Southeast Iowa Fishing Report

The following fishing report was provided to KBOE 104.9FM by the Iowa DNR on January, 18, 2018:

Big Hollow Lake
Be cautious of deteriorating ice conditions this weekend if the weather forecast holds true. Bluegill – Fair: Anglers are still picking up some nice bluegills out in the flooded timber and to the right of the boat ramp.

Lake Belva Deer
Watch the weather; it looks like the next few days will affect the ice conditions.Just because the ice was good earlier this week, doesn’t mean it will be good later this week. Bluegill –  Slow: Work the creek channel out in the flooded trees. Black Crappie – Fair: Anglers are still picking up crappies out along the creek channel in the flooded timber.

Lake Darling
The warm weather last week added runoff color to the water and slowed down the fishing a little last weekend. Use caution out on the ice if we get the forecasted heavy rains. Bluegill – Fair: Bluegills are still down near the bottom in 10 to 12 foot of water. Fish near the habitat and you can still find them. Black Crappie – Fair: Work the habitat in the 10 to 12 feet range; it will take a while, but you can still catch a nice batch.

Lake Geode
The lake is drained for renovation.

Lost Grove Lake
Ice conditions are still pretty good as of Jan. 18. Don’t look for them to be near as good by the end of the weekend. Black Crappie – Fair: Last weekend the crappie fishing was a little more hit and miss. Drill a few holes out around the trees and you can still find a nice batch of crappies.

For more information on the above lakes and rivers, contact the Lake Darling Fisheries Office at 319-694-2430.

Central Park Lake
The lake is drained for the renovation project that is going on now.

Coralville Reservoir
The lake is holding at winter pool of 683.4 feet. Ice is 6-10 inches depending on where you are. There has been very little fishing activity on the lake. Bluegill – Slow. White Crappie – Slow.

Diamond Lake
An ice fishing tournament will be held here on Jan. 27th. Bluegill – Good: Catch 6-8 inch fish off brush piles on jigs/waxies. Black Crappie – Good: Use jigs/waxies around brush. Most fish are about 8 inches.

Green Castle Lake
Bluegill – Fair: 8-9 inch fish have been reported. Largemouth Bass – Fair: Some legal sized fish are reported.

Iowa Lake (Iowa Co.)
The ice thickness is reported as being 8-10 inches. Bluegill – Fair. Black Crappie – Fair.

Kent Park Lake
The lake is drained for the renovation project that will take place next winter. The ponds in Kent Park are reported as having about 10 inches of ice.

Lake Macbride
Most of the lake has 6-10 inches of ice depending on where you are. Most anglers are targeting the south arm or the area inside the park off the main double ramp. Bluegill – Fair: Use a jig/waxie around any brush or deeper rock. Size is marginal at best as these fish top out at 7.5 inches. Black Crappie – Slow: Try a jig/waxie around/over wood. Walleye – Slow: Use a spoon/minnow along rock edges, deeper stumps, or drop-offs. Dawn and dusk has been best. Most fish are small, but some eaters are also being caught.

Otter Creek Lake
The ice is reported as being about 8 inches. Yellow Bass – Fair. Bluegill – Good. Black Crappie – Good.

Pleasant Creek Lake
The lake is still 10 feet low from the restoration project. The lake is reported as having 8 to 10 inches of ice. A lot of people have been out here fishing. Most anglers are targeting the area along the dam and out from the main ramp. Walleye – Fair: Try minnows or spoons tipped with minnow heads. Many fish are being caught in deep water. Remember that fish caught from as little as 20 feet can have their air bladders expand out of their mouth if brought up too quickly. There are lots of small walleyes in the system that may not survive releasing if their air bladder is compromised. Bluegill – Fair: Use small jigs and waxies along the dam. White Bass – Slow: A few fish are being caught suspended in deeper water with spoons. Yellow Perch – Fair: A few decent perch are being caught on jigs or small spoons tipped with waxies. Black Crappie – Slow: Fish over deeper brush with a jig/waxie.

Union Grove Lake
The ice is reported as being about 8-10 inches. The aeration system was started on Jan. 9th; there is open water at the dam end of the lake. There are lots of bluegills in the lake and they top out at about 7 inches. About 500 7-8 inch black crappies were stocked this spring. Two dozen trees were also put in the lake late this fall. Most are along the west shore, a few are in the mouths of the bays on the east side. Some tree tops may still be sticking out to find them.

Recent warmth and rains have made slushy conditions and possibly soft edges in areas. For more information, contact the Lake Macbride Fisheries Station at 319-624-3615.

Lake Miami
Anglers report catching some bluegills using teardrop jigs tipped with a waxworm. Target the cedar tree piles that were added when the lake was renovated.

Lake Sugema
Ice thickness is 6-8 inches.  Anglers are catching some bluegills and crappies with teardrop jigs tipped with a waxworm. Target areas with structure and move around until finding active fish.

Lake Wapello
Ice thickness is about 7 inches on the west end of the lake, but is not as thick out from the beach area.  Anglers are catching some crappies and bluegills using teardrop jigs tipped with a waxworm. Target areas around the cedar tree piles and fish near the bottom.

Rathbun Reservoir
The current lake level is 903.02 msl. Normal operating elevation is 904.0 msl. Lake Rathbun has zebra mussels, so make sure to properly drain, clean, and dry equipment before transporting to another water body. The ramps at the Rathbun marina are closed for the season and all the campgrounds are closed. Ice conditions have been reported as 6-8 inches. Black Crappie – Fair: Use waxworms or minnows. Target structure in deeper water.
Sorting is needed for larger fish.

Red Haw Lake
Ice thickness has been reported as 7 inches.  Anglers are catching some bluegills and crappies with teardrop jigs tipped with a waxworm. Target the fish habitat placed on the southwest side of the lake near the campground.

Most of the waterbodies in the district have fishable ice, but conditions will vary so use caution. The district includes Mahaska, Lucas, Wayne, Monroe, Appanoose, Wapello, Davis and Van Buren counties. Contact the Rathbun Fish Hatchery at 641-647-2406 with questions about fishing in south central Iowa.


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