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JHays1

Gun Dog Training

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I have a few questions on training my lab specifically on retrieval of birds and gunfire.

I have a 8 month old black lab. I have had her around gunfire at the trap range and out in a field a few times. She has done ok so far, but that is a different thing then gunfire right over your head out in the blind. I also have never had her retrieve dead or live birds but have used feathers strapped to a dummy.

Anyone have any suggestions in methods of breaking your dog into close gunfire? Anyone know of any where I could get birds live or dead preferrably ducks? Anyone know of any training classes groups that focus on things like close gunfire (similar to what is experienced in a blind) and retriever live/dead birds?

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I used live birds and kept getting the gun closer as we went along. When we got to the point where I could shoot a .22 over him we moved the gun away and started with a small bore shotgun and so on. When my dog now hears a loud noise like a gun or thunder, he assumes that there is a bird to go and find (he wants to play fetch in the rain). When your dog is nuts about finding birds after you have shot he won't here the gun. I also wouldn't worry about keeping him steady at first just get him so you can shoot directly over him if he breaks because he is excited about a bird he won't hear anything go bang.

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Next month I'm taking my lab pup to Cannon River Kennels west of Cannon Falls for just what you're asking about...intro to live birds and gun fire. The way they explained it to me, they take several pups and and one at a time they go after a frozen pigeon, then work their way up to live pheasants. Now that they're crazy about live birds, they start introducing gunfire, starting with a starter pistol and working up to a 12 gauge. The idea is exactly as rattlereel says, first get them crazy about live birds, then get them to associate gunfire with getting live birds.

It's a two week program and costs $400, including birds. When choosing a trainer for this, I checked out Jason at Cannon River Kennels and Brian at West Country Kennels. I was equally impressed with both places and had a hard time deciding which way to go. I ended up going with CRK because they were closer and because of their location, we'd probably use their boarding service eventually anyway. You wouldn't go wrong with either place if you chose to go that route. I found out they used to work together when they worked at Dokken's years back.

Both places brought out frozen pigeons for us to see my pup's reaction. Brian also brought out a live pigeon and it was a blast seeing my then 3 month old pup chase after that.

I've heard Minnesota Horse & Hunt Club will sell live pigeons. I need to check that out pretty soon to get Kody some live bird experience before he goes to school.

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i have a 5 month old springer spaniel and i am goin to hunt pheasant with her but not too sure HOW to get her use to Gun fire?? any ideas guys??

thanks!!

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If your Dog doesn't react to a .22 then bump it up at a distance with a shot gun. Im not sure if you can do this or not but I invited some buddies over and they shot clays while my dog was leashed to a tree some 200 or so ft away. They shot and I sat with my dog. When I seen he wasn't scared of the shooting I brought him in a little closer to the shooting giving him a treat and talking him up. soon he was right in the action and having a blast when I would throw a dummy for him after a shot(Making sure everyone is on the same page as not to shoot until he brought the dummy back and was talked up).Keep him at heal and on a leash while the guys are shooting. This worked well for me and it sounds like it might work for you as well. Just make sure you pay attention to your dog and if it gets unconftrouble for him stop and play with him. Throw a few dummys and put him back in the kennel or house. Keep shooting at a distance and working him in. He'll get used to it. It sounds like he's not scared of shooting at a distance so he's not gun shy for sure. Brake him in slow and easy and make it fun for him.

To answer your 2nd question try to find a game farm in your area. A lot a times this time of year they have birds left over that they might be willing to sell you at a discount due to the end of the season. It really doesn't matter if you get a phesant, grouse, or duck. Its the feel of feathers in there mouth that they dislike not the sent.

Oh and I forgot to mention that this method is free for the most part and fun!!!! grin

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i will have to see how much time i have this up coming weekend to start working on "Gun" training the pup. like said above i will start out with a .22 and keep on moving up

any other adive?

thanks guys!

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My puppy was around a lot of distance gun fire for quite awhile, while I worked on him quartering, etc. After he was really birdy and retrieving consistentliy - we started with a gun at about 30-40 yds or so - pointed away from the dog. I would hup my dog, toss a clip wing pigeon out and when the dog just got to it to retrieve it - I would raise my arm and the gunner would shoot. We did that for quite a few sessions, getting closer each time - until we are shooting over her. It worked well for my dog.

Good luck.

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I had a couple of 2x4's and started with those. Clapped them together while he was eating. That never bothered him. So then I started using a good old cap gun. Then I drove out by the local gun club, parked so far away all you could hear was a little pop, and let the dog walk and check out the ditches. He actually wanted to head toward the gunfire. Finally we got some clay pigeons and went out shooting. I started way away from my friends and let the dog decide which way he wanted to walk. He walked toward my friend by the end of the afternoon he was sitting at our feet watching us shoot. This took a while but I wanted to make sure that I never scared or spooked him.

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Lenny7,

How was your experience with CRC training you dog?

Cannon River Kennels is excellent. They don't train the dog to get used to gunfire, they train the dog to LOVE gunfire. They do this by positive association. First they get them crazy about live birds, then they bring in the gunfire so that every time there's gunfire, there's a bird.

When I went to pick him up after his 2 week training, they demonstrated everything they worked on as I stood off in the distance so as not to distract my dog, ending with shooting live pigeons over him that he had flushed. After that they brought Kody over to me and being the first time he realized I was there, he went nuts jumping on me and licking me and generally being mighty excited.

Then, without telling me what he was doing and as the dog is still going nuts about me, the trainer took 10 steps away and fired the shotgun. That dog left me SO fast and was instantly at the trainer's side, looking for a bird to retrieve! THAT was awesome to see!

I would have loved to have done it myself but I don't have the access to the live birds and I couldn't get out to where I could shoot on a daily basis. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Cannon River Kennels.

After the live bird & gun training I took him to a game farm a couple times and using the techniques they described for me, I planted birds one at a time and we worked on quartering until he caught the scent of the bird and then I let him just do his thing until he flushed it and we shot it for him to retrieve.

I was impressed enough that I'm sending my dog back for that in January. 8 weeks of obedience, force fetching and collar conditioning and 2 weeks in June for water work. That will still leave plenty of training for me to work on with him.

About 3 or 4 weeks after training I took him out to South Dakota for few days of hunting. Other than a bad run-in with barbed wire that required 11 stitches, Kody exceeded my expectations. He stayed under my control, even on fly-aways, retrieved everything he saw fall, and kept up with us all for days. He had a BLAST! Even the guys I hunted with were impressed with how well he did.

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I'd suggest calling Cannon River Kennels and set up an appointment just to check out there facility, talk to them, and let them check out your dog. Line up some other places too so something for comparison. I went out to West Country Kennels and I have no doubt that they could also do a great job.

Let us know what you decide. Good luck!

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I used Brian at West Country Kennels for the beginner gun dog training and was real happy. Same results as above. As soon as the gun sounds, he knows what it means.

I am not hardcore and won't be doing any additional professional training, but my dog was definitely huntable after that basic training. And he gets better every time he is in the field.

Unless you know what you are doing, I would recommend the professional training, whomever you choose to go through.

Good Luck!

CJH

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I used Brian at West Country Kennels for the beginner gun dog training and was real happy. Same results as above. As soon as the gun sounds, he knows what it means.

Just as an aside, Brian at West Country & Jason at Cannon River used to work together when they worked for Dokken.

I agree with you about the training. I believe I could stop formal training now and have a very serviceable hunting dog.

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Cannon River was $400 for the two weeks, including birds. West Country was $450 for the two weeks, including birds. Cannon River mentioned raising rates for 2009. I'm not sure if West Country will or not.

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Gun breaking, I have seen a pile of training tapes and most all say to work it when they are eating. They also use this method with gun shy dogs. Put there ffod dish down and let them start eating. Back off a ways and use a blank pistol, cap gun something of that nature and fire off a round or two she how she reacts. Slowly work you way in before long yo uare right on top of her. Now gun shy dogs, plan on being a ways off before thinking about firing. This is the key, they feel secure around there food work very slowly. In some cases have some one near her to pet here and talk to her as you are firing. VERY slowly work your way to her. This could take a month, it could take a summer depending on what happen to her to make her shy. It is breakable but it will take time.

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    • SOUTHEAST IOWA FISHING REPORTS Big Hollow Lake
      Water temperature is holding around 44 degrees. Just need some warm days to get it going up to normal. Very little angler activity because of the weather.  Lake Belva Deer
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      The lake is currently drained as a renovation project is finishing up this spring.  Coralville Reservoir
      The lake is at normal spring pool of 679.4 feet. Boating above Lake Macbride Park is not recommended at this water level. Channel Catfish - Slow. White Crappie – Slow.  Diamond Lake
      Black Crappie - Fair: Fishing had been slow, but it should pick up as the weather warms. Try small jigs fished around the rock jetties or brush piles. Most fish are 8-9 inches.  Kent Park Lake
      The lake is currently drained for a lake renovation project. It is scheduled to be completed by the spring of 2019.  Lake Macbride
      Water temperatures are in the mid 40's. All boat docks are in. All motor sizes may be used at no-wake speed (5 mph). Black Crappie - Slow: Try fishing jigs or minnows over deeper brush. There are lots of 10-12 inch crappies. Walleye - Slow: A few fish are being caught. A shallow water bite should improve as things warm up. Cast jigs or stick baits to windblown banks.  Pleasant Creek Lake
      The lake is still 7-8 inches low from the restoration project. The main ramp is usable, but it is shallow; use caution. There is a boat dock in on the east lane. Be cautious when boating as new structures have started to be submerged.  Prairie Park Fishery
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      2000 trout will be stocked here this Saturday, April 21 at 11:00. There will be a family fishing event held in conjunction with the stocking. Iowa residents and nonresidents who are required to have a fishing license must pay the Trout Fee to fish for or possess trout. Exception: Anglers under 16 years old may possess or fish for trout without having paid the Trout Fee if they fish with a properly licensed adult who has paid the Trout Fee and together their combined limit is 5. Rainbow Trout - Excellent: Try small jigs, spinners, live bait or artificial scented baits. Brook Trout - Excellent: Try small jigs, spinners, live bait or artificial scented baits. Black Crappie - Fair: Some fish are being caught on warmer days.  Terry Trueblood Lake
      You must have a fishing license and trout stamp to fish for and/or possess trout. Brook Trout – Fair. Rainbow Trout – Fair.   For more information, contact the Lake Macbride Fisheries Station at 319-624-3615. Lake Sugema
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      Use cut bait on the windblown shorelines to catch channel catfish this time of year. Catch largemouth bass around brush piles.  Ottumwa Park Pond South
      Trout were stocked on March 30th. Try small tube and twister jigs, in-line spinners or casting spoons.  Rathbun Reservoir
      The current lake level is 903.66 msl. Normal operating elevation is 904.0 msl. Lake Rathbun has zebra mussels, so make sure to properly drain, clean, and dry equipment before transporting to another water body. The water temperature is in the low 40's. Channel Catfish - Fair: Use shad sides or cut bait on the windblown shorelines.  Red Haw Lake
      Try cut bait near shorelines with the wind blowing in for channel catfish.  The district includes Mahaska, Lucas, Wayne, Monroe, Appanoose, Wapello, Davis and Van Buren counties. Contact the Rathbun Fish Hatchery at 641-647-2406 with questions about fishing in south central Iowa.
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      Water clarity is poor. Water levels are stable, but will rise with snow melt. Visit the USGS Current Water Data website for current water level information.   Decorah District Streams
      Catchable trout are stocked in all streams as weather and water conditions permit. Listen to the trout stocking hotline (563-927-5736) for daily plans. Plan a trip to your favorite trout stream. Check out this year’s trout stream stocking calendar. Trout country received 6-12 inches of snow. Most snow covered roads should melt quickly when the sun comes out. Fun in snow covered woods continues for hearty trout anglers. Brook Trout - Good: Use a streamer to mimic minnows or subsurface flies like scuds or pheasant tail nymphs. Brown Trout - Good: Melt water and run-off inputs drive Brown Trout into a feeding frenzy. Use small midge, caddis, or flashy streamer patterns. Rainbow Trout - Good: Float a feathered spinner or crankbait past a freshly stocked fish. A piece of worm under a bobber also works in the deeper holes. Lake Hendricks
      Few anglers have been out.  Lake Meyer
      Anglers have not been out. Water is off color with recent snow event and melt water.  Upper Iowa River (above Decorah)
      Water clarity is poor. Water levels are up, but currently stable. Conditions could change fast depending on snow melt. Water temperatures were low 40.  Upper Iowa River (below Decorah)
      Water levels are relatively stable, but clarity is poor. Visit the USGS Current Water Data website for more information.  Volga Lake
      Few anglers have been out. Docks are in.  Temperatures reaching upper 50s for highs, dipping into 30's at night. Cooler nights will help slow the snow melt. Our area received 6-12 inches of snow on Wednesday. Turbid conditions on area rivers and streams. For current fishing information, please call the Decorah Fish Hatchery at 563-382-8324.   Cedar River (Nashua to La Porte City)
      River levels remain high and muddy. Backwater areas may produce some catfish. Channel Catfish - Fair: Use cut bait.  Heritage Pond
      Heritage Pond was stocked last Saturday, April 14th with both rainbow and brook trout. Trout fishing should be good; the weather forecast looks to be more of average seasonal temperatures next week. Brook Trout - Good: Cast and retrieve flashy spinner baits like a panther martin jig or similar jigs and spinners. Rainbow Trout - Good: Cast and retrieve flashy spinner baits like a panther martin jig or similar jigs and spinners.  Maquoketa River (above Monticello)
      Reports of anglers catching walleye, smallmouth bass, channel catfish and even an occasional trout on the Maquoketa River in Delaware County. The river remains up a bit, but clarity is not bad. Walleye - Fair: Cast and retrieve a jig with plastics tipped with a minnow. Smallmouth Bass - Fair: Cast and retrieve a jig with plastics tipped with a minnow. Channel Catfish - Fair: Try cut bait fished on the bottom.  North Prairie Lake
      North Prairie Lake was stocked last Saturday, April 14th with both rainbow and brook trout. Trout fishing should be good; the weather forecast looks to be more of average seasonal temperatures next week.  Brook Trout - Good: Cast and retrieve flashy spinner baits like a panther martin jig or similar jigs and spinners. Rainbow Trout - Good: Cast and retrieve flashy spinner baits like a panther martin jig or similar jigs and spinners.  Shell Rock River (Greene to Shell Rock)
      The Shell Rock River has been high and muddy, but is starting to drop in water levels. No fishing reports for this week.  Wapsipinicon River (Tripoli to Troy Mills)
      No reports on the Wapsipinicon River as the river continues to rise and remains muddy. It may the perfect time to try for some catfish on the backwater areas of the river. Channel Catfish - Fair: Use cut bait fished on the bottom.  Few fishing report this past week as winter will not let go of its grasp. Interior river levels have been on the rise and conditions are muddy with the snow melt. Trout stream stockings continue and streams remain in good condition. Call the N.E. Iowa district office at 563-927-3276 for more information.   MISSISSIPPI RIVER Mississippi River Pool 9
      River level at Lansing has risen nearly a foot with a steady rise predicted this week. Water temperature is 36 degrees. Look for backwaters and areas of lesser current away from the main channel that concentrate fish. Walleye - Slow: Walleye are in spawning mode, but the recent cool down in water temperatures will prolong the spawn. Yellow Perch - Slow: Perch are still in spawning areas along the rocky shorelines and near the tailwaters of the dam. Expect the bite to pick up again once temperatures rise. Sauger - Slow: Sauger are in spawning mode, but the recent cool down in water temperatures will prolong the spawn. Northern Pike - Slow: Pike spawn is ending; anglers report catching some nice pike with live bait.  Mississippi River Pool 10
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      Water levels at Bellevue are 10.3 feet and rising. Both Bellevue City ramp and the DNR ramp are open, but no courtesy dock is available yet at the DNR ramp. Paddlefish season is over for the year. The channel water temperature is around 40 degrees. Paddlefish - No Report: Paddlefish season is closed for the year. Sauger - Slow: Hit or miss. Some reports of sauger being caught. Most are being taken on minnow rigs. Walleye – Slow: Nice slot fish are still being reported, but fishing is slow. Minnow with a jig or pulling crank baits are the most popular strategies.  Mississippi River Pool 14
      Water levels are rising and are 9.7 feet at Fulton, 12.6 feet at Camanche and 7.3 feet at LeClaire. The water temperature is around 41 degrees. Paddlefish season is now closed for the year. Paddlefish - No Report: Paddlefish season is closed for the year. Sauger - Slow: Just not many people out walleye or sauger fishing in the cold weather. Both species are still spawning due to the extended cold water season.  Mississippi River Pool 15
      Water levels are 9.8 feet at Rock Island. Water levels are up from last week and will be on a steady rise this upcoming week. Conditions are still favorable for angling.  The River levels will be rising this upcoming week. Water conditions are conducive to angling, but the weather has not been. Paddlefish season is closed for the year.  If you have any angling questions, please contact the Bellevue Fisheries Station 563-872-4976.  Mississippi River Pool 16
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      Tailwater stage is 8.29 feet at Lock and Dam 16 in Muscatine and has been rising the past few days. Tailwater fishing for walleyes and saugers has been slow. Sauger - Slow: Try fishing fishing in the tailwaters with jigs and minnows or pulling three-way rigs and stick baits. Walleye - Slow: Look for walleyes in the tailwaters or down by GPC. Try vertical jigging with minnows or trolling three-way rigs with stick baits.  Mississippi River Pool 18
      Tailwater stage is 9.98 feet at Lock and Dam 17 at New Boston and is rising. The gates are out of the water at the dam. River stage is forecasted to reach 11.9 feet over the weekend. We have not received any fishing reports for this pool this week.  Mississippi River Pool 19
      Tailwater stage is 6.39 feet at Lock and Dam 19 above Burlington and is rising. River stage is forecasted to reach 8.2 feet over the weekend. Flood stage at Lock and Dam 18 is 10 feet. We have not received any fishing reports for this pool this week.  River stages have been on the rise the past few days. Main channel water temperature dropped to 41 degrees; water clarity has been fair. We have not received much for fishing reports this week. If you have questions on fishing Pools 16-19, contact the Fairport Fish Hatchery at 563-263-5062.
    • NORTHWEST IOWA FISHING REPORTS Black Hawk Lake
      Water temperatures are around 41 degrees. Bluegill - Fair: Use waxworms and crawlers in Town Bay. Most action has been in Town Bay and along Ice House Point, the floating dock, and from the inlet bridge. Yellow Perch - Slow: A few perch have been picked up from the floating dock in Town Bay and from the inlet bridge. Black Crappie - Fair: Use crawlers and minnows fished from shore and from the floating dock. Walleye - Slow: Expect walleye shore fishing action to pick up as water temperatures gradually warm. Fish a minnow or leech under a bobber or throw a twister along the Ice House Point shoreline, North Shore, and East Shore near the outlet.  Storm Lake (including Little Storm Lake)
      Water temperature is around 40 degrees. Walleye - Fair: Throw twisters or fish minnows under a bobber from the state marina. Expect good walleye action along the east and north shores as water temperatures continue to climb.White Bass - Fair: Anglers are having luck fishing from shore on the east side and from the marina. Black Crappie - Fair: Catch crappie from the marina using minnows and a twister.  Some western Iowa lakes are providing good shore fishing action. Water temperatures are in the low 40's. For more information, contact the Black Hawk District office at 712-657-2638. Beeds Lake
      Beeds Lake is ice free.  Clear Lake
      Clear Lake is about 75 percent ice free. The boat ramp at city beach is accessible.  Lake Cornelia
      Lake Cornelia is ice free. The docks at the boat ramp are in.  Lower Pine Lake
      The docks at the boat ramp are in.  Shell Rock River (above Greene)
      River levels are up. Try fishing the slack water areas below a dam with live bait.  Upper Pine Lake
      The docks at the boat ramp are in.  Winnebago River
      River levels are rising with the melting snow.  For information on the lakes and rivers in the north central area, contact the Clear Lake Fish and Wildlife office at 641-357-3517.  East Okoboji Lake
      Channel Catfish - Good: Ice out brings excellent channel catfish fishing as catfish go on a feeding frenzy. There is open water at the spillway and bridges; Lower Gar Lake has extensive open water. Fish these areas for some early "pole bending” action.  Silver Lake (Palo Alto)
      Walleye - Fair: Numbers of fish are reported caught.  Lakes remain ice covered. Very limited fishing activity on the Iowa Great Lakes. Forecasted warmer temperatures will help melt the ice. For more information throughout the week, contact the Spirit Lake Fish Hatchery at 712-336-1840.   
    • SOUTHWEST Banner Lake (south)
      Rainbow Trout - Good: Trout were stocked on April 7th. Use inline spinners, small casting spoons, 1/8 ounce or smaller jigs with twister tails, and waxworms or minnows under a bobber.  Big Creek Lake
      Walleye - Fair: Some anglers are starting to catch walleyes off points and rip rap shorelines in the mid and lower lake. They are being caught on jig and twister tails, jig and minnow, or slow trolling minnow rigs.  More Central Iowa reports will resume when warmer weather brings anglers back out. For more information on Central Iowa lakes and rivers, contact Andy Otting or Ben Dodd at 515-432-2823.   Farm Creek Lake
      Farm Creek Lake will offer good early spring crappie fishing in the upper end as water temperatures warm. Lake Anita
      Crappies were caught this week at Lake Anita. As water temperatures warm, crappies will move into the pontoon area of the lake. Black Crappie - Fair: Cast a jig two feet under a bobber in the pontoon area of the lake. Limits of crappie are being taken on warm sunny days. Bluegill - Slow: A few quality size bluegills are being caught.  Lake Manawa
      Warm sunny days offer good crappie fishing in the canals. Lake Manawa is also a good destination for early spring catfishing. White Crappie - Slow: A few crappies are being caught in the canals. Warm sunny days are best. Channel Catfish - Fair: Fish the windy shoreline with shad sides or cut bait. Channel catfish in Manawa are all sizes.  Meadow Lake
      Meadow has a good population of 10 inch black crappie. Prairie Rose Lake
      Prairie Rose will offer good panfishing this spring. The lake has quality sized bluegills and  crappies are acceptable size. Target the brush piles.    Viking Lake
      Find early spring crappies in the campground arm and behind the pontoon area. A few bass are being caught in the deeper brush piles. Largemouth Bass - Slow: Jig plastics in deeper brush piles.  Anglers can catch crappie on the right day. Reports of limits taken on warm sunny days. For more information, contact the Cold Springs office at 712-769-2587. Green Valley Lake
      Largemouth Bass - Slow: Catch largemouth bass up to 19 inches using crankbaits fished along the silt dams and rocky shoreline areas.  Little River Watershed Lake
      Walleye - Slow: Catch walleyes up to 22 inches with jigs tipped with a minnow fished along the dam. Largemouth Bass - Slow: Catch largemouth bass up to 18 inches using jigs fished near cedar tree brush piles.  Lakes in the Mount Ayr district are 100% ice free. Water temperature in most district lakes is about 45 degrees. Limited fishing activity observed this week. For more information, please call the Mount Ayr Fisheries office at 641-464-3108.
    • NORTHWEST Black Hawk Lake
      Water temperatures are around 41 degrees. Bluegill - Fair: Use waxworms and crawlers in Town Bay. Most action has been in Town Bay and along Ice House Point, the floating dock, and from the inlet bridge. Yellow Perch - Slow: A few perch have been picked up from the floating dock in Town Bay and from the inlet bridge. Black Crappie - Fair: Use crawlers and minnows fished from shore and from the floating dock. Walleye - Slow: Expect walleye shore fishing action to pick up as water temperatures gradually warm. Fish a minnow or leech under a bobber or throw a twister along the Ice House Point shoreline, North Shore, and East Shore near the outlet.  Storm Lake (including Little Storm Lake)
      Water temperature is around 40 degrees. Walleye - Fair: Throw twisters or fish minnows under a bobber from the state marina. Expect good walleye action along the east and north shores as water temperatures continue to climb.White Bass - Fair: Anglers are having luck fishing from shore on the east side and from the marina. Black Crappie - Fair: Catch crappie from the marina using minnows and a twister.  Some western Iowa lakes are providing good shore fishing action. Water temperatures are in the low 40's. For more information, contact the Black Hawk District office at 712-657-2638. Beeds Lake
      Beeds Lake is ice free.  Clear Lake
      Clear Lake is about 75 percent ice free. The boat ramp at city beach is accessible.  Lake Cornelia
      Lake Cornelia is ice free. The docks at the boat ramp are in.  Lower Pine Lake
      The docks at the boat ramp are in.  Shell Rock River (above Greene)
      River levels are up. Try fishing the slack water areas below a dam with live bait.  Upper Pine Lake
      The docks at the boat ramp are in.  Winnebago River
      River levels are rising with the melting snow.  For information on the lakes and rivers in the north central area, contact the Clear Lake Fish and Wildlife office at 641-357-3517.  East Okoboji Lake
      Channel Catfish - Good: Ice out brings excellent channel catfish fishing as catfish go on a feeding frenzy. There is open water at the spillway and bridges; Lower Gar Lake has extensive open water. Fish these areas for some early "pole bending” action.  Silver Lake (Palo Alto)
      Walleye - Fair: Numbers of fish are reported caught.  Lakes remain ice covered. Very limited fishing activity on the Iowa Great Lakes. Forecasted warmer temperatures will help melt the ice. For more information throughout the week, contact the Spirit Lake Fish Hatchery at 712-336-1840.    NORTHEAST Cedar River (above Nashua)
      Water clarity is poor. Water levels are stable, but will rise with snow melt. Visit the USGS Current Water Data website for current water level information.   Decorah District Streams
      Catchable trout are stocked in all streams as weather and water conditions permit. Listen to the trout stocking hotline (563-927-5736) for daily plans. Plan a trip to your favorite trout stream. Check out this year’s trout stream stocking calendar. Trout country received 6-12 inches of snow. Most snow covered roads should melt quickly when the sun comes out. Fun in snow covered woods continues for hearty trout anglers. Brook Trout - Good: Use a streamer to mimic minnows or subsurface flies like scuds or pheasant tail nymphs. Brown Trout - Good: Melt water and run-off inputs drive Brown Trout into a feeding frenzy. Use small midge, caddis, or flashy streamer patterns. Rainbow Trout - Good: Float a feathered spinner or crankbait past a freshly stocked fish. A piece of worm under a bobber also works in the deeper holes. Lake Hendricks
      Few anglers have been out.  Lake Meyer
      Anglers have not been out. Water is off color with recent snow event and melt water.  Upper Iowa River (above Decorah)
      Water clarity is poor. Water levels are up, but currently stable. Conditions could change fast depending on snow melt. Water temperatures were low 40.  Upper Iowa River (below Decorah)
      Water levels are relatively stable, but clarity is poor. Visit the USGS Current Water Data website for more information.  Volga Lake
      Few anglers have been out. Docks are in.  Temperatures reaching upper 50s for highs, dipping into 30's at night. Cooler nights will help slow the snow melt. Our area received 6-12 inches of snow on Wednesday. Turbid conditions on area rivers and streams. For current fishing information, please call the Decorah Fish Hatchery at 563-382-8324.   Cedar River (Nashua to La Porte City)
      River levels remain high and muddy. Backwater areas may produce some catfish. Channel Catfish - Fair: Use cut bait.  Heritage Pond
      Heritage Pond was stocked last Saturday, April 14th with both rainbow and brook trout. Trout fishing should be good; the weather forecast looks to be more of average seasonal temperatures next week. Brook Trout - Good: Cast and retrieve flashy spinner baits like a panther martin jig or similar jigs and spinners. Rainbow Trout - Good: Cast and retrieve flashy spinner baits like a panther martin jig or similar jigs and spinners.  Maquoketa River (above Monticello)
      Reports of anglers catching walleye, smallmouth bass, channel catfish and even an occasional trout on the Maquoketa River in Delaware County. The river remains up a bit, but clarity is not bad. Walleye - Fair: Cast and retrieve a jig with plastics tipped with a minnow. Smallmouth Bass - Fair: Cast and retrieve a jig with plastics tipped with a minnow. Channel Catfish - Fair: Try cut bait fished on the bottom.  North Prairie Lake
      North Prairie Lake was stocked last Saturday, April 14th with both rainbow and brook trout. Trout fishing should be good; the weather forecast looks to be more of average seasonal temperatures next week.  Brook Trout - Good: Cast and retrieve flashy spinner baits like a panther martin jig or similar jigs and spinners. Rainbow Trout - Good: Cast and retrieve flashy spinner baits like a panther martin jig or similar jigs and spinners.  Shell Rock River (Greene to Shell Rock)
      The Shell Rock River has been high and muddy, but is starting to drop in water levels. No fishing reports for this week.  Wapsipinicon River (Tripoli to Troy Mills)
      No reports on the Wapsipinicon River as the river continues to rise and remains muddy. It may the perfect time to try for some catfish on the backwater areas of the river. Channel Catfish - Fair: Use cut bait fished on the bottom.  Few fishing report this past week as winter will not let go of its grasp. Interior river levels have been on the rise and conditions are muddy with the snow melt. Trout stream stockings continue and streams remain in good condition. Call the N.E. Iowa district office at 563-927-3276 for more information.   MISSISSIPPI RIVER Mississippi River Pool 9
      River level at Lansing has risen nearly a foot with a steady rise predicted this week. Water temperature is 36 degrees. Look for backwaters and areas of lesser current away from the main channel that concentrate fish. Walleye - Slow: Walleye are in spawning mode, but the recent cool down in water temperatures will prolong the spawn. Yellow Perch - Slow: Perch are still in spawning areas along the rocky shorelines and near the tailwaters of the dam. Expect the bite to pick up again once temperatures rise. Sauger - Slow: Sauger are in spawning mode, but the recent cool down in water temperatures will prolong the spawn. Northern Pike - Slow: Pike spawn is ending; anglers report catching some nice pike with live bait.  Mississippi River Pool 10
      River level at Lynxville has come up several feet to 18.8 feet with a slow steady rise expected.. Water temperature is 36 degrees. Look for backwaters and areas of lesser current away from the main channel that concentrate fish. Walleye- Slow: Walleye are in spawning mode, but the recent cool down in water temperatures will prolong the spawn. Yellow Perch - Slow: Perch are still in spawning areas along the rocky shorelines and near the tailwaters of the dam. Expect the bite to pick up again once temperatures rise. Sauger - Slow: Sauger are in spawning mode, but the recent cool down in water temperatures will prolong the spawn. Northern Pike -  Slow: Pike spawn is ending; anglers report catching some nice pike with live bait. Mississippi River Pool 11
      River level at Guttenberg has risen two feet at 10.3 feet with a slow steady rise this week. The gates are all up at the Lock and Dam. Water temperature is 36 degrees. Look for backwaters and areas of lesser current away from the main channel that concentrate fish. Walleye - Slow: Walleye are in spawning mode, but the recent cool down in water temperatures will prolong the spawn. Yellow Perch - Slow: Perch are still in spawning areas along the rocky shorelines and near the tailwaters of the dam. Expect the bite to pick up again once temperatures rise. Sauger - Slow: Sauger are in spawning mode, but the recent cool down in water temperatures will prolong the spawn. Northern Pike - Slow: Pike spawn is ending; anglers report catching some nice pike with live bait. The Upper Mississippi River is on the rise with heavy snowfalls and melting. Water clarity is diminishing as levels rise. The bite has slowed with water temperature staying unseasonably cold near 36 degrees. Expect a fast warm-up and increase in fish activity as temperatures rise. Mississippi River Pool 12
      Water levels are rising at 9.3 feet at the Dubuque Lock and the RR bridge is 11.5 feet. Levels are up from last week and will continue to rise all week. The channel water temperature is still only around 39 degrees. Yellow Perch - No Report: Some scattered reports of ring perch catches earlier, but not many people out fishing for them. Northern Pike - No Report: The pike spawn is late this year due to the weather; they might be still spawning some. Once done, pike can go on a good bite. Try flashy spinners. Walleye - Slow: Fishing has been good at times for walleye and sauger this spring, but poor weather is limiting activity and slowing the spawning season. Some walleyes may still be spawning.  Mississippi River Pool 13
      Water levels at Bellevue are 10.3 feet and rising. Both Bellevue City ramp and the DNR ramp are open, but no courtesy dock is available yet at the DNR ramp. Paddlefish season is over for the year. The channel water temperature is around 40 degrees. Paddlefish - No Report: Paddlefish season is closed for the year. Sauger - Slow: Hit or miss. Some reports of sauger being caught. Most are being taken on minnow rigs. Walleye – Slow: Nice slot fish are still being reported, but fishing is slow. Minnow with a jig or pulling crank baits are the most popular strategies.  Mississippi River Pool 14
      Water levels are rising and are 9.7 feet at Fulton, 12.6 feet at Camanche and 7.3 feet at LeClaire. The water temperature is around 41 degrees. Paddlefish season is now closed for the year. Paddlefish - No Report: Paddlefish season is closed for the year. Sauger - Slow: Just not many people out walleye or sauger fishing in the cold weather. Both species are still spawning due to the extended cold water season.  Mississippi River Pool 15
      Water levels are 9.8 feet at Rock Island. Water levels are up from last week and will be on a steady rise this upcoming week. Conditions are still favorable for angling.  The River levels will be rising this upcoming week. Water conditions are conducive to angling, but the weather has not been. Paddlefish season is closed for the year.  If you have any angling questions, please contact the Bellevue Fisheries Station 563-872-4976.  Mississippi River Pool 16
      Tailwater stage is 9.85 feet at Lock and Dam 15 in the Quad Cities and has been rising the past few days. There has been some walleye and sauger fishing in Sylvan Slough. Sauger - Slow:Some saugers are being caught in Sylvan Slough. Try fishing with jigs and minnows or trolling three-way rigs with stick baits. Mississippi River Pool 17
      Tailwater stage is 8.29 feet at Lock and Dam 16 in Muscatine and has been rising the past few days. Tailwater fishing for walleyes and saugers has been slow. Sauger - Slow: Try fishing fishing in the tailwaters with jigs and minnows or pulling three-way rigs and stick baits. Walleye - Slow: Look for walleyes in the tailwaters or down by GPC. Try vertical jigging with minnows or trolling three-way rigs with stick baits.  Mississippi River Pool 18
      Tailwater stage is 9.98 feet at Lock and Dam 17 at New Boston and is rising. The gates are out of the water at the dam. River stage is forecasted to reach 11.9 feet over the weekend. We have not received any fishing reports for this pool this week.  Mississippi River Pool 19
      Tailwater stage is 6.39 feet at Lock and Dam 19 above Burlington and is rising. River stage is forecasted to reach 8.2 feet over the weekend. Flood stage at Lock and Dam 18 is 10 feet. We have not received any fishing reports for this pool this week.  River stages have been on the rise the past few days. Main channel water temperature dropped to 41 degrees; water clarity has been fair. We have not received much for fishing reports this week. If you have questions on fishing Pools 16-19, contact the Fairport Fish Hatchery at 563-263-5062.   SOUTHEAST Big Hollow Lake
      Water temperature is holding around 44 degrees. Just need some warm days to get it going up to normal. Very little angler activity because of the weather.  Lake Belva Deer
      Cold, windy weather with a little snow is keeping most anglers away. Largemouth Bass - Slow: A few are getting picked up in the deeper water. Try on the upper end of the lake around the mounds.  Lake Darling
      Water temperature is holding in the low 40's. Water clarity is pretty good, except when the wind stirs the lake bottom up. Black Crappie - Slow: A few anglers have been catching some crappies out in deeper water over the habitat.  Lost Grove Lake
      A few anglers have been out. Cold, windy weather doesn't make for the best fishing weather. Largemouth Bass - Slow: Most angler trips are pretty short, but they are picking up some bass out around the deeper habitat.  For more information on the above lakes, contact the Lake Darling Fisheries Office at 319-694-2430. Central Park Lake
      The lake is currently drained as a renovation project is finishing up this spring.  Coralville Reservoir
      The lake is at normal spring pool of 679.4 feet. Boating above Lake Macbride Park is not recommended at this water level. Channel Catfish - Slow. White Crappie – Slow.  Diamond Lake
      Black Crappie - Fair: Fishing had been slow, but it should pick up as the weather warms. Try small jigs fished around the rock jetties or brush piles. Most fish are 8-9 inches.  Kent Park Lake
      The lake is currently drained for a lake renovation project. It is scheduled to be completed by the spring of 2019.  Lake Macbride
      Water temperatures are in the mid 40's. All boat docks are in. All motor sizes may be used at no-wake speed (5 mph). Black Crappie - Slow: Try fishing jigs or minnows over deeper brush. There are lots of 10-12 inch crappies. Walleye - Slow: A few fish are being caught. A shallow water bite should improve as things warm up. Cast jigs or stick baits to windblown banks.  Pleasant Creek Lake
      The lake is still 7-8 inches low from the restoration project. The main ramp is usable, but it is shallow; use caution. There is a boat dock in on the east lane. Be cautious when boating as new structures have started to be submerged.  Prairie Park Fishery
      500 additional trout will be stocked here this Saturday, April 21 at 10:30. There will be a family fishing event held in conjunction with the stocking. 1500 trout had previously been stocked here on March 31. Iowa residents and nonresidents who are required to have a fishing license must pay the Trout Fee to fish for or possess trout. Exception: Anglers under 16 years old may possess or fish for trout without having paid the Trout Fee if they fish with a properly licensed adult who has paid the Trout Fee and together their combined limit is 5. Rainbow Trout - Excellent: Try small jigs, spinners, live bait or artificial scented baits. Brook Trout – Fair.   Sand Lake
      2000 trout will be stocked here this Saturday, April 21 at 11:00. There will be a family fishing event held in conjunction with the stocking. Iowa residents and nonresidents who are required to have a fishing license must pay the Trout Fee to fish for or possess trout. Exception: Anglers under 16 years old may possess or fish for trout without having paid the Trout Fee if they fish with a properly licensed adult who has paid the Trout Fee and together their combined limit is 5. Rainbow Trout - Excellent: Try small jigs, spinners, live bait or artificial scented baits. Brook Trout - Excellent: Try small jigs, spinners, live bait or artificial scented baits. Black Crappie - Fair: Some fish are being caught on warmer days.  Terry Trueblood Lake
      You must have a fishing license and trout stamp to fish for and/or possess trout. Brook Trout – Fair. Rainbow Trout – Fair.   For more information, contact the Lake Macbride Fisheries Station at 319-624-3615. Lake Sugema
      Try using cut bait for channel catfish. The water temperature is in the low 40's.  Lake Wapello
      Use cut bait on the windblown shorelines to catch channel catfish this time of year. Catch largemouth bass around brush piles.  Ottumwa Park Pond South
      Trout were stocked on March 30th. Try small tube and twister jigs, in-line spinners or casting spoons.  Rathbun Reservoir
      The current lake level is 903.66 msl. Normal operating elevation is 904.0 msl. Lake Rathbun has zebra mussels, so make sure to properly drain, clean, and dry equipment before transporting to another water body. The water temperature is in the low 40's. Channel Catfish - Fair: Use shad sides or cut bait on the windblown shorelines.  Red Haw Lake
      Try cut bait near shorelines with the wind blowing in for channel catfish.  The district includes Mahaska, Lucas, Wayne, Monroe, Appanoose, Wapello, Davis and Van Buren counties. Contact the Rathbun Fish Hatchery at 641-647-2406 with questions about fishing in south central Iowa.   SOUTHWEST Banner Lake (south)
      Rainbow Trout - Good: Trout were stocked on April 7th. Use inline spinners, small casting spoons, 1/8 ounce or smaller jigs with twister tails, and waxworms or minnows under a bobber.  Big Creek Lake
      Walleye - Fair: Some anglers are starting to catch walleyes off points and rip rap shorelines in the mid and lower lake. They are being caught on jig and twister tails, jig and minnow, or slow trolling minnow rigs.  More Central Iowa reports will resume when warmer weather brings anglers back out. For more information on Central Iowa lakes and rivers, contact Andy Otting or Ben Dodd at 515-432-2823.   Farm Creek Lake
      Farm Creek Lake will offer good early spring crappie fishing in the upper end as water temperatures warm. Lake Anita
      Crappies were caught this week at Lake Anita. As water temperatures warm, crappies will move into the pontoon area of the lake. Black Crappie - Fair: Cast a jig two feet under a bobber in the pontoon area of the lake. Limits of crappie are being taken on warm sunny days. Bluegill - Slow: A few quality size bluegills are being caught.  Lake Manawa
      Warm sunny days offer good crappie fishing in the canals. Lake Manawa is also a good destination for early spring catfishing. White Crappie - Slow: A few crappies are being caught in the canals. Warm sunny days are best. Channel Catfish - Fair: Fish the windy shoreline with shad sides or cut bait. Channel catfish in Manawa are all sizes.  Meadow Lake
      Meadow has a good population of 10 inch black crappie. Prairie Rose Lake
      Prairie Rose will offer good panfishing this spring. The lake has quality sized bluegills and  crappies are acceptable size. Target the brush piles.    Viking Lake
      Find early spring crappies in the campground arm and behind the pontoon area. A few bass are being caught in the deeper brush piles. Largemouth Bass - Slow: Jig plastics in deeper brush piles.  Anglers can catch crappie on the right day. Reports of limits taken on warm sunny days. For more information, contact the Cold Springs office at 712-769-2587. Green Valley Lake
      Largemouth Bass - Slow: Catch largemouth bass up to 19 inches using crankbaits fished along the silt dams and rocky shoreline areas.  Little River Watershed Lake
      Walleye - Slow: Catch walleyes up to 22 inches with jigs tipped with a minnow fished along the dam. Largemouth Bass - Slow: Catch largemouth bass up to 18 inches using jigs fished near cedar tree brush piles.  Lakes in the Mount Ayr district are 100% ice free. Water temperature in most district lakes is about 45 degrees. Limited fishing activity observed this week. For more information, please call the Mount Ayr Fisheries office at 641-464-3108.
    • I thinking all the Southern lakes that may be open are going to be packed this opener.
    • Weatherman on the news last night predicted that it will be record late ice out for most of the state or really close.
    • Added pumper 317 to Strut Stops Here.
    • If they are up there odds are they won't move much if any when you poke your head up there and shine a light around to look for them.  They can really tuck into small areas so it may not be super easy to find them.  If you end up needing to crawl around up there to look for them here are the items I'd suggest.   In case there is bat $#!?.   In case air quality is bad aka its full of bat $#!?.   In case the bat $#!? hits the fan.