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CALVINIST

Some muskie questions....

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I heard muskies are territorial. Are they? If they are, what size territory do they occupy?

When fishing for muskies, how much time should I focus on a particular area before moving on?

And, If you have two different color lures, but the same lure, Will a muskie prefer one color over the other?

Thanks!

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Are they territorial??? That is kind of a yes and no answer. While you have fish that will relate to certain structure(s) during the year, you also have some fish that will stay out and roam the open waters following the schools of baitfish. Where they go, these open water fish will go. Fish relating to structure(s) could roam between many different pieces of structure in a given area. A lot of variables to consider on how big of an area they will stake a claim to.

I tend not to spend an inordinate amount of time on a certain piece of structure unless there is a very hot fish on it. Even then, it she shows herself a couple of times but wont commit to eating your bait, best to back off and wait for a change of some sort. Whether it be wind switching, wind starting to blow, sunset/lowlight conditions, clouds moving in and taking away the sun,etc. Most of the time is spent fishing from structure to structure looking for the active and agressive fish.

Hard to give you a definate answer for your third question. Again, possibly a yes and no type answer. Depending upon the fish, they might like the sound that certain style of bait gives off. It might perhaps be the flash of a nickel/copper blade that is the determining factor as to if they fish strikes or not. Certain lakes are different as well. On a clear lake that I fish, painted blades, especially Flame color, have been awesome. Another body that I fish with clearer water, the nickel blades outpreform all the rest. You just have to spend time on the water and develope confidence in your baits. One thing to remember, is that when you spend a lot of time switching lures, it is less time your lure in the water!!!

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Hiya -

A few quick thoughts:

Territorial? Depends on how you mean it I think. Research has shown that muskies do develop a 'home range' during the summer months. The home range can vary from 20 to couple hundred acres, depending on the body of water and variables like fertility, structure, available forage, etc. (Certainly not all the variables are known...). Once they're set up, the home ranges are very well defined. One biologist described them as 'like the fences on a farmer's field - they just don't cross them.' So in that sense, they're territorial. I also think they're territorial in some of their other behaviors, like following lures. I think part of that behavior is territorial aggression to some degree.

But in the sense of chasing away other muskies that move into their areas, I really don't think that's the case. In the old days the theory was one fish ruled a spot and would chase away any other muskies. Then when that fish was caught, another fish moved in to replace it. But there's just too much evidence of multiple fish using small areas to make be believe there's any truth to that. On the contrary, I think muskies school more than most of us think they do. They certainly have no trouble sharing an area with other muskies.

How long to spend on a spot? It depends. There - how's that for a useless answer smile If I have confidence in a spot, I have no trouble fishing it very thoroughly. Especially this time of year frankly. The more complex a spot is the more likely I am to give it some time. Some spots are 20 cast spots, others are 45 minute spots. I know one very good guide on Leech Lake who will spend ALL DAY on one spot in late fall, because he knows from experience the fish will be there at some point. He's got the history on the spot to give him that degree of confidence in it. (He doesn't change lures either...heh). I don't have that kind of patience most days. Bottom line is over time some spots will prove to you they're worth the extra attention. Until then, follow your gut and your temperament, and fish at a pace that feels comfortable. Everyone has their own style on stuff like his - and they all work.

Color - good Lord if I knew the answer to that. Best I can offer is that I think sometimes color can make a difference, but I have no idea when it does and when it doesn't smile To me, in all seriousness, color is more a factor in your confidence than it is a critical factor with getting a fish to bite. With muskies, your sample size is just too small on any given day to determine anything meaningful about fine details like color. If I spend a day fishing smallmouth bass, I can usually have a preference nailed down to a particular shade and shape of soft plastic (and I've seen days where green pumpkin with copper flake outfishes green pumpkin with red flake 10:1). With muskies, if you can identify a preference for jerkbaits vs.bucktails, you're as dialed in as you'll get most days... The math is just too much against you to get more precise than that. Most of the patterning with muskies is more about location than fine tuned presentation details like color. I stick with basic color rules of thumb based on water clarity and light conditions, and hope for the best. Some lakes have colors that just plain work well there (purple on Leech, and white on Cass - a white harasser with an orange blade used to be automatic on Cass) but again that's likely due to water clarity as much as anything. Given the amount of data you have available to make assumptions on, it really comes down to confidence on a given day.

Cheers,

Rob Kimm

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Territorial to a certain degree. I went to L.O.T.W. a few times this summer and observed two muskies following lures or being within an incredibly close proximity of each other on several occasions. This was new behavior I haven't seen before (in the cities). I find it interesting that on such a large body of water there were so many pairs in spots.

Typically if I can raise fish or get some visible follows I can spend 30-45 minutes at that spot throwing various presentations. After that, I assume that the follow was out of curiosity or to ward off intruders and move elsewhere. This time of year though I do like to run-n-gun and keep moving about.

As for color. Rob hit the nail on the head in regards to color. If I was catching 4-6 muskie each time out I might be able to gather a more accurate opinion on color decision. I typically use what has worked on that lake in the past and go from there.

Rawk,

-Buck

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A couple other ways to look at how to work a spot is how often to hit a spot on a given time out, and how to fish the same spot in a different manner.

Multiple stops on the same spot: For example, I fish White Bear a fair amount. 3000 acres, so enought to keep me busy, but still small enough that if I'm moving around I'll end up going past a couple classic pieces of structure a couple/few times in a given day. I'll stop and hit it each time by, since it's a spot that at one time or another will hold fish or fish on the spot may become active. Just another way to stack the odds of being in the right place at the right time.

Same spot different presentation: I can take a point with a shallow top and deep water accessible to it and fish it from relatively the same boat position in entirely different ways. I can hit the shallow shelf with a topwater or a dive 'n' rise jerkbait over the weed tops, then come right back down throwing to the other side going with a deeper bait or slow rolling a spinnerbait or working a jig or Bulldawg.

I remember Jonny P telling a story about a couple years ago of a day on White Bear where he pulled a fish off the weedline a couple times to follow but not go, so he figured he'd come back later and hopefully get her to go and not follow. 5 minutes later he watched a boat throw a spinnerbait into the weeds on the exact spot and pop a fish, likely the same one. Good example of fishing the same spot differently....obviously it stuck with me.

Color: I do try to take light and water clarity factors into consideration along with the "match the hatch concept", but 1/2 the time I'm throwing what looks cool. I'll admit to this....ever look at how many Firetiger lures you have? I have a lot, and I think it's because they look "cool" on the store shelf! It's along the same lines as someone on here (RK) who's wife has an addiction with black shoes.........hate to say it but I can relate. That said, a single blade white and orange bladed Nug Tackle bucktail has been good to me this year on a stained Metro lake, lot different than the Cass scenario Rob mentioned...go figure.

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Quote:
I heard muskies are territorial. Are they? If they are, what size territory do they occupy?

RK hit it on the head. and it's nice to know somebody else has observed they seem to school sometimes and are not ALWAYS loners. i've told that to a few people and got that... your nuts attitude, lol. this year i've fished a smallish area.. probaly 1 acre on the croix.. for close to 3 months straight, whenever i get the chance. i had a couple decent fish landed the first day i fished it years ago so i go by it alot every year. well this year i had a 2 fish day one day and a very pretty golden clear phase 50+ i'd say 52'' maybe better, and very round, follow me up. she's real arrogant. sit there and look up at me and smirk then do a roll on top of the water flip me the fin and dissappear. ( i refuse to figure 8 ) over the past few months i've never saw her before 5pm or after 7pm. outside that time i've pulled other fish from that area. never during that time. only see her if i see anything between 5-7. does this mean she's territorial? chasing all the little guys away? maybe. who the heck knows. maybe the little guys are just scared by the size of her and she's misunderstood, who can say for sure. but over the years i've tuned into similar areas where i catch a couple fish and see a biggun like her and hit it all summer or just a few days untill she hits. so yeah i believe they are home base inclined.

Quote:
When fishing for muskies, how much time should I focus on a particular area before moving on?

see above for partial answer... like RK said it's confidence in that spot in general. a guy might fish it all day and not leave the area because of complete confidence in that area. cjac gave the same kind of answer but different. he said he'd go back several times a day because he's semi-confident in an area, but fish others too. and if a guy does'nt know a spot holds fish and just ''heard'' it produces he might spend a few minutes there and move on because of uncertainty and low-confidence levels. but get a follow from what would be a PB. a guy might just pitch a tent and fish it. the key is confidence in the spot and how much time ''YOU'' are willing to spend there. theres no right answer.

Quote:
If you have two different color lures, but the same lure, Will a muskie prefer one color over the other?

confidence, expierience and insider information are your best ways to choose colors. throw a lure but don't get so hung up on blaming the color if you don't hook up. only brings down the confidence level and keeps the lure from spending more time in the water. great grandpappy Amos used to say it like this, '' son, if'n you you changed forks like you change lures you'd sturve ta' death, them feesh don't give a hoot if'n they hungry'' blush ... but what if they aren't hungry. that's when i think color means something. because that gives me confidence to keep trying. fishing in general is 9o percent confidence, muskie fishing is 99 percent. good luck smile

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About the territorial question.

I have seen a couple instances of some puzzling and remarkable behavior. Two nights ago, I was fishing on Lake Alexander. A smallish fish, maybe 36 inches, was chasing my bucktail. I came in to the boat and began doing my ovals. That little bugger was following me hard and fast until up comes maybe a 47 incher, who rose up horizontally from under the boat, got behind the little one, and literally chased it away. Last I saw, there was two tails going off out of sight, the big one behind the small one. I came back on them twice after that at prime times, and never saw them again.

Last season, a similar thing happened. The small fish was hot, and after the bait. The bigger fish came zooming in-between the smaller fish and the bait. The bigger fish, it seemed, had no interest in the bait, but just didn't want the smaller fish to have it. We switched baits 7 times, and each time the little one would come for it hard, but the bigger one would head him off, then backed off a little and just watched. Finally, they grew tired of it and quit following. Interesting behavior, and entertaining.

That stuff, I think, is rare, but I think more the case when bigger fish have their bellies satisfied, and perhaps are in some sort of funky mood. From my experience, muskies co-exist well together...especially when they are feeding. One of my cardinal rules is when you catch a fish, especially at night but during the day as well, you go right back there and fish some more as soon as you have released your first fish. I cannot tell you how many times I have caught multiple fish all within one cast of the spot where I hooked up initially.

I envision a (water) wolf pack down there. Maybe they are working together, and maybe not, but whatever the case, there is something going on down there baitfish wise that they are keying in on, and it's a great thing to capitalize on for us, that's for sure.

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I seen this type of behavior multiple times, always this time of year. I have even had three come in on a bucktail once. The bummer is, if you do get them to bite, you always seem to get the smaller one...

They follow so close sometimes when one gets hooked, I swear you could probably net them both if you tried.

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Glad to hear this helped! Lots of info and thoughts here, if you kept it all straight and took some good info away you're a scholar in my book!

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    • SOUTHEAST IOWA FISHING REPORTS Big Hollow Lake
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      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
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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
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      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
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      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)
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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 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.