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Heartland Outdoors

Guide saves anglers on ice

Tue, February 08, 2011

STURGEON BAY, WIS. – Bret Alexander has made a career of being in the right place at the right time. Apparently, it’s a talent that applies both to guiding clients and rescuing people on the ice. Alexander, a veteran Northeast Wisconsin fishing guide with extensive emergency medical training, recently helped save the lives of two ice anglers in grave peril.

Saturday, January 22, 2011, while at work guiding a large party of 60 anglers on Little Sturgeon Bay of Lake Michigan, Alexander noticed flashing headlights a quarter mile out on the frozen oasis. He reacted, as had local Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources warden Mike Neal who had been radioed about the emergency situation out on Lake Michigan’s Riley’s Point.


“When I arrived on the scene,” said Alexander, Pro Staff for Frabill, “I noticed a tipped-over shanty near the two men, who were lying on the ice. About eight other guys were nearby, sort of in shock. I immediately checked vital signs on both victims, and found a faint pulse in each of them. It was pretty apparent that the men were suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning. And when I felt their skin, it was ice cold, which told me they were hypothermic, as well.”

Alexander quickly went to work resuscitating one victim, while he instructed a fellow fishing guide on aiding the second man.

“I knew we had to get some ventilation into their lungs, and also get them someplace warm, fast,” reported Alexander, a veteran Air Force firefighter and longtime local Fire Chief, who recently retired to pursue a burgeoning guiding business.
After several minutes of CPR, Alexander and Neal were able to restore limited breathing to the two victims, but had to act fast to get them back to shore. “We got the men into the back of Mike’s truck, and somehow, he was able to drive up over a steep breakwall and reach the Sunset Bar and Grill restaurant. Once we got the guys inside and started warming them up, an ambulance arrived. I think the EMTs were surprised when I asked for oxygen and emergency re-breathers. But as soon as we got the two anglers breathing oxygen, they immediately came around and became alert.”

For Alexander, the rescue wasn’t quite over. “One of the techs asked if I was qualified to drive an ambulance. At first, I thought he was kidding.”

Fortunately for the two anglers, their rescuer was in the right place at the right time once more, this time, piloting their ambulance to a nearby hospital where they later recovered.

“These guys had four heaters going at once,” Alexander explained. “But they failed to properly ventilate their shelter. They were lucky this time.” The shelter was an older cabin-style shelter, one without ventilation systems, which are now common with certain premium brands.

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Louisiana to release whooping cranes

Tue, February 08, 2011

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) announced today that it will be re-introducing the whooping crane to Louisiana later this month. The Department of Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) cleared the way for the crane’s return with approval for an experimental population in southwest Louisiana.

Governor Bobby Jindal said, “Adding the whooping crane to our diverse collection of bird species further demonstrates our state’s commitment to restoring and revitalizing our coastal regions. This announcement today is another step forward in growing and enriching our state’s wildlife species and preserving our one-of-a-kind Louisiana wetlands.”

The last record of a whooping crane in Louisiana dates back to 1950, when the last surviving whooping crane was removed from Vermilion Parish property that is now part of LDWF’s White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area (WCA). Habitat loss and unrestricted hunting led to population declines nationwide and on the North American continent in the last century. The last bird in southwest Louisiana was removed to a sanctuary in 1950. LDWF in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), the U.S. Geological Survey, and the Louisiana Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit plan to release the first group of ten non-migratory whooping cranes at the White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area in February.

LDWF Secretary Robert Barham said, “LDWF has proven through implementing recovery efforts for species like the American alligator and the brown pelican, our state’s expertise and willingness in implementing a long-term restoration plan for our most delicate wildlife.”

The proposed designation of a non-migratory flock of whooping cranes for reintroduction to Louisiana was first published in the Federal Register on August 19, 2010. Public comments were received and two public hearings (Gueydan and Baton Rouge) were held to allow public comment. Comments were accepted through October 18, 2010 and were generally found to be supportive of the overall reintroduction effort.

The non-essential, experimental flock coming to Louisiana will carry that designation under the provisions of the Endangered Species Act. This designation and its implementing regulation, as announced February 3 in the Federal Register, are developed to be more compatible with routine human activities in the reintroduction area.

Whooping cranes are the most endangered of all of the world’s crane species, first added to the list of endangered species on March 11, 1967. Louisiana’s reintroduction is part of a larger ongoing recovery effort led by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its partners for this highly imperiled species, which was on the verge of extinction in the 1940s and even today has only about 400 individuals in the wild.

The only self-sustaining wild population of whooping cranes migrates between Wood Buffalo National Park in the Northwest Territories of Canada and Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in Texas. Like those in the eastern migratory population, it remains vulnerable to extinction from continued loss of habitat or natural or man-made catastrophes. Multiple efforts are underway to reduce this risk and bring this magnificent bird further along its path to recovery. This includes increasing populations in the wild, ongoing efforts to establish a migratory population in the eastern United States, and establishing a resident population in Louisiana.

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Hall of Fame tickets on sale

Sat, February 05, 2011

Tickets are available for the Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame banquet on Mar. 26 at Drury Lane in Oakbrook Terrace.

The Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame inductees are Dr. Thomas C. Dunston, Dr. David Kenney, Bob Long, Jr., and Ed Mullady. Proceeds from the annual banquet assist in funding the Illinois Conservation Foundation’s Youth Achievement Scholarship program and other ICF initiatives benefitting outdoor recreation and natural resources protection.

For reservations or more information, click here or contact the Illinois Conservation Foundation, One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, IL 62702-1271, phone 217/785-2003.

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Third turkey deadline Feb. 9

Sat, February 05, 2011

The deadline is Feb. 9 for hunters to apply for the third lottery for 2011 Illinois Spring Wild Turkey Season permits.

Random daily drawings will begin March 9. Hunters are encouraged to apply online through DNR Direct.

Click here for more information.

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LaSalle Co. NWTF banquet

Fri, February 04, 2011

The new LaSalle County Longbeards chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation has a banquet Monday, Feb. 7 at Time on the Water Outdoors in Spring Valley.

Doors open at 5 p.m. and dinner is at 7. Plans are to have seven or eight guns included in raffles.

This is the first banquet for the new chapter.

There is also a limited raffle for a Kimber .45 Model 1911 special edition. Tickets are $20 each and only 200 will be sold.

Call Tim Kitts at 309-361-0295.

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Pheasants Forever banquet in Lacon

Fri, February 04, 2011

The Grand Prairie chapter of Pheasants Forever has its annual fund-raiser banquet Monday, Feb. 7 in Lacon.

The banquet is at Kenyon’s Place. Social hour is 5 p.m. and dinner is at 6.

For tickets, call Dwight Aussieker at 309-463-2318 or Greg Simmons at 309-493-5201.

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Iowa fishing report 2-3-11

Thu, February 03, 2011

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources issues a weekly fishing report on Thursdays in an effort to provide the latest information heading into the weekend. The weekly fishing report is compiled from information gathered from local bait shops, angler creel surveys, and county and state parks staff. For current information, contact the district fisheries office at the phone number listed at the end of each district report.

NORTHWEST
Brushy Creek Lake
There’s good ice on most of the lake, but stay clear of the dam.  Fishing has been slow.

Bacon Creek Lake
The DNR released 1,500 rainbow trout on January 8.  Ice is at least 12 inches thick.  Anglers need a trout stamp in addition to their regular fishing license to fish for or keep trout.  Daily limit of trout is 5.  Rainbow Trout - Good: Anglers are still catching rainbow trout on wax worms and artificials.

Swan Lake
Ice is anywhere from 8 to 10 inches thick.  The aeration system has been turned on so there is open water and weak ice around the fish house, the fish cleaning station, and east of the fish house.  A few small bluegills have been caught. There haven’t been many anglers out.

Arrowhead Lake
Arrowhead Lake has about 14 inches of good ice.  There are a lot fish using the new habitat structures on the west side of the lake.  Bluegill - Fair: Bluegill are averaging 8.5 inches.  Yellow Perch - Fair: Most of the yellow perch that have been caught are small.

Lizard Lake
Yellow perch have been biting at Lizard Lake.  Some anglers have been catching their limits of 8-plus inch perch.  Some yellow perch are 10 to 11 inches long.  Last weekend it was reported that there were 70 anglers out on Lizard fishing for perch.

For more information on the lakes and rivers in this area contact Ben Wallace or Don Herrig at the Black Hawk Fish Management Office in Lake View at 712-657-2638.

Lake Smith
Ice thickness is 18 to 20 inches. Bluegills are biting in the late afternoon on wax worms.

Lake Catherine
Ice thickness is 16 to 20 inches. Bluegills are biting on wax worms at dusk.

Clear Lake
Ice thickness is 18 to 21 inches. Yellow bass fishing is good, fishing in 8 to 10 feet of water using a small jig tipped with a wax worm or small minnow. The best bite is from 4 p.m. until dark. A few walleye, crappie and perch are being caught using the same technique.

Lake Cornelia
Ice thickness is 18 to 20 inches. Small yellow bass are biting wax worms.

Rice Lake
Ice thickness is 18 to 20 inches. Yellow perch are biting on wax worms; it’s going to take some sorting to get a limit of keepers.

Silver Lake (Worth)
Ice thickness is 17 to 22 inches. No fishing activity reported

Blue Pit
Ice thickness is 18 to 20 inches. Rainbow trout fishing is good, try using small jigs tipped with wax worms.

Bluebill Lake
Ice thickness is 18 to 20 inches. Bluegill and a few perch are biting on wax worms. The best bite is a first light.

Interstate Park Lake
Ice thickness is 17 to 19 inches. A few bluegill and crappie are biting at dusk.

For more information on fishing in the area lakes and rivers, call the Clear Lake fisheries office at 641-357-3517.

Big Spirit Lake
Fishing has picked up with the warmer weather.  Many limits of perch are coming in, with a few anglers catching walleye before sunrise.  Yellow Perch - Good: Fishing has slowed for this species.  However, many anglers are still bringing off good numbers of perch.  Fish are being caught on the main lake basin using small ice jigs tipped with wigglers, wax worms, and artificial blood worms. Anglers are experiencing successful catches at Buffalo Run, Marble Beach, Big Stoney, and Cottonwood points.  Some success has been reported in Angler’s Bay.  Walleye - Good: Fish rock bars or weed lines before sunrise or after sunset with jigging lures tipped with a minnow head and dead sticking with a minnow on a small hook below a split shot.

West Okoboji Lake
Bluegill - Good: Fish in the bays with small ice jigs tipped with wax worms/wigglers or plastics.  Bluegills are still aggressively biting, but sorting is needed for larger bluegill.  Walleye - Good: Some walleye are being reported right before sunrise while fishing for bluegill in the bays.

Scharnberg Pond
The second round of trout stocking happened on January 22.  Refer to the Iowa Fishing Regulations Booklet or the Iowa DNR website for trout stamp requirements.  Rainbow Trout - Good: Trout anglers at other lakes in Iowa have reported great success using jigging spoons tipped with wax worms or synthetic trout baits.

Ice conditions are good on area lakes; however extreme caution should be used when ever going out onto the ice.  With the recent snow and wind, many accesses have been drifted in especially on the south and east sides of area lakes.  For more fishing information on the Spirit Lake area call 712-336-1840.

NORTHEAST
Volga Lake
Fishing activity has been slow.  Volga Lake received about 12 inches of new snow this week.  Try suspending your jigs several feet off the bottom.  Also find the brush or rock piles and key into those areas.  Bluegill - Fair:  Yellow Perch - Fair:

Lake Hendricks
Fishing pressure has been light this week.  There is about 20 inches of ice and only 3 to 4 inches of new snow.  Try fishing suspending your lures 5 to 6 feet under the ice.  Bluegill - Good:  Crappie - Fair:

Lake Meyer
Fish activity is variable this week.  Lake Meyer received about 10 inches of new snow.  Anglers are catching a variety of fish using wax worms and a jig.  The best colors seem to be purple or red.  The majority of fish are suspended in 14 feet of water 7 feet off the bottom.  Bluegill - Good:  Largemouth Bass - No Report:  Crappie - Slow:  Yellow Perch - Slow:

Decorah District Streams
Anglers are doing well on area streams. Brown trout up to 20 inches have been taken in deep water with Beaded White Wooly Buggers and White Missouri Jigs.  Trout working shallower and quicker water have been taken on #18 Soft Hackles and non-weighted streamers such as the Light Spruce.  #18 to #24 Thread Wrap or other small dun imitations have taken trout on the surface during baetis, midge and small stonefly hatches. For more information on stocking go to http://fishing.iowadnr.gov

Recent snowfall covered area lakes with another 10 to 12 inches of snow this week. This is the time of year when fish are suspended in the water column.  Trout streams continue to provide good action.  A good trout stream will remain open even during periods of cold weather.  For more information on a particular river or stream, contact the Decorah Fish Hatchery at 563-382-8324.

George Wyth Lake
Catches of bluegill and crappie have been reported on George Wyth.  Bluegill - Fair: Most pressure has taken place out from the north parking lot. Mornings and evenings have been best.  Crappie - Fair: Anglers are reporting catches of crappie in the 9 to 10-inch size, towards evening hours has been most productive.

Avenue of the Saints Pond
Reports have been crappie being caught during evening hours after sunset.  Crappie - Fair: Try jig and wax worm or minnow under a bobber during evening hours.

Sweet Marsh Reservoir
Fishing pressure has been heavy on Sweet Marsh, some sorting of fish may be necessary. Crappie - Fair: Look for areas where the heaviest fishing pressure has occurred.

Ice fishing pressure has declined due to recent cold weather and snowfall events. Trout streams remain in excellent conditions in northeast Iowa. For further information contact the Manchester District Office at 563-927-3276.

MISSISSIPPI RIVER
Mississippi River Pool 9
Ice depth generally over 12 inches but caution should be used in areas that have current or are insulated by deep snow.  More open water exists than usual for the winter period.  This is due to the higher water levels we are experiencing on the Mississippi River this winter.  Anyone driving a vehicle on Minnesota Slough should take extra caution as some vehicles have been reported falling in the slough.  Northern Pike - Fair: A few reports of pike are being taken on tip ups in the Minnesota Slough area.  The northern pike population is very robust, and many pike are present in most backwater systems.  Setting up tip-ups is going to require a snow mobile to move around in the thick snow.  Please take caution as some open water exists in unusual places this year.  Bluegill - Fair: Minnesota Slough and Indian Lake by New Albin are fair.  Some bluegills are being reported from Becks Lake but that is being reported as slow.  Near Lansing, fishing in the Marina and in Phillippi Lake has been good at times.  DeSoto bay on the Wisconsin side of the River has seen lots of fishing pressure.  Yellow Perch - Fair: A few nice perch reported from Shore Slough and Minnesota Slough although fishing pressure tapered this week due to the two winter storms. The yellow perch bit can get better later in the winter and some jumbo yellow perch are being reported in Pool 9. 

Mississippi River Pool 10
Ice depth generally 10 to 12 inches but caution should be used in areas that have current or are insulated by deep snow. In the Sny Magill area it is safe to cross over into Norwegian Lake but do practice caution when crossing over Wylusing Slough to Methodist Lake.  Northern Pike - Fair: Some smaller northern pike were being caught on tip-ups using larger shiners as bait. Bluegill - Fair: Good catches of bluegills reported near Ambrough Slough by Prairie Du Chien and in the Sny Magill area decent catches reported in Ice Lake, Sandbar Slough and Methodist Lake.  Bussey Lake has slowed a bit but still is cranking out some bluegills.  Anglers are reporting that if the fish are biting it is usually a “day bite.”  Crappie - Fair: A few nice crappies in Bussey but fishing has slowed.  A few nice crappies in Sny Magill area of Ice and Methodist Lake.  Yellow Perch - Fair: Some nice perch reported from sloughs in the Prairie Du Chien area and a few in Bussey Lake.  Yellow perch fishing can get better later in the winter and some jumbo yellow perch exist in many of the backwaters of Pool 10.  Sauger - Slow: The tail waters still have a lot of current due to the high water going into the winter.  This has made fishing for sauger difficult as they do not appear to be in their normal winter locations. Feel free to call on ramp conditions as the city ramp use is variable and may ice back in. 

Mississippi River Pool 11
Ice depth generally 10 to 12 inches or more but caution should be used in areas that have current or are insulated by deep snow.  You can still launch a boat off the Guttenberg City ramp to access the tail waters but the lip of ice at the waters edge of the ramp may cause problems.  The snow and cold temps it may freeze the ramp back in.  Call the local DNR fisheries office if wanting ramp conditions, and leave a message if necessary.  Bluegill - Fair: Zollicoffers in lower Pool 11 is still “hit or miss,” but some nice fish have been taken. More anglers are putting a boat in at Guttenberg and crossing over to Swift Slough to fish. Anglers report long periods of slow fishing with brief periods of biting fish mostly towards afternoon.  Crappie - Slow: A few nice crappies in Zollicoffer’s Lake by Dubuque and Swift Slough by Guttenberg. Yellow Perch - Good: During later season ice often yellow perch fishing can get better.  Perch can withstand a slight bit of current and sometimes are found in backwater areas with minimal flow.  Bluegills typically avoid such areas.  Some very large yellow perch up to 14 inches are being reported.  Sauger - Fair: Anglers can access the tail waters of lock and dam 10 through the city ramp in Guttenberg.  Winter water levels are very high and current is stronger than many winter anglers are accustomed to.  The DNR fish hatchery ramp is completely covered with ice and anglers will have to push boat over ice to launch.  The city ramp has been usable but may once again ice in due to cold conditions.  Some sauger are still being reported by weather savvy anglers.  Walleye - Slow: Although anglers can access the tail waters of lock and dam 10 through the city ramp in Guttenberg, a few walleyes have been caught but fishing reports have been slow.

Generally good ice conditions but avoid flowing sloughs and large snow covered areas as snow insulates the ice preventing complete freezing.  Ice thickness in many areas is 8 to 12 inches, but caution should be used.  The river is currently very high for winter conditions and open pockets of water exist in many places that have current flow.

Mississippi River Pool 12
Ice conditions at most backwaters are fair with over 10 inches of ice at most lakes. Ice conditions in sloughs with flowing water will be considerably less and travel on them is not recommended. Use caution and drill test holes. Bluegill - Fair: Bluegill fishing has slowed over the past week.  Bluegills are biting on wax worms and ice jigs at Fishtrap, Grassy, and Tippy lakes.  Don’t overlook local marinas as they hold fish overwinter, too.  Crappie - Slow: Reports of a few crappies being caught through the ice at O’Learys, Tippy and Fishtrap lakes.  Yellow Perch - Fair: A few yellow perch are being caught by bluegill anglers through the ice with a few fish up to 12 inches in the mix. Sauger - Fair: Sauger are being caught in the tail waters by anglers pushing boats off the ice at O’Learys Lake.

Mississippi River Pool 13
Ice conditions at most backwaters are fair with over 10 inches of ice at most lakes. Ice conditions in sloughs with flowing water will be considerably less and travel on them is not recommended. Use caution and drill test holes. Bluegill - Fair: Anglers have been catching bluegills at Brown’s Lake, South Sabula Lake, and Michelson’s Landing.  Anglers have had to sort through a lot of small fish.  Crappie - Slow: Anglers are catching a few crappies at Brown’s Lake, South Sabula Lake, and Miller’s Landing.  Yellow Perch - Fair: A few perch are being caught in South Sabula and Spring lakes.  Sauger - Fair: Sauger fishing has been fair the past week in the tail waters in Bellevue.  A lot of small fish are being sorted.  Anglers should remember that the Illinois portion of the tail waters is still closed to fishing until March 16, and the state line runs through the center of the lock chamber.

Mississippi River Pool 14
Ice conditions at most backwaters are fair with over 10 inches of ice at most lakes. Ice conditions in sloughs with flowing water will be considerably less and travel on them is not recommended. Use caution and drill test holes. Bluegill - Slow: Bluegill fishing in Pool 14 has been slow the past week with catches being mostly small fish.  Crappie - Slow: Crappie fishing has been slow the past week.

For fishing information in Pool 12 to 15 of the Mississippi River contact the Bellevue Fish Management and Research Station at 563-872-4976

Mississippi River Pool 16
Tail water stage at Lock and Dam 15 is 7.30 feet. The Marquette St. ramp is being reported as frozen in and snow covered. There is also a lot of large ice chunks floating in the main channel. Ice fishing has been slow.  Bluegill - Slow:  Crappie - Slow:  Sauger - No Report:  Walleye - No Report:

Mississippi River Pool 17
Tail water stage at Lock and Dam 16 is 6.14 feet. The ramps in Muscatine are frozen in. The road and parking area around the marina and boat ramps have not been plowed. There are some large ice chunks floating in the main channel. The access road to Big Timber has not been plowed open yet.  Bluegill - No Report:  Crappie - No Report:  Sauger - No Report:

Mississippi River Pool 18
Tail water stage at Lock and Dam 17 is 10.40 feet. No fishing information for this pool has been received.  Bluegill - No Report:  Sauger - No Report:  Walleye - No Report:

Mississippi River Pool 19
Tail water stage at Lock and Dam 18 is 4.27 feet. Boat ramps are being reported as frozen in and snow covered. We have received no ice fishing information for this pool.

Pools 16 to 19: Boat ramps throughout the pools are being reported as frozen in and snow covered. There is large chunks of ice floating in the main channel. Ice fishing has been slow throughout the pools. For more fishing information on Pools 16 to 19 contact the Fairport Fish Hatchery at 563-263-5062.

SOUTHEAST
Lake Geode
The ice in most areas of the lake is about 4 plus inches thick.  Use caution and drill test holes to double check. Not very many anglers have been out on the ice.  Bluegill - Slow: Anglers are fishing some of the coves at the upper end of the lake without much luck. Just not that many anglers are trying it.

Lake Belva Deer
Angler pressure has dropped off.  Those who are coming out are still catching fish. Bluegill - Fair: Anglers are still catching fish in the early morning but they are doing some sorting.  Crappie - Fair: The evening bite is slowing down they are still catching some really nice crappies but the catch rate is dropping.
Target them at about 8 to 10 feet down.

Lake of the Hills
Angling pressure remains steady.  As always stay away from the boathouse where there is an aerator to protect the docks from ice damage.  Rainbow Trout - Fair: Anglers are still catching a few trout as the fish for the crappies and bluegills. Bluegill - Good: Work the brush piles in the deeper water. The catch rate is improving.  Crappie - Good: Anglers are picking up crappies in the same places they are catching the bluegills.  Look for the crappies to be suspended above the bluegills.

Lambach Lake
Channel Catfish - Fair: Anglers are catching a few catfish in this little lake as well. Crappie - Good: Some nice crappies are being caught on this lake in West Lake Park.  The crappies are near or just off the bottom around the habitat.

For more information on the above lakes call the Lake Darling Fisheries Station at 319-694-2430

Iowa Lake
Bluegill - Good: Limits of bluegills have been reported in the mornings. Fish around brush or pallets with a jig/waxie.

Lake Macbride
Fishing pressure and success has decreased here.  Bluegill - Fair: Fish around almost any structure in 10 to 20 feet. Size is generally small.  Crappie - Slow: There are still a few fish being caught but most reports are of smaller fish. Keep moving until you find fish. Find areas that have not had much pressure.

Pleasant Creek Lake
Bluegill - Fair: Try around brush piles in the mornings and evenings. Depths of 10 to 15 feet have been reported as best.  Yellow Perch - Fair: Fish deep water with a jig/waxie. Fish have been ranging from 4 to 11 inches with most around 7 inches.

Diamond Lake
Bluegill - Fair: Fish around brush. Size has been mediocre.  Crappie - Fair: Evenings have been best. Size has been small.

Otter Creek Lake
Ice is reported as 8 to 14 inches thick.  Bluegill - Good: Bluegills have been biting and size has been good as well.

Union Grove Lake
Bluegill - Fair: Fish around brush. The area west of the east ramp has been most popular.  Crappie - Slow: A few crappies are being picked up along with the bluegills. Dusk has been the most productive time.

Sand Lake
Bluegill - Fair:  Crappie - Slow:

Cedar River (La Porte City to Cedar Rapids)
The following is based off a report for the stretch between Palo and Cedar Rapids. Northern Pike - Fair: A few pike are coming on chubs under tip ups.  Crappie - Fair:

For more information, contact the Lake Macbride Fisheries Station at 319-624-3615.

Red Haw Lake
Ice depths are reported as around 10 inches.  Use caution when venturing out because there have been some variation in ice thickness.  The geese had been keeping an area open by the dam and the beach so avoid that area.  Bluegill - Good: Use teardrop jigs tipped with a wax worm.

Hawthorn Lake (aka Barnes City Lake)
The lake has been drained for a lake renovation and work has begun around the lake.  New fish habitat areas are being built along with some new jetties.

Albia (lower)
Bluegill - Good: Use small jigs tipped with a wax worm and fish around the structure that was added the last few years.

Lake Sugema
Use caution when venturing out onto the ice.  The standing timber can impede the formation of good ice.  There is open water along the north shore and around the north boat ramp.  There is about 5 inches of ice uplake where most of the fishing is taking place.  Angling is also occurring on Tug Forks West with some bluegill being caught.  Tug Forks East still has some areas of open water so use caution.  Bluegill - Slow: Use small jigs tipped with a wax worm.  Try fishing within one foot of the lake bottom.

Rathbun Reservoir
The lake level is at 902.67 feet with 904.0 feet being normal pool.  Ice thickness reports are as follows:  Island View Dedication site boat ramp, 10 inches; Glenwood ramp, 10 inches; and Atwell’s Landing, 10.5 inches.  Use caution because ice thickness has been variable.  Crappie - Slow: Use teardrops jigs tipped with a wax worm or a minnow.  Find areas with submerged structure and fish over them.  Look for structure in the Honey Creek cove or in Buck Creek.

For further fishing reports in south central Iowa call the Rathbun fish hatchery at 641-647-2406

SOUTHWEST
Beaver Lake
Bluegill - Good: There have been some reports of good bluegill catches coming out of Beaver Lake.  Try the northeast and southeast portions of the lake on some of the 15 feet deep ridges and humps close to the deeper water.

Rock Creek Lake
Crappie - Good: Anglers are still coming up with some decent panfish catches.  Both bluegill and crappie are being caught in good numbers fishing with wax worms in 8 to 12 feet of water in the southern portion of the lake.  Late afternoon has been the best time.

Roberts Creek Lake
Bluegill - Good: Ice anglers are having a good season on Roberts Creek.  Limits of fair sized bluegills are consistently being caught.  Crappie - Good: Good catches of crappie have been coming off Roberts Creek.  The fish are running anywhere from 8 to 10 inches.  Unlike most lakes this year, many of the crappie are being caught during daylight.

Big Creek Lake
Bluegill - Fair: The bluegill bite continues to be a little slow this week.  Anglers willing to search are still catching fair amounts of good size fish.  The brush piles on the west side of the lake south of the west ramp have been good.  The best time seems to be late afternoon, especially the hour before dark, but occasionally there has been a decent morning bite.  Waxies are the preferred bait.  Crappie - Fair: Crappie are being caught at sunset and after.  The aggressiveness of the bite has been varying day to day.  The fish that are being caught are coming from the roadbed and the 30 to 40 feet deep creek channel running between the east ramp and Ensign shelter.  Use glowing tackle with wax worms, small live minnows, or just minnow heads.

Hickory Grove Lake
Bluegill - Good: The bluegill bite is still a little off from what it had been, but anglers can expect a decent day.  The best bite is the hour before dark.  They are being caught over sunken habitat in depths of 15 feet or greater.  The habitat in the deeper water in the lower half of the lake has been producing the best.  There is plenty of good habitat to search for out from many of the points, and southeast of the island.  Crappie - Good: Crappie are being caught.  For better success stay out the hour or two past sunset.  They are coming off some of the same habitat as the bluegills.  However, better crappie success is coming from more main lake habitat than back in the coves.  Glow jigs with wax worms or minnows are working.

Lake Ahquabi
Bluegill - Fair: Good bluegills are still being picked up around the large sunken cedars in 16 to 20 feet out from the steep, west bank across from the beach area.

Ankeny Lake (DMACC)
Rainbow Trout - Good: 1,400 trout were stocked January 29.  They were biting good on jigs tipped with wax worms.  Three trophy sized brood fish were also released. Only one is known to have been caught so far.  Bluegill - Good: Decent sized bluegills as well as an occasional nice sized crappie are being pulled through the ice.  Concentrate on the south central portion of the lake.

Ada Hayden Heritage Park Lake
Rainbow Trout - Good: Trout are being caught in good numbers mostly along the East shore of the North pit.  Anglers fishing earlier in the morning are having the best luck.  The trout don’t seem to travel the deep water so try staying in the 5 to 15 feet contour interval.  They can be caught on most ice fishing jigs or jigging spoons tipped with wax worms or fish with a small live minnow on a hook.  They are confined to the north pit.

Fishing is remaining fairly consistent.  The bite on many lakes has slowed a little through late January, but normally will begin to pick up again through February.  Ice conditions are excellent.  Most bodies of water have 15 plus inches.  In general, the best bites have been happening after 4 p.m.  For questions on central Iowa lakes and rivers contact Ben Dodd or Andy Otting at 515-432-2823.

Nodaway Lake
Nodaway Lake is located two miles south of Greenfield. The best bite has been in the afternoon. Ice is 12 inches thick.  Bluegill - Fair: Bluegills can be caught on teardrops tipped with wax worms. Sorting is necessary for 7 to 8-inch fish. Crappie - Fair: Crappies are being caught with wax worms around cedar tree piles. Fish are 9 to 10 inches.

Littlefield Lake
Littlefield is reported to have 12 inches of ice.  Bluegill - Fair: Bluegills can be caught with wax worms in 10 to 13 feet of water. Fish average 8 inches. Crappie - Slow: Crappies are scattered with a few are being caught in the evenings using minnows. Fish average 9 inches. 

Lake Anita
Lake Anita was reported to have 14 inches of ice.  Bluegill - Fair: Bluegills are being caught on jigs tipped with wax worms in 18 to 20 feet of water. Bluegills are averaging 8 inches with fish up to 9.5 inches being caught.  Crappie - Slow: A few crappies are being picked up early in the morning on minnows.

Willow Lake
Willow lake has 14 plus inches of good ice and extremely good water clarity.  Bluegill - Fair: Anglers are catching 8-inch bluegills with wax worms in 20 feet of water close to structure.  Crappie - Slow: An angler reported to have caught a few 10 inch crappies in 15 to 20 feet of water in the late afternoon.

Lake Manawa
Manawa has variable ice thickness. Reports are anywhere from 10 to 14 inches. Most fishing has taken place around Tin Can Alley or the new and old beach.  Crappie - Slow: Crappies are being caught with minnows and wax worms. Most fish are 8 to 10 inches.

Cold Springs District Farm Ponds
Farm ponds in southern Iowa provide a good opportunity for a quality ice fishing trip. Remember; always get permission before fishing private ponds.  Bluegill - Fair: Bluegills are being caught using tear drops tipped with wax worms. Crappie - Slow: Crappies are being caught using minnows or wax worms on larger ponds that support crappie populations. Later in the afternoon has been the best time to target crappies.

Ice conditions continue to improve with reports of 10 to 15 inches of ice. Caution is still needed at Greenfield Lake. Geese are keeping a small area of water open by the dam. For more information on fishing or ice conditions call the district office in Lewis at 712-769-2587.

Lake Icaria
Most of the lake has good ice but the water kept an area of the north arm open. Check thickness frequently.

Fogle Lake S.W.A.
Anglers are driving on the ice.  Use caution.  Bluegill - Fair: A few bluegills are being caught from the tree pile just north of the center of the dam.

Lake of Three Fires
Ice thickness ranges from 4 to 12 inches.  Most of the lower portion has ice 8 to 10 inches.  Check often.  Bluegill - Fair: A few mid-sized and larger bluegills have been caught from the tree pile just north of the center of the dam.

Afton City Reservoir
Anglers are driving on the ice but thickness varies greatly.  Bluegill - Fair: Anglers are catching a few bluegills just north of the center of the dam.

Green Valley Lake
The lake has been lowered to complete a sediment removal project.  The lake contains numerous mid-sized and large bluegills and crappies.

Summit Lake
The lake has been drained to complete a shoreline rip rap project and replace the spillway.  Refilling is expected later in the summer.

Three Mile Lake
Most of the lake has ice from 6 to 8 inches thick.  The waterfowl kept some areas open until recently.  Check thickness frequently.  Crappie - Fair: A few real nice crappies are biting around the creek channels and the roadway across the mid-lake.

Twelve Mile Creek Lake
A lot of anglers are driving on the ice.  Check thickness frequently.  Bluegill - Good: Several big bluegills are being caught from the creek channel along the west shore.

Ice conditions are improving.  Numerous lakes have ice fishing activity.  Some vehicles are driving on the ice.  Some thin areas may still exist.  Use caution and check the thickness frequently.

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