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augernaut

Ice fishing reels

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There is a legion of real serious ice anglers who use - believe it or not - the cheap plastic schooley reels, or somethign similar. Mount them on a good quality ice rod (100% carbon graphite), and you have an unbeatable combination of light weight and absolutely no line twist. Spinning reels always twist the line to some degree, and in a shallow water type situation, it is difficult to keep a horizontal jig from spinning. One cardinal rule of gill, crappie, and perch fishing is that fish will not hit a spinning jig. I myself use mainly spinning reels - especially for walleye jigging and any panfishing over about 10 foot of water. However, I'm really starting to play around more with the schooley type reels for shallow water work though - also the european style of tiny little rods that have an integral reel in them (kind of like a Normark Teho, or Marmish). As far as baitcasters go, I think unless you are fishing lakers in DEEP water (60-120 FOW), there is really no reason to use a baitcaster. A good spinning reel will land any walleye or pike you hook into.

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Well put augernaut, those are words from a true finesse panfisherman smile.gif

Spinning jigs = bad

I've been using a lot shorter rods for shallow panfish bites as well. They work a lot better for sight fishing when you're leaning over the hole. They also play a fish surprising well too. Rods as short as a foot are being used for bites like this.

Good Fishin,
Matt Johnson

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Matt Johnson Outdoors
Metro Area Ice Fishing and more...

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Up until last winter, I too was vitually a 100% spinning reel guy. Now my oldest who was 7 last winter really got into ice fishing also. I had some old Garcia 5000's and put them on a rod he got for christmas and a ice rod I already had. I found that they were much easier for him to use without any assistance from Dad, which made him enjoy it more. I really enjoyed using them while dead sticking with a slip bobber. The line never gets caught on the bobber stop knot when I use the baitcasters, like it does with a spinning reel, which lets you get back in the ballgame faster after rebaiting the jig. Especially on a lake like LOW where you are letting out 30 ft or so of line.

SPUD

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So far every reel I have for ice fishing is a spinning reel. I've seen baitcasting reels for ice fishing also. What other reels are there and in what circumstances would you recommend one over the other (i.e. are the baitcasting reels better than spinning reels in some ice fishing circumstances)?

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I ice fish with spinning reels probably about 99 percent of the time. I have one rod equipped with a baitcaster and thats on a 36 inch Medium Heavy Genz rod. Only time I've used that rod is for quick-strike jigging for pike, and a spinning reel set-up could be used the same way.

In my opinion, a spinning reel can be used in every situation and the isn't really a circumstance where I'd choose a baitcaster because it will out perform the spinning reel. It all comes down to personal preferrence.

Good Fishin,
Matt Johnson

------------------
Matt Johnson Outdoors
Metro Area Ice Fishing and more...

[email protected]
Iceleaders
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JR's Tackle

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My thoughts for northerns, walleyes, is to use a baitcaster is to lessen the line twist, here is my thoughts on how that works, your fishing vertical right? so when your fishing why do you want a line that doesnt wind in a vertical motion? I think there still is some line twist but not as much, but like someone said a spinning reel works just fine.
Best Fishes
Chris

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Thanks Matt :-)

I've got a new one this year I picked up late last winter - it's the Frabill Sensive 18" microlite rod, and I put the little HT levelwind reel on it - the reel is blue and black, aluminum, looks like a tiny little fly reel. Should be an awesome finess rig! I'm going to spool with 2lb Stren Gold, and a 2lb flourocarbon leader. Oh man, I can't wait for ice!!!!

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I'm a hang the rattle reel on the wall and drink beer kind of guy. But, where I live we don't put out 30 feet of line. Going hand over hand is actually easier in 4' of water.

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Matt,

Yeah, I've looked at the Sweet Pea and Finesse plus from Thorne Bros. Pretty awesome little rods! I'm afraid to buy one, cuz if I do, it will start the "waterfall effect", and I'll have to have about 6 or 7 of them!! My wife might send me up the river!!LOL! That little HT reel is hard to find, I've only seen them a few places - never looked on their HSOforum for them. This one I found at a garage sale for a quarter - it's like brand new. SOLD!

Oh yeah, I also discovered last year that you can very easily make a spring bobber setup like the Thorne Bros one. Just take that little Bic lighter spring, and take a piece of electrical tape - slice it in half, and wrap one half of the tape around the base of the spring until it is just a little bigger than the diameter of your rod's tip-top. You can friction fit the tape/spring end into the tip-top and there you have it! Works awesome - and if you need some extra visibility, you can paint the end of the spring your favorite flourescent color.

[This message has been edited by augernaut (edited 08-09-2004).]

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augernaut,

I know what you mean about Thorne Bros. rods! I bought one a number of years ago. I then bought a Genz rod thinking that would be a good 2nd rod. Wow, was I wrong! I went out and got another Thorne Bros. rod the day after I fished with that Genz rod. I'm planning on adding 2, possibly 3 more Thorne Bros. rods to my arsenal this year. First one I get will be a deadstick rod.

To those who have never honestly deadsticked, you are missing out! Now I just have to get a rod that more idealy suits that situation, it is a highly specialized situation too. Absolute key to deadsticking is good rod holders. You will learn the rest quickly after that.

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Yep, those Thorne Bros rods can be harmful to our health grin.gif Very nice rods, but I've done just fine with several other models as well for a little cheaper price. Nothing wrong with having a few Thorne Bros as well as a mixed bag. In all honesty, it all comes down to personal preferrence. Some of my favorite ice fishing rods cost me less than 10 bucks. Genz rods are pretty awesome rods for the price. JR's Tackle has a new rod similar to the Genz rod and at an even lower price yet! So many rods to choose from...

A garage sale for a quarter!? smile.gif Now thats a find! wink.gif Good idea on the Bic lighter spring bobber.

Deadsticking works wonders out on the ice. Noodle rods are pretty good deadsticking rods, very sensitive tips and some of them have solid backbones and are ideal for both hook-set and strike indicator. Thorne Bros makes a rod specifically designed for deadsticking, same with Croxton Pond and several others. But don't just go with rods that are labeled as deadsticking rods, there are a lot more out there that can be used in the same fashion. Deadsticking is prime for crappies, walleyes, among others...

Here's an articles I wrote on deadsticking crappies last winter if anyone is interested...(old name was MJ5)...

Deadsticking for Crappies


Good Fishin,
Matt Johnson

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Matt Johnson Outdoors
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Metro Area Ice Fishing and more...

Iceleaders
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Matt,
How in the heck did I miss out on that piece of information last winter?? I think you pretty much summed it up there!

I like to keep things simple and comfortable. I pretty much use traditional ice fishing methods, you know, what your dad tought ya!

But I caught on to this deadsticking thing quick and won't fish without it now. Half of the fun is staring at your rod tip rather than the bobber. I mean its basically the same technique but for some reason I can pick up more bites, nibbles, sniffs on the deadstick rod. If you got a quick hand, you can typically set the hook and you got a fish on the other end. Alot of the time, they set the hook themselves.

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augernaut,
Thats a good set-up, should be dynamite on those shallow water gills! Thorne Bros has a rod designed for finesse sight fishing with a tiny spring bobber attached to the end. A pretty nice rod if you're willing to spend a couple extra bucks. I can't picture the HT reel you mentioned, know you got my curiousity going smile.gif I'm gonna have to check their website. Sounds like it would be prime for those light-weight rods. I've seen a few other small plastic-type reels, very light-weight and perfect for shallow water sight fishing.

Good Fishin,
Matt Johnson

------------------
Matt Johnson Outdoors
Metro Area Ice Fishing and more...

[email protected]
Iceleaders
MarCum
Stone Legacy
JR's Tackle

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Good article Matt.

Hey, do you Minnesotans ever use tip-downs for crappie? Fairly similar to a deadstick in it's application, but imho probably a little more forgiving if balanced properly. A properly balanced tip-down will give a fish virtually zero resistance throughout the full range of the tip-down's motion. They are great if a fish takes the bait and moves off a little bit. I know they are growing somewhat in popularity here in Wisconsin. I bought one last year, and plan on making a few more this summer/fall.

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When ice fishing with a bait caster make sure to use one with a large opening for the line to come through onto the spool. A small hole will freeze up the first time you reel it up. Quantums do not work very well. Those Abu's with the large slot opening work good. Bait casters are great for jigging raps and pimples, etc.

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Good point on the tip-downs! The Rod Strap by Todays Tackle is a velcro style tip-down/rod holder great for crappies, as well as just about every other species. Very portable and they have numerous different purposes and uses. I set one up just about everytime I hit the ice.

The Rock-n-Reel is a tip-down commonly used by a lot of people as well. Its your standard place-the-rod and let it do the work style of tip-down. This is your balance type tip-down. Very effective in many situations and for many different species. The fish feels almost no resistance and has no chance of avoiding the hook-set smile.gif

Tip-downs bring deadsticking to a whole new level!

Good one augernaut!

Good Fishin,
Matt Johnson

------------------
Matt Johnson Outdoors
[email protected]
Metro Area Ice Fishing and more...

Iceleaders
MarCum
Stone Legacy
JR's Tackle
Fish Fever

[This message has been edited by Matt Johnson (edited 08-10-2004).]

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Matt, have you used the rod straps mounted inside a portable, as a deadstick? Looks cool on the HSOforum - but I wonder how easy it is to set the hook. Pretty cool product overall! I got ahold of a Rock-n-Reel late last winter, haven't really had a chance to use it yet - but you can bet it will be searching out first ice walleyes with me this year :-)

Oh, I noticed HT HSOforum is not working too well - if you go to peterson-outdoors dot com and look up the "micro fly reel-drag" under the icerods and reels link, that's that little reel I was talking about earlier - except I'm pretty sure mine has some aluminum in it somewhere! It's model MFR-1

darn, I can't wait for winter...

[This message has been edited by augernaut (edited 08-10-2004).]

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Yep, I've used the Rod Straps both inside and outside the portable. They can be attached right to the poles inside your portable for easy use. I would rig it up so that the rod is balanced, and any strike would cause the rod to dip slightly towards the hole. It is pretty easy to un-hook (un-velcro) when you get a bite. The best part about the velcro is that if you are outside your portable or not paying attention when a fish hits you won't lose your rod down the hole, it will stay latched no matter how hard a fish pulls. I really like the Rod Strap because it can be placed just about anywhere inside your portable. I like to bring a long a few extras and attach them to the poles behind me, and than I'll put spare rods that I'm not using in those so they are up and out of the way, so when I want to use one I can just turn around and un-hook one. Very nice and organized.

If you rig the Rod Strap up correctly, once you get a strike you can pull on the orange flap and the rod will come out rather easy. I haven't missed too many hook-sets because of not being able to get the rod out fast enough.

Good Fishin,
Matt Johnson

------------------
Matt Johnson Outdoors
[email protected]
Metro Area Ice Fishing and more...

Iceleaders
MarCum
Stone Legacy
JR's Tackle
Fish Fever

[This message has been edited by Matt Johnson (edited 08-11-2004).]

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Great thread - good info. But it leads me to the question of rod spine.

Almost all the rods you see for sale are spinning rods - which puts the line guides on the wrong side of the spine if you put a baitcaster on it.

I realize a bluegill or crappie won't stress a rod that bad - but sooner or later, a toothy critter is gon'na come along, and then you could have trouble.

So whats the consensus? Ignore spine - or get the ice rods custom made to handle a bait caster/level wind?

UG

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I picked up a Genz baitcaster rod last spring on clearence and was able to try it for some laker fishing before the season was up. It was the first time I've used a baitcaster icefishing and I really liked it. I think it will work great for northerns and walleyes also.

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Uncle Grump - you are right, there aren't too many ice rods built specifically for baitcasters. The Genz rod is one, and I believe Thorne Bros. makes at least one model of baitcaster specific rods.

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Duffman, Augernaut

I'm aware of the Genz baitcaster, but seems to me, if I'm thinking of the right rod, its a big heavy beast, for fishing toothy critters. Are either of you aware of any lighter weight ones - other than Thorne or other custom mades??

UG

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Looks like I started quite a conversation here. Glad I could help!

You've got me curious about those tip-downs. Matt, you'll need to show me how they work. Either that or have someone here show me the HSOforum for these things.

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      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.
    • SOUTHWEST IOWA FISHING REPORTS Beaver Lake
      Black Crappie - Fair: Troll twister tails or tube jigs in the top 3 to 8 feet of water throughout the lake for 9.5 to 10.5 inch crappies Big Creek Lake
      Walleye - Fair: Troll shallow diving shad imitating crankbaits or spinner rigs with night crawlers with little weight to fish 3 to 10 feet deep. The northern half of the lake is best during the summer; start from the beach up to the marina boat ramp. Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) - Good: Troll live bait rigs and shad imitating crankbaits or soft plastics mid-lake where the two upper arms of the lake meet. The hybrids are still young, so the upper end on size is around 18 inches Don Williams Lake
      Black Crappie - Good: Good numbers of crappies are being caught trolling twister tail or tube jigs in the upper half of the lake mostly from the boat ramp to 100 yards up from the beach. Many are young fish just under 8 inches, with some bigger ones mixed in.  Lake Ahquabi
      Black Crappie - Fair: Drift or troll small white, pink and chartreuse twister tails or tube jigs.  Red Rock Reservoir
      White Bass - Fair: Fishing below the dam has been the best action for a mix of white bass and hybrid striped bass. Cast white twister tails fluke or paddle tail swim baits. Black Crappie - Fair: Some anglers are catching some of Red Rocks large crappies. Fall is good time to drift or troll panfish jigs in the arms and coves off the main lake.  Rock Creek Lake
      White Crappie - Good: Drift or slowly troll jigs or minnows in the lower half of the lake in the mornings to just after noon.  For more information on Central Iowa lakes and rivers, call Ben Dodd at 641-891-3795 or Andy Otting at 515-204-5885.   Cold Springs District Farm Ponds
      Water clarity should improve in ponds this week. Always get permission to fish privately-owned ponds. Bluegill - Slow: Anglers report slow fishing in ponds after heavy rains this week. Try fishing 4 feet below the surface for suspended fish. Largemouth Bass - Fair: Largemouth bass are very active and can be caught with a variety of lures and plugs. Fish shallow early and late and go deeper during the middle of the day. Channel Catfish - Fair: Try cut bait or commercial stink baits along weed edges and around structure. Black Crappie - Slow: Find crappies suspended and around structure.  Farm Creek Lake
      Farm Creek has a good fish population with quality sized panfish. Black Crappie - No Report: Fish the creek channel for black crappie up to 12 inches. Bluegill - No Report: Drift or slow troll along the creek channel for bluegills up to 9.5 inches. Largemouth Bass - No Report: There is a good population of 13 to 15 inch bass in the lake.  Lake Anita
      Fishing has picked up now that the weather has stabilized. Water temperature has heated back up to 80 degrees. Water clarity is good. Bluegill - Fair: Look for bluegills close to the creek channel. Slow troll small jigs tipped with crawler for bluegills up to 9.5 inches. Black Crappie - Fair: The early morning crappie bite is best. Slow troll small crank baits or small jigs tipped with power bait to catch 9 to 11 inch fish. Largemouth Bass - Fair: Throw spinners along the vegetation and plastics around deep structure during the day  Lake Manawa
      Lake Manawa is a good destination for summer catfishing. Channel Catfish - Slow: Channel catfish have slowed a bit, but anglers report catching fish around Boy Scout Island. Fish will average 2 to 5 pounds. White Crappie - No Report: There is a good population of white crappies in Manawa.  Orient Lake 
      Bluegill - No Report: Bluegills at Orient have good body condition. Channel Catfish - Good: Channel catfish are actively feeding below the rock sediment dam. Cast liver, crawlers or cut bait next to the current. Black Bullhead - Fair: Catch quality sized bullheads with night crawlers below the rock sediment structure.  Prairie Rose Lake
      Prairie Rose will offer good panfishing. The lake has quality sized bluegills and acceptable size crappies. The water clarity has improved to 2 feet this week. Bluegill - Slow: Bluegills are in a summer pattern. Look for fish around underwater reefs and drift/troll open water areas. Bluegills in Prairie Rose are 8 to 9.5 inches. Largemouth Bass - Fair: There is a large population of 12 inch bass in the lake that offers fun catch and release fishing. Black Crappie - Slow: Try vertical jigging or minnows under a slip bobber in the brush piles to catch 10 plus inch black crappies. Be prepared to lose tackle.  Viking Lake
      The pontoon area will be closed starting Sept. 28th for repairs to the seawall. Channel Catfish - Good: Cast liver in the pontoon area of the lake. Sorting is needed for larger fish. Black Crappie - Fair: Use tube jigs early in the morning and late afternoon. The fish are averaging 9 inches. Largemouth Bass - Slow: Jig plastics in deeper brush piles during the day and cast shallow structure early morning for largemouth bass of all sizes.  Water temperatures have jumped back up near 80 degrees in the S.W. district. For more information, contact the Cold Springs office at 712-769-2587.   Green Valley Lake
      Largemouth Bass - Fair: Catch largemouth bass up to 20 inches with finesse plastics fished near cedar tree brush piles. Bluegill - Good: Catch bluegill up to 8.5 inches with worms fished in shallow bays and along fishing jetties. Black Crappie - Fair: Catch crappies up to 9 inches using minnows fished near cedar tree brush piles. Little River Watershed Lake
      Largemouth Bass - Fair: Largemouth bass of all sizes have been caught using topwater baits fished in early morning or late evening or finesse plastics fished near cedar tree brush piles. Bluegill - Fair: Catch bluegills up to 9 inches with worms fished near cedar tree brush piles. Channel Catfish - Good: Catch channel catfish up to 10 pounds with prepared baits or chicken liver fished near main lake points in the evenings. Walleye - Fair: Catch walleye up to 22 inches using minnows fished along the roadbed or main lake points. Three Mile Lake
      Bluegill - Good: Catch bluegills up to 8 inches with worms fished in shallow bays. Walleye - Fair: Catch walleyes up to 18 inches with crankbaits or minnows fished along the fish mounds or the dam.  Twelve Mile Creek Lake
      Largemouth Bass - Good: Largemouth bass of all sizes have been caught with crankbaits or finesse plastics fished along cedar tree brush piles or rocky areas. Bluegill - Good: Catch bluegill up to 8.5 inches with worms fished in shallow bays. Walleye - Fair: Catch walleyes of all sizes using minnows or crankbaits fished in 10 feet of water.  Black Crappie - Good: Catch crappie up to 9 inches with minnows fished near cedar tree brush piles. Water temperature in most district lakes is in the mid to upper 70's. The district includes Page, Taylor, Adams, Union, Ringgold, Decatur, Clarke and Madison counties. For more information, please call the Mount Ayr Fisheries office at 641-464-3108.   MISSOURI RIVER FISHING REPORTS Missouri River (Sioux City to Little Sioux)
      Channel Catfish - Good: During high water levels, try below flooded wing dams and close to the bank or slower flooded areas from shore. Smaller tributaries should also be good, where channel catfish will find refuge from faster currents. Use worms, cut bait, or dip baits. Freshwater Drum - Fair: Try using live bait rigs or jigs tipped with worms along the bank and around tributary stream or rivers where they join the Missouri River. Blue Catfish - Good: Anglers report catching a few blue catfish on rod and reel and trotlines. Use live bait or fresh cut bait with live bait rigs along wing dam tips or in or close to the main channel of the Missouri River. Flathead Catfish - Good: Flathead catfish are being caught on trotlines and rod and reel using live baits (chubs, bullheads, green sunfish). Fish below wing dam tip, near rock structures, logs and along the bank with deeper water nearby.  Missouri River (Little Sioux to Council Bluffs)
      Channel Catfish - Good: During high water levels, try below flooded wing dams and close to the bank or slower flooded areas from shore. Smaller tributaries should also be good, where channel catfish will find refuge from faster currents. Use worms, cut bait, or dip baits. Freshwater Drum - Fair: Try using live bait rigs or jigs tipped with worms along the bank and around tributary stream or rivers where they join the Missouri River. Blue Catfish - Good: Anglers report catching blue catfish on rod and reel and trotlines. Use live bait or fresh cut bait along wing dam tips or in or close to the main channel of the Missouri River. Flathead Catfish - Fair: Flathead catfish are being caught on trotlines and rod and reel using live baits (chubs, bullheads, green sunfish). Fish below wing dam tip, near rock structures, logs and along the bank with deeper water nearby.  Missouri River (Council Bluffs to Missouri State Line)
      Channel Catfish - Good: During high water levels, try below flooded wing dams and close to the bank or slower flooded areas from shore. Smaller tributaries should also be good, where channel catfish will find refuge from faster currents. Use worms, cut bait, or dip baits.  Freshwater Drum - Fair: Try using live bait rigs or jigs tipped with worms along the bank and around tributary stream or rivers where they join the Missouri River. Blue Catfish - Good: Anglers are catching a few blue catfish on rod and reel and trotlines with fresh cut bait or live bait. Try by the wing dam tips, close to or in the main channel of the Missouri River for your best chance at getting bigger blue catfish. Flathead Catfish - Fair: Flathead catfish are being caught on trotlines and rod and reel using live baits (chubs, bullheads, green sunfish). Fish below wing dam tip, near rock structures, logs and along the bank with deeper water nearby.  The Missouri River at Decatur, Nebraska is at 28.26 ft. /63,600 cfs./74 degrees Fahrenheit. Missouri River water temperatures are up 3 degrees from last week and water levels are down 0.04 feet. Water levels continue to be up due to recent rains in the Missouri River watershed and release of water from reservoirs. Anglers and boaters are advised to use caution going on the Missouri River. Fishing has been good to fair. 
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