Northwest Iowa — 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 around 8-9 inches of good ice. Water clarity is excellent, however, fishing has been pretty slow. The few bluegills that anglers are catching are big, though.
Crawford Creek Impoundment
Fishing was good over the past few weeks, but has become more hit or miss now. Channel Catfish – Fair: Some decent sized catfish are being harvested while fishing for other species. Bluegill – Good: Anglers have been doing very well for bluegill. The mornings until noon have been the best. Most anglers are fishing just southeast of the center of the lake and some are fishing over the Christmas trees. Anglers are using wax worms and fishing a few feet off the bottom, but fish finders are also helping to pick up suspended fish when they move through. Bluegills are very nice sized. Crappie – Fair: Some nice crappie are being picked up while bluegill fishing. Yellow Perch – Fair: Some nice perch are also being picked up.
Oldham has 7 to 10 inches of ice depending on location. Fishing has been very slow. Anglers are marking a lot of fish, but are having difficulty getting them to bite. Recent surveys show an abundance of 7.5 to 8.5-inch bluegills.
Brushy Creek Lake
There is around 10 inches of ice in the near shore areas and in the upper end of the lake. Avoid the main body of the lake as ice conditions can be quite variable. There is open water east of the beach. Most anglers are targeting the north end of the lake. Bluegill – Fair: Bluegills are biting, but most are on the small side. Crappie – Good: Crappies are biting, but most are on the small side. Walleye – Fair: Some nice walleye have been reported.
Bacon Creek Lake
Bacon Creek has around 8 inches of ice. 1,500 trout were stocked Jan. 12, and fishing has been excellent. Try fishing about 2 to 3 feet below the ice with bright/shiny lures. Later in the season, switch to baits like Berkley power bait.
Storm Lake (including Little Storm Lake)
Fishing for walleye has been sporadic. Anglers are spread out over the lake in search of fish. A few white bass are being picked up while targeting walleye. Ice is around 14 inches, but there was some open water near the north shore earlier in the week, likely from a pressure seam. Water clarity is still poor.
Arrowhead Lake has around 8 to 9 inches of ice. An ice-fishing clinic held last weekend yielded good results for bluegill. Bluegill – Fair: Fish for bluegill around the pallet structures on the west side of the lake. Mid morning has been the best. Chartreuse jigs seemed to work better than orange or silver. Bluegills ranged from 7.5 to 8.5 inches.
Black Hawk Pits
Black Hawk Pit has around 9 inches of ice. Fishing continues to be slow.
Moorland Pond was stocked with trout Jan. 18. Fishing for trout is good. Rainbow Trout – Excellent: Fishing for trout has been good since they were stocked a week ago.
For more information or questions contact the Black Hawk Fish Management Office in Lake View at 712-657-2638.
Anglers are saying that action is slow; a few bluegills.
Briggs Woods Lake
Crappie – Good: Crappies started biting well towards evening on jig and wax worm.
Lower Pine Lake
Bluegill – Fair: Bluegills, average size, being caught deep and right on the bottom.
Upper Pine Lake
Not much activity on Upper Pine.
Ice thickness at Smith lake is 13 inches plus. Bluegill fishing has been fair with the best bite later in the day.
Ice depth is 12-15 inches. Warning: Be cautious around the pressure ridges that have developed near shore on the main lake. Fishing has slowed some but anglers have had good catches on the warmer days. Some anglers are venturing out on the main lake and having catches comparably to those on the little lake. Crappie – Slow: Crappies are mostly being found in 15-20 feet of water, and are being caught on minnows or wax worms. Yellow Perch – Slow: Perch are being caught in low numbers; a few of them are over 10 inches. Try a small spoon and a minnow or minnow head. Walleye – Slow: Yellow Bass – Fair: Yellow bass are scattered. Move around till you find numbers of them. They seem willing to bite whole minnows, cutbait, or wax worms.
Anglers are catching lots of 6 to 8-inch yellow bass and some small walleyes.
Bluegill – Fair: Fish near the dredged area 8 to 12 feet of water. Largemouth Bass – Fair: Largemouth bass and an occasional walleye being caught on minnows.
14 inches of ice. Fishing has been slow.
For ice condition updates and fishing information in the north central area contact the Clear Lake Fish and Wildlife office at 641-357-3517.
Big Spirit Lake
Expect to find 12-16 inches of ice across most of the lake with ATV travel being the best means. Be aware a few trucks have put tires through the ice the biggest area of concern is between Marble Beach and Templar Point. Northern Pike – Fair: Most pike are being caught by accident on walleye tackle, but setting tip ups with chubs around structure has been producing some fish. Bluegill – Slow: A few gills are being caught in Little Anglers Bay and off the grade. Try small jigs and being very quiet as they are spooky. Yellow Perch – Slow: Look for perch off the ends of structure as well as in the main basin. Moving around looking for active fish may be needed in order to catch any numbers. Wigglers, waxies, and minnow heads on either spoons or small jigs seem to be the go to lures. Walleye – Slow: Action seems to be restricted to dawn and dusk without much of a pattern revealing itself. Try spoons and jigging raps tipped with a minnow head.
West Okoboji Lake
There is currently 12-14 inches of ice and ATVs are driving on much of the lake. Be aware there were goose holes in a few areas; avoid discolored ice and when in doubt turn back or test the ice with a spud. Northern Pike – Fair: Setting tip ups in or near weeds and on drop offs is producing a few pike. Bluegill – Slow: Look for bluegills in the bays (Emerson and Millers seem to be the best) in or near standing weeds. Sight fishing has been the most popular method but a few choose to hole hop. Try small jigs tipped with wax worms or wigglers but don’t overlook some of the finesse plastics. Yellow Perch – Fair: Look for perch in 20 feet plus of water along drop offs or on mudflats. Try spoons tipped with live bait such as wigglers, wax worms, or minnow heads.
Lost Island Lake
Walleye – Slow: Look for walleyes around dawn and dusk on into night. Try jigging raps and spoons tipped with minnow heads.
Silver Lake (Palo Alto)
Walleye and perch fishing has been slow but if you put your dues in some nice fish can be caught. Being very quiet and fishing during low light will bring the most fish.
For more information contact the Spirit Lake Hatchery at 712-336-1840.