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Heartland Outdoors

Be safe on snowmobiles

Sat, January 01, 2011

SPRINGFIELD - The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is reminding snowmobile operators and riders to take extra caution this year as the snow begins to fall in Illinois. Every year throughout the state, people are seriously injured or lose their lives on snowmobiles.  Many of these accidents could have been prevented had proper precautions been taken and common sense been used.

Last season in Illinois, 37 reported snowmobile accidents resulted in 1 fatality.

“Snowmobiling, if done with safety and precaution in mind, can be fun and enjoyable but when proper precautions aren’t taken people can find themselves in bad situations,” said IDNR Director Marc Miller.  “The IDNR encourages operators to take a snowmobile safety course, always know the terrain in advance of your ride and never consume alcohol before or during your trip.”

In most instances, being alert, knowing the trail, and traveling at a reasonable rate of speed for trail conditions can prevent most accidents.  In North America, more than 50 percent of snowmobile fatalities involve intoxicated operators.

While IDNR encourages everyone to take a snowmobile safety class before their first ride of the season, state law requires that persons at least 12 years of age and less than 16 years must have in possession a valid Snowmobile Safety Education Certificate of Competency issued by IDNR in order to operate a snowmobile alone.  For snowmobile safety information or a list of upcoming snowmobile classes, see http://www.dnr.state.il.us/safety/snowmobile.htm.

Current snowmobile safety education courses require students attend an eight-hour class where certified instructors teach basic safety principles, maintenance, operation, winter survival, regulations and a proper attitude of respect for the student’s fellow person and the environment.

Basic safety tips for safe snowmobiling:

• Know your equipment and make sure that equipment is in proper working order.

• Wear sensible, protective clothing designed for snowmobiling like a full-size helmet, goggles, or face shield to prevent injuries from twigs, stones, ice chips, and flying debris.

• Avoid wearing long scarves. They may get caught in moving parts of the snowmobile.

• Know the terrain you are going to ride. If unfamiliar to you, ask someone who has traveled over it before.  Be aware of trails or portions of trails that may be closed.

• Drowning is one cause of snowmobile fatalities. When not familiar with the thickness of the ice or water currents, avoid these areas.

• Know the weather forecast and especially the ice and snow conditions in the area.

• Always use the buddy system. Never ride alone or unaccompanied.

• Travel at a reasonable rate of speed for your visibility conditions.

Snowmobile accidents/fatalities by year
Year   Reported Accidents   Fatalities

2007-2008             66 accidents reported   7 fatals

2008-2009             39 accidents reported   3 fatals

*Reminder to riders and hikers:  A minimum of 4 inches of snow cover must be present for snowmobile use on state-managed property.  Please call ahead to site offices to get the latest snow conditions and trail closures at individual sites.  Ignoring these closures can result in a minimum $75 fine and possible arrest. 

Click here for a list of site offices.

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Emiquon Preserve permits available

Fri, December 31, 2010

Anglers and other users of the Emiquon Preserve are reminded they must obtain new, free permits for the 2011 season.

Boating, fishing and ice skating will be permitted at the Emiquon Preserve on a limited basis in 2011. The free permits and a complete list of rules for 2011 may now be picked up at the Dickson Mounds Museum. New permits are required as of January 2011 for participation. The wetland restoration opened for fishing in 2009. Existing 2010 permits will expire on December 31, 2010.

Boating, fishing and ice skating is allowed only on the west side of Thompson Lake.  Gas powered motors, whether or not in use, are not permitted.  Bank fishing is not allowed.  Ice fishing is allowed, but gas powered augers are not. Children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult and have a permit signed by a parent or legal guardian.  A parent or legal guardian must be present with the child on the date of the permit signing.

The Emiquon Preserve is located near Peoria in Lewistown, Illinois. The Dickson Mounds Museum is located at 10956 North Dickson Mounds Road, and is open from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.  Parking locations and access to the lake may change or be limited during the season as on-site construction of visitor facilities progresses.

Lake Access is permitted between sunrise and sunset.  Additional restrictions apply on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays during waterfowl hunting season when boating, fishing and ice skating is allowed only between 12 pm and sunset.

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Missouri muzzeloaders shoot 12,940 deer

Fri, December 31, 2010

JEFFERSON CITY–Hunters with front-loading firearms shot 12,940 deer during Missouri’s 11-day muzzleloader season, bringing this year’s firearms deer harvest total to more than 230,000 statewide.

The muzzleloader harvest was the third-largest in the season’s 23-year history and well above the 10-year average of 11,312. Top muzzleloader harvest counties were Oregon with 277 deer killed, Macon with 268 and Franklin with 267.

Snowfall, which makes deer more visible to hunters, may have boosted this year’s muzzleloader harvest, according to Lonnie Hansen, a resource scientist with the Missouri Department of Conservation.

“We had snow on the ground for both weekends of this year’s muzzleloader season,” said Hansen. “The weather during some of the season was pretty extreme, and that might actually have held down the harvest a little. Overall, though, I think the weather probably was a help to hunters.”

The final segment of Missouri’s firearms deer season is the late youth portion Jan. 1-2. The harvest during last year’s late youth hunt was 1,706.

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Iowa fishing report 12/30/10

Thu, December 30, 2010

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
Yellow Smoke Park Lake
The most recent report is from two weeks ago.  Yellow Smoke has about 7 inches of good, clear ice.  Use caution when near the handicapped accessible dock because slush pockets have formed near it.  The water is extremely clear.  Bluegill - Good: The few anglers that are fishing are doing well for bluegill.  The bite turns on at 4:30 PM.  Bluegills as large as 10 1/8 inch are being caught.  Try fishing in 20 feet of water in the submerged trees.  Use very light line and tackle.  Largemouth Bass - Fair: A number of 15 to 16-inch bass are being caught while bluegill fishing.

Crawford Creek Impoundment
There is about 9 to 10 inches of ice on Crawford Creek.  The fish have been real finicky with anglers getting a lot of light bites.  The best fishing has been in the early mornings.

Brushy Creek Lake
Ice conditions have improved at Brushy Creek.  However, the ice on the main lake by the swim beach and by the dam is unsafe.  Water clarity is good.  Bluegill - Fair: Bluegills have been biting on wax worms.  Crappie - Fair: Small crappies and the occasional big one are biting on small minnows and wax worms.  Yellow Perch - Fair: Yellow perch have been biting on wax worms.  Walleye - Slow: A few walleye have been caught on minnows.

Bacon Creek Lake
Approximately 1,500 rainbow trout were stocked into Bacon Creek on November 10.  The next stocking is scheduled for January 8, between 1:30 and 2 p.m.  DNR staff will be on hand until 4 p.m. with ice fishing gear for people to use.  There will be approximately 100 tagged trout.  Prizes donated by local businesses will be available to the first dozen tagged trout caught.  Iowa residents and nonresidents who are required to have a fishing license must pay the trout fee to fish for or possess trout. Rainbow Trout - Excellent: Anglers should expect great rainbow trout fishing on January 8.  Trout bite readily off the stocking truck.

Storm Lake (including Little Storm Lake)
A truck went through the ice last weekend.  White Bass - Good: Large white bass are being caught by anglers targeting walleye.  There is fast action for the white bass when schools move through and then it slows down until another big school comes by.  Crappie - Fair: Some nice sized crappie are being caught around the inlet area.  Yellow Perch - Slow: Anglers pick up yellow perch on occasion when fishing walleye.  Not a lot of perch get caught, but the ones that do are 9 to 11 inches.  Walleye - Fair: The walleye fishing has been spotty.  Anglers have been targeting the inlet and Frank Starr Park.  A live minnow fished right off the bottom has been working well, or try using a super duper and a minnow head.  Evenings and mornings have been the best. Daily bag limit at Storm Lake is 3 walleye: all 17 to 22-inch walleye must be immediately released, only one walleye over 22 inches may be kept.  Ice thickness is extremely variable. 

Swan Lake
Ice at Swan Lake 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 and crappie have been caught, but there has not been a lot of fishing.

Black Hawk Lake
There is about 13 inches of good, clear ice on Black Hawk Lake.  The winter aeration system has been started and there is now open water and weak ice in the Town Bay area.  Yellow Perch - Slow: An occasional 8-inch perch is caught while walleye fishing.  Walleye - Good: Walleye fishing has been pretty fast, but very few are keepers. Target the old dredge cuts, rock piles off of Shotgun Hill and Crescent Park, and the deep hole near Ice House Point. On Black Hawk Lake walleye must be at least 15 inches in length to keep and only three per day may be kept. 

Browns Lake
Bluegill and crappie have been spotty with the best fishing happening in the evening. Ice is 9 to 10 inches thick.

Snyder Bend Lake
Little to no fishing activity.  Snyder Bend refuge opens January 1.  Still some open water in areas.  Snyder Bend has warm water flowing into it from a nearby power plant and waterfowl are keeping the water open in other areas.  Use caution on Snyder Bend.

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 9 to 12 inches. Bluegills are biting in the late afternoon on wax worms.

Clear Lake
Ice thickness is 9 to 13 inches. Yellow bass fishing is fair, try using a small jig tipped with a spike or piece of cut bait. Walleye fishing is slow.

Lake Cornelia
Ice thickness is 10 to 12 inches. Yellow perch are biting on small jigs tipped with wax worms.

Little Wall Lake
Ice thickness is 8 to 10 inches. Bluegills and crappies are biting on wax worms.

Rice Lake
Ice thickness is 6 to 13 inches. A few yellow perch and crappies are being caught.

Silver Lake (Worth)
Ice thickness is 8 to 12 inches.

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

Lake Pahoja
Crappie - Fair: Fish around brush piles with small jigs tipped with wax worms.  Yellow Perch - Slow: Fish near brush piles with wax worms.  Reports say that most perch being caught are small.

Big Spirit Lake
Yellow Perch - Fair: Fish are being caught on the main lake using small ice jigs tipped with wigglers near Marble Beach, Buffalo Run, and between Big Stoney and Cottonwood points.  Walleye - Good: Fish rock bars or weed lines at sunrise or sunset with jigging lures tipped with a minnow head and dead sticking with a minnow on a small hook below a split shot.

East Okoboji Lake
Walleye - Fair: Use jigging lures tipped with a minnow near Parks Marina.

West Okoboji Lake
Northern Pike - Fair: Use tip ups with large baitfish or jig using large jigging lures. Bluegill - Good: Fish in the bays with small ice jigs tipped with wax worms/wigglers or plastics.  Yellow Perch - Fair: Fish the outside edges of weed beds in about 12 feet of water with plastics or live bait near Pocahontas and Eagle points.  Walleye - Slow: A few fish are being caught along drop-offs with perch colored jigging lures.

Five Island Lake
Walleye - Slow: A few fish have been reported fishing at sunset with jigging lures tipped with a whole minnow or just a minnow head.

Elk Lake
Yellow Perch - Fair: Use small jigging lures tipped with a minnow.

Tuttle Lake
Northern Pike - Fair: Pike are being caught while fishing for perch.  Yellow Perch - Fair: Use small minnows on jigs.  Fish in the 9 to 10-inch range are being reported while fishing in 3 to 4 feet of water.

Silver Lake (Palo Alto)
Yellow Perch - Fair: Use small minnows or small ice jigs tipped with wax worms.

Virgin Lake
Yellow Perch - Fair: Use small jigging lures tipped with a small minnow.

Scharnberg Pond
On December 18, Scharnberg Park 5 miles west of Spencer on Highway B24, received the first of two trout stocking this winter. 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 variable on area lakes.  Extreme caution should be used when ever going out onto the ice.  For more fishing information on the Spirit Lake area call 712-336-1840.

NORTHEAST
Silver Lake (Delaware)
We have received no information regarding fishing on this water body this week. 

Casey Lake (aka Hickory Hills Lake)
Casey Lake is ready for ice-fishing and has received some light pressure.  Anglers have been catching bluegill and yellow perch.  Bluegill - Good: Try small ice jigs tipped with a wax worm off of the bottom around structure from the middle of the lake and east towards the dam.  Yellow Perch - Fair: Concentrate fishing around structure, best times for perch have been during early morning or late evening hours.

Big Woods Lake
We have received no information regarding fishing on this water body this week. 

Brinker Lake
We have received no information regarding fishing on this water body this week. 

George Wyth Lake
We have received no information regarding fishing on this water body this week. 

Avenue of the Saints Pond
Avenue of Saints Lake is ready for ice-fishing and has received some light pressure. Anglers have been catching bluegill, crappie and some occasional channel catfish. Angling has been most productive during the early morning and late evening hours.  Bluegill - Good: Try numerous small ice fishing jigs and a variety of colors tipped with a wax worm.  Crappie - Fair: Try locating cover and fishing various depths with minnow or wax worm under a bobber.

Sweet Marsh Reservoir
We have received no information regarding fishing on this water body this week. 

Plainfield
We have received no information regarding fishing on this water body this week. 

Ice thickness is 5 to 8 inches on most area lakes in northeast Iowa. Ice fishing appears to have slowed a bit over the last week. Trout streams remain in excellent condition and hold good numbers of trout throughout the winter months. For further information contact the district office in Manchester at 563-927-3276.

MISSISSIPPI RIVER
Mississippi River Pool 9
Ice depth generally 8 to 10 inches but caution should be used in areas that have current or are insulated by deep snow.  Northern Pike - No Report: Several anglers reported seeing folks using tip ups for northern pike but we have received no reports on the success rate.  Bluegill - Good: Good catches in Minnesota Slough and Indian Lake by New Albin, and Shore Slough by Lansing. Yellow Perch - Fair: A few nice perch reported from Shore Slough and Minnesota Slough.

Mississippi River Pool 10
Ice depth generally 8 to 10 inches but caution should be used in areas that have current or are insulated by deep snow. In the Sny Magill area near Effigy Mounds Park it is safe to cross over into Norwegian Lake but is still unsafe to walk to Methodist Lake.  Northern Pike - Fair: Some smaller northern pike were being caught on tip-ups using larger shiners as bait.  Bluegill - Good: Good catches of bluegills reported near Ambrough Slough by Prairie Du Chien and in the Sny Magill area decent catches reported in Ice Lake and Sandbar Slough. Bussey Lake has slowed a bit but still is cranking out some bluegills.  Pressure at Bussey Lake has been heavy.  Crappie - Fair: A few nice crappies in Bussey but fishing has slowed.  A few nice crappies in Sandbar Slough.  Yellow Perch - Fair: Some nice perch reported from sloughs in the Prairie Du Chien area and a few in Bussey Lake.  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. 

Mississippi River Pool 11
Ice depth generally 8 to 10 inches but caution should be used in areas that have current or are insulated by deep snow.  The Guttenberg city boat ramp is not currently blocked with ice and anglers can back a boat in but it may be tricky.  Bluegill - Good: Decent catches in the marina at Mud Lake and in Zollicoffers in lower Pool 11are being reported but it is often “hit or miss.”  The bite at times has been a day bite with late afternoon producing the most fish.  Some fish are being reported in Sunfish Lake on the Wisconsin side as well.  Crappie - Slow: A few nice crappies in Zollicoffers Lake by Dubuque and Swift Slough by Guttenberg.  Yellow Perch - Fair: A few nice perch are being caught in Mud Lake, Zollicoffers Lake and Sunfish Lake.  Try letting the lure settle all the way to the bottom for a bit to entice perch to bite.  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.  Walleye - Slow: Although anglers can access the tail waters of lock and dam 10 through the city ramp in Guttenberg, 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 10 inches, but caution should be used as heavy snows insulate the ice and some thawing may make unsafe ice conditions in areas that have current. 

Mississippi River Pool 16
Tail water stage at Lock and Dam 15 is 6.97 feet. The Marquette St. boat ramp is currently being reported as open as of Dec. 30. Ramp conditions could change. Ice anglers should use caution when out on the ice especially with warm temperatures and rain in the forecast.  Bluegill - Fair: There are reports of some bluegills being caught through the ice on wax worms in Sunset Marina. The bite has been the best early in the morning and right before dark.  Crappie - Slow: Crappie fishing in Sunset Marina has slowed down.  Sauger - Slow: Sauger fishing below the dam and in Sylvan Slough has been slow.

Mississippi River Pool 17
Tail water stage at Lock and Dam 16 is 5.71 feet. As of Dec. 30, the furthest upstream boat ramp in Muscatine is open for launching boats. There are reports of 6 to 7 inches of ice in Big Timber. There is warm weather and rain in the forecast that could result in some unsafe ice conditions in Big Timber. Ice conditions could be more variable out in the main part of Big Timber so anglers should use caution. Anglers not familiar with Big Timber should stay off the ice.  Bluegill - Fair: Anglers are catching some bluegills in the backwaters on small jigs and wax worms.  Crappie - Fair: Crappies are being caught in the backwaters on small ice jigs/waxies and on minnows.  Sauger - No Report: We have received no information on tail water fishing for saugers.

Mississippi River Pool 18
Tail water stage at Lock and Dam 17 is 7.51 feet. As of Dec. 30, the Toolesboro ramp is being reported as open. Ramp conditions could change. No ice fishing information for this pool has been received.  Bluegill - No Report:  Crappie - No Report:  Sauger - Fair: Saugers are being caught in the tail waters on jigs and minnows or on jigs and plastics.  Walleye - Fair: Some walleyes are being picked up in the tail waters on jigs and minnows.

Mississippi River Pool 19
Tail water stage at Lock and Dam 18 is 4.63 feet. No fishing information was received for this pool.

Pools 16-19: Anglers should use caution when ice fishing in the backwaters due to warm temperatures and rain in the forecast. Ice conditions may become unsafe over the next few days due to standing water, runoff, and possible rising river levels. There have been some reports of tail water fishing for walleye and saugers. For more fishing information on Pools 16-19 contact the Fairport Fish Hatchery at 563-263-5062.

SOUTHEAST
Lake Belva Deer
Ice conditions are good. The warm weather should melt the snow off the ice and replace it with slush and water.  The water under the ice should remain clear as long as we don’t get too much rain.  Bluegill - Good: Anglers are concentrated in the area around the campground boat ramp.  Fishing has been the best in the early morning hours as usual.

Lake of the Hills
Ice conditions remain good. Stay away from the boathouse where the aerator is keeping the water open and around the boat dock.  Rainbow Trout - Good: Anglers are picking up more than a few trout when they are fishing for panfish. Bluegill - Good: Most anglers are working the stumps and brush piles out in the deeper water.  Crappie - Good: Anglers are catching them around the brush piles.

Crawford Pond
Ice is about 8 inches thick.  The expected snow melt and rain may make the water cloudy.  Be prepared to switch to a dark color ice fishing jig to give the contrast so the fish can see it.  Bluegill - Fair: The fish are getting finicky lately.  Probably because of the constant weather changes.  As far as jig choice; it’s go small or go home.

Wilson Lake
Ice is about 6 inches thick.  Rainbow Trout - Good: Anglers are still catching some good numbers of the trout we released back in November.  Look for them around the brush piles the county has been adding over the last couple of years for fish habitat.  Bluegill - Good: Anglers have been catching some nice bluegills through the ice.  Target the fish habitat in the north arm of the lake 8 to 12 feet of water.

Lake Darling District Farm Ponds
Most of the smaller ponds now have about 8 inches of ice.  Bluegill - Good: Try out around the habitat in the deeper water and fish close to the bottom.

For more information on the above lakes call the Lake Darling fisheries office at 319-694-2430.

Red Haw Lake
Ice depths have been reported to be around 5 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 - Fair: Use teardrop jigs tipped with a wax worm.

Hawthorn Lake (aka Barnes City Lake)
The lake has been drained for a lake renovation.  Work has begun around the lake.

Lake Sugema
Use caution when venturing out onto the ice.  The standing timber can impede the formation of good ice.  Bluegill - Slow: Use small jigs tipped with a wax worm.  Try fishing within a foot of the lake bottom.

Rathbun Reservoir
The lake level is at 902.26 feet with 904.0 feet being normal pool.  The main lake has frozen over.  Ice thickness reports are as follows:  Island View Dedication site boat ramp-6 inches, Glenwood ramp-7.5 inches, and Atwell’s Landing-8.5 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.

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

SOUTHWEST
Jacob Krumm Nature Preserver Lake (west)
Bluegill - Fair: The past weekend anglers were catching good numbers of keeper bluegills.  The bite has become lighter this week, but fish are still being caught.  There is a good amount of habitat in this small lake, keep moving to find active fish.

Rock Creek Lake
Bluegill - Good: Both bluegill and crappie are being caught in good numbers fishing with wax worms in 8 to 12 feet of water.  Morning and late afternoon have been the best times.

Big Creek Lake
Bluegill - Good: Anglers are still catching fish in Lost Lake, but it is not an any time of day bite.  The best time seems to be early morning and late afternoon.  The sunken brush piles in the lower half of the lake are also producing some gills.  Waxies are the preferred bait.  Crappie - Slow: Crappie fishing remains fairly slow.  The fish that are being caught are coming from the roadbed and the 30 to 35 feet deep creek channel running between the east ramp and Ensign shelter.  Almost all crappies are caught after sunset.  Use glowing tackle with wax worms, small live minnows, or just minnow heads.  Walleye - Fair: Crappie anglers are picking up many walleyes with most being short. Check LEGAL sized walleye for tags near the tail.  If one is caught, follow the instructions on the signs near the boat ramps to collect a cash reward.

Hickory Grove Lake
Bluegill - Good: Fishing is staying consistent.  They are being caught over sunken habitat in depths of 10 feet or greater.  There is plenty of good habitat to search for in the coves, 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: Anglers are picking up some 8-inch bluegill with wax worms.  The most productive areas are 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: Good catches of rainbow trout are being caught by tipping ice jigs or jigging spoons with a couple wax worms.  Bluegill - Good: Decent sized bluegills are being pulled through the ice.  Concentrate on the south central portion of the lake.

Ada Hayden Heritage Park Lake
Rainbow Trout - Good: Most of the rainbow trout stocked in November remain to be caught through the ice.  They seem to be traveling in schools around the perimeter. Try staying in the 5 to 10 feet contour interval.  They can be caught on most ice fishing jigs or jigging spoons tipped with wax worms.  They are confined to the north pit.

Banner Lake (south)
Rainbow Trout - Good: Good numbers of rainbow trout are left to be caught through the ice.  Anglers are catching them using normal ice fishing jigs or jigging spoons tipped with wax worms.

Ice fishing conditions are good.  The temporary warm spell should not significantly impact ice conditions.  Just use caution or avoid areas where melt runoff is coming in.  For questions on central Iowa lakes and rivers contact Ben Dodd or Andy Otting at 515-432-2823.

Greenfield Lake
Greenfield Lake has a quality panfish fishery and is a popular ice fishing lake. There is still waterfowl activity around the dam.  Bluegill - Fair: A few 7 to 8-inch bluegills are being caught in 20 feet of water using wax worms.

Lake Anita
Lake Anita was reported to have 9 inches of ice. Anita’s bluegills have experienced good growth over the past year and are providing an excellent ice fishery. Bluegill - Fair: Bluegills are being caught on jigs tipped with wax worms in 18 to 20 feet of water. Fish your jig close to the bottom. Bluegills are averaging 8 inches with fish up to 9.5 inches being caught.

Willow Lake
Willow lake has 7 to 9 inches of good ice and extremely good water clarity.  Bluegill - Good: Anglers are catching bluegills with wax worms in 20 feet of water. Bluegills are 7 to 8 inches.

Lake Manawa
Manawa has variable ice thickness due to waterfowl. Drill holes often as you venture out. Most of the ice fishing has taken place around Boy Scout Island and the new and old beach.  Crappie - Fair: Crappies are being caught with minnows and wax worms. Most fish are 8 to 10 inches.

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

Ice conditions are good with 7 to 9 inches on most water bodies in southwest Iowa. Be aware of waterfowl activity as some lakes still hold large numbers of geese. For information on fishing or ice conditions call the district office at 712-769-2587.

Lake Icaria
Some ice fishing is occurring in the mid-lake coves. Bluegills and crappies are the best possibilities.

Green Valley Lake
The lake level has been lowered 12 feet for completion of a sediment removal project. Completion is expected by mid-February. The lake has been restocked and the bluegills are big.

Three Mile Lake
Ice is thicker in the coves but the recent warm temperatures have put a lot of water on the ice. Use caution in all places.

Twelve Mile Creek Lake
Ice is thicker in the shaded coves. Some water is on the ice near-shore. The bluegills are the most popular.

Walnut Creek Marsh
The ice is usually 4 to 6 inches thick. The aeration system has the water opened up in the southwest corner.

Thursday’s warm weather melted all the snow. The run-off has slightly raised some lake levels and put a lot of water on the ice near shore. Use caution when venturing out on the ice. Some areas may be too thin. Colder temperatures this weekend will re-freeze most areas.

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Boddy remains on with Iowa DNR

Tue, December 28, 2010

DES MOINES – Pat Boddy will stay on as deputy director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR), according to new DNR Director Roger Lande.

Boddy has served as deputy director since January of 2009 and has been the interim director of the agency since September when former director Richard Leopold stepped down to accept a position with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“Pat brings a great deal of knowledge and experience to the DNR. She is a proven, capable leader who will provide continuity in protecting Iowa’s natural resources,” said Lande.

A licensed professional engineer, Boddy Boddy brings more than 25 years experience in the fields of water resources, parks and land management and communication management.  She served as the director of the Polk County Conservation Board prior to joining the DNR and was the president of Boddy Media Group from 1996-2004.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to continue working with the DNR and helping the new administration reach its goals in protecting and enhancing Iowa’s natural resources,” said Boddy.

The DNR has more than 1,100 employees and an annual operating budget of more than $100 million dollars.

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No late-winter hunt at Lake Shelbyville

Mon, December 27, 2010

Lake Shelbyville –  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers would like to remind everyone that there are NO late winter antlerless only seasons on Government owned land at Lake Shelbyville.  No firearm deer hunting of any kind, including shotguns, handguns, and muzzleloaders, are allowed on Government land at Lake Shelbyville during late winter antlerless only seasons, which are December 30 – January 2, 2010 and January 14– 16, 2011.
 
Archery hunting is still allowed on Government land at Lake Shelbyville until the season ends on January 16, 2011 – to include the late-winter antlerless season dates (December 30 - January 2 and January 14 - 16, 2011).  Archery hunters are reminded that they MUST meet blaze orange requirements during these dates, even though the late-winter antlerless gun season is not in effect on Lake Shelbyville.

If you want to use a deer stand or blind on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers managed property you must obtain a either a Seasonal or Roving Tree Stand permit.  The tree stand permits can be obtained at the Lake Shelbyville Project Office, which east of Shelbyville, IL on IL Route 16, D&M Sporting Goods in Sullivan, IL, or Kidd’s Archery in Shelbyville, IL.

All hunters are reminded that certain portions of Government land at Lake Shelbyville are off limits to hunting including all recreation areas.  Those found in violation of hunting within a prohibited area may receive a $125 citation.

For additional information contact Natural Resource Specialist Lee Mitchell at (217) 774-3951 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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Iowa fishing report

Thu, December 23, 2010

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
Yellow Smoke Park Lake
Yellow Smoke has about 7 inches of good, clear ice.  Use caution when near the handicapped accessible dock because slush pockets have formed near it.  The water is extremely clear.  Bluegill - Good: The few anglers that are fishing are doing well for bluegill.  The bite turns on at 4:30 p.m.  Bluegills as large as 10 1/8 inches are being caught.  Try fishing in 20 feet of water in the submerged trees.  Use very light line and tackle.  Largemouth Bass - Fair: A number of 15 to 16-inch bass are being caught while bluegill fishing.

Crawford Creek Impoundment
There is about 9 to 10 inches of ice on Crawford Creek.  Some ice shacks have been out, but there have only been a few reports of anglers catching some decent bluegill.

Brushy Creek Lake
Water clarity at Brushy Creek is excellent.  Ice conditions in the upper end are improving, but ice on main lake is still unsafe.  Bluegill - Slow:  Crappie - Slow:  Yellow Perch - Fair:  Walleye - Slow:

Bacon Creek Lake
About 1,500 rainbow trout were stocked into Bacon Creek on Nov. 10.  The next stocking is scheduled for Jan. 8, with Jan. 22 as the snow date.  Iowa residents and nonresidents who are required to have a fishing license must pay the Trout Fee to fish for or possess trout.  Rainbow Trout - Excellent: Rainbow trout bite readily off the stocking truck.  Use small, flashy lures with a piece of bait about 5 feet below the ice.

Storm Lake (including Little Storm Lake)
Ice thickness on Storm Lake is around 3 to 4 inches out in the main basin with areas of open water.  Ice is approaching 15 inches thick near the inlet where most of the fishing is taking place.  White Bass - Good: Large white bass are being caught by anglers targeting walleye.  There is fast action for the white bass when schools move through and then it slows down until another big school comes by.  Crappie - Fair: Some nice sized crappie are being caught around the inlet area.  Yellow Perch - Slow: Anglers pick up yellow perch on occasion when fishing walleye.  Not a lot of perch get caught, but the ones that do are 9 to 11 inches.  Walleye - Good: Anglers have been targeting the inlet and Frank Starr Park.  A live minnow fished right off the bottom has been working well, or try using a super duper and a minnow head.  Evenings and mornings have been the best.  Daily bag limit at Storm Lake is 3 walleye: all 17 to 22 inch walleye must be immediately released, only one walleye over 22 inches may be kept. 

North Twin Lake
Some permanent ice shacks are now out on North Twin Lake.

Swan Lake
Ice at Swan Lake was about 6 inches thick as of last week.

Black Hawk Lake
There is about 10 inches of good, clear ice on Black Hawk Lake.  The winter aeration system will begin operation soon creating pockets of open water and thin ice in the Town Bay area.  Yellow Perch - Slow: An occasional perch is caught while walleye fishing.  The perch are about 8 inches long.  Walleye - Fair: At times during the evening the action can be real fast, with the majority of fish being sub-legal.  A super duper with a minnow head has worked well.  Target the old dredge cuts, rock piles off of Shotgun Hill and Crescent Park, and the deep hole near Ice House Point.  On Black Hawk Lake walleye must be at least 15 inches in length to keep and only three per day may be kept. 

Browns Lake
There was 3 to 4 inches of ice as of last week.

Snyder Bend Lake
Snyder Bend had open water areas and 3 to 4 inches of ice in other areas as of last week.  Snyder Bend has warm water flowing into from a nearby power plant, and waterfowl are keeping the water open in other areas.  Use caution on Snyder Bend.

Arrowhead Lake
Ice was 3 to 4 inches thick as of last week.

Badger Lake
Badger Lake had 6 to 8 inches of ice as of last week.  Bluegill - Fair: Anglers are catching decent bluegills on wax worms in 8 to 10 feet of water.

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.

Beeds Lake
Ice thickness is 9 to 12 inches. Crappies are biting on minnows fished near structure.

Lake Smith
Ice thickness is 9 to 12 inches. Bluegills are biting in the late afternoon on wax worms.

Lake Catherine
Ice thickness is 7 to 9 inches. Bluegills are biting in the late afternoon on wax worms.

Clear Lake
Ice thickness is 9 to 13 inches. Yellow bass fishing is fair in the Little lake. Walleye fishing is slow.

Lake Cornelia
Ice thickness is 8 to 10 inches. Yellow perch are biting on small jigs tipped with wax worms.

Little Wall Lake
Ice thickness is 8 to10 inches. Bluegills and crappies are biting on wax worms.

Rice Lake
Ice thickness is 6 to 11 inches. A few yellow perch and crappies are being caught.

Silver Lake (Worth)
Ice thickness is 8 to 12 inches.

Morse Lake
Ice thickness is 7 to 10 inches. Yellow perch are biting on jigs tipped with wax worms.

Elm Lake
Ice thickness is 8 to 10 inches. Yellow perch are biting on wax worms.

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

Lake Pahoja
Crappie - Fair: Fish around brush piles with small jigs tipped with wax worms.  Yellow Perch - Slow: Fish near brush piles with wax worms.  It has been reported that most of the perch being caught are small.

Big Spirit Lake
Yellow Perch - Fair: Fish are being caught on the main lake using small ice jigs tipped with wigglers near Marble Beach, Buffalo Run, and between Big Stoney and Cottonwood points.  Walleye - Good: Fish rock bars or weed lines at sunrise or sunset with jigging lures tipped with a minnow head and dead sticking with a minnow on a small hook below a split shot.

East Okoboji Lake
Walleye - Fair: Use jigging lures tipped with a minnow near Parks Marina.

West Okoboji Lake
Northern Pike - Fair: Use tip ups baited with large baitfish or jig using large jigging lures.  Bluegill - Good: Fish in the bays with small ice jigs tipped with wax worms/wigglers or plastics.  Yellow Perch - Fair: Fish the outside edges of weed beds in ~12 feet of water with plastics or live bait near Pocahontas and Eagle points.  Walleye - Slow: A few fish are being caught along drop offs with perch colored jigging lures.

Five Island Lake
Walleye - Slow: A few fish have been reported fishing at sunset with jigging lures tipped with a whole minnow or just a minnow head.

Elk Lake
Yellow Perch - Fair: Use small jigging lures tipped with a minnow.

Tuttle Lake
Northern Pike - Fair: Pike are being caught while fishing for perch.  Yellow Perch - Fair: Use small minnows on jigs.  Fish in the 9-10-inch range are being reported while fishing in 3’-4’ of water.

Silver Lake (Palo Alto)
Yellow Perch - Fair: Use small minnows or small ice jigs tipped with wax worms.

Virgin Lake
Yellow Perch - Fair: Use small jigging lures tipped with a small minnow.

Scharnberg Pond
On Dec. 18, Scharnberg Park 5 miles west of Spencer on Highway B24 received the first of two trout stocking this winter. Please 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 variable on area lakes.  Extreme caution should be used when ever going out onto the ice.  For more fishing information on the Spirit Lake area call (712)-336-1840.

NORTHEAST
Volga Lake
There have been a few people angling on the lake but the bite has been slow.  Anglers have been fishing close to shore.  Bluegill - No Report:  Largemouth Bass - No Report:  Crappie - No Report:

Lake Hendricks
Ice depths are running about 7 inches under at least 7 inches of snow.  Be careful around the aerator.  There have been quite a few anglers out and most are using wax worms.  Crappie - Good: Crappies are biting on jigs tipped with a wax worm.

Lake Meyer
The lake is slowly making ice.  Use caution when going out.  Anglers have been out but the bite isn’t on, yet.

Charles City Impoundment
We have received no information regarding fishing on this water body this week.

Upper Iowa River (above Decorah)
We have received no information regarding fishing on this water body this week. 

Upper Iowa River (below Decorah)
We have received no information regarding fishing on this water body this week. 

Cedar River (above Nashua)
A few people have been ice fishing in some of the bays above the Nashua impoundment and are catching fish.  The farm ponds in the area have been hoppin’ but please remember to get permission from the landowners.  Bluegill - Good: Try a minnow on an ice fishing jig.  Smallmouth Bass - Fair: A few have been caught while angling for bluegill and crappies.  Crappie - Good: Crappies are biting on jigs tipped with a minnow.  Walleye - Fair: Anglers have been catching a few below the dam at Nashua.

Decorah District Streams
Trout are being taken in the Decorah area with wooly bugger patterns.  Bright flies with white, yellow or red materials are good for rainbows and brookies.  Dark olive, brown or black colors have attracted brown trout.  Mayfly hatches have been sparse.  Urban ponds are now being stocked, weather permitting.  For information on when and where, please call the trout stocking number at 563-927-5736 or visit our website at http://www.iowadnr.gov/fish/news/stockrep/urban.html.

Ice and snow depths vary from lake to lake.  Please use caution when going out on the ice.  Trout streams continue to provide good action.  For more information about a specific stream or river, please call the Decorah Fish Hatchery at 563-382-8324.

Silver Lake (Delaware)
Silver Lake ice conditions do vary but most places have around 4-5 inches of good ice. Some fishing activity and reports have been observed but caution is advised. Size range of bluegill does vary, sorting may be required. An occasional crappie has been reported as well.  Bluegill - Fair: Move around often to locate fish using small jigs tipped with a wax worm off of the bottom.

Casey Lake (aka Hickory Hills Lake)
Ice conditions are reported as 4 to 5 inches of good, clear ice. Casey Lake is ready for ice fishing and has received some light pressure.  Anglers have been catching bluegill and yellow perch.  Bluegill - Good: Try small ice jigs tipped with a wax worm off of the bottom around structure from the middle of the lake and east towards the dam.  Yellow Perch - Fair: Concentrate fishing around structure, best times for perch have been during early morning or late evening hours.

Big Woods Lake
Fishing has been fair for bluegill and crappie. Try fishing the north side of the lake around recently placed fish structure off of the jetties. Ice conditions may vary widely on this large water body, use extreme caution when venturing out. Bluegill - Fair: Try numerous small ice fishing jigs and a variety of colors tipped with a wax worm.  Crappie - Fair: Locate structure and find crappie suspended in and around the structure at various depths.

Brinker Lake
Brinker Lake is a deep lake with high wind-fetch, which slows ice formation. Brinker is now iced over but extreme caution is still advised near the middle/ deeper portion of the lake. Anglers have been concentrating on the bay area west of Hwy. 218 Bridge.  Bluegill - Fair: Move around often to locate fish using small jigs tipped with a wax worm off of the bottom.  Crappie - Fair: Move around often to locate fish. Try small jigs tipped with a wax worm or small minnow at various depths for suspended fish.

George Wyth Lake
Ice conditions are reported at 5 inches of good ice. Wyth Lake is ready for ice-fishing and a good season is anticipated based on fish population surveys. Caution is advised until ice thickness increases.  Bluegill - Fair: Try numerous small ice fishing jigs and a variety of colors tipped with a wax worm.  Crappie - Fair: Locate structure and find crappie suspended in and around the structure at various depths.

Avenue of the Saints Pond
We have received no information regarding fishing on this water body this week. Bluegill - Good: Try numerous small ice fishing jigs and a variety of colors tipped with a wax worm.  Crappie - Fair: Try locating cover and fishing various depths with minnow or wax worm under a bobber.

Sweet Marsh Reservoir
There have been reports of anglers catching both bluegill and crappie on Sweet Marsh.  Bluegill - Fair: Try numerous small ice fishing jigs and a variety of colors tipped with a wax worm.  Crappie - Fair: Try numerous small ice fishing jigs and a variety of colors tipped with a wax worm or small crappie minnow.

Plainfield
We have received no information regarding fishing on this water body this week.  Bluegill - Fair: Try numerous small ice fishing jigs and a variety of colors tipped with a wax worm around structure.

Ice fishing conditions continue to improve in northeast Iowa with the recent below freezing temperatures. Most reports have ice conditions ranging from a thickness of 4 to 8 inches of good ice. Trout streams remain in excellent condition and hold good numbers of trout throughout the winter months. For further information contact the district office in Manchester at 563-927-3276.

MISSISSIPPI RIVER
Mississippi River Pool 9
Ice depth generally 8 to 10 inches but caution should be used in areas that have current or are insulated by deep snow.  Bluegill - Good: Good catches in Minnesota Slough by New Albin, Shore Slough by Lansing has slowed a bit, but fish still being caught.  Yellow Perch - Fair: A few nice perch reported from Shore Slough and Minnesota Slough.

Mississippi River Pool 10
Ice depth generally is 8 to 10 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 but is still unsafe to walk to Methodist Lake. Bluegill - Good: Good catches of bluegills reported near Ambrough Slough by Prairie Du Chien, and decent catches in Sandbar Slough in the Sny Magill area. Bussey Lake has slowed a bit.  Crappie - Fair: A few nice crappies in Bussey but fishing has slowed.  A few nice crappies in Sandbar Slough.  Yellow Perch - Fair: Some nice perch reported from sloughs in the Prairie Du Chien area and a few in Bussey Lake.  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. 

Mississippi River Pool 11
Ice depth generally 8-10 inches but caution should be used in areas that have current or are insulated by deep snow.  The Guttenberg city boat ramp is not currently blocked with ice and anglers can back a boat in but it may be tricky.  Bluegill - Good: Decent catches in the marina at Mud Lake and in Zollicoffers in lower Pool 11 but has slowed a bit and in Sunfish Lake on the Wisconsin side as well.  Crappie - Slow: A few nice crappies in Zollicoffer and Sunfish Lake.  Yellow Perch - Fair: A few nice perch in Zollicoffers and Sunfish Lake.  Sauger - Slow: Although anglers can access the tail waters of lock and dam 10 through the city ramp in Guttenberg, fishing reports have been slow.  Winter water levels are very high and current is stronger than many winter anglers are accustomed.  The DNR fish hatchery ramp is completely covered with ice.  Walleye - Slow: Although anglers can access the tail waters of lock and dam 10 through the city ramp in Guttenberg, 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 10 inches, but caution should be used as heavy snows insulate the ice and some thawing may make unsafe ice conditions in areas that have current. 

Mississippi River Pool 16
Tail water stage at Lock and Dam 15 is 7.14 feet. The Marquette St. boat ramp is currently being reported as open as of Dec. 23. Ramp conditions could change. Anglers should check ramp conditions before backing down. Some panfish are being caught through the ice in Sunset Marina.  Bluegill - Fair: There are reports of some bluegills being caught through the ice on wax worms in Sunset Marina. The bite has been the best early in the morning and right before dark.  Crappie - Slow: Crappie fishing in Sunset Marina has slowed down.  Sauger - Fair: Some saugers are being caught in Sylvan Slough on jigs and minnows or pulling three-way rigs with floating Rapalas or minnows. Most of the saugers being caught are on the small side.

Mississippi River Pool 17
Tail water stage at Lock and Dam 16 is 6.05 feet. As of Dec. 23, the furthest upstream boat ramp in Muscatine has one lane open for launching boats. There is some ice on the ramp that could make launching difficult. Big Timber has around 4 to 5 inches of ice in the slough along the parking area. There are some areas that look like there is some standing water or melted snow on the ice. Ice conditions could be more variable out in the main part of Big Timber so anglers should use caution.  Bluegill - Fair: Anglers are catching some bluegills in the backwaters on small jigs and wax worms. Anglers not familiar with Big Timber are advised to stay off the ice.  Sauger - No Report: We have received no information on tail water fishing for saugers.

Mississippi River Pool 18
Tail water stage at Lock and Dam 17 is 7.84 feet. As of Dec. 23, the Toolesboro ramp is being reported as open. Ramp conditions could change. There are reports of some ice on the bottom of the ramp that could make launching boats difficult. Ice anglers have been catching some panfish in the backwaters.  Bluegill - Fair: Bluegills are being caught in the backwaters on small ice jigs and wax worms.  Crappie - Fair: Crappies are being caught in the backwaters using minnows.  Sauger - Fair: A few saugers are being picked up in the tail waters on jigs and minnows or on jigs and plastics.

Mississippi River Pool 19
Tail water stage at Lock and Dam 18 is 4.68 feet. As of Dec. 23, anglers have been able to launch boats to access the tail waters. Ramp conditions could change. The ramp has a ridge of ice on the end of it that may make pulling trailers in and out difficult. Most area ice fishing reports are coming from farm ponds.

Pools 16-19: River levels are still around 2 feet higher than normal. There have been some reports of tail water fishing for walleye and saugers. Some panfish are being caught through the ice in the backwaters.  Anglers should use caution when ice fishing in the backwaters. For more fishing information on Pools 16-19 contact the Fairport Fish Hatchery at 563-263-5062.

SOUTHEAST
Lake Geode
Unsafe ice conditions. The ice is still too thin to walk on.

Lake Belva Deer
Ice conditions are good.  Once it froze over, the ice formed fast.  Most areas have about 7 inches.  Anglers started fishing last weekend.  Bluegill - Good: Anglers are concentrated in the area around the campground boat ramp.  Fishing has been the best in the early morning hours as usual.

Lake of the Hills
Angling pressure has picked up with the improving ice conditions. Use caution and drill test holes. STAY AWAY FROM THE BOATHOUSE WHERE THE AERATOR IS KEEPING THE WATER OPEN AROUND THE BOAT DOCK.  Rainbow Trout - Good: Anglers are picking up more than a few trout when they are fishing for panfish.  Bluegill - Good: Try the around the brush piles.  Most anglers are catching them on ice fishing jigs tipped with wax worms.  Crappie - Good: Anglers are catching them around the brush piles.

Crawford Pond
Ice is about 8 inches thick.  Bluegill - Good: Fishing remains good. Fish around the numerous brush piles that are in the pond in 10 to 15 feet of water. Try a yellow teardrop jig tipped with a wax worm.

Lake Darling District Farm Ponds
Most of the smaller ponds now have about 8 inches of ice.  Bluegill - Good: Try out around the habitat in the deeper water and fish close to the bottom.

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

Hannen Lake
We have received no information regarding fishing on this water body this week.

Rodgers Park Lake
We have received no information regarding fishing on this water body this week.

Iowa Lake
Anglers have been fishing the lake but no ice or fishing reports are available.

Kent Park Lake
Bluegill - Fair: Bluegills were being caught around brush last week.

Lake Macbride
Most areas have 6 inches of ice or more. Some areas that are deeper or last to freeze may have less, so still use caution.  Bluegill - Good: Any type of structure seems to be holding bluegills. Size is mediocre.  Crappie - Fair: Fish over brush in 10 to 20 feet of water. Nice sized fish are available.

Pleasant Creek Lake
Use caution on the main lake, but the bays should have 6 inches of ice.  Crappie - Fair:  Yellow Perch - Fair:

Diamond Lake
Ice fishing is still not recommended due to variable ice conditions.

Otter Creek Lake
Anglers are now fishing here. Use caution when venturing out as geese had kept an open spot near the beach up until 12/19.

Union Grove Lake
The aeration system was started up on Dec. 16, so be aware of open water down towards the dam. There are “Thin Ice” signs surrounding the vicinity. There is about 8 inches of ice on the rest of the lake.  Bluegill - Fair: Fish around brush with a jig/waxie.  Crappie - Fair: Fish over brush. First and last light tends to be best. There is a huge year class of 8 to 9-inch crappies.

Coralville Reservoir
Areas that are protected and out of the current have up to 7 inches of ice. Areas in the channel could have much less. Use extreme caution here!

Cedar River (La Porte City to Cedar Rapids)
Anglers have been fishing backwater areas. Use caution around areas of flow!  Bluegill - Fair:  Crappie - Fair:

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

Red Haw Lake
Ice depths have been reported to be around 5 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 - Fair: Use teardrop jigs tipped with a wax worm.

Hawthorn Lake (aka Barnes City Lake)
The lake has been drained for a lake renovation to be started this winter.

Lake Sugema
Use caution when venturing out onto the ice.  The standing timber can impede the formation of good ice.  Bluegill - Slow: Use small jigs tipped with a wax worm.  Try fishing within a foot of the lake bottom.

Rathbun Reservoir
The lake level is at 902.23 feet with 904.0 feet being normal pool.  The main lake has frozen over.  Ice thickness reports are as follows:  Island View Dedication site boat ramp-6 inches, Glenwood ramp-7.5 inches, and Atwell’s Landing-8.5 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.

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

SOUTHWEST

Rock Creek Lake
Bluegill - Good: Both bluegill and crappie are being caught in good numbers fishing with wax worms in 8 to 12 feet of water.  Morning and late afternoon have been the best times.

Big Creek Lake
Bluegill - Good: Anglers fishing in the Lost Lake portion of Big Creek are still doing well on nice bluegills in the 8 to 9-inch range.  It is not an any time of day bite.  The best time seems to be late afternoon.  The sunken brush piles in the lower half of the lake are also producing some gills.  Waxies are the preferred bait.  Crappie - Slow: So far crappie fishing has been fairly slow.  The fish that are being caught are coming from the roadbed and the 30 to 35 foot deep creek channel running between the East ramp and Ensign shelter.  Almost all crappies are caught after sunset.  Use glowing tackle with wax worms, small live minnows, or just minnow heads.  Walleye - Fair: Crappie anglers are picking up many walleyes with most being short.  Check LEGAL sized walleye for tags near the tail.  If one is caught, follow the instructions on the signs near the boat ramps to collect a cash reward.

Hickory Grove Lake
Bluegill - Good: Good sized bluegill averaging over 8 inches are being caught.  They are being caught over sunken habitat in depths of 10 feet or greater.  Many of the points accessible by foot during open water have habitat sunk in front of them.  Crappie - Good: Anglers that stick it out into the late afternoon and after sunset are catching crappie in the same habitat the bluegills are coming off of.  Glow jigs with wax worms or minnows are working.

Lake Ahquabi
Bluegill - Fair: Anglers are picking up some 8-inch bluegills with wax worms.  The most productive areas are 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: Good catches of rainbow trout are being caught through the ice by tipping ice jigs or jigging spoons with a couple wax worms.  Bluegill - Good: Decent sized bluegills are being pulled through the ice.  Concentrate on the south central portion of the lake.

Ada Hayden Heritage Park Lake
Ada Hayden is usually one of the last lakes to freeze in Central Iowa, use caution and check ice thickness frequently.  Rainbow Trout - Good: Most of the rainbow trout stocked in November remain to be caught through the ice.  They seem to be traveling in schools around the perimeter.  Try staying in the 5 to 10 feet contour interval.  They can be caught on most ice fishing jigs or jigging spoons tipped with wax worms.  They are confined to the North pit.

Banner Lake (south)
Rainbow Trout - Good: Good numbers of rainbow trout are left to be caught through the ice.  Anglers are catching them using normal ice fishing jigs or jigging spoons tipped with wax worms.

Ice fishing conditions are good.  Small lakes and ponds are averaging 7 to 8 inches of ice.  The larger lakes have gained some ice since last week have anywhere from 4.5 to 8 inches.  Still use caution, especially if taking atvs or snowmobiles on the ice.  For questions on central Iowa lakes and rivers contact Ben Dodd or Andy Otting at 515-432-2823.

Greenfield Lake
Greenfield Lake has a quality panfish fishery and is a popular ice fishing lake. There is still waterfowl activity around the dam.  Bluegill - Slow: A few 7 to 8-inch bluegills are being caught in 20 feet of water using wax worms.

Lake Anita
Lake Anita was reported to have 7 inches of ice. Anita’s bluegills have experienced good growth over the past year and are providing an excellent ice fishery. Bluegill - Good: Bluegills are being caught on jigs tipped with wax worms in 18 to 20 feet of water. Fish your jig close to the bottom. Bluegills are averaging 8 inches with fish up to 9.5 inches being caught.

Willow Lake
Willow lake has 7 inches of good ice and extremely good water clarity.  Bluegill - Good: Anglers are catching bluegills with wax worms in 20 feet of water. Bluegills are 7 to 8 inches.

Lake Manawa
Manawa has variable ice thickness due to waterfowl. Drill holes often as you venture out. Most of the ice fishing has taken place around Boy Scout Island and the new and old beach.  Crappie - Fair: Crappies are being caught with minnows and wax worms. Most fish are 8 to 10 inches.

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

Ice conditions are good with 5 to 7 inches on most water bodies in southwest Iowa. Be aware of waterfowl activity as some lakes still hold large numbers of geese. For information on fishing or ice conditions call the district office in Lewis at 712-769-2587.

Lake Icaria
The waterfowl are keeping several areas open.  The near-shore areas and coves usually have thicker ice.  Check often

Fogle Lake S.W.A.
The lake has frozen over but some thin ice areas still exist.  Some anglers are venturing out to the brush pile just north of the outflow structure.

Green Valley Lake
The lake level has been lowered 12 feet for a sediment removal project.  The lake has a lot of quality panfish.  Ice fishing this winter should be very good.  A lot of open water is still present.  Some of the shoreline areas may have some good ice.  Check the thickness before venturing too far out.

Summit Lake
The lake has been drained for a spillway replacement project.  It should be down at least until spring.

Three Mile Lake
Ice thickness varies greatly.  Some open water is still present in middle and some areas just recently froze over.  The coves usually have thicker ice but still check often.

Twelve Mile Creek Lake
Ice thickness is increasing but thin areas still exist.  Open water is present in the middle.  The coves and near-shore areas are usually thicker but still check often.  Several anglers have been fishing the roadway between the middle ramps.  Check often.

Ice thickness is increasing.  The farm ponds and small lakes have from 5 to 8 inches of good ice.  The medium sized lakes have less and could still be too thin.  The ice at big lakes varies from open water to 8 inches.  The coves and sheltered areas could have up to 6 inches but nearby areas may still be less than an inch.  Use caution and check the thickness frequently.

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