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Jim Uran

Our fragile panfish population

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Is it human nature to pick on things that are smaller than us? To take advantage of things that are susceptible? There is a new breed of anglers out there that would like to turn this mentality around, and I’m here to voice our opinions.

Why is it that bluegills and crappies are thought of as a lesser species, “panfish” we call them. Why aren’t they babied and nurtured like walleyes, muskies, and bass. We rarely see any special regulations involving our beloved panfish species, and it shows in our cyclical panfish populations in the lakes that we fish. Their population swings are due to over-harvesting, their lack in size is due to the same factor. These “uneducated” anglers will find a “hot” lake and over-harvest it and move on to the next “hot lake” to do the same thing. In this article I’ll be focusing more on bluegills and other sunfish species here in Minnesota.

What I would like to see, is a shift in the mentality, and more time spent on educating Minnesota anglers on the panfish population. We are talking about one of the most popular fish in Minnesota here, with creel survey data showing that of the 57 million hours Minnesota Anglers log each year, 18 million of those hours are dedicated to chasing sunfish, and recent data shows that more sunfish are caught than all other gamefish species combines, 25-30 million sunfish caught annually. These numbers show just how many bluegills and other sunfish species are hoisted over the gunwales every season!

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However, in recent years I have been pleased to see more and more lakes dropping the possession limit to 10, and 5 fish. It shows that the respect is growing, but it’s not where it needs to be yet. We need to see a drop in the possession limit statewide, to see some sort of size limit regulations, and to protect these fish when they are on the beds when they are the most susceptible. I can’t imagine that they would ever shut the panfish season down as they do for other gamefish species while they are spawning, but adding some protective regulations during the spawning period would undoubtedly be beneficial. 20 fish a day is just too many to be taking out of a lake.

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Let’s face it, us anglers have become a little deadlier and a little more precise when it comes to locating these fish, thanks to all of the technology that’s out there for us now. Let’s do our part and start putting the big ones back. I know plenty of anglers that won’t hesitate to throw back a walleye that’s over 20”, or a pike that’s over 30”, but rarely do I find an angler who treats panfish with the same regard, but when I do talk to those few that have the same passion as me, they know, and understand that we are looking into the future, a future full of stories of the big ones our grandparents talked of.

So the next time you are out, toss a few back and remember who will be fishing these same waters in 20 years.

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This is a very well written article and so true. Wouldn't you want your children or grandchildren to catch those same fish when they are even bigger?! smile great read! smile

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Right on Jim! A couple of the lakes I fish Crappies S of DL have regulations on size minimum and limit......you can see it paying off with the quality of the fish. I will say the "old timers" are the toughest to grab hold of new regs....when Panfishing I see more of them filling buckets of Sunfish just because they are easier to catch and love to eat them........and they love passing the time doing it. Over time regs need to be put in place for MOST species in MN lakes, rivers. First change is to increase fees for Non-Residents, get more $$$ in the coffers to help manage the resources.

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Great post, and awesome fish. I love catching panfish, and do my part in releasing the big boys and girls. I don't have enough time to really hunt for the places no one else fishes for them, but it sure is a treat when I stumble across a 9+".

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Very well written article. Thanks for posting.

I think the DNR is sometimes a bit more lax on panfish regs because they are such prolific breeders, and so quick to come back from a population decline. At least gills and pumpkinseeds are. Crappies, not so much. Crappies seem to have much narrower environmental requirements for survival.

I think it's a great idea to have a statewide possession limit, and include a slot limit on all panfish species for all lakes. It's always fun to catch a nice bunch of panfish, but it's WAY more fun to catch a nice bunch of BIG panfish!

Again, great article, and terrific pictures! smile

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i feel fishing is becoming like hunting every one wants a trophy buck. I think we have enough regs on fishing the way it is. There is lakes with special panfish regs show me they are working? I agree some people over harvest sunfish and crappies during the spring it seems to be common around my house. I love having my grandmas over for fish fry and for being old ladies they sure can eat alot of fish. 20 gills and 10 crappies seem to be enough,but i don't have kids and my wife does noy like fishing. Maybe if the fish were bigger it would not take so many but i keep 7-7.5 inch gills and release the bigger ones crappies from9-10 inches and release the biiger ones. But I watch most guys only keep gills over 8 and crappies over 10.

Jim I like your article and think maybe if we could get fisher people to keep smaller fish it would allow the bigger ones to grow faster.

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I think it's funny how times change and perceptions change and subjects come back come back but in a diffrent way..Take Panfish for example...I remember 25 years ago people carping about the lack of large panfish because everyones grandparents were stuffing milk cartons full of them and of course the limits were pretty much whatever..we now have more restrictions,C&R (which would have been laughable back then)and people still want to blame everyone else for "not managing the resource correctly". Lake Mille Lacs was always thought of as the "Dead Sea" until the DNR stepped in, put in slots, reduced limits, etc etc. You can now catch all the big Walleyes you want, but you certainly cannot keep them heaven forbid. The bottom line is that fish are food..plain and simple..there are up years and there are down years..Mother Nature is the biggest B&*ch on the block and she is the ultimate judge no matter what us silly humans think.

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to go with riverratpete mille lacs is a good lake to talk about it has great panfish in it thanks to the walleye. I have spent many days on mille lacs listening to guys whine about catching to big of fish for real. That makes me sick they whine about that. A trophy is in the eye of the person who got it i know guys who think 10 inch gill is a trophy my brother inlaw thinks 13 in crappies are. If you look you can find a bigger fish they dont always behave like the smaller ones.

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We play the biggest part in the "ups and downs" as you put it, not mother nature.

If panfish were managed and restricted like walleyes are we would have bigger fish to catch!

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Perch is one example that lowering the limit from 100 to 20 was going to get us bigger perch and more big ones. I have yet to see this change.

Yeah, funny how people forgot about that one and now they want even more of that ever effective government "management" adding more and more pages to the fishing regs book. I like trophies as much as anyone but this is getting out of hand. I'd rather take pictures of a fish fry than photograph one C&R monster after another. Catching trophies should be a rare event. That's what makes them special.

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James i would have to dissagree with you if i understand your post correctly. i am a strong advocate of releasing all large fish of any species. panfish included. trophy's are kind of a rare event as it is [depending one's view of what constitutes a trophy]. we need regulations. and some waters need more than others. i want my grandkids to have what i have today. good luck.

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we need regulations. and some waters need more than others. i want my grandkids to have what i have today. good luck.

And with your belief in bloated government your grand kids will have even more of what you have today. This will include more regulations, more government workers to enforce these regulations and a crippling public debt that they will never be able to service. There are some lakes that have such restrictive slot limits that trophy catches are a daily occurance not a special event like they should be.

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Nice post Jim.

Personally I feel selective harvest is a much better tool than bag limit adjustments and my own thought is I would much rather see a tighter window on size regs than a smaller bag limit and in fact would prefer total inches rather than number of fish. For example 80” of fish. This way, if a guy runs into some 11 or 12”ers you are only able to keep 6 or 7 yet still able to keep 10 8”ers. I bet we would see a lot less complaining about the big fish in ML if a guy could keep a certain number of inches of walleye vs a slot.

Many lakes are stunted not so much because of overharvest but rather only keeping the largest ones and really how can you blame people for wanting to keep 15 8”ers when you are sorting through 50 5”ers to get em? If you want an overall better size structure then I think you should take out the potato chips. Of course the sacrifice will be a smaller overall number of fish which could also be more susceptible to winter kill, but a small lake chock full of 3-5”ers can’t be ideal either.

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Maybe some of the stunting could be helped if we allowed people who are targeting other species to go catch a couple dozen of those 3-5 inchers for bait.... just sayin.

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Like I said in the original post, it's about the lack of respect for panfish... They don't get babied and nurtured like walleyes, bass, and muskies.

Spread the love out a little bit, it wouldn't take anymore workers to add another line or two to the reg book grin

James R, you can take pics of all of your fish fry's, but who is going to make sure your grandchilren will be able to do the same thing when they are old enough to?

edit: I looked at your post history, now I can see why you wrote a response in this thread like this, 98% of your posts are in the carp hole, The Outdoors discussions forum.... lol, nice!

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I think the change should come from fisher people not the government. I have got my dad to shoot a doe rather then kill a small buck for dinner, but last year we did not see any does so the poor little fork horn ate the bullet. My dad has seen nicer bucks now and lets them walk until he finds the one he wants for the wall. I love catching gills and crappies when I went to college in Ely a lot of the locals thought I was nuts for wasting my time but I enjoyed myself and caught some dandy fish which most would have mount or been personal bests. I released so many big panfish up there its mind blowing.

Jim you are doing wonders for changing some peoples ideas what a keeper is. Congrats to that. I think if we can get anglers to change what they keep with out changing the laws it would be best for are kids ans their kids.

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Like I said in the original post, it's about the lack of respect for panfish... They don't get babied and nurtured like walleyes, bass, and muskies.

Spread the love out a little bit, it wouldn't take anymore workers to add another line or two to the reg book grin

James R, you can take pics of all of your fish fry's, but who is going to make sure your grandchilren will be able to do the same thing when they are old enough to?

edit: I looked at your post history, now I can see why you wrote a response in this thread like this, 98% of your posts are in the carp hole, The Outdoors discussions forum.... lol, nice!

Hey, if you can go on here and advocate for more government then I should be able to advocate for less even if you find that offensive. How do you reason that more regulations wouldn't result in higher costs for the taxpayer? Using the broad power of government to individually micromanage each lake is going to be an expensive endeavor. You can paste all the cute fish pictures you like on this outdoors discussion thread but don’t pretend that you’re not also making political assertions by advocating for more fishing regulations which are somehow free according to you.

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I would never call a panfish population fragile. They are like rabbits. One good year of romping and you have a lake plump full of them.

It is a good idea to let go the bigger fish. But I am also getting sick of all the regulations. Checking more freezers for the rapers and double dippers would do more good than any limit or size regs IMO.

It is those guys that go back day after day to fill up on big panfish that hurt the lake more than anyone else. Getting on a good bite then having the restraint to not beat it to death is probably the biggest thing fisherman need to control. Unfortunately, that rarely happens.

Those that are out there day after day after day beating up the same lake are my biggest pet peeve in all of fishing.

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That's why I advocate a lower limit and size restrictions state wide! No need to micromanage each lake when they all come under the same regs! You are definitely entitled to your opinion, but I see where you stand in the troll hall of fame! Good luck with being the troll, I'll stick with spreading the good word, and my beliefs!

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Great post Jim- I am with you 100%. Educating the fishermen plays a big role as well, selective harvest can be as beneficial as regulations, the only problem is the average panfish angler is out to get as much meat as possible today and bigger fish give you more meat.

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • Oh I thought the armature was toast.  Yeah I'd maybe sink $25 bucks at it.   This isn't your t motor but I think they are all pretty much the same down there.   I realize after looking again I thought that was the back end of the armature.  I think that is a bearing.  Deep creep and some tapping.  
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All streams are being stocked. All trout stream stockings are unannounced due to COVID-19 precautions. Hatchery grounds are open to the public, but feeders and other conveniences are temporarily closed. Hatchery visitors must be mindful of one another’s safety and keep at least 6 feet of distance between you and others. Brook Trout - Good: When fishing private property open to angling, leave that property as was or better by picking up trash. Close gates if you opened them; be considerate. Brown Trout - Good: More terrestrials are out. Use beetles or other bright flies fished along grassed edges. Afternoon hatches of caddis and may flies have been slow. Pheasant tailed nymphs and bead headed midges work well. Use hair jigs or spinners for aggressive fish. Rainbow Trout - Excellent:Try a worm or cheese floated through a pool under a bobber. Use an ultra-light pole and reel for fun action. Try small crappie or bluegill jigs. Lake Hendricks Aquatic vegetation is coming on strong. Early morning and evening bite are best. Black Crappie - Slow: Find crappie suspended in deeper water around structure. Use a minnow or small lure drifting over structure. Bluegill - Fair: Try a small piece of worm on a hook under a small bobber. Largemouth Bass - Fair: Use topwater lures or weedless hooks fished along the weed edges.Channel Catfish - Fair: With warmer water temperatures, try cheese or stinkbaits. Nightcrawlers will work. Lake Meyer Hit and miss activity. Water clarity is excellent. Fish bite better any time of the day with off-color water. Fish early morning and evening when shadows aren't cast on the water. Black Crappie - Fair: Use a small spinnerbait tossed along a steep depth change. Bluegill - Fair: Try a small piece of worm fished under a bobber. Largemouth Bass - Fair: Use a jig tipped with a twister tail or worm fished along the shore. Channel Catfish - Fair: Use a nightcrawler fished on the bottom near stumps or other structure. Also try chicken liver or cheese baits. Turkey River (above Clermont) Water levels are falling, but are high with improved clarity. Go to the USGS Current Conditions website for more information on water levels. Walleye - Good: Find walleye in deeper holes around brush piles. Toss a jig tipped with a twister tail near a brush pile.  Upper Iowa River (above Decorah) Water levels are high, but are falling with improved clarity. Current remains strong. Water hazards may have moved. Walleye - Good: Flip a jig with twister tail along a brush pile or rock ledge. White Sucker - Slow: Try a hook tipped with a nightcrawler fished on the bottom. Upper Iowa River (below Decorah) Water levels are high, but are falling with improved clarity. Strong current; water hazards and stream conditions change fast. 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For current fishing information, please call the Chuck Gipp Decorah Fish Hatchery at 563-382-8324.   MISSISSIPPI RIVER FISHING REPORTS Mississippi River Pool 9 River level is 9.1 feet at Lansing with a slight rise predicted this week. Water temperature is 79 degrees. New Albin Army road is reopened. Hwy 82, Lansing Bridge is closed. Use caution at ramps during low water. Lansing Village Creek is shallow near the creek mouth. Heytman's Landing is accessible with shallow drive boats only. Walleye - Good: Walleyes are biting on crankbaits on wing dams and channel border structure. Northern Pike - Good: Try in areas of colder streams and springs entering the Mississippi River. Yellow Perch - Fair: Use a small piece of crawler fished just off the bottom near shorelines with slight current. Black Crappie - Good: Crappies are in about 10 feet of water. 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Water temperature is 80 degrees. Sny Magill access is open, but water may be over the road with a bump up in water levels.. Walleye - Good: Walleyes are biting on crankbaits on wing dams and channel border structure. Northern Pike - Excellent: Try in areas of colder streams and springs entering the Mississippi River. Yellow Perch - Excellent: Use a small piece of crawler fished just off the bottom near shorelines with slight current. Black Crappie - Good: Crappies are in 8-10 feet of water. Use a minnow under a bobber in areas near current breaks in backwaters and side channels. Largemouth Bass - Good: Bass will be on pre-spawn bite as temperatures rise. Cast plastics or blade baits in backwater lakes. Smallmouth Bass - Good: Try spinnerbaits fished in rock piles at the tip of the islands on main channel borders. Shovelnose sturgeon - Good: Some shovelnose are being picked up using a crawler fished off the bottom in main channel areas. Flathead Catfish - Fair: Flathead bite has slowed, but some are still being caught on shiners or a small bluegill for bait. Channel Catfish - Excellent: Try nightcrawlers or cut bait fished off the bottom in deeper side channel areas.  Bluegill - Excellent: Bluegills are spawning. Use light tackle tipped with small piece of worm along the shorelines. Freshwater Drum - Excellent: Try a crawler fished on the bottom along current breaks. Mississippi River Pool 11 River level is 8.4 feet at Guttenberg and is predicted to reach 9.6 feet this week. Water temperature is in the mid to upper 70's. Walleye - Good: Walleyes are biting on crankbaits on wing dams and channel border structure. Northern Pike - Excellent: Try in areas of colder streams and springs entering the Mississippi River. Yellow Perch - Fair: Use a small piece of crawler fished just off the bottom near shorelines with slight current. Black Crappie - Good: Crappies are in about 10 feet of water. Use a minnow under a bobber in areas with less current in backwaters and side channels. Largemouth Bass - Good: Bass will be on pre-spawn bite as temperatures rise. Cast plastics or blade baits in backwater lakes. Smallmouth Bass - Excellent: Try spinnerbaits fished in rock piles at the tip of the islands on main channel borders. Shovelnose sturgeon - Fair: Some shovelnose are being picked up with a crawler fished off the bottom in main channel areas. Flathead Catfish - Fair: Flathead bite has slowed, but some are still being caught on shiners or a small bluegill for bait. Channel Catfish - Excellent: Try nightcrawlers or cut bait fished off the bottom in deeper side channel areas. Bluegill - Good: Bluegills are spawning. Use light tackle tipped with small piece of worm along the shorelines. Freshwater Drum - Excellent: Try a crawler fished on the bottom along current breaks. Upper Mississippi River levels have bumped up this week, but are predicted to level off late in the week. Water clarity has improved. Walleye slot length limits now apply on the entire Mississippi River for Pools 9-12. All walleyes less than 15 inches long and between 20-27 inches long must be released immediately. Only one walleye greater than 27 inches can be kept. Combined walleye/sauger daily harvest limit of 6 and possession of 12.   Mississippi River Pool 12 Water levels are stable, but will start to rise slightly later this week. The water level is near 8.5 feet at the Dubuque Lock and Dam and 10.7 feet at the RR bridge.The water temperature is around 78 degrees. The water clarity is good. Northern Pike - Excellent: Flashy spinners in warm sun filled waters might trigger these predators. Bluegill - Good: Bluegills are still on the spawning beds. Try a simple bobber and worms. White Crappie - Fair: Crappie are reported around tree falls in backwater areas. Most anglers are using a bobber and small minnow. Channel Catfish - Excellent: Lots of anglers are switching to prepared stinkbaits. Some catfish have started to move along the rock lines to prepare for spawning. Freshwater Drum - Excellent: Freshwater drum are easy to catch on an egg sinker and worm rig. Fish in moderate current. Largemouth Bass - Good: Bass are being taken mostly along vegetation lines, but some are also coming off rock piles. Smallmouth Bass - Fair: Some smallies have moved in along the rock piles; use flashy spoons or crankbaits. Mississippi River Pool 13 Water level is 9.4 feet at the Bellevue Lock and Dam and is expected to rise a half foot later this week. The water temperature is 78 degrees. Boat ramps at Pleasant Creek, Bulgers Hollow and the Iowa DNR boat ramp at Bellevue are available to use. Channel Catfish - Excellent: Some cats have moved along rock lines. Anglers are switching to prepared stinkbaits. White Crappie - Fair: A few crappie are being picked up in backwater areas near dead falls. Freshwater Drum - Excellent: Freshwater drum are easy to catch on a sinker and worm rig. Fish in moderate current. Northern Pike - Excellent: Try flashy spinners fished along old weed edges and rock shorelines. Largemouth Bass - Excellent: Male bass are being caught in large numbers. Bluegill - Good: Bluegill nests can be seen along shorelines and vegetation edges in the backwater areas. Flathead Catfish - Good: Use live fish for bait. Lots of trot lines are being set. Walleye - Fair: Wing dam fishing for walleyes is expected to start up if water recedes just a bit. Mississippi River Pool 14 The water level is 9.1 feet at the Fulton Lock and Dam, 12.2 feet at Camanche and 7.2 feet at LeClaire. Water temperature is 78 degrees. Water clarity is fair. Channel Catfish - Excellent: Anglers are switching to prepared stinkbaits. Look for channel cats to move along the rock lines when spawning gets closer. Freshwater Drum - Excellent: Freshwater drum are easy to catch on a worm sinker and worm rig. Fish in moderate current. Largemouth Bass - Good: Small bass are being caught in big numbers. Northern Pike - Good: Use flashy spinners along backwater shorelines or in the tailwaters for this aggressive fish. Flathead Catfish - Good: Try large live bait to catch big flathead catfish. Bluegill - Good: Bluegills are on the spawning beds. Fish along the weed lines or in pockets of vegetation. Walleye - Fair: Wing dam fishing for walleyes is expected to start up if water recedes just a bit. Mississippi River Pool 15 Water level is around 10.4 feet at Rock Island and is stable. Expect water levels to rise slightly later in the week. The water temperature is 78 degrees; water clarity is improving. Freshwater Drum - Good: Freshwater drum are easy to catch on a worm sinker and worm rig. Fish in moderate current. Channel Catfish - Excellent: Channel cats are readily biting on cut bait and prepared baits. Flathead Catfish - Good: Try live bait around brush piles or in the tailwater area. Smallmouth Bass - Fair: Some smallmouth bass may start lurking around the channel rock lines when the river recedes to lower levels. Water level is expected to bump up slightly later in the week. Most areas are back to being usable after spring high water. If you have any fishing questions, please contact the Bellevue Fisheries Station 563-880-8781
    • SOUTHEAST IOWA FISHING REPORTS Big Hollow Lake Lots and lots of rain this week made the water muddy. Not many anglers out on the lake. Largemouth Bass - Slow: Unstable weather with summer heat shuts the bass down until it evens out some. Bluegill - Fair: Most bluegills have moved off the beds and are out in 6 to 8 feet of water. Iowa River (Columbus Junction to Mississippi River) The Iowa River is dropping pretty fast, but isn't forecast to be below minor flood stage until the middle if next week. Lake Belva Deer Water temperature is 79-80 degrees. Water is green from planktonic algae bloom. Curlyleaf pondweeds have died off. Largemouth Bass - Fair: Summer patterns have set up. Try early or late in the shallows; most of the day they are out in deeper water. Bluegill - Fair: Move out to the deeper water (16 to 18 feet) out around the trees. Black Crappie - Fair: Slow trolling at the lower end of the lake early in the morning or late evening as the sun goes down.  Lake Darling Heavy rains last weekend made the lake high and muddy.  Water level has gone back down; the water is trying to clear. Water temperature is 80 degrees. Largemouth Bass - Slow: Muddy water will slow down the sight feeding fish. Bluegill - Fair: You can still catch bluegills on worm and bobber; most have moved out to 5 to 7 feet of water.  Channel Catfish - Good: When it rains, head for the wiers in the in-lake silt dams; catfish wait just off the sides for food to come through on the current. Black Crappie - Slow: Anglers are picking up a few crappies slowly drift trolling in 10 to 12 feet of water; bite will improve as the water clears. Lost Grove Lake Water temperatures are around 80 degrees. Water clarity is still good with a little green color; weed beds are dying back. Largemouth Bass - Fair: Bass fishing has slowed a bit; most fish are heading to deeper water for the summer. Bluegill - Good: A majority of the bluegills have moved off into 10-15 feet of water. Try small jigs tipped with waxworms or red wigglers. Some bluegills have finished spawning; find them in the flooded timber out in deeper water. Skunk River (Rose Hill to Coppock) The water level in the Skunk River dropped this week with it returning to just above half-bank full. Channel Catfish - Fair: Bite should pick up as the water level gets more stable.  Don't forget to fish under any mulberries that you find hanging over the river. For more information on the above lakes, call the Lake Darling Fisheries Office at 319-694-2430.   Coralville Reservoir The lake level crested at 702.4 feet on 7/01 (normal summer pool is 683 feet) and is predicted to start falling. Mehaffey Bridge ramp is the only open ramp. Diamond Lake All facilities are open. Black Crappie - Fair: Most fish are 8-12 feet down in deeper water around brush or suspended in open water. Try small jigs for these 8-9 inch fish. Bluegill - Fair: Most fish have moved off the bank after the spawn and are being caught a bit deeper on small jigs or worms. Channel Catfish -Good: Try stinkbait or crawlers. After rain events has been best. Lake Macbride The 10 hp outboard maximum limit is in effect. Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) - Fair: Look for surface activity towards sunset; try plastics or topwater baits. Walleye - Slow: Troll crankbaits and live bait rigs in 7-13 feet of water. Largemouth Bass - Fair: Target shallow cover for post-spawn fish. Bluegill - Fair: Try small jigs or worms in rock islands or rock reefs. Channel Catfish - Fair: Live bait works best. Some fish are spawning around shallow rock. Otter Creek Lake Docks are in; the bathroom at the ramp is open. The fish cleaning station is open. Bluegill – Good: Try small jigs or worms around brush piles. Yellow Bass – Good: Use small jigs, spinners or live bait. Channel Catfish - Fair: Look for spawning fish near rocky shores. Black Crappie - Fair: Most fish are small. Pleasant Creek Lake Walleye - Slow: Use crawlers or plastics fished towards evening. Bluegill – Fair: Most fish have moved a bit deeper. Try small worms or jigs. Channel Catfish - Fair: Typical baits such as stinkbait or crawlers work well. Some spawning fish are in the shallow rocks. Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) - Slow: Target windblown areas or look for surface activity in the evening. Muskellunge - Fair: Cloudy or rainy days have had the fish active. Sand Lake This is the quarry on the east side of Marshalltown. Channel Catfish – Good.  Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) – Fair. For more information, contact the Lake Macbride Fisheries Station at 319-624-3615. Hawthorn Lake Largemouth Bass - Fair: Try areas along the fishing jetties and the face of the dam. Bluegill - Fair: Use small jigs around the fishing jetties and rip-rapped shorelines. Lake Miami Largemouth Bass - Fair: Use spinnerbaits or crankbaits along the dam and the cedar tree piles. Bluegill - Fair: Try small jigs with a small chunk of nightcrawler around the fishing jetties. Lake Sugema Channel Catfish - Fair: Use nightcrawlers or chicken liver. Largemouth Bass - Fair: Try spinnerbaits or crankbaits along the fishing jetties and other rip-rapped areas. Use topwaters early and late in the day. Lake Wapello Largemouth Bass - Fair: Use spinnerbaits or rubber worms along the cedar tree piles and any structure along the shorelines. Channel Catfish - Fair: Try nightcrawlers or chicken liver. Rathbun Reservoir The current lake level is 905.08 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 waterbody. Walleye – Fair: Troll or drift nightcrawlers around rock piles and submerged structure. Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) – Fair: Try vertically jigging around rock piles and underwater islands. The district includes Appanoose, Davis, Lucas, Mahaska, Monroe, Wapello, Wayne and Van Buren counties. Contact the Rathbun Fish Hatchery at 641-647-2406 with questions about fishing in south central Iowa.
    • SOUTHWEST IOWA FISHING REPORTS Big Creek Lake Walleye - Fair: Troll live bait rigs or vertical jig with minnows, nightcrawlers, or leeches near points, humps and roadbeds. Target the East Boat ramp bay, the West Boat Ramp bay and the marina to beach area. Black Crappie - Fair: Drift or troll jigs with twister or paddle tails down 3 to 6 feet in the upper half of the lake. Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) - Fair: Cast or troll shad imitating spoons, crankbaits or plastics. There are many 18-21 inch wipers in Big Creek. Des Moines River (Saylorville to Red Rock) Channel Catfish - Fair: Channel catfish and flathead catfish are being caught. Try live bait, stinkbait and crawlers. Des Moines River (Stratford to Saylorville Lake) Channel Catfish - Good: Try stinkbaits or cut bait fished in or just upstream of tree falls. Don Williams Lake Black Crappie - Fair: Drift or troll panfish jigs out a little deeper on the edges of the treefalls and over sunken pallets. Most crappies are 8.5 to 10 inches. Bluegill - Good: Catch spawning bluegills shallow fishing small jigs tipped with nightcrawlers under a bobber. For more information on Central Iowa lakes and rivers, call Ben Dodd at 641-891-3795 or Andy Otting at 515-204-5885. Lake Anita Crappies were caught around brush piles and the road beds this week. Bluegills have moved into a summer pattern. Bluegill - Fair: Drift or troll small jigs tipped with berkly or nightcrawlers in 6 to 8 feet of water. Black Crappie - Fair: Find crappie around tree piles and along the two road beds in the lake. Largemouth Bass - Good: Anita has a good bass population. Find fish along vegetation edges and around tree piles.  Lake Manawa Walleyes are being picked up around the dredge cuts and the west shore. Channel catfish are being caught on the west shore. Be aware of signs marking the dredge pipe in the lake. Channel Catfish - Good: Channel catfish are spawning around rocky shorelines. White Crappie - Fair: A few large white crappies are being caught on the west shore. Walleye - Fair: A few anglers are having good success trolling crankbaits using planner boards. Don't overlook running a crawler through the dredge cuts.  Littlefield Lake Littlefield has a good ring of aquatic vegetation. Bluegill - Fair: Bluegills have moved around the cedar tree piles in the lake. Largemouth Bass - Good: There is a large number of 12 to 14 inch fish in the lake. Channel Catfish - Good: Cast cut or stinkbait along the dam to catch spawning channel catfish. Prairie Rose Lake Anglers report catching channel catfish around the reefs. Water temperature is 80 degrees. Bluegill - Slow: Bluegills have moved off the spawning beds and can be caught around tree piles or drifting open water areas of the lake. Channel Catfish - Good: Channel catfish are being caught around the jetties and underwater reefs. Fish average 2 to 4 pounds. Largemouth Bass - Good: A large population of 12 to 14 inch bass offer fun catch and release fishing.  Viking Lake Viking Lake is six feet low. Black Crappie - Fair: Black crappies are being caught in brush piles. Cast a minnow under a bobber to catch 9 to 12 inch crappie. Largemouth Bass - Good: Anglers are catching bass in tree piles using plastics. For more information on lakes in the Southwest District call the Cold Springs office at 712-769-2587. Green Valley Lake Largemouth Bass - Fair: Use jigs fished near cedar tree brush piles to catch largemouth bass up to 20 inches. Black Crappie - Slow: Catch crappie up to 9 inches with jigs tipped with live bait fished near cedar tree brush piles. Bluegill - Fair: Catch bluegill up to 7.5 inches with jigs tipped with live bait fished near the fishing jetties or cedar tree brush piles.  Lake Icaria Bluegill - Fair: Catch bluegill of all sizes with nightcrawlers fished under a bobber along the fish mounds. Channel Catfish - Good: Use nightcrawlers fished along rocky shoreline areas to catch channel catfish of all sizes. Little River Watershed Lake Bluegill - Slow: Use jigs tipped with live bait fished near cedar tree brush piles to catch bluegill up to 8.5 inches. Largemouth Bass - Fair: Catch largemouth bass up to 20 inches with jigs fished near cedar tree brush piles or along weed lines.  Three Mile Lake Walleye - Fair: Use jigs tipped with live bait fished along the creek channels to catch walleyes up to 22 inches. Black Crappie - Slow: Catch crappies up to 10 inches with jigs tipped with a minnow fished along the flooded timber. Bluegill - Fair: Use jigs tipped with live bait fished near cedar tree brush piles to catch bluegill of all sizes. Twelve Mile Creek Lake Black Crappie - Slow: Use jigs tipped with live bait fished along cedar tree brush piles or creek channels to catch crappie up to 11 inches. Largemouth Bass - Fair: Catch largemouth bass up to 20 inches with jigs fished near cedar tree brush piles. Yellow Perch - Fair: Use jigs tipped with nightcrawlers fished on the main lake flats to catch yellow perch up to 11 inches. Bluegill - Fair: Catch bluegill of all sizes with jigs tipped with live bait fished along the weed line or cedar tree brush piles. Water temperature in most Mount Ayr district lakes is in the upper 70's to low 80's. For more information, contact the Mount Ayr Fisheries office at 641-464-3108.
    • NORTHWEST Arrowhead Lake Bluegill - Fair: Cast a small jig fished under a bobber near submerged structure along shore in 5-10 feet of water. Largemouth Bass - Fair: Cast traditional bass lures near submerged woody structure throughout the lake and along weed lines in the southern part of the lake.  Black Hawk Lake Yellow Perch - Slow. Largemouth Bass – Fair: Cast traditional bass lures and plastics along shore. You can catch fish anywhere around the lake, but some of the best areas are Ice House point shoreline, inlet bay and bridge area near the outlet, and along Gunshot Hill. Walleye - Slow. Channel Catfish - Fair:Try cut bait, dip baits or crankbaits fished near shore. Bluegill – Fair. Brushy Creek Lake Surface water temperatures are around 75 degrees.  There is around 10 feet of water clarity. Black Crappie - Fair: Use a small piece of crawler or minnow on a jig either drifting or fished under a bobber near submerged woody structure. Largemouth Bass - Fair: Throw traditional bass lures, plastics or weedless lures near submerged structure and along weed lines. Yellow Perch - Slow. Walleye – Slow. Bluegill - Fair.  Channel Catfish - Fair: Brushy Creek Lake has a low-density population of larger channel catfish. Target these larger fish near shore with rocky structure using a variety of cut baits and crankbaits. North Twin Lake Water temperature is in the mid-70's. Yellow Bass - Fair: Use a small jig tipped with a piece of crawler or waxworm fished under a small bobber in 3-6 feet of water near shore. If fishing from boat, you may need to move around to stay on top of fish. Yellow bass are 6-10 inches long. Channel Catfish - Fair: Channel catfish are numerous in North Twin Lake. Use cut baits and crankbaits near shore with rocky structure.  Storm Lake (including Little Storm Lake) Water temperatures are in the mid-70's. Water clarity is 3-5 feet. Storm Lake has a daily limit of 3 walleye, and all 17- to 22-inch walleye must be released; no more than one walleye longer than 22 inches may be taken per day. Walleye - Fair: Anglers have had luck in the main lake drifting with leeches or crawlers along the dredge cuts and trolling crankbaits. Yellow Perch – Fair: Pick up perch along shore in the marina and north and east shores. White Bass - Fair: Pick up white bass from shore and in the main like while trolling. Use twisters, crawlers or crankbaits in the marina, near the inlet and north and east shores in the main lake. Channel Catfish - Fair: Channel catfish are abundant in Storm Lake. Try a variety of dip baits, cut baits and crankbaits fished near shore. Water temperatures are in the mid to upper 70's in the Black Hawk District. For more information, contact the Black Hawk District office at 712-657-2638. Beeds Lake Bluegill – Good: Use a small piece of crawler under a bobber near the shore. Black Crappie – Slow. Yellow Bass – Fair. Clear Lake The water temperature is in the upper 70's. Walleye - Good: Anglers are catching walleyes drift fishing a jig and crawler near vegetation. Try slip bobber fishing a leech or crawler on the rock reefs. Yellow Bass – Slow: The best bite is at first light. Channel Catfish - Good: Float a crawler under a bobber along a rocky shoreline. Boat anglers should try bouncing a jig and crawler on the rock reefs. Crystal Lake Black Crappie - Fair: Drift fish a minnow or small jig near the dredge cut. Largemouth Bass - Good. Bluegill - Fair: Try a small piece of crawler under a bobber near the shore. Lake Cornelia Bluegill - Fair: Channel Catfish - Fair: Try a frog fished along the rocky shoreline. Lower Pine Lake Popular fishing spots get crowded in the afternoon; arrive early to avoid crowds.  Don’t park along the west side of the highway.  If the boat trailer parking lot is full, try Upper Pine Lake. Bluegill - Good: Shore anglers are catching good numbers of 4 to 7 inch fish. Black Crappie – Fair. Largemouth Bass – Good. Channel Catfish - Fair: Try a crawler or live bait near the spillway. Upper Pine Lake Bluegill - Good: Shore anglers are catching good numbers of 4 to 7 inch fish. Largemouth Bass – Good. Black Crappie - Fair. For information on the lakes and rivers in north central Iowa, contact the Clear Lake Fish and Wildlife office at 641-357-3517.  East Okoboji Lake The walleye season is open. The water temperature is 71 degrees. There is a great panfish bite that is moving further out into deeper water post-spawn. Bluegill – Excellent: Large schools are moving into the shallows to bed and can easily be caught around hoists and docks. Black Crappie – Fair. Yellow Perch – Good: A good open water bite has started to pick up. Lake Pahoja Bluegill - Good: Use small jigs tipped with waxworms. Black Crappie - Good: Try small jigs tipped with waxworms. Largemouth Bass - Good: Use rubber worms or other slow moving jigs. Lost Island Lake Yellow Perch – Fair. Walleye – Fair. Silver Lake (Dickinson) Walleye – Good. Spirit Lake The walleye season is open. A great walleye and yellow perch bite has been seen lately with many yellows over 10 inches being caught. The water temperature is 76 degrees. Bluegill - Good: Schools are starting to move deeper off shore post-spawn. Walleye - Good: A fairly good bite lately can also be seen from shore. Try bottom bouncers or crankbaits to cover more water. Black Bullhead - Fair: Anglers have been successful at the north grade. Yellow Perch - Good: The bite has really picked up; fish are a little deeper than what can be easily fished from shore. Try small humps in the main basin or weed edges.  West Okoboji Lake The walleye season is open. The water temperature is 77 degrees. The panfish bite has been great. Bluegill - Good: Schools are starting to move deeper off shore. Try fishing in about 16 feet of water in the weeds or weed lines. Smallmouth Bass - Fair: Find smallmouth bass on rock piles or on the points.. Largemouth Bass - Fair: Find largemouth bass on the weed lines. Yellow Perch - Fair: Schools have started to move deeper off shore. Iowa Great Lake water temperatures have warmed up quickly and are a little warmer than 75 degrees, and should continue to rise with a warmer forecast. This week’s extended forecast calls for temperatures ranging from the upper 80's to low 90's. Use caution fishing this weekend; it may be much harder than usual with the large amount of 4th of July pleasure boat traffic. Stay safe and have a great 4th! For current conditions, call the Spirit Lake District Office at 712-336-1840.   NORTHEAST Cedar River (above Nashua) Repairs to the Nashua dam continue as water levels and flows drop. Water levels are falling. Clarity is improving. Use caution; underwater hazards may have moved. Go to the USGS Current Conditions website for more information on water levels. Channel Catfish - Good: Use chicken liver and stinkbaits or dead chub fished on the bottom out of current. Walleye - Good: The bite is picking up with clearer water. Use a jig tipped with a bright plastic tail for quick action. Smallmouth Bass - Good: Anglers are finding quite a few small ones. Use a jig tipped with natural colored twister tails and crank or spinnerbaits for bass. Decorah District Streams Wild parsnip is coming on strong. Avoid touching this plant; it causes painful blisters. All streams are being stocked. All trout stream stockings are unannounced due to COVID-19 precautions. Hatchery grounds are open to the public, but feeders and other conveniences are temporarily closed. Hatchery visitors must be mindful of one another’s safety and keep at least 6 feet of distance between you and others. Brook Trout - Good: When fishing private property open to angling, leave that property as was or better by picking up trash. Close gates if you opened them; be considerate. Brown Trout - Good: More terrestrials are out. Use beetles or other bright flies fished along grassed edges. Afternoon hatches of caddis and may flies have been slow. Pheasant tailed nymphs and bead headed midges work well. Use hair jigs or spinners for aggressive fish. Rainbow Trout - Excellent:Try a worm or cheese floated through a pool under a bobber. Use an ultra-light pole and reel for fun action. Try small crappie or bluegill jigs. Lake Hendricks Aquatic vegetation is coming on strong. Early morning and evening bite are best. Black Crappie - Slow: Find crappie suspended in deeper water around structure. Use a minnow or small lure drifting over structure. Bluegill - Fair: Try a small piece of worm on a hook under a small bobber. Largemouth Bass - Fair: Use topwater lures or weedless hooks fished along the weed edges.Channel Catfish - Fair: With warmer water temperatures, try cheese or stinkbaits. Nightcrawlers will work. Lake Meyer Hit and miss activity. Water clarity is excellent. Fish bite better any time of the day with off-color water. Fish early morning and evening when shadows aren't cast on the water. Black Crappie - Fair: Use a small spinnerbait tossed along a steep depth change. Bluegill - Fair: Try a small piece of worm fished under a bobber. Largemouth Bass - Fair: Use a jig tipped with a twister tail or worm fished along the shore. Channel Catfish - Fair: Use a nightcrawler fished on the bottom near stumps or other structure. Also try chicken liver or cheese baits. Turkey River (above Clermont) Water levels are falling, but are high with improved clarity. Go to the USGS Current Conditions website for more information on water levels. Walleye - Good: Find walleye in deeper holes around brush piles. Toss a jig tipped with a twister tail near a brush pile.  Upper Iowa River (above Decorah) Water levels are high, but are falling with improved clarity. Current remains strong. Water hazards may have moved. Walleye - Good: Flip a jig with twister tail along a brush pile or rock ledge. White Sucker - Slow: Try a hook tipped with a nightcrawler fished on the bottom. Upper Iowa River (below Decorah) Water levels are high, but are falling with improved clarity. Strong current; water hazards and stream conditions change fast. Walleye - Good: Find walleye along current breaks or around log jams. White Sucker - Slow: Try a hook tipped with a nightcrawler fished on the bottom.  Volga Lake Best bite is early morning or just before dark. Bluegill - Slow: Use a small hook tipped with waxworm or small piece of nightcrawler fished around brush piles and rocky shores. Largemouth Bass - Slow: Use a jig tipped with a ringworm or twister tail. Channel Catfish - Good: Try a nightcrawler, cheese bait or chicken livers fished on the bottom. Best catfishing lake around. Black Crappie - Slow: Use a minnow under a bobber along a rocky shoreline or around brush piles. Area rivers and streams water levels are falling, but flows remain high. Water clarity is much improved. Expect a hot, humid weekend with temperatures in the upper 80's for highs and upper 60's for lows. For current fishing information, please call the Chuck Gipp Decorah Fish Hatchery at 563-382-8324. MISSISSIPPI RIVER Mississippi River Pool 9 River level is 9.1 feet at Lansing with a slight rise predicted this week. Water temperature is 79 degrees. New Albin Army road is reopened. Hwy 82, Lansing Bridge is closed. Use caution at ramps during low water. Lansing Village Creek is shallow near the creek mouth. Heytman's Landing is accessible with shallow drive boats only. Walleye - Good: Walleyes are biting on crankbaits on wing dams and channel border structure. Northern Pike - Good: Try in areas of colder streams and springs entering the Mississippi River. Yellow Perch - Fair: Use a small piece of crawler fished just off the bottom near shorelines with slight current. Black Crappie - Good: Crappies are in about 10 feet of water. Use a minnow under a bobber in areas with less current in backwaters or side channels. Largemouth Bass - Good: Bass will be on pre-spawn bite as temperatures rise. Cast plastics or blade baits in backwater lakes. Smallmouth Bass - Excellent: Try spinnerbaits fished in rock piles at the tip of the islands on main channel borders. Shovelnose sturgeon - Fair: Some shovelnose are being picked up with a crawler fished off the bottom in main channel areas. Flathead Catfish - Fair: Flathead bite has slowed, but some are being caught on shiners or a small bluegill for bait. Channel Catfish - Excellent: Try nightcrawlers or cut bait fished off the bottom in deeper side channel areas. Bluegill - Good: Bluegills are spawning. Use light tackle tipped with small piece of worm along the shorelines. Freshwater Drum - Excellent: Use a crawler fished on the bottom along current breaks. Mississippi River Pool 10 River level is 617.2 feet at Lynxville and is expected to rise to 618.8 feet this week. Water temperature is 80 degrees. Sny Magill access is open, but water may be over the road with a bump up in water levels.. Walleye - Good: Walleyes are biting on crankbaits on wing dams and channel border structure. Northern Pike - Excellent: Try in areas of colder streams and springs entering the Mississippi River. Yellow Perch - Excellent: Use a small piece of crawler fished just off the bottom near shorelines with slight current. Black Crappie - Good: Crappies are in 8-10 feet of water. Use a minnow under a bobber in areas near current breaks in backwaters and side channels. Largemouth Bass - Good: Bass will be on pre-spawn bite as temperatures rise. Cast plastics or blade baits in backwater lakes. Smallmouth Bass - Good: Try spinnerbaits fished in rock piles at the tip of the islands on main channel borders. Shovelnose sturgeon - Good: Some shovelnose are being picked up using a crawler fished off the bottom in main channel areas. Flathead Catfish - Fair: Flathead bite has slowed, but some are still being caught on shiners or a small bluegill for bait. Channel Catfish - Excellent: Try nightcrawlers or cut bait fished off the bottom in deeper side channel areas.  Bluegill - Excellent: Bluegills are spawning. Use light tackle tipped with small piece of worm along the shorelines. Freshwater Drum - Excellent: Try a crawler fished on the bottom along current breaks. Mississippi River Pool 11 River level is 8.4 feet at Guttenberg and is predicted to reach 9.6 feet this week. Water temperature is in the mid to upper 70's. Walleye - Good: Walleyes are biting on crankbaits on wing dams and channel border structure. Northern Pike - Excellent: Try in areas of colder streams and springs entering the Mississippi River. Yellow Perch - Fair: Use a small piece of crawler fished just off the bottom near shorelines with slight current. Black Crappie - Good: Crappies are in about 10 feet of water. Use a minnow under a bobber in areas with less current in backwaters and side channels. Largemouth Bass - Good: Bass will be on pre-spawn bite as temperatures rise. Cast plastics or blade baits in backwater lakes. Smallmouth Bass - Excellent: Try spinnerbaits fished in rock piles at the tip of the islands on main channel borders. Shovelnose sturgeon - Fair: Some shovelnose are being picked up with a crawler fished off the bottom in main channel areas. Flathead Catfish - Fair: Flathead bite has slowed, but some are still being caught on shiners or a small bluegill for bait. Channel Catfish - Excellent: Try nightcrawlers or cut bait fished off the bottom in deeper side channel areas. Bluegill - Good: Bluegills are spawning. Use light tackle tipped with small piece of worm along the shorelines. Freshwater Drum - Excellent: Try a crawler fished on the bottom along current breaks. Upper Mississippi River levels have bumped up this week, but are predicted to level off late in the week. Water clarity has improved. Walleye slot length limits now apply on the entire Mississippi River for Pools 9-12. All walleyes less than 15 inches long and between 20-27 inches long must be released immediately. Only one walleye greater than 27 inches can be kept. Combined walleye/sauger daily harvest limit of 6 and possession of 12.   Mississippi River Pool 12 Water levels are stable, but will start to rise slightly later this week. The water level is near 8.5 feet at the Dubuque Lock and Dam and 10.7 feet at the RR bridge.The water temperature is around 78 degrees. The water clarity is good. Northern Pike - Excellent: Flashy spinners in warm sun filled waters might trigger these predators. Bluegill - Good: Bluegills are still on the spawning beds. Try a simple bobber and worms. White Crappie - Fair: Crappie are reported around tree falls in backwater areas. Most anglers are using a bobber and small minnow. Channel Catfish - Excellent: Lots of anglers are switching to prepared stinkbaits. Some catfish have started to move along the rock lines to prepare for spawning. Freshwater Drum - Excellent: Freshwater drum are easy to catch on an egg sinker and worm rig. Fish in moderate current. Largemouth Bass - Good: Bass are being taken mostly along vegetation lines, but some are also coming off rock piles. Smallmouth Bass - Fair: Some smallies have moved in along the rock piles; use flashy spoons or crankbaits. Mississippi River Pool 13 Water level is 9.4 feet at the Bellevue Lock and Dam and is expected to rise a half foot later this week. The water temperature is 78 degrees. Boat ramps at Pleasant Creek, Bulgers Hollow and the Iowa DNR boat ramp at Bellevue are available to use. Channel Catfish - Excellent: Some cats have moved along rock lines. Anglers are switching to prepared stinkbaits. White Crappie - Fair: A few crappie are being picked up in backwater areas near dead falls. Freshwater Drum - Excellent: Freshwater drum are easy to catch on a sinker and worm rig. Fish in moderate current. Northern Pike - Excellent: Try flashy spinners fished along old weed edges and rock shorelines. Largemouth Bass - Excellent: Male bass are being caught in large numbers. Bluegill - Good: Bluegill nests can be seen along shorelines and vegetation edges in the backwater areas. Flathead Catfish - Good: Use live fish for bait. Lots of trot lines are being set. Walleye - Fair: Wing dam fishing for walleyes is expected to start up if water recedes just a bit. Mississippi River Pool 14 The water level is 9.1 feet at the Fulton Lock and Dam, 12.2 feet at Camanche and 7.2 feet at LeClaire. Water temperature is 78 degrees. Water clarity is fair. Channel Catfish - Excellent: Anglers are switching to prepared stinkbaits. Look for channel cats to move along the rock lines when spawning gets closer. Freshwater Drum - Excellent: Freshwater drum are easy to catch on a worm sinker and worm rig. Fish in moderate current. Largemouth Bass - Good: Small bass are being caught in big numbers. Northern Pike - Good: Use flashy spinners along backwater shorelines or in the tailwaters for this aggressive fish. Flathead Catfish - Good: Try large live bait to catch big flathead catfish. Bluegill - Good: Bluegills are on the spawning beds. Fish along the weed lines or in pockets of vegetation. Walleye - Fair: Wing dam fishing for walleyes is expected to start up if water recedes just a bit. Mississippi River Pool 15 Water level is around 10.4 feet at Rock Island and is stable. Expect water levels to rise slightly later in the week. The water temperature is 78 degrees; water clarity is improving. Freshwater Drum - Good: Freshwater drum are easy to catch on a worm sinker and worm rig. Fish in moderate current. Channel Catfish - Excellent: Channel cats are readily biting on cut bait and prepared baits. Flathead Catfish - Good: Try live bait around brush piles or in the tailwater area. Smallmouth Bass - Fair: Some smallmouth bass may start lurking around the channel rock lines when the river recedes to lower levels. Water level is expected to bump up slightly later in the week. Most areas are back to being usable after spring high water. If you have any fishing questions, please contact the Bellevue Fisheries Station 563-880-8781.   SOUTHEAST Big Hollow Lake Lots and lots of rain this week made the water muddy. Not many anglers out on the lake. Largemouth Bass - Slow: Unstable weather with summer heat shuts the bass down until it evens out some. Bluegill - Fair: Most bluegills have moved off the beds and are out in 6 to 8 feet of water. Iowa River (Columbus Junction to Mississippi River) The Iowa River is dropping pretty fast, but isn't forecast to be below minor flood stage until the middle if next week. Lake Belva Deer Water temperature is 79-80 degrees. Water is green from planktonic algae bloom. Curlyleaf pondweeds have died off. Largemouth Bass - Fair: Summer patterns have set up. Try early or late in the shallows; most of the day they are out in deeper water. Bluegill - Fair: Move out to the deeper water (16 to 18 feet) out around the trees. Black Crappie - Fair: Slow trolling at the lower end of the lake early in the morning or late evening as the sun goes down.  Lake Darling Heavy rains last weekend made the lake high and muddy.  Water level has gone back down; the water is trying to clear. Water temperature is 80 degrees. Largemouth Bass - Slow: Muddy water will slow down the sight feeding fish. Bluegill - Fair: You can still catch bluegills on worm and bobber; most have moved out to 5 to 7 feet of water.  Channel Catfish - Good: When it rains, head for the wiers in the in-lake silt dams; catfish wait just off the sides for food to come through on the current. Black Crappie - Slow: Anglers are picking up a few crappies slowly drift trolling in 10 to 12 feet of water; bite will improve as the water clears. Lost Grove Lake Water temperatures are around 80 degrees. Water clarity is still good with a little green color; weed beds are dying back. Largemouth Bass - Fair: Bass fishing has slowed a bit; most fish are heading to deeper water for the summer. Bluegill - Good: A majority of the bluegills have moved off into 10-15 feet of water. Try small jigs tipped with waxworms or red wigglers. Some bluegills have finished spawning; find them in the flooded timber out in deeper water. Skunk River (Rose Hill to Coppock) The water level in the Skunk River dropped this week with it returning to just above half-bank full. Channel Catfish - Fair: Bite should pick up as the water level gets more stable.  Don't forget to fish under any mulberries that you find hanging over the river. For more information on the above lakes, call the Lake Darling Fisheries Office at 319-694-2430.   Coralville Reservoir The lake level crested at 702.4 feet on 7/01 (normal summer pool is 683 feet) and is predicted to start falling. Mehaffey Bridge ramp is the only open ramp. Diamond Lake All facilities are open. Black Crappie - Fair: Most fish are 8-12 feet down in deeper water around brush or suspended in open water. Try small jigs for these 8-9 inch fish. Bluegill - Fair: Most fish have moved off the bank after the spawn and are being caught a bit deeper on small jigs or worms. Channel Catfish -Good: Try stinkbait or crawlers. After rain events has been best. Lake Macbride The 10 hp outboard maximum limit is in effect. Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) - Fair: Look for surface activity towards sunset; try plastics or topwater baits. Walleye - Slow: Troll crankbaits and live bait rigs in 7-13 feet of water. Largemouth Bass - Fair: Target shallow cover for post-spawn fish. Bluegill - Fair: Try small jigs or worms in rock islands or rock reefs. Channel Catfish - Fair: Live bait works best. Some fish are spawning around shallow rock. Otter Creek Lake Docks are in; the bathroom at the ramp is open. The fish cleaning station is open. Bluegill – Good: Try small jigs or worms around brush piles. Yellow Bass – Good: Use small jigs, spinners or live bait. Channel Catfish - Fair: Look for spawning fish near rocky shores. Black Crappie - Fair: Most fish are small. Pleasant Creek Lake Walleye - Slow: Use crawlers or plastics fished towards evening. Bluegill – Fair: Most fish have moved a bit deeper. Try small worms or jigs. Channel Catfish - Fair: Typical baits such as stinkbait or crawlers work well. Some spawning fish are in the shallow rocks. Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) - Slow: Target windblown areas or look for surface activity in the evening. Muskellunge - Fair: Cloudy or rainy days have had the fish active. Sand Lake This is the quarry on the east side of Marshalltown. Channel Catfish – Good.  Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) – Fair. For more information, contact the Lake Macbride Fisheries Station at 319-624-3615. Hawthorn Lake Largemouth Bass - Fair: Try areas along the fishing jetties and the face of the dam. Bluegill - Fair: Use small jigs around the fishing jetties and rip-rapped shorelines. Lake Miami Largemouth Bass - Fair: Use spinnerbaits or crankbaits along the dam and the cedar tree piles. Bluegill - Fair: Try small jigs with a small chunk of nightcrawler around the fishing jetties. Lake Sugema Channel Catfish - Fair: Use nightcrawlers or chicken liver. Largemouth Bass - Fair: Try spinnerbaits or crankbaits along the fishing jetties and other rip-rapped areas. Use topwaters early and late in the day. Lake Wapello Largemouth Bass - Fair: Use spinnerbaits or rubber worms along the cedar tree piles and any structure along the shorelines. Channel Catfish - Fair: Try nightcrawlers or chicken liver. Rathbun Reservoir The current lake level is 905.08 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 waterbody. Walleye – Fair: Troll or drift nightcrawlers around rock piles and submerged structure. Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) – Fair: Try vertically jigging around rock piles and underwater islands. The district includes Appanoose, Davis, Lucas, Mahaska, Monroe, Wapello, Wayne and Van Buren counties. Contact the Rathbun Fish Hatchery at 641-647-2406 with questions about fishing in south central Iowa.   SOUTHWEST Big Creek Lake Walleye - Fair: Troll live bait rigs or vertical jig with minnows, nightcrawlers, or leeches near points, humps and roadbeds. Target the East Boat ramp bay, the West Boat Ramp bay and the marina to beach area. Black Crappie - Fair: Drift or troll jigs with twister or paddle tails down 3 to 6 feet in the upper half of the lake. Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) - Fair: Cast or troll shad imitating spoons, crankbaits or plastics. There are many 18-21 inch wipers in Big Creek. Des Moines River (Saylorville to Red Rock) Channel Catfish - Fair: Channel catfish and flathead catfish are being caught. Try live bait, stinkbait and crawlers. Des Moines River (Stratford to Saylorville Lake) Channel Catfish - Good: Try stinkbaits or cut bait fished in or just upstream of tree falls. Don Williams Lake Black Crappie - Fair: Drift or troll panfish jigs out a little deeper on the edges of the treefalls and over sunken pallets. Most crappies are 8.5 to 10 inches. Bluegill - Good: Catch spawning bluegills shallow fishing small jigs tipped with nightcrawlers under a bobber. For more information on Central Iowa lakes and rivers, call Ben Dodd at 641-891-3795 or Andy Otting at 515-204-5885. Lake Anita Crappies were caught around brush piles and the road beds this week. Bluegills have moved into a summer pattern. Bluegill - Fair: Drift or troll small jigs tipped with berkly or nightcrawlers in 6 to 8 feet of water. Black Crappie - Fair: Find crappie around tree piles and along the two road beds in the lake. Largemouth Bass - Good: Anita has a good bass population. Find fish along vegetation edges and around tree piles.  Lake Manawa Walleyes are being picked up around the dredge cuts and the west shore. Channel catfish are being caught on the west shore. Be aware of signs marking the dredge pipe in the lake. Channel Catfish - Good: Channel catfish are spawning around rocky shorelines. White Crappie - Fair: A few large white crappies are being caught on the west shore. Walleye - Fair: A few anglers are having good success trolling crankbaits using planner boards. Don't overlook running a crawler through the dredge cuts.  Littlefield Lake Littlefield has a good ring of aquatic vegetation. Bluegill - Fair: Bluegills have moved around the cedar tree piles in the lake. Largemouth Bass - Good: There is a large number of 12 to 14 inch fish in the lake. Channel Catfish - Good: Cast cut or stinkbait along the dam to catch spawning channel catfish. Prairie Rose Lake Anglers report catching channel catfish around the reefs. Water temperature is 80 degrees. Bluegill - Slow: Bluegills have moved off the spawning beds and can be caught around tree piles or drifting open water areas of the lake. Channel Catfish - Good: Channel catfish are being caught around the jetties and underwater reefs. Fish average 2 to 4 pounds. Largemouth Bass - Good: A large population of 12 to 14 inch bass offer fun catch and release fishing.  Viking Lake Viking Lake is six feet low. Black Crappie - Fair: Black crappies are being caught in brush piles. Cast a minnow under a bobber to catch 9 to 12 inch crappie. Largemouth Bass - Good: Anglers are catching bass in tree piles using plastics. For more information on lakes in the Southwest District call the Cold Springs office at 712-769-2587. Green Valley Lake Largemouth Bass - Fair: Use jigs fished near cedar tree brush piles to catch largemouth bass up to 20 inches. Black Crappie - Slow: Catch crappie up to 9 inches with jigs tipped with live bait fished near cedar tree brush piles. Bluegill - Fair: Catch bluegill up to 7.5 inches with jigs tipped with live bait fished near the fishing jetties or cedar tree brush piles.  Lake Icaria Bluegill - Fair: Catch bluegill of all sizes with nightcrawlers fished under a bobber along the fish mounds. Channel Catfish - Good: Use nightcrawlers fished along rocky shoreline areas to catch channel catfish of all sizes. Little River Watershed Lake Bluegill - Slow: Use jigs tipped with live bait fished near cedar tree brush piles to catch bluegill up to 8.5 inches. Largemouth Bass - Fair: Catch largemouth bass up to 20 inches with jigs fished near cedar tree brush piles or along weed lines.  Three Mile Lake Walleye - Fair: Use jigs tipped with live bait fished along the creek channels to catch walleyes up to 22 inches. Black Crappie - Slow: Catch crappies up to 10 inches with jigs tipped with a minnow fished along the flooded timber. Bluegill - Fair: Use jigs tipped with live bait fished near cedar tree brush piles to catch bluegill of all sizes. Twelve Mile Creek Lake Black Crappie - Slow: Use jigs tipped with live bait fished along cedar tree brush piles or creek channels to catch crappie up to 11 inches. Largemouth Bass - Fair: Catch largemouth bass up to 20 inches with jigs fished near cedar tree brush piles. Yellow Perch - Fair: Use jigs tipped with nightcrawlers fished on the main lake flats to catch yellow perch up to 11 inches. Bluegill - Fair: Catch bluegill of all sizes with jigs tipped with live bait fished along the weed line or cedar tree brush piles. Water temperature in most Mount Ayr district lakes is in the upper 70's to low 80's. For more information, contact the Mount Ayr Fisheries office at 641-464-3108.
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