Weekly DNR Fishing Report

Northwest Iowa — Here is this week’s Northwest Iowa Fishing Report from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, as released Thursday, December 21, 2023.

East Okoboji Lake

Much of the lake is ice covered. Very few areas offer safe ice fishing opportunities.  Black Crappie – Fair: Use minnows and plastics. Bluegill – Fair: Try a small hook and piece of worm. In deeper water, use pilkies with wigglers or a slip bobber setup. Walleye – Fair.  Yellow Perch – Fair: Sorting will most likely be needed.

Ingham Lake

The lake is mostly iced up, but has a large open area that waterfowl has kept open. Walleye – Fair: Anglers have been successful morning and evening.  

Lost Island Lake

The lake is almost entirely iced up.  Black Crappie – Fair.  Walleye – Fair: Anglers have been successful fishing from shorelines in the evenings. 

Minnewashta Lake

Black Crappie – Fair: Try slowly trolling over vegetation with minnows and plastics. Bluegill – Fair.  Pumpkinseed – Good.

Scharnberg Pond

Rainbow trout were stocked recently. You need a valid fishing license and pay the trout fee to fish for or possess trout. 

Silver Lake (Dickinson)

Black Bullhead – Good. Walleye – Fair: Expect the walleye bite to improve with falling water temperatures.

Spirit Lake

The lake has about 50 percent ice coverage. The current water level is 9 inches below crest. The crappie bite has been good. Black Crappie – Good: Minnows and plastics work well. Many nice-sized fish have been seen lately. Bluegill – Good: Try a small hook and a small piece of worm. In deeper water, use pilkies with wigglers or a slip bobber setup. Walleye – Good: Minnows work well. Yellow Perch – Good: Find good numbers; may need to sort for size.

West Okoboji Lake

The lake is mostly open, but ice has started to form in many bays. Black Crappie – Fair: Try small jigs tipped with a minnow. Bluegill – Good: Use pilkies with wigglers or a slip bobber setup. Pumpkinseed – Good:  Walleye – Good: Minnows and plastics work well. Yellow Perch – Fair: Sorting may be needed.

Most area water levels are a few inches below crest. Most smaller lakes are covered in a thin layer of ice with a few inches maximum. Warm conditions during the day have delayed ice production. Some bays have thicker ice; fishing access can be hard to find. Check ice thickness often if you go out on the water. For current conditions, call the Spirit Lake District Office at 712-336-1840.

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