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Heartland Outdoors

2011 Illinois licenses available

Mon, January 17, 2011

Illinois fishing, hunting and sportsman’s combination licenses for 2011 will be available starting Jan. 17 from DNR Direct license and permit vendors, online through the IDNR website or by calling 1-888-6PERMIT (1-888-673-7648). The system is available 24 hours a day. The 2011 licenses purchased beginning Jan. 17 will be valid through Mar. 31, 2012 unless otherwise noted.


Youth turkey hunt applications

Mon, January 17, 2011

The application period will open online on Jan. 18 for 2011 Spring Youth Turkey Hunt permits for IDNR Special Hunt Areas. Spring Youth Turkey Hunt season dates are Mar. 26-27 in the South Zone and April 2-3 in the North Zone. The application period for 2011 Spring Youth Turkey Hunt permits for IDNR Special Hunt Areas is Jan. 18-Feb. 21.

Click here for a list of IDNR Special Hunt Areas and other details on the 2011 Spring Youth Turkey Hunt.

Over-the-counter county permits for the 2010 Spring Youth Turkey Hunt will be available beginning March 1 at IDNR license and permit agent locations.


Public meeting on coastal management

Mon, January 17, 2011

CHICAGO – The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) will host a public hearing on Friday, February 18 to receive comments and discuss the new Illinois Coastal Management Program (ICMP) that is under review for federal approval. 

Governor Pat Quinn established the ICMP by Executive Order on December 10, 2010. The public meeting at which interested citizens, organizations and other stakeholders can review the ICMP and provide comments is a requirement of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which oversees the federal Coastal Management Program and provides funding for state CMPs like that being established in Illinois.  IDNR will also be accepting written comments on the CMP.

Through the federally-funded Coastal Management Program, Illinois will receive up to $2 million annually from NOAA to improve the northeast Illinois economy and create jobs by protecting the state’s coastal resources along Lake Michigan.  Illinois expects to use the federal funding from the program to restore threatened habitats, enhance and protect harbors on Lake Michigan and help municipalities develop plans to restore and sustain shorelines.  This program will coordinate with other regional restoration efforts including the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) and the Lake Michigan Lakewide Area Management Plan (LaMP).

Goals of the ICMP include supporting local, state and federal partnerships as agencies work to manage coastal resources; developing strategies to mitigate and adapt to climate change; developing long-term solutions to address toxins and invasive species; working to expand the use of green infrastructure to control storm water; promoting groundwater recharge and reduce flooding; and helping communities identify opportunities for water-related economic development.

The meeting will be held at the James R. Thompson Center, room 2-025, 100 W. Randolph, Chicago, from noon to 4:30 p.m..  A webinar of the meeting will be available online from 1-2 p.m.  Click here for detailed information on public meeting and the Illinois Coastal Management Program along Lake Michigan.


Iowa fishing report for 1-13-11

Thu, January 13, 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.

Yellow Smoke Park Lake
Yellow Smoke has about 9 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 - Fair: Anglers can expect to catch about a half dozen jumbo bluegill on a fishing trip to Yellow Smoke.  Anglers have been targeting the submerged trees in 18 to 22 feet of water.  The water is extremely clear and the bluegills are very finicky.  Anglers have been using a camera to fish because the bite is so light.  Use the smallest tackle and lightest line possible.  Largemouth Bass - Slow: Anglers report a lot of bass around the submerged trees, but very few of them bite.

Crawford Creek Impoundment
There is about 10 inches of ice on Crawford Creek.  Anglers are doing well for bluegill and catching some crappie and perch.  All fish are biting on wax worms.  Target the area southwest of the fishing pier in about 17 feet of water.  Bluegill - Good: Nice sized bluegill are being caught.  The afternoon seems to be the best for catching bluegill as they shut off when the sun goes down.  Crappie - Slow: A few crappies around 10 inches are being caught while fishing for bluegill.  Yellow Perch - Slow: A few yellow perch around 10 inches are being caught.

Badger Lake
Anglers are still catching bluegill and some crappies.  Ice is 15 inches.

Brushy Creek Lake
There’s good ice on most of the lake, but stay clear of the dam.  Anglers are catching bluegill, crappie, and perch, but most of them are small.

Bacon Creek Lake
The DNR stocked 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.  Rainbow Trout - Excellent: Anglers were catching limits of trout in about 15 minutes.

Storm Lake (including Little Storm Lake)
Ice thickness is extremely variable.  Watch out for seams in the ice or areas kept open by waterfowl.  Water clarity is poor.  Walleye - Slow: The walleye fishing has been spotty.  Anglers are scattered around the lake looking for walleyes. Daily bag limit at Storm Lake is three walleye: all 17 to 22-inch walleye must be immediately released, only one walleye over 22 inches may be kept. 

North Twin Lake
As of Sunday anglers were catching yellow bass as fast as they could drop their lures.  Most of the fishing took place mid-day and was over by 4 p.m. 

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.  There have been very few people fishing the lake.

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.  Walleye - Fair: Anglers are still catching walleye by the dredge cuts near Denison Beach, but the vast majority are sublegal fish. On Black Hawk Lake walleye must be at least 15 inches in length to keep and only three per day may be kept. 

Arrowhead Lake
Arrowhead Lake has about 10 inches of good ice.  Bluegill - Fair: A lot of small bluegill were caught on the east side of the lake before sundown.  Yellow Perch - Fair: Most of the yellow perch that have been caught are small.

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.

Briggs Woods Lake
Ice thickness is 10 to 12 inches. Bluegill are biting on small jigs tipped with wax worms. A few crappies are being caught on minnows. The best bite is from 4 p.m. until dark

Lower Pine Lake
Ice thickness is 9 to 12 inches. Bluegills and crappies are biting on small jigs tipped with a wax worm.

Lake Smith
Ice thickness is 12 to 15 inches. Bluegills are biting in the late afternoon on wax worms.

Lake Catherine
Ice thickness is 12 to 15 inches. Bluegills are biting on wax worms at dusk.

Clear Lake
Ice thickness is 16 to 18 inches. Yellow bass fishing is fair, in 6 to 10 feet of water using a small jig tipped with a spike 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.

Little Wall Lake
Ice thickness is 12 to 13 inches. Bluegills and crappies are biting on wax worms in 10 to 12 feet of water.

Rice Lake
Ice thickness is 18 to 20 inches. Yellow perch fishing is slow.

Silver Lake (Worth)
Ice thickness is 15 to 19 inches. No fishing activity reported.

Bluebill Lake
Ice thickness is 16 to 18 inches. Bluegill and a few perch are biting on wax worms.

Interstate Park Lake
Ice thickness is 12 to 14 inches. A few bluegill and crappie are biting at dusk.

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

Big Spirit Lake
Fishing has slowed the past week with current weather conditions.  Some anglers are still getting limits of walleye and perch.  Yellow Perch - Good: Fish are being caught on the main lake basin using small ice jigs tipped with wigglers or wax worms.  Most of the action is at Buffalo Run, 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 - Good: Use jigging lures tipped with a minnow head near Parks Marina.

West Okoboji Lake
Bluegill - Good: Fish in the bays with small ice jigs tipped with wax worms/wigglers or plastics.

Scharnberg Pond
Scharnberg Park received the first of two trout stocking on Dec. 18.  The second trout stocking is scheduled for around Jan. 22.  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 good on area lakes; however 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.

Volga Lake
Much of the fishing activity is taking place in the afternoon.  Volga Lake has about 18 inches of ice.  Bluegill - Good:  Yellow Perch - Fair:

Lake Hendricks
Most of the fish activity has been happening between mid afternoon and dusk.  There is about 18 inches of ice on the lake.  Bluegill - Good:  Crappie - Good:

Lake Meyer
Early afternoon seems like the best time to fish Lake Meyer this week.  Anglers are catching a variety of fish using wax worms and a jig.  The majority of fish are suspended in 7 feet of water but there are some fish still sitting on the bottom. Bluegill - Excellent: Largemouth Bass - Fair: Largemouth are 10 to 13 inches. Crappie - Fair: Crappie are starting to bite.  Yellow Perch - Fair:

Decorah District Streams
Anglers are doing well on area streams. Trout have been taken on northeast Iowa streams with traditional streamer patterns such as the Light Spruce, soft-hackle patterns including #14 Orange & Partridge and #18 Purple & Starling, and #16 and #18 Beadhead Prince Nymphs.  Dry fly action has been minimal.  For folks who spin fish, try using 32 or 64 oz natural hair jigs.  Urban ponds are now being stocked, weather permitting. For information on when and where, please call the trout stocking number

Ice depths vary from lake to lake but are ranging from 14 to 18 inches.  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.

Silver Lake (Delaware)
Some fishing activity and reports have been observed. Size range of bluegill does vary, sorting may be required. Anglers have been catching an occasional northern pike and crappie as well.  Northern Pike - Fair: Tip-ups have been effective for pike near shore using a chub or small bluegill for bait. 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)
Anglers have been catching bluegill and yellow perch.  Bluegill - Good: Try small ice jigs tipped with a wax worm off 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 on Big Woods Lake. 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
Anglers have been concentrating on the east side of the island.  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
George Wyth Lake has 12 to 14 inches of good ice. Bluegill and crappie fishing has been consistent with occasional perch being caught.  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
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. Fishing 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
There have been reports of anglers catching bluegill and crappie on Sweet Marsh. Bluegill fishing has been good but with some sorting necessary.  Bluegill - Good: 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.

Nice bluegills are available here for the taking, look for structure fishing near the bottom and move often if necessary.  Bluegill - Fair: Try numerous small ice fishing jigs and a variety of colors tipped with a wax worm around structure.

Ice fishing has improved over last week on northeast Iowa lakes. Trout stocking on Heritage Pond in Dubuque County will take place this coming January 15. Dubuque County Conservation Board is sponsoring a Kid’s Fishing Event. 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 Pool 9
Ice depth generally 8 to 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 due to the higher water levels we are experiencing on the Mississippi River.  Northern Pike - Fair: A few reports of pike taken on tip ups in the Minnesota Slough area.  Bluegill - Good: Good catches in Minnesota Slough and Indian Lake by New Albin. Near Lansing fishing in the Marina and in Phillippi Lake has been good at times.  DeSoto bay on the Wisconsin side of the River is also seeing lots of fishing pressure.  Yellow Perch - Fair: A few nice perch reported from Shore Slough and Minnesota Slough although fishing pressure appears to be lower.

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 near Effigy Mounds Park it is safe to cross over into Norwegian Lake but do practice caution when crossing over Wyalusing Slough to Methodist Lake.  Northern Pike - Fair: Some smaller northern pike were being caught on tip-ups using larger shiners as bait.  The pike bite on Bussey Lake has improved. 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, Sandbar Slough and Methodist Lake.  Bussey Lake has slowed a bit but still is cranking out some bluegills. Pressure at Bussey Lake has been heavy at times.  Crappie - Fair: A few nice crappies in Bussey but fishing has slowed.  A few nice crappies in Ice and Methodist lakes in the Sny Magill area.  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 10 to 12 inches 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.  Bluegill - Good: Some bluegill are being caught marina at Mud Lake and in Zollicoffers in lower Pool 11 but it is often “hit or miss.” Generally small bluegills are being reported from the Marina. The bite at times has been a day bite with late afternoon producing the most fish. The bite on Sunfish Lake seems to have slowed.  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, and Zollicoffers 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.  A few reports of better catches over the past week. 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 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 8 inches or more 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 - Good: Bluegill are being caught on wax worms or spikes and ice jigs.  Fish are being caught in the marinas, Tippys, O’Learys, Stone, and Fishtrap Lakes.  Crappie - Fair: A few crappies are being caught in the marinas, Tippys, O’Learys, and Stone lakes.  Yellow Perch - Fair: A fair number of yellow perch are being caught along with bluegills in the backwaters and marinas.  Sauger - Fair: Reports of sauger being caught off the fishing barge below the dam.  Walleye - Fair: Reports of walleyes being caught off the fishing barge below the dam.

Mississippi River Pool 13
Ice conditions at most backwaters are fair with over 8 inches or more 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 - Good: Bluegill have been biting on wax worms on ice jigs.  Brown’s Lake has been good over the past week.  Fish are also being caught in South Sabula Lake, Spring Lake and Mickelson’s.  Crappie - Fair: Crappie have been biting better over that past week in Brown’s Lake, Spring Lake, and South Sabula Lake.  Yellow Perch - Fair: Yellow perch are being caught in South Sabula and Spring Lakes.

Mississippi River Pool 14
Ice conditions at most backwaters are fair with over 8 inches or more 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 are being caught in Rock Creek and wax worms and ice jigs.  Crappie - Slow: A few crappies are being caught in Rock Creek, but the bite has slowed.

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 7.79 feet. The Marquette St. ramp is being reported as frozen in.  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. Most of the fish have been on the small side.  Crappie - Slow: Crappie fishing in Sunset Marina has slowed down.  Sauger - No Report:

Mississippi River Pool 17
Tail water stage at Lock and Dam 16 is 6.73 feet. We have received no tail water fishing information for this pool. Ice fishing in the backwaters has been good. Anglers should still use caution when ice fishing in Big Timber.  Bluegill - Good: Bluegills are being caught in the backwaters on ice jigs and wax worms. Bluegill fishing in Big Timber has been good. Crappie - Good: Crappies are being caught in the backwaters on ice jigs and wax worms. Crappies are also being caught 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 9.94 feet. Boats are not able to launch at Toolesboro due to the ramp freezing in. No ice fishing information for this pool has been received.  Bluegill - No Report:  Crappie - No Report:  Sauger - No Report:  Walleye - No Report:

Mississippi River Pool 19
Tail water stage at Lock and Dam 18 is 5.81 feet. Boat ramps are being reported as frozen in. Most ice fishing reports are coming from area ponds.

Pools 16 to 19: Boat ramps throughout Pools 16 to 19 are being reported as frozen in. Ice anglers should use caution when out on the ice and check conditions often as you move around. For more fishing information on Pools 16 to 19 contact the Fairport Fish Hatchery at 563-263-5062.

Lake Geode
Unsafe ice conditions, they are improving slowly but the lake was ice free early last week.

Lake Belva Deer
Bluegill - Good: The bluegill bite is still mostly in the early morning.  The fish remain close to the bottom out in the trees along the creek channel.  Crappie - Good: The late afternoon bite seems to be the best time to catch crappies. Look for them to be suspended at about 8 to 12 feet down.

Lake of the Hills
Angling pressure is light.  As always stay away from the boathouse where there is an aerator to protect the docks from ice damage.  Bluegill - Fair: Work the brush piles in the deeper water.  Crappie - Fair: 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
Bluegill - Good: Work the habitat and the drop-offs along the old creek bottom that runs down the middle of the lake.

Lake Darling District Farm Ponds
Ice conditions vary.  On the ponds in the timber expect 3 to 6 inches of ice with weaker spots near where water enters the pond.  Out in the open the ponds have around 8 to 10 inches of good ice.  Bluegill - Good: Look for bluegills to still be near the bottom.  They are not running low on oxygen down there yet. Crappie - Good: Crappies are normally anywhere between 1 to 3 feet off the bottom.

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

Iowa Lake
There has not been much fishing activity here. Most has occurred after dark and reports are hard to come by.  Bluegill - Slow: Fish around brush/pallet beds with jigs/waxies.

Kent Park Lake
Bluegill - Slow: Fish around brush with jigs/waxies. Size has been good here. Largemouth Bass - Slow: A few smaller bass have been picked up while fishing for panfish.

Lake Macbride
Bluegill - Fair: Fish around any rock or wood. Size is mediocre.  Crappie - Fair: Not all spots are created equal. Look for brush in around 15 feet of water. Keep moving until you find fish. Walleye - Slow: Walleyes have been tough to come by. Dawn/dusk has been best. Try jigging spoons/raps with a minnow head or even a small jig/waxie.

Pleasant Creek Lake
Fishing has slowed a bit here.  Bluegill - Fair: Fish around brush with small jigs/waxies. Some nice fish are being taken, most before 9 a.m. and after 4 p.m.  Yellow Perch - Slow: A few 7-inch perch are being caught in deeper water.

Diamond Lake
Bluegill - Fair: Fish the brush with jigs/waxies. Most fish are 7 inches or under. Crappie - Fair: Fish around brush with jigs/waxies. Dawn/dusk has been best. Size is smaller.

Union Grove Lake
The aeration system is running so there is open water near the dam.  Bluegill - Fair: Fish around the brush west of the east boat ramp.  Crappie - Slow: Fish the same areas as for bluegills. Most fish are coming at sunset.

Coralville Reservoir
Areas where the channel runs may be unsafe. Use caution on this body of water. The water clarity has diminished since the melt off a while back.  Crappie - Fair: Fish over brush in the coves. Many little fish are being caught some brush holds very nice fish.

Sand Lake
Bluegill - Good: Nice sized bluegills are being caught here. Search for structure and for active fish.  Crappie - Slow: A few anglers are catching crappies here as well.

Cedar River (La Porte City to Cedar Rapids)
This report is for the backwater area off Blairs Ferry near Palo.  Crappie - Fair:

Lake Macbride District Farm Ponds
Bluegill - Good:

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

Red Haw Lake
Ice depths have been reported around 6 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 and work has begun around the lake.  New fish habitat areas are being built along with some new jetties.

Lake Sugema
Use caution when venturing onto the ice.  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.  Fishing 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 a foot of the lake bottom.

Rathbun Reservoir
The lake level is at 902.63 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 has 7 inches, Glenwood ramp has 8 inches, and Atwell’s Landing has 8 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

Rock Creek Lake
Bluegill - Good: Panfishing remains consistent.  Bluegills and crappies 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: Bluegills are biting well on wax worms.  The brush piles near the east ramp and south of the west ramp have been good.  The best time seems to be early morning and late afternoon, especially the hour before dark. Crappie - Fair: Crappies are being caught after dark.  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.  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 fish that were stocked in October.  Check any 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.  The best bite is the hour before dark 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 continue to pick up some decent 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: The next trout stocking will be January 29 at noon.  A family fishing event will be held with this stocking.  Rainbow trout from the previous stocking are still being caught through the ice by tipping ice jigs or jigging spoons with wax worms or minnows.  If targeting just trout and don’t want bluegills, stick with small minnows and fish in a little shallower water. 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: The next trout stocking will be January 14 at noon.  Trout like to travel 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 or fish with a small live minnow on a hook.  They are confined to the North pit.  Crappie - Fair: Some nice sized crappie are being caught near the steep north shore of the south pit.  The best bite is in the evening.

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

Ice conditions are excellent.  Most bodies of water currently have 10 plus inches of ice.  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 2 miles south of Greenfield. Ice is 9.5 inches thick.  Bluegill - Fair: Bluegills are averaging 7.5 inches and can be caught on teardrops tipped with wax worms.  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 8 to 10 inches of ice.  Bluegill - Fair: Bluegills can be caught with wax worms in 10 to 13 feet of water. Fish average 8 inches.

Lake Anita
Lake Anita was reported to have 9 inches of ice.  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 9 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.

Lake Manawa
Manawa has variable ice thickness. Reports are anywhere from 7 to 10 inches. Most fishing has taken place around Tin Can Alley or 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
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 - 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 are reported to be 9 inches on most water bodies in southwest Iowa. Caution is still needed as some lakes still have waterfowl activity. For more information on fishing or ice conditions call the southwest district office at 712-769-2587.

Lake Icaria
Ice thickness varies between 4 and 8 inches.  Waterfowl are keeping an area in the north arm open.  Use caution in other areas.  Crappie - Good: Several anglers are finding success at the beach point and the old roadway.

Fogle Lake S.W.A.
Ice is between 4 and 9 inches thick in most places.  Bluegill - Good: Several mid-sized bluegills can be caught from the tree pile located about 75 yards north of the over-flow structure.

Green Valley Lake
The lake has been lowered for a sediment removal project.  The fish are growing well and should be great for ice fishing.  Bluegill - Good: The deepest portions of the lake are holding some really chunky bluegills

Three Mile Lake
Most of the lake is frozen but the waterfowl have small areas of open water in the mid-lake area.  Some areas with less than 2 inches of ice can be found in the mid-lake and upper reaches of the lake.  Crappie - Fair: Several crappies are being caught from the creek channels just west of the primitive camping area near the flooded trees.  The coves near the upper boat ramp are also very popular.

Twelve Mile Creek Lake
Most of the lake is covered with ice.  An area of open water is located in the middle of the lower portion of the lake.  Bluegill - Good: Bluegills are being caught in several locations around the lake during the middle of the day.  The old roadway and the deeper areas of flooded trees are the most popular. Crappie - Fair: A few larger crappie are coming from the creek channel near dark or just after.  Walleye - Good: Several mid-sized walleye are being caught from the creek channel after dark.

Walnut Creek Marsh
Ice is usually 6 inches thick but the aeration system is keeping two holes open the southwest corner.  Bluegill - Fair: Some real nice sized bluegills are being caught from the channel along the south dike.

Ice conditions are improved.  Most lakes usually have good ice but the waterfowl have kept some areas of the bigger lakes open.  Panfish are biting well at most lakes and the in the lakes with walleyes, the bite is now starting.


Tipped canoe sends authorities searching

Thu, January 13, 2011

HARRISTOWN, Ill. (AP) — Authorities in central Illinois are looking for a man whose canoe was found overturned in the Sangamon River.

Macon County Sheriff Tom Schneider told the (Decatur) Herald & Review that the man started a canoe trip at the Rock Springs Conservation Area around noon on Tuesday.

The conservation area is along the river between Decatur and nearby Harristown. Schneider didn’t identify the man.

Members of the Harristown Fire Protection District found the canoe in the water Wednesday morning and are searching the area for clues.

Temperatures in the area Tuesday were in the 20s and snow fell for much of the day.


Hunter admits to shooting Mo. cougar

Wed, January 12, 2011

RICHMOND, Mo. – A Ray County man has admitted that he, not a cattleman, shot a mountain lion on Jan. 2. Conservation officials say the admission brings their investigation to a close, and there will be no charges, because the shooter feared for his life.

James “Jimmy” McElwee, 29, of Camden, admitted he shot the 115-pound mountain lion while hunting raccoons in rural Ray County. His confession followed the admission by Bob Littleton, 60, of Richmond, that his initial claim of shooting the mountain lion was false.

“Mr. Littleton only said he shot the mountain lion to protect Mr. McElwee,” said Larry Yamnitz, Protection Division chief with the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC). “Based on the outcome of our agent’s investigation, no charges will be filed in this case.”

According to Yamnitz, McElwee admitted to the shooting, saying he feared for his life.

“He followed his dogs up a draw and shined a light up into a tree and saw eyes that were too far apart for a raccoon,” said Yamnitz. “When he realized it was a mountain lion, he was afraid to run, thinking it might attack him.”

After killing the cat, McElwee and his hunting partner and father-in-law, Larry Danner, 52, of Richmond, contacted Littleton, who took responsibility for shooting the mountain lion.

Yamnitz said everyone would have been better off if all parties involved had told the truth from the beginning.

“The true circumstances of the incident were more clearly within the provisions of the Wildlife Code than the story they made up,” said Yamnitz. “Based on the evidence and statements by all the parties involved, you can make the case of self-defense. There will be no charges.”

The Ray County mountain lion showed no signs of having been held in captivity and was in good health. MDC is conducting DNA tests to learn more about its origins and determine if it is the same animal photographed by a landowner in southern Platte County Nov. 26

The mountain lion (Puma concolor) is a protected species under the Wildlife Code. The Code allows the killing of any mountain lion attacking or killing livestock or domestic animals, or threatening human safety. Anyone who kills a mountain lion is required by law to report the incident to the MDC immediately. The intact carcass, including the pelt, must be surrendered to MDC within 24 hours.

To report a sighting, physical evidence or other incident, contact a local MDC office or conservation agent, or email MDC’s Mountain Lion Response Team at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).
For more information on mountain lions in Missouri, visit

  and search “mountain lion.”


Quad City boat show ahead

Tue, January 11, 2011

The first outdoor show of the 2011 season comes to the Quad Cities this Friday through Sunday when doors open for the Quad City Boat and Vacation show, sponsored bythe QC Boat Dealers Association.

The show is at the RiverCenter, Davenport. In addition to some 13 boat and RV dealers, another 50 vendors will bill both halls. Among those vendors will be Heartland Outdoors. We’ll be giving out free magazines.

Seminars will be presented by nationally known anglers Dave Csanda and Mike DelVisco and local outdoors communicator/angling educator Dan Galusha. Admission is $6 per adult, kids younger than age 12 are free.

Click here for more information.