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.

Bacon Creek Lake
Ice thickness is around 8-9 inches. About 1,500 rainbow trout were stocked on Jan. 13th. You need a valid fishing license and pay the trout fee to fish for or possess trout.

Black Hawk Lake
The winter aeration system in Town Bay is currently operating. Ice thickness is around 10 inches near the Ice House Point boat ramp; this is where most of the ice angling has taken place. Use caution – there are pressure seams and areas of thinner ice 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. Walleye – Slow. Yellow Perch – Fair.

Brushy Creek Lake
Ice conditions are variable; the thickest ice is by the big island near the south boat ramp and in the area around the north boat ramp. These areas are where most of the ice fishing is taking place. ATV travel is not recommended in the middle portion of the lake; there is thinner ice and a seam running across the big part of the lake. Use caution and check the ice thickness often when venturing out. Black Crappie – Fair. Bluegill – Fair. Yellow Perch – Slow.

Storm Lake (incl Little Storm Lake)
Ice thickness is around 10-12 inches in most areas. Conditions remain variable; there is open water near the big island, and thinner areas of ice near Stoney Point and the King’s Point area. Watch out for seams in the middle of the lake. Use caution when venturing out and check ice thickness often. All walleye between 19 and 25-inches must be immediately released unharmed at Storm Lake; no more than one walleye longer than 25-inches can be taken per day. Walleye – Fair: Anglers are picking up some walleye; best bite is during low-light hours. White Bass – Fair. Yellow Perch – Fair.

Lakes throughout the district have roughly 8-12 inches of ice. 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 Jan. 18. 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 near the edge of the rushes or open areas in the vegetation in 2 to 3 feet of water. Walleye – Fair: 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.

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

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 14 inches. Bluegill – Slow.

Upper Pine Lake
Ice thickness is 8 to 10 inches. Bluegill – Good: Try a small minnow or plastic bait in 12 to 15 feet of water. Best bite is early morning. Bluegill – Fair: Use 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. 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
Most of the lake is fully iced with an average of 14+ inches of ice allowing for safe ATV traffic in most areas. Be cautious of the open holes and seams that still persist. Panfishing has been good out from the Ritz; some sorting is needed. Try heavy tungsten jigs, plastics and baits. 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 for success. 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 in mid-January; fish should be biting well. 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, 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
Ice thickness is 14+ inches in most places; there still are a handful of seams and recently frozen over holes. Know where trouble areas are before you venturing on or off the ice. Panfishing has been good with a little movement on the north end and Little Emerson Bay. Try heavy tungsten jigs, plastics or baits. 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. Most area lakes have 12+ inches of ice allowing for safe ice fishing. Small vehicle traffic has been prevalent in areas with thicker ice. Use caution as a handful of snowmobiles and Atvs have gone through in lakes that still have open holes and seams. Be sure you know a safe route on and off the ice. Bring safety essentials like flotation, ice picks and a friend. Area lakes have 3-6 inches of snow on the ice. The forecast calls for continued below freezing temperatures. For current conditions, call the Spirit Lake District Office at 712-336-1840.

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