Sports

Weekly Northwest Iowa DNR Fishing Report

Northwest Iowa — The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has released their weekly fishing report for northwest Iowa. This weekly fishing report is compiled from information gathered from local bait shops, angler creel surveys and county and state parks staff. You can check the activity of your favorite lake or stretch of river, including which species are being caught, a rating of the bite (slow, fair, good or excellent), as well as a hot bait or lure pattern.

NORTHWEST
Arrowhead Lake
Ice is 8 inches thick near the boat ramp.

Black Hawk Lake
Ice is up to 8 inches near the Ice House Point boat ramp; this is where most of the ice angling has taken place. Ice is variable, especially in the middle and east end. Use caution – there are multiple pressure seams and areas of open water in the middle portion of the lake. There are still open water fishing opportunities near the fish house in Town Bay. Black Crappie – Fair: Some anglers have picked up 10 to 11-inch crappie around the Gunshot Hill area.. Bluegill – Fair. Yellow Perch – Fair.

Brushy Creek Lake
Ice conditions are variable; use caution and check the ice thickness often if venturing out. Recent warm weather has reduced ice quality in some areas. Black Crappie – Fair. Bluegill – Fair. Yellow Perch – Fair.

Storm Lake (incl Little Storm Lake)
Ice is around 10-12 inches in some areas. Conditions remain variable; there are thinner areas and some patches of open water along the south shore and near the big island. Watch out for seams in the middle of the lake. Use caution when venturing out and check ice thickness often. Walleye – Fair. Yellow Perch – Fair.

Lakes throughout the district have roughly 7-12 inches of ice. The recent warm weather has reduced ice quality in some areas. Watch out for seams and waterfowl holes with open water on the bigger lakes. Use caution and check ice thickness often. For more information, contact the Black Hawk District office at 712-657-2638.

Blue Pit
Ice thickness is 5 to 10 inches. Rainbow Trout – Slow. Trout were stocked the first week of November. You need a valid fishing license and pay the trout fee to fish for or possess trout. The daily bag limit is 5.

Clear Lake
Ice thickness is 0 to 14 inches. Clear Lake has a protected slot on walleye. All walleye between 17 and 22 inches must be immediately released unharmed. No more than one walleye longer than 22 inches may be taken per day. Black Crappie – Slow. Bluegill – Fair: Use a small jig tipped with a waxworm in near the edge of the rushes or open areas in the vegetation in 2 to 3 feet of water. Walleye – Slow: Use a jigging minnow or try dead sticking a minnow. Best bite is near last light. Yellow Bass – Slow: Try a small jig tipped with bait in 5 to 6 feet of water. You have to stay mobile to find fish. Yellow Perch – Fair: Perch are biting in the Farmers beach area in 2 to 4 feet of water. Try fishing near vegetation; use a larger bait to get the bigger fish.

Crystal Lake
Ice thickness is 0 to 12 inches. Be cautious of a few open water areas outside of the aeration boundary.

Lake Cornelia
Ice thickness is 10 to 12 inches. Yellow Bass – Fair: Use a small jig tipped with a waxworm.

Lower Pine Lake
Ice thickness is 8.5 to 11 inches. Geese are keeping a hole open between the beach and the island. No fishing activity to report.

Rice Lake
Ice thickness is 0 to 14 inches. Bluegill – Fair: Use a small jig tipped with waxworms near vegetation. Walleye – Slow. Yellow Perch – Slow.

Silver Lake (Worth)
Ice thickness is 0 to 12 inches. Bluegill – Slow.

Upper Pine Lake
Ice thickness is 8 to 10 inches. Bluegill – Fair: Try a small jig tipped with a waxworm.

Aeration systems are running at Clear Lake, Crystal Lake, Rice Lake and Silver Lake. Avoid any open water areas and be cautious of waterfowl holes that may have recently frozen over on these lakes. Check ice thickness often as you go. For information on the lakes and rivers in north central Iowa, contact the Clear Lake Fish and Wildlife office at 641-357-3517.

Center Lake
Caution: The lake aeration system is currently in operation, creating a large open hole.

East Okoboji Lake
The lake is fully iced with an average of 14+ inches of ice allowing for safe ATV traffic in most areas Black Crappie – Good. Bluegill – Good: Try jigging with tube jigs or a tungsten jig and live bait.

Ingham Lake
Caution: The lake aeration system is currently in operation. Ice conditions very heavily around the lake; most areas have 12+ inches.

Lost Island Lake
Caution: The aeration system is currently in operation on the east side of the lake out from the nature center. This creates a large open hole in the ice. The lake has varying ice conditions with an average of 12+ inches. Yellow Perch – Fair: Lots of sorting may be needed.

Minnewashta Lake
The panfish and crappie bite has been fairly good with the recent onset of ice. The bite is good enough that live bait hasn’t been needed to be successful. Ice conditions are safe enough to venture with ATVs with an average ice thickness of 14+ inches. Black Crappie – Fair: A nice crappie bite can be found with a little movement around the lake. Bluegill – Good: Try jigging with tube jigs or a tungsten jig and live bait. Pumpkinseed – Fair.

Scharnberg Pond
Trout were stocked unannounced this fall. You need a valid fishing license and pay the trout fee to fish for or possess trout. Rainbow Trout – Good: Trout are biting on a variety of different baits. Try a worm or lure that imitates a minnow.

Silver Lake (Dickinson)
Caution: The lake aeration system is currently in operation. The lake is fully iced up, with an average ice thickness of 14+ inches. Be cautious of holes that have frozen over more recently on the main basin. Walleye – Fair.

Spirit Lake
The lake is fully iced, but conditions can vary in areas that had open holes until recently. Ice thickness is 14+ inches in most places. Black Crappie – Fair: Mostly being caught along with perch; use tube jigs with wigglers or pilkies. Bluegill – Fair: Mostly being caught along with perch; use tube jigs with wigglers or pilkies. Yellow Perch – Fair.

West Okoboji Lake
The lake is fully iced up, but has had many seams and frozen over holes that are thinner than the majority of the lake. Bays and areas that have been iced up the longest have around 14+ inches of ice. Practice best ice safety if you try to venture out. Black Crappie – Good: Try jigging with tube jigs or a tungsten jig and live bait. Bluegill – Good: Many anglers have been successful off Triboji on the north end of the lake. Try jigging with tube jigs or a tungsten jig and live bait.

All walleye between 19 and 25 inches must be immediately released unharmed at Big Spirit Lake, East and West Okoboji Lakes, Upper Gar Lake, Minnewashta Lake, Lower Gar Lake and Storm Lake; no more than one walleye longer than 25-inches can be taken per day. The majority of area lakes have 12+ inches of ice allowing for safe ice fishing. Small vehicle traffic has been prevalent in areas with thicker ice. Watch out for holes and seams on bigger lake basins. Make sure you have flotation, ice picks and check ice thickness often. The forecast calls for high temperatures just below freezing though the weekend and a winter storm this Friday. For current conditions, call the Spirit Lake District Office at 712-336-1840.

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