-dawn runs on rigs baited with chubs, and picked up some walleye and channel cat. The walleye, unfortunately, were on the small side.

The Iowa is supposed to keep dropping steadily this week; unless we get a bunch of rain tonight some shore-fishing spots that have been submerged for several months now will open up, and I expect things to pick up by next week if the river stabilizes at a lower level.

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Made my first open-water trip of the year this morning to the Burlington Street dam in Iowa City this morning, looking for walleye. No success in an hour, save for a couple of snagged carp.

I usually don't get much for river walleye and saugeye in Johnson County this early, plus we still have plenty of good ice as of today. (That's gonna change real quick). But, the river is supposed to start coming up as the COE increases the flow coming out of Coralville Res. tomorrow, so I figured I'd hit some current breaks that will probably be submerged for the next month or two.

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Sounds like the Cedar is starting to pick up. Maybe i can get out this week. Next week i will be busy with prep. for the wedding. grin

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Due to melting snow and rain, the Iowa River in Iowa City has come up pretty rapidly over the last few days, and is projected to go up another five feet.

Those sort of water levels--two feet below flood stage--make finding fish difficult, although there are always some current breaks.

I haven't had time to go out myself this week, but I heard that the walleye bite below Burlington Street has been slow, although people are catching some fish.

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The post-spawn walleye and saugeye bite on the Iowa River around Coralville is on--the channel catfish have started biting well on the river, too.

I haven't had time to fish as much as I would like, but I got out for an hour or so tonight in a good post-spawn through end-of-summer spot (when the water levels are right) for walleye in Johnson County, and caught some fish.

What I got tonight were probably post-spawn males--10"-14" walleye and saugeye, hungry and skinny. I also picked up a couple of channel cat--my first of the year. With water temps around Iowa City in the mid-'50s, I used crawlers on one hook, and wild shiners on the other. The channel cat came on crawlers, and the walleye on shiners. The bite should only get better from here on--now I need to get out to Macbride again and hammer the crappie and walleye there...

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Anyone had any saugeye luck in the res. where Macbride pours in? I have had some great crappie fishing but only one smaller saugeye last week. I'm trying to figure out if they have yet to move in or already left.

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Haven't fished the Macbride spillway this spring--it's a good spot whenever there is a decent amount of water going over in to Coralville, but it is usually crowded.

I am catching a lot of saugeye and walleye out of the river below the res., but so far they are still the smaller post-spawn males. Also picked up a nice male channel cat this morning.

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I was under the res. at the tube last night, caught one small saugeye on my first cast then zippo after that. No one else was catching much either though. That current can really fool you, I thought it was twice as big as it was. There was a guy next to me who was fishing for channel cat but kept on pulling up carp... thats the res. and the iowa river yah

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I got out again this morning on the Iowa, and caught some walleye and saugeye, along with a 24" Northern. This AM they wanted wild shiners, while a few days ago the fish wanted 'crawlers--that's why I bring both along. As is typical, the walleye bite was pretty much done once the sun cleared the treeline to the east.

The biggest walleye was 15", with the other four or five I caught in the 10"-13" range. I'm still looking for the bigger post-spawn females.

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Finally found the bigger post-spawn female walleyes--I released a 24" on the Iowa River this morning. I did very well on eater-sized walleye and saugeye a couple days ago, and could have taken home a limit of 14-16" fish, had I kept all in that range. Still lots of smaller fish too, with the action occurring in a window between six and seven AM. Also got a few channel cat this morning, and a largemouth. The walleye bait preference varies from day to day--Tuesday they wanted wild shiners, and those I caught this morning all came on nightcrawlers. Haven't had much luck with crankbaits yet, but if live bait works that is quite all right.

The Iowa River below Coralville res. has dropped a couple feet in the last week or so, and is supposed to drop a couple more by Sunday. That'll change the fishing patterns--the spot I've been hammering fish in the last couple weeks will no longer be anything special, but new places will heat up.

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I don't suppose you would be willing to tell where you are catching or where might be good places to try for some shore fishing. Thanks.

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Lake Odessa

Water temperature in Odessa is around the upper 50s with the recent cold nights. There is also extra water in Odessa right now so there is a lot of extra flooded timber. This make the fish scatter as they take advantage of all the new food sources.

Lake Geode

Water temperature is in the upper 50s to low 60s. Look for the fish to go a little deeper until the weather turns nice again. Channel Catfish - Fair: Catfish are being caught in the late afternoon to evening on stink bait. Work the shoreline where the wind is blowing in for catfish looking for an easy dead fish meal. Crappie - Fair: Crappies are biting along the ledge across from the main boat ramp. Vertical jig with a tube jig or jig and minnow. If you can find it the pile of big cedar trees on the deep side would be a good place to start.

Lake Belva Deer

Cold nights have dropped the water temperature to around 60 degrees. Channel Catfish - Fair: Anglers are catching catfish along the riprap and off the points that the wind is blowing into. Bluegill - Fair: Continue to look for the bluegills around the trees in the shallow water. Crappie - Fair: Look for the crappies to have moved out to the outer edge of the weed beds. They'll be back in shallow after the water warms up.

Lake of the Hills

There are still a few of the tagged trout still in the lake. April 30 is the last day to redeem a tag for a prize at the Conservation headquarters at the park (Gate 3). Their office hours are from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Bring the tag, your fishing license and trout stamp. Rainbow Trout - Excellent: Trout were hitting on corn, worms, spinners when to anglers were out there to fish for them. Don't forget to look for tagged trout. Largemouth Bass - Fair: Several nice Bass have been caught this week. During the warm afternoons look for them around the stumps. Crappie - Good: Crappie fishing remains good along the shallow water habitat.

Skunk River (Rose Hill to Coppock)

The river is about two feet below bank full right now.

Iowa River (Columbus Junction to Mississippi River)

The Iowa River at Wapello is about 1 1/2 to 2 feet below bank full.

Hannen Lake

We have received no information regarding fishing on this water body this week.

Iowa Lake

Bluegill - Fair: Try around brush or warmer pockets/coves with a worm or small jig. Largemouth Bass - Fair: Try spinner baits or plastics around shallow wood. Crappie - Fair: Fish around brush with small jigs or minnows.

Kent Park Lake

The ponds have been providing better fishing for nice sized bass and small bluegills. Bluegill - Fair: Anglers using fly fishing equipment have been doing well. Otherwise use a small jig or worm along the dam or brush. Largemouth Bass - Good: It is reported that anglers are catching bass on a large assortment of live and artificial baits. Look for cruising males in the shallows.

Lake Macbride

The water clarity is as clear as it has ever been. A clarity test was done near the beach and showed a clarity of 22 feet. The farther up each arm you go, the less clarity there is. East of the causeway is especially murky. Crappie - Fair: Fish areas with warmer water with small jigs or minnows under a bobber. Most fish are coming off brush. The clearer the water, the deeper you should fish. Most fish are 10 to 13 inches. Walleye - Fair: Trolling or casting crankbaits in 10 to 15 feet of water has been producing fish. Try a little shallower in dirtier water and a little deeper in clearer water.

Central Park Lake

The water is very clear now. Bluegill - Fair: Look in shallow pockets or flats for bluegills getting ready to spawn. Try small jigs or worms. Largemouth Bass - Fair: Sublegal bass are being caught on night crawlers and plastic lizards. Crappie - Fair: 9-11-inch crappies have been picked up. Try small jigs around brush.

Pleasant Creek Lake

Remember, there is an 18-inch size limit on bass and 40-inch size limit on muskie here. The water is very clear right now. White Bass - Fair: Try jigs, spinners, or small crankbaits. Watch for schools of fish or in the shallows for spawning fish. Bluegill - Fair: A few nice 8 to 10-inch bluegills are being picked up around brush in 6 to 8 feet of water. Largemouth Bass - Fair: Crawlers and soft plastics along the dam are producing some bass. Walleye - Fair: Crankbaits are producing a few fish.

Diamond Lake

Remember, no minnows are allowed here. Channel Catfish - Good: Catfish have been hitting on crawlers, especially after rain events. Crappie - Good: Most fish are smaller with an occasional larger one mixed in. Blue or lime jigs seem to work best.

Otter Creek Lake

Not much fishing activity here. Yellow Bass - Good: Look in shallow coves or flats for schools of yellows. Try small jigs, spinners, or live bait.

Union Grove Lake

Channel Catfish - Good: Catfishing has turned on recently. Stink bait seems to be producing best. Bluegill - Good: Small jigs are producing bluegill in shallow coves or flats. Crappie - Good: Fish around rock, docks, or wood with a small jig or minnow under a bobber.

Coralville Reservoir

As of April 28 the lake level is 683 feet and falling. The lake is going to be drawn down to 679 feet and projected to reach this level on May 5. Normal pool is 683 feet. The water looks terrible.

Iowa River (Marshalltown to Coralville Lake)

Channel Catfish - Good: The catfish are biting on crawlers. Anglers running bank lines are also having good success.

Iowa River (Coralville Lake to River Junction)

As of April 28 the outflow is 8,000 cubic feet per second and is predicted to drop gradually until 2,000 CFS is reached. This is predicted to be achieved about May 7.

Cedar River (La Porte City to Cedar Rapids)

Flathead Catfish - Good: Try below the dams with live bait. Smallmouth Bass - Good: Live bait and artificials have been working well. Try below the dams, especially in Cedar Rapids.

Lake Wapello

The lake has refilled and fish were stocked last fall.

Red Haw Lake

Bluegill - Fair: Use small jigs tipped with a chunk of night crawler fished around the shoreline. Largemouth Bass - Fair: Use spinner baits around structure or off the ends of the jetties. Use plastic worms in the same areas.

Lake Keomah

Try using small jigs fished slowly around shoreline structures. Anglers have been catching some largemouth bass.

Albia (lower)

The gate has been reopened and a new boat ramp has been constructed on the reservoir. Crappie - Fair: Use small jigs along the shoreline and around submerged structure. There are buoys marking areas where cedar trees have been placed for fish habitat.

Lake Miami

Try small jigs fished along the shoreline and along the dam.

Lake Sugema

Bluegill - Fair: Use small jigs tipped with a wax worm or a chunk of night crawler. Look for areas with submerged structure. Walleye - Fair: Use jigs or crankbaits along the rocky shorelines.

Rathbun Reservoir

The current lake level is 911.96 feet with normal pool being 904 feet. The water temperature is ranging in the upper 50s. Channel Catfish - Fair: Fish along wind blown shorelines and use baits like cut up shad or dead chubs. Walleye - Fair: Use jig and minnow combinations along rocky areas around the shoreline. The walleye bite has been shallow so far this spring. Be wary of tagged walleyes and if these fish are harvested please call the hatchery with the tag number.

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Look for off-current areas during high water for walleye and saugeye this time of year on the Iowa: creek mouths, eddys, and the like.

It's best when you find such spots to hit them early in the morning if you can--most are community spots, and will be packed with people in the evenings.

If you do find a good high-water spot for walleye on the Iowa or Cedar river that doesn't get much attention, my advice is to keep it under your hat. The fish are really concentrated in them, and once word gets out they get pounded.

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The walleye bite on the Iowa River around Coralville and IC has been slow this fall, but it got a little better this morning: I got an 8" walleye below the dam on Burlington Street! grin Sadly, that is the best I have done on the Iowa in the last three weeks.

Normally, the white bass and wiper bite on the river would be going whole-hog by now, but the whites and wipers are completely MIA this fall. Adding insult to injury the usually-good fall crappie, white bass, and wiper bite on Macbride has been just as bad, and the Mississippi is just now getting down to fishable levels. Time to think about deer-hunting...

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Things picked up a little on the Iowa, at least before the rain this past weekend.

The white bass and wiper are still MIA, but in two trips below the dams in Iowa City I picked up a 19.5", 19", and 16.5" walleye last week. Not great, but those came in maybe two and a half hours of fishing total. I also lost a nice fish (never saw it), along with some taps that may or may not have been bites.

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I finally got out below the dams around Iowa City a couple times in the last week. On Saturday, the surface temps in the morning were 41.5-42 degrees.

Yesterday, I only caught one small walleye. I forgot to bring my thermometer with me, but I had time this morning to slip down below Burlington St. and check the surface temps: 45.5-46 degrees. I saw one eater walleye on a stringer, but if they haven't started spawning below Coralville res. on the Iowa today, they will very soon.

So, in a week or so I'll hit the river again to see if the post-spawn male walleye have started biting, or if the white bass are showing up in any numbers.

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As of this morning, the surface temps on the Iowa River below Coralville res. are up to 54-55 degrees, so if the walleye spawn isn't done, it is certainly winding down. Not surprisingly, I caught two smaller walleye of about 12" this morning. Those were probably post-spawn males, who go on the feedbag as soon as they are spawned out.

I also caught a bunch of smaller channel cat this morning, most of them on crawlers. Two were about 14-15", or big enough to keep. Still no white bass.

The river levels remain low; after the last few springs I should be happy with that, but I wouldn't mind seeing the flow increase just a bit.

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Between the end of the school year, cold weather, and morels, I haven't done much fishing around Coralville lately, and when I did get out I didn't get anything worth reporting.

With morel season in Johnson County probably done for this year (and not being much of a season to start with), I got out fishing on the Iowa River this morning, and finally had a good outing: I kept a 17.5" walleye and a 14.5" saugeye, threw back a couple smaller walleye and channel cat, and also released a 23" Northern. All those fish, inc. the pike, came on nightcrawlers--no luck with shiners or artificials.

The river is still a little high, but quite fishable in off-current areas with a little depth. The COE is planning to start dropping the river this week, so I may be fishing different spots soon.

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The white bass bite is going good around Coralville--I caught about a dozen yesterday morning, despite not actually trying to catch them. Mostly males, but a few 14-15" females mixed in with the smaller ones. The males were milting, so the spawn is not done yet. Most of the whites came on nightcrawlers--like I said, I wasn't trying to catch them.

I also got a few sheepshead--my first of the year--a couple of eater-sized channel cats, and a 32" carp. As it was getting light out, I lost what I think was my first flathead of the year, but I never got a look at whatever it was. One thing I didn't catch yesterday was a walleye.

Water temps on the Iowa River are in the low to mid-sixties, and the COE is dropping water levels to more "normal" summer levels, which is opening up a lot of spots below the reservoir. Very good fishing in SE Iowa should be here.

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I got back from a week's trip to Osakis, Minnesota this Saturday, and spent most of Sunday unpacking and putting fishing gear away...so of course I went fishing this morning. laugh

I shore-fished the Iowa River for a couple hours, and came away with a couple small walleye, a decent-sized channel cat, and a couple of carp. Not great, but not bad, either.

The water levels remain a little high, but fishable, as there are plenty of off-current areas and eddies that hold fish. As I'm currently unemployed, my fishing expeditions around Coralville will be frequent this summer, but will also have to be cheap.

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With the Mississippi around Muscatine still too high to fish for me, my budget not allowing long roadtrips, and the good Macbride walleye bite of July stopping when the long hot spell ended, I've been getting when time permits out on the Iowa River around Coralville.

The Iowa River is actually too low for my taste right now; with lighter current the fish spread out, making them more difficult to find than when heavier flow pushes them in to off-current pockets.

Still, I've been getting some fish: channel cat, flathead, carp, sheepshead, and bluegill, along with the occasional stray walleye. (I didn't say they were all desirable fish. grin ) And gar: plenty of gar. I need to bring plenty of shiners and chubs to feed the gar. mad Before sunrise and after sunset have been the best times to fish.

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The Corps of Engineers dropped the flow coming out of Coralville res. to a trickle so they can do some repair work below the Tube. And no, they did not find any six-foot catfish when they drained the area laugh : http://www.kcrg.com/news/local/Six-Foot-Catfish-Not-Found-at-Coralville-Dam-129563413.html

The resulting low water downstream from the Tube has opened up some areas to fishing that are usually not easily accessible or desirable when the flow is higher, and I've made a couple trips to one such spot I haven't fished in several years. Before the sun rises I've been getting channel cat on nightcrawlers, and then catching white bass and wiper with crankbaits.

I released a 23" wiper this morning (didn't have a camera with me), and some smaller white bass, along with a smallmouth. No walleye yet, but they'll be there soon enough.

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I went out for a bit this AM to take advantage of the low water. I got a 20" wiper, a small channel cat, and that was pretty much it.

I did hit a 19" and 20" walleye last week in the Iowa River, so they are around, and as the water temps drop and the days get shorter the walleye/saugeye bite should be more consistent.

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