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Tofishem

Our last day fishing... Mom & I

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This is a true story of my Mom & I 2 days after Christmas. Taking place on an area lake in Bemidji

A fishing memory that will never fade away
By JOHN MCRAE
Bemidji Pioneer

It was one of those perfect days that come along all too infrequently while hunting or fishing. The crappies were biting and anglers were pulling them through the ice one after another.
Upon hitting the water, the bobber would twitch and suddenly disappear. Soon, yet another fat crappie would be flopping on the ice.
It was a dream day, but not for all the anglers on the ice that afternoon — just two days removed from Christmas in 2003. Bruce Barnum and his mother Bev were the fortunate anglers that day, finding exactly the right spot at exactly the right time.
Everything changed dramatically, however, in the blink of an eye.
Seemingly out of the blue, Bruce’s mother and cherished fishing buddy was dead.
“She looked over at me and said, ‘Oh Bruce, I can’t breathe. I think I’m going to pass out.’ She said it very calmly and then slumped over,” Bruce recalled.
Bruce said he knew immediately that something was very wrong. He attempted to awaken his mother by shaking her arm, but there was no response.
Bruce quickly flipped open the top of the portable fish house and yelled to other anglers that he needed help.
They all responded quickly. Jeff Nelson and his son Jake where close by and ran over with haste. Walt Jones and son Dustin also came over quickly to offer assistance. Allen Gendreau, a First Responder visiting the Bemidji area from North Carolina, was there to assist along with Rob Haar.
Bev was still alive at the time, although unresponsive.
Bruce got on his cell phone and called 911. The Barnums were fishing on a lake that wasn’t easily accessible by emergency vehicles. Even giving directions was tough.
“The guys knew there was no way an ambulance could get to the lake,” said Bruce, “so they quickly brought over a pickup and placed my mom in back. A sheriff’s deputy and two conservation officers heard the call and quickly came out to help. Just as we got her to the main road, an ambulance arrived.”
Bev was rushed to the hospital, where she still exhibited vital signs upon arrival. She died about 90 minutes after getting to the emergency room.
Looking back on the situation this week, Bruce still couldn’t believe all the assistance his fellow anglers provided. “I’m so thankful the guys were out there,” he said. “Without their help, I don’t know what I’d have done,” he said.
The entire day remains vivid in his mind as do the memories Bruce, his dad and mom built over the years through fishing together.
Growing up in Rockford, Ill., Bruce was the youngest child of a large family. By the time he was old enough to fish, his siblings had grown and left the house.
“Starting when I was 8 years old or so,” Bruce said, “every Saturday morning from April through June, Mom, Dad and I would get up early, drive to Wisconsin, rent a boat and catch crappies.
“It was so much fun. Mom enjoyed it as much, if not more, than Dad and I.”
The fishing excursions became the most special of times for Bruce, strengthening the bond between a son and his parents. When the family was on the lake everything else could be put aside, nothing mattered except having a good time and catching the next fish.
As Bruce grew older more adventurous family fishing excursions to Canada and the southern U.S. followed. Not only was the family bond strengthened, Bruce said, but he was also being provided with an amazing gift — a deep and abiding love of the outdoors.
Bruce’s dad died in 1981 and there were fewer family fishing trips. Upon moving to Bemidji in 1999 Bruce and his in-laws bought a family resort on Big Turtle Lake north of Bemidji. Bev, living in Arizona by that time, loved to make visits.
“Before Christmas, the last time she was here was in 2001,” Bruce said. “We got out fishing a lot. She just loved it. Not necessarily catching fish, but just being out there.”
The two would use the time together to reminisce about fishing trips past and get a laugh from the memories.
Bruce said his mom really looked forward to what turned out to be her last trip north. “I told her we were going ice fishing and she was really excited,” Bruce said. “She had a chance to go on a cruise with some family friends but she turned them down, saying she wouldn’t miss her chance to come up here.”
Bruce admits he’s still numbed by the shock of losing his mother. But, in retrospect, he said he’s come to believe it may have been fortunate things ended the way they did.
“The whole thing is, she was doing something she loved at the time,” he said. “It’s the way I would want to go — being out on the lake, catching fish the way we did.
“It was like we were fishing in a barrel, catching crappies one after another. We were giggling and laughing, carrying on like kids. I told her, ‘Mom, we hit the jackpot … it’s a gold mine.’ Funny thing was, nobody else was catching fish like that.
“It was strange, almost like it was meant to be.”
Those memories have comforted Bruce, he said, over the eight weeks since his mother’s death. “I think of it all the time,” he said. “We were doing something we both loved, having a great time.
“If her dying was meant to be, if that’s what had to happen, I’m very fortunate I was able to share those last moments with her.”
Bruce said the overriding memory of the experience has become a picture of his mother that’s deeply and forever etched in his mind.
“I remember looking over and seeing her holding the biggest crappie we caught that day. She had a huge smile on her face. I wanted to take a picture, but the camera batteries were low and it didn’t work out.
“It doesn’t really matter, though. I’ll have that picture with me forever .”

I felt the need to share this one with all!
Bruce Barnum

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Man, that was a very sad, happy, touching, emotional story. I dont know whether to feel happy or sad. I think I'll choose happy. As stated, it almost seemed like fate. To share a most perfect final moment, one that could never be duplicated even if tryed.

------------------
http://groups.msn.com/canitbeluck

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God has blessed you Bruce,you have great memories,sorry for your loss.Don

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Feel Happy. I do. I mean even though I lost Mom, I was there sharing a passion we both loved. And were catching crappies like mad. That sometimes keeps me going. Knowing that we shared that together. No one can take that away.
Bruce

[This message has been edited by Tofishem (edited 02-26-2004).]

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Your a lucky man Bruce. To be able to share that experience with your Mom in the end is truely what is priceless in life!

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Sorry to hear of the passing of your mom.

But what a gift you were to each other. Like you said it's almost as if you were meant to be together catching those crappies sharing a wonderful moment. Thank you for sharing your personal story with all of us.

Take care and God Bless.

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Bruce,
That story is just as compelling as when you first told me the story, and when I saw it in the paper the first time. Once again I'm sorry about your mom, and I wish we were all so lucky, to go out doing what we love most, with the one's we love most! Take care and God bless.

------------------
Matthew J. Breuer
Northcountry Guide Service
[email protected]
-----------------------
Custom Jigs and Spins
Phelps Tackle
Stone Legacy
Ice Leaders

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Bruce,

What a touching story. I'm still numb, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

Thank you for sharing and God bless!

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Bruce- WOW!! WHat an amazing story about your experience. I have to agree with you about spending precious time with the ones you love and doing what you love to do. I spend as much time with my family hunting and fishing, so all of us can enjoy what God created for us to enjoy. I keep telling everybody you have to move to "Gods Country!" (Bemidji!

Sorry about your loss and our thoughts and prayers are with you.

------------------
Happy Fishing,

Woodman

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Beautiful. Thank you for sharing such a moving story. I'm sorry for your loss.
Ol'Sneller

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

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    • NORTHEAST IOWA FISHING REPORTS Cedar River (above Nashua)
      The river is rising and extremely muddy. Boating is not recommended. Visit the USGS Current Water Data website for current water level information. Walleye -Slow. Channel Catfish - Fair: Use chicken liver, stink bait or dead chubs. Catfish will be in a slow pocket or area out of the current.  Decorah District Streams
      Small game hunting seasons are open in Iowa. Many trout streams flow through areas with hunting. Wear bright colors. Due to recent rain, streams will be stocked depending on stream conditions the day of stocking. Listen to the trout stocking hotline (563-927-5736) for daily information. Brook Trout - Fair: A variety of aquatic and terrestrial insects, like ants and beetles, are more numerous. Try small spinnerbaits and jigs tipped with twister tails. Brown Trout - Good: Hendrickson caddis and cranefly hatches are occurring. Crickets are common along streams now. Use hendrickson gnat or beadhead nymph patterns. Pale yellow, black, brown, and grey colors work best. Rainbow Trout - Fair: Try a piece of worm or small cheese chunk on a hook under a bobber in the deeper holes or floated past an undercut bank. A variety of small spinnerbaits work well. French Creek
      The bridge on Mays Prairie Road (CR X6A) is being replaced. Work is scheduled through mid-November. Access the parking lot from the south. Brown Trout - Good: The best time to fish French Creek is after rain events so fish will be less spooky. This stream rarely turns off color.  Lake Hendricks
      Water temperatures are in the upper 60's. Clarity remains poor. Black Crappie - Slow: Drift a minnow in deeper water. Largemouth Bass - Slow: Try near submersed rocky habitat or depth contours in the early morning.  Channel Catfish - Good: Use a large night crawler fished off the bottom near woody structure. Bluegill - Slow: Activity should pick up with cooler temperatures. Try a small jig tipped with small piece of worm off rocky shoreline or near submersed logs.  Lake Meyer
      Lake clarity is about 5 feet, but will likely be much less after this current rainy period. Water temperatures are in the upper 60's. Few people have been out fishing. Bluegill - Fair: Use a hook tipped with a small piece of worm or cricket under a bobber in deeper water. Channel Catfish - Good: Try stink bait or cut baits fished just off the bottom in the evening. Largemouth Bass - Fair: Use topwater baits along weed edges on overcast days and late evenings. Black Crappie - Fair: Use a jig and minnow near submersed structure.  Osborne Pond
      Osborne Pond is currently being renovated. The dam was breached in July and a water retention basin installed. Material will be removed over the winter and new habitat installed in the spring. After repairs to the dam are made, it will be allowed to fill. The pond will then be restocked with bluegill, channel catfish, and largemouth bass.  Turkey River (above Clermont)
      The Turkey River is rising again and muddy. Flows remain high. Boating is not recommended.  Visit the USGS Current Condition website for more information. Boat docks at Vernon Springs are out for the season. Smallmouth Bass - Slow: Try spinner and crankbaits. Walleye - Fair: Use minnows or lures imitating minnows in deep water drop offs. Upper Iowa River (above Decorah)
      Water levels are rising with poor water clarity. Visit the USGS Current Water Data website for more information. Boating is not recommended. The dock is out at Lime Springs for the season. Upper Iowa River (below Decorah)
      The Upper Iowa is rising and clarity is poor. Paddling activities are not recommended. Visit the USGS Current Conditions website for more information.  Volga Lake
      Bluegill - Slow: Find gills along rocky shoreline or suspended deeper. Use a small jig tipped with a small piece of worm. Black Crappie - Slow: Slowly retrieve a lure over structure in deeper water. Largemouth Bass - Fair: Use topwater lures over structure or run a jig tipped with a twister tail along a rocky shoreline. Channel Catfish - Good: Use stink bait worms or cut baits fished off the bottom in the evening near woody structure.  Recent rainfall events have turned a majority of area rivers and streams off color and running high. Temperatures are cooling greatly for the weekend. Trout streams are off color and high. For current fishing information, please call the Decorah Fish Hatchery at 563-382-8324.   Casey Lake (aka Hickory Hills Lake)
      Casey Lake is in good condition with clear water. Bluegill – Good: Try fishing various depths with a piece of crawler under a bobber near the edge of weeds or structure. Largemouth Bass - Good: Use topwater and plastic artificial baits. Black Crappie - Good: Try small pink and white tube jigs or a crappie minnow fished under a slip bobber by the jetties and dam areas in about 4 feet of water.  The recent wet weather may provide a great opportunity to gather up bow hunting gear for the upcoming weekend! Heavy rains and flooding is occurring on all cold and warm water streams and rivers.Call the N.E. Iowa district office at 563-927-3276 for more information.   MISSISSIPPI RIVER FISHING REPORTS Mississippi River Pool 9
      River level is 8.6 feet at Lansing and is expected to stay stable. Water temperature is near 73 degrees. The Lansing Village Creek ramp is closed through October.  For more updates, call the Guttenberg Fisheries Management office at 563-252-1156. Walleye - Good: Fishing wing dam areas will get easier with a drop in river levels. Use crankbaits or 3-way rigs tipped with crawlers in 8-12 feet of water. Yellow Perch - Excellent: Perch bite has picked up. Many 13 inch fish are being caught with live minnow floated under a bobber. Northern Pike - Good: This time of year pike are attracted to cooler water coming in from springs and tributaries. Cast spoons along the edge of weed beds. Channel Catfish - Good: Try cut bait or stink bait in the main and side channel borders. Largemouth Bass - Good: Look for largemouth in the slack water areas off the main channel or running sloughs. Smallmouth Bass - Excellent: Smallmouth activity has picked up. Cast inline spinners or crankbaits along rock or tree habitat in faster current.  White Bass - Fair: Cast flashy spinners or crankbaits along the rocks in main channel current for big white bass. Bluegill - Excellent: Find bluegills in clearer water with slow current in backwater areas away from main channel and sloughs.  Freshwater Drum - Excellent: Freshwater drum are actively biting in areas of current. Drop a heavily weighted worm rig into the current for some big fish action. Black Crappie - Fair: Expect the crappie bite to pick up this fall after the water clarity improves. Try tube jigs or minnow under a bobber in submersed trees in the backwater sloughs.  Mississippi River Pool 10
      River level is 16.4 feet at Lynxville and will stabilize near 15.5 feet next week. Water temperature is 74 degrees at the Lock and Dam 9. Walleye- Good: Fishing wing dam areas will get easier with a drop in river levels. Use crankbaits or 3-way rigs tipped with crawlers in 8-12 feet of water. Yellow Perch - Excellent: Perch bite has picked up. Many 13 inch fish are being caught with live minnow floated under a bobber.  Northern Pike -Good: This time of year pike are attracted to cooler water coming in from springs and tributaries. Cast spoons along the edge of weed beds. Channel Catfish - Good: Try cut bait or stink bait in the main and side channel borders. Bluegill - Excellent: Find bluegills in clearer water with slow current in backwater areas away from main channel and sloughs. Largemouth Bass - Good: Look for largemouth in the slack water areas off the main channel or running sloughs.  Smallmouth Bass - Excellent: Smallmouth activity has picked up. Cast inline spinners or crankbaits along rock or tree habitat in faster current.  White Bass - Fair: Cast flashy spinners or crankbaits along the rocks in the main channel current for big white bass. Bluegill - Fair: Find bluegills in clearer water with slow current in backwater areas away from main channel and sloughs.  Freshwater Drum - Excellent: Freshwater drum are actively biting in areas of current. Drop a heavily weighted worm rig into the current for some big fish action. Black Crappie - Fair: Expect the crappie bite to pick up this fall after the water clarity improves. Try tube jigs or minnow under a bobber in submersed trees in the backwater sloughs. Mississippi River Pool 11
      River level at Guttenberg has dropped several feet to 8.9 feet and is expected to reach 7.5 feet by next week. Water temperature is 68 degrees at Lock and Dam 10. Walleye - Good: Fishing wing dam areas will get easier with a drop in river levels. Use crankbaits or 3-way rigs tipped with crawlers in 8-12 feet of water. Yellow Perch - Excellent: The perch bite has picked up. Many 13 inch fish are being caught with a live minnow floated under a bobber.  Northern Pike - Good: This time of year, pike are attracted to cooler water coming in from springs and tributaries. Cast spoons along the edge of weed beds.
      Channel Catfish - Good: Try cut bait or stink bait in the main and side channel borders. Largemouth Bass - Good: Look for largemouth in the slack water areas off the main channel or running sloughs. Smallmouth Bass - Excellent: Smallmouth activity has picked up. Cast inline spinners or crankbaits along rock or tree habitat in faster current.  White Bass - Fair: Cast flashy spinners or crankbaits along the rocks in main channel current for big white bass. Bluegill - Excellent: Find bluegills in clearer water with slow current in backwater areas away from main channel and sloughs. Freshwater Drum - Excellent: Freshwater drum are actively biting in areas of current. Drop a heavily weighted worm rig into the current for some big fish action. Black Crappie - Fair: Expect the crappie bite to pick up this fall after the water clarity improves. Try tube jigs or minnow under a bobber in submersed trees in the backwater sloughs.  Upper Mississippi River level is falling back into normal fall range. Look for fish to be more active as they start fall feeding activity. Water temperatures are near 70 degrees.   Mississippi River Pool 12
      Water levels will fluctuate this week, starting at 8.2 feet at the Dubuque Lock and Dam and at 10.7 feet at the RR bridge. Water clarity is fair. The water temperature is around 72 degrees. Channel Catfish - Good:Try stink bait or worms near shore. Channel cats feed heavily near shore during flooded conditions. Freshwater Drum - Good: Most anglers use a simple egg sinker and worm rig. Drum will be hanging out relatively near shore in moderate current areas. Bluegill - Good: Try finding clear water in the upper reaches of backwater areas; use worms and bobber. Largemouth Bass - Fair: Fish the upper ends of backwater areas in cleaner water. Black Crappie - Fair: Use small minnows in the clear upper reaches of backwater areas.  Mississippi River Pool 13
      Water level will fluctuate this week, starting out at 9.2 feet at the Bellevue Lock and Dam. Water clarity is fair. Avoid large tributary streams as they are muddy. The water temperature is around 73 degrees. The north ramp at Sabula is not in use this year due to bridge construction. Channel Catfish - Fair: Try stink bait or worms near shore. Move often if you are not finding catfish. Freshwater Drum - Good: The drum bite is on. Fish worms with an egg sinker in moderate current areas. Fish near the shorelines if possible. Largemouth Bass - Good: Try frog imitation lures and spinner baits in the upper ends of backwater areas and deep in the vegetated areas. Bluegill - Good: Find the clear water in the upper reaches of large backwater complexes; use a simple bobber and worm. Black Crappie - Fair: Use a small minnow and bobber in the upper reaches of backwaters in clear water.  Mississippi River Pool 14
      Water levels are predicted to fluctuate this week, starting at around 9 feet at Fulton Lock and Dam, 12 feet at Camanche and 6.7 feet at the LeClaire. Water clarity is fair. The water temperature is around 73 degrees. Channel Catfish - Good: Try stink bait or worms near shore or along brush piles. Channel cats feed heavily in flooded waters. Freshwater Drum - Good: Use a simple egg sinker/worm rig in moderate current areas. Walleye - Slow: A few walleye were caught off the bank with jigs and minnows. Bluegill - Good: Use a bobber and worm in the upper reaches of Rock Creek or Cattail Slough.  Mississippi River Pool 15
      Water levels are near 10.2 feet at Rock Island and will rise to 12.3 feet. This level will again approach "action" flood stage, so some boat ramps will be flooded. Water clarity is poor. The water temperature is around 74 degrees. Channel Catfish - No Report: Try stink bait or worms near shore. Fish near shore in flooded waters. Freshwater Drum - No Report: Use an egg sinker and worm rigs fished near shore in moderate current areas.  The water levels will fluctuate this week. Most ramps are usable again, but some will have water on them. If you have any angling questions, please contact the Bellevue Fisheries Station 563-872-4976. 
    • NORTHWEST IOWA FISHING REPORTS Black Hawk Lake
      Water temperatures are in the low 70's. Water levels are 6 inches over the crest of the spillway. Bluegill - Fair: Use a small jig with a small piece of crawler fished under a bobber in 3-6 feet of water in Town Bay from the stone piers along Ice House Point and near the inlet bridge. Walleye - Slow: Try crawler rigs or crankbaits around Ice House Point, the dredge cut near Denison Beach, and around the rock piles near Gunshot Hill, Cottonwood Point and the East Basin. Largemouth Bass - Fair: Catch largemouth all over the lake using traditional bass lures. There is a 15 inch minimum length limit on largemouth bass in Black Hawk Lake.  Channel Catfish - Fair: Use stink bait, cut bait, or crawler fished on the bottom along Ice House Point and in Town Bay, and along shore near the outlet. Yellow Perch - Fair: Use crawlers fished 3-4 feet below a bobber on the lake side of the inlet bridge and from the stone piers in Town Bay. Brushy Creek Lake
      There is a 15 inch minimum length limit on largemouth bass in Brushy Creek Lake, and a 40 inch minimum length limit for musky. Walleye - Fair: Drift or troll slowly crawler rigs, minnows or leaches in 15-20 feet of water. Yellow Perch - Fair: Find perch along the vegetation and deeper structure. Largemouth Bass - Fair: Catch bass along weed lines near shore just about anywhere with traditional bass lures. There is a 15 inch minimum length limit on largemouth bass in Brushy Creek Lake. Bluegill - Fair: Try tube jigs tipped with crawlers in 10-15 feet of water.  North Twin Lake
      Water temperatures are in the low 70's. Water clarity is around 1.5 feet. White Crappie - Slow: No Report - A recent survey showed most crappie are 6-10 inches with a few up to 14 inches. Walleye - Slow: Walleye up to 27 inches have been seen in recent netting surveys.  Storm Lake (including Little Storm Lake)
      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: Use crawler rigs and troll crankbaits along the edges of the dredge cuts around the lake in 6-10 feet of water. White Bass - Fair: Troll crankbaits or fish crawlers along the dredge cuts.  Water temperatures in Black Hawk District lakes are in the low 70's. For more information, contact the Black Hawk District office at 712-657-2638.   Beeds Lake
      The park road will be closed Sept. 19th - 21st due to road construction; there will be no access to the boat ramp. Black Crappie - Fair: Drift fish or troll with a tube jig or small minnow. Yellow Bass - Fair: Drift fish or troll with a small jig. Shore anglers should fish a small piece of crawler or cut bait off the bottom.  Clear Lake
      Surface water temperature is 70 degrees. Channel Catfish - Fair: Use crawlers or cut bait in the areas where water is entering the lake. Black Crappie - Fair: Drift a jig and minnow over deeper submerged vegetation. Yellow Bass - Fair: Drift or troll a small jig tipped with cut bait or a minnow over the reefs until you find fish.  Muskellunge - Fair: Fish the edge of the vegetation and near docks.  Crystal Lake
      Black Crappie - Fair: Drift or troll small tube jigs or a minnow in the dredge cut or on the edge of vegetation. Largemouth Bass - Fair: Use crankbaits.  Lake Smith
      Black Crappie - Fair: Drift or troll a small jig or minnow in deeper near the outlet.  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
      Yellow Bass - Good: Excellent bite continues with good numbers of fish being caught. Cast mini-jigs or hair-jigs or use small baits tipped with wigglers. Don’t overlook the evening bite from docks as these fish will move shallow at dusk. Walleye - Good: Numbers of fish are being caught with traditional baits; good numbers of yellow bass are mixed in with the catch. Northern Pike - Fair: Anglers report northern pike action on the lake.  Five Island Lake
      Channel Catfish - Good: Numbers of fish are being caught trolling. Don’t overlook public areas to fish using traditional "cat" baits which will provide excellent action.  Lake Pahoja
      Bluegill - Good: Recent surveys show good numbers of large angler size fish in the lake.  Little Sioux River (state line to Linn Grove)
      Channel Catfish - Good: Report of angles catching fish from the river.  Lost Island Lake
      Yellow Bass - Good: Reports of yellow bass being caught with black crappie and yellow perch up to 10 inches mixed in the catch. Use small lures such as a twister tail or hair jigs. Bluegill - Good: Recent surveys show numbers of fish approaching 7 inches in the lake. Black Crappie - Good: Recent surveys show numbers of angler acceptable size fish up to 10 inches in the lake.  Ocheyedan Pit #1
      Channel Catfish - Fair: Recent surveys show good numbers of 17 -23 inch channel catfish.  Silver Lake (Dickinson)
      Walleye - Good: Expect the fall walleye bite to start soon. Troll crankbaits during the day; wader fishing is your best chance to catch trophy size fish.  Spirit Lake
      Walleye - Good: The fall walleye bite has started with action improving. Yellow Perch - Good: Good numbers of angler acceptable size yellow perch continue to be caught in the outside line of the weed beds. Bonus bluegill will be mixed in the catch.  West Okoboji Lake
      Bluegill - Good: Rock piles in deeper water with stands of aquatic growth will produce good numbers of angler acceptable sized fish.  For more information throughout the week, contact the Spirit Lake Fish Hatchery at 712-336-1840. 
    • SOUTHEAST IOWA FISHING REPORTS Big Hollow Lake
      The unstable weather isn't helping the fishing or the number of anglers out on the lake.  Black Crappie - No Report: Start looking for crappies in 6 feet of water. Bluegill - No Report: Bluegills should be moving in to more shallow water soon. Start at 6 feet and work your way in from there.  Deep Lakes
      Grab a pole and go exploring at Deep Lakes; there are lots of ponds to try. Largemouth Bass - Fair: Most of the ponds have good numbers of bass in them; most are smaller, but there are some big ones. Go subtle in your choice of lures with the ultra-clear water. Bluegill - Good: Find the right pond and you can catch some nice bluegills.  Iowa River (Columbus Junction to Mississippi River)
      The Iowa River still has a lot of flow right now, but is currently back down in its bank with only some low area flooding; it looks to be headed back up.  Lake Belva Deer
      Water warmed up over the last days to around 78 degrees again. The cooler weather forecast should reverse that trend. Black Crappie - Fair: Last week was pretty slow;  crappie should start biting again with the water getting back to normal and cooling off. Channel Catfish - Fair: Should still be able to pick up a few catfish up by the inlet from the marsh. Largemouth Bass - Fair: Picking up a few bass in the more shallow water up along the rocks and gravel bottom areas.  Lake Darling
      The water temperature is back up to about 79 degrees. Water clarity is improving despite more heavy rains earlier this week. Fishing, while still pretty good, is a little more hit and miss due to the weather.  Bluegill - Good: Decent numbers of hand-sized bluegills are being caught in 5 or less feet of water. Water still hasn’t cleared up after last week’s heavy rains. So a little flash to any lure is a good idea. Channel Catfish - Good: Anglers continue to catch catfish. It’s a good time to fish the weirs in the in-lake silt dams as the water from the recent and forecast rains come into the lake. Largemouth Bass - Good: Bass are hovering over the rock piles in about 5-8 feet of water. Spinnerbaits and spoons work best.  Lost Grove Lake
      Water temperature was 78 degrees on Wednesday; the storm may have cooled it off more since then. Black Crappie - Fair: Anglers are still catching crappies out deep, but if the nights stay fairly cool, they should start to move in to shallower water. Largemouth Bass - Good: Run your favorite crankbait on the north side of the lake, out along the mounds on the flats and in shallow.  Skunk River (Coppock to Mississippi River)
      The Skunk River is back down to about 1/2 bank full. The parking areas and lanes to them are still muddy.  For more information on the above lakes and rivers, call the Lake Darling Fisheries Office at 319-694-2430. Central Park Lake
      The lake is close to full after the renovation project; fingerling fish have been stocked.  Coralville Reservoir
      The lake level is at 705 feet (normal pool is 683.4 feet) and slowly falling as of 9/20. All public ramps are under water and the Mehaffey ramp is closed due to construction.  Diamond Lake
      The water is muddy. Black Crappie - Fair: Try small jigs fished over deeper brush. Most fish are 8-9 inches. Channel Catfish - Good: Stink bait works best. Some limits are being reported.   Iowa Lake (Iowa County)
      Largemouth Bass – Slow. Channel Catfish – Slow. Bluegill – Fair. Black Crappie - Fair: Fish in 12-15 feet of water and look for fish suspended a few feet off the bottom.  Iowa River (Coralville Lake to River Junction)
      Catfish were biting at Hills and River Junction before the flows bumped up to 10,000 CFS. Flows will continue to be this high until the Coralville Reservoir is back down to normal, which could be weeks.  Kent Park Lake
      The lake is currently drained for a lake restoration project.  Lake Macbride
      The motor restriction is off; any sized motor may be used at no-wake speed (5 mph). Black Crappie - Fair: Use jigs or minnows around brush; some fish are reported as moving shallower. Walleye - Fair: Troll crawlers or crankbaits in 7-14 feet of water. Largemouth Bass - Fair. Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) – Fair: Try topwater baits early and late then troll during the day. Channel Catfish - Fair: Try cut bait or stink bait. Evenings are best.  Pleasant Creek Lake
      The lake is still 1.5 feet low. Use caution on the lake, as many of the new rock and wood structures are becoming submerged. There are 2 docks in at the main ramp and the fish cleaning station is open.   For more information, contact the Lake Macbride Fisheries Station at 319-624-3615.   Lake Keomah
      Bluegill - Fair: Use small jigs tipped with live bait near shore and around the fishing jetties. Black Crappie - Fair: Use a jig tipped with a minnow around deep structure. Try different depths until you find active fish. Channel Catfish - Fair: Use stink bait or chicken liver in 4-8 feet of water. Largemouth Bass - Fair: Try spinnerbaits, crankbaits or rubber worms around the fishing jetties and along the dam.  Lake Miami
      Largemouth Bass - Fair: Try topwater lures in the early mornings and evenings then switch to rubber worms or crankbaits during the hotter parts of the day. Target the cedar tree piles and the fishing jetties. Bluegill - Fair: Use a chunk of night crawler along the fishing jetties or around the cedar tree piles.  Lake Sugema
      The south boat ramp off of Highway 2 has been reopened. There is now a construction project on the north ramp. Largemouth Bass - Fair: Use topwater lures in the early mornings and evenings. As the day progresses, target deeper structure using rubber worms or deep diving crankbaits. Black Crappie - Slow: Crappies are suspended. Try drifting minnows around the flooded timber at different depths to find active fish. Bluegill - Fair: Try live bait tipped on a small jig around the shorelines and fishing jetties. Keep moving until you find active fish.  Lake Wapello
      Channel Catfish - Fair: Use chicken liver or stink bait. Don’t fish too deep as the lake does stratify; target 6-8 feet of water. Largemouth Bass - Good: Use rubber worms or crawdad imitating crankbaits around deep structure. Try also topwater lures around the cedar tree piles in the morning. Bluegill - Fair: Try small jigs tipped with a chunk of night crawler around aquatic vegetation. Black Crappie - Slow: Try jigs tipped with a minnow in 6-10 feet of water.  Rathbun Reservoir
      The current lake level is 906.10 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. Channel Catfish - Good: Use stink bait or chicken liver in coves or areas with some water running into the lake. White Crappie - Fair: Try minnows around deeper structure. Trolling small crankbaits can also catch suspended crappies. Crappies will start to move shallow as the water cools. Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) - Fair: Troll crankbaits along rocky shorelines and around rock piles. Follow the gulls as they will be where the schools of hybrid striped bass are feeding. Try also vertically jigging spoon baits around rock piles. Walleye - Fair: Use night crawler rigs or troll crankbaits around rock piles and submerged points.  Red Haw Lake
      Largemouth Bass - Good: Cast the shorelines in the early part of the day and then fish deeper structure as the day warms up. Use rubber worms or crankbaits. Topwater lures can be productive along the lily pads. Black Crappie - Fair: Try tube jigs along the shorelines. Bluegill - Fair: Use small jigs tipped with live bait around the shorelines and fishing jetties. Channel Catfish - Fair: Try night crawlers or chicken liver around the fishing jetties and the outer edge of the lily pads.  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.   MISSISSIPPI RIVER  FISHING REPORTS Mississippi River Pool 16
      Tailwater stage is 10.36 feet at Lock and Dam 15 in the Quad Cities, but is forecast to reach 12.5 feet by the middle of next week. Flood stage is 15 feet. As of Sept. 19th, the Clark's Ferry boat ramp was still closed due to high water, but the ramp at Shady creek is open. The docks have been pulled out at the Fairport Recreational area due to high water. Fishing has been slow.  Mississippi River Pool 17
      Tailwater stage is 10.31 feet at Lock and Dam 16 in Muscatine and is forecast to rise over the weekend. Flood stage at Lock and Dam 16 is 15 feet. River stage at Muscatine is 12.14 feet, but forecast to reach 13.2 feet by the middle of next week. Flood stage at Muscatine is 16 feet. The Kilpeck Landing is closed. Big Timber is also closed due to high water. Fishing has been slow.   Mississippi River Pool 18
      Tailwater stage is 12.57 feet at Lock and Dam 17 above New Boston and has been falling the past week, but is forecast to rise over the weekend. Flood stage is 15 feet at Lock and Dam 17. River level at Keithsburg is 12.52 feet and is forecast to reach 13.1 feet by the middle of next. Flood stage at Keithsburg is 14 feet. The Toolsboro access is inaccessible due to the Odessa road being flooded. Ferry Landing is closed. Fishing has been slow.   Mississippi River Pool 19
      Tailwater stage is 9.43 feet at Lock and Dam 18 and is forecast to start rising over the weekend. Flood stage is 10 feet. River level at Burlington is 14.63 feet and is forecast to start rising over the weekend. Flood stage at Burlington is 15 feet. Fishing has been slow with the high water.   River stages have been falling the past few days. With recent heavy rains, the river is forecast to start rising over the weekend. Some boat ramps are closed due to high water. Main channel water temperature is around 73 degrees. Water clarity is poor due to high water conditions. Fishing has been slow with the high water. If you have questions on fishing Pools 16-19, contact the Fairport Fish Hatchery at 563-263-5062.
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