Fourth of July Weekend Looking Good for State Park Visitors

4th of july3Iowa State Parks are gearing up for the Fourth of July weekend and are ready to welcome thousands of campers, cabin renters, picnickers and outdoor enthusiasts. The weather forecast for most of the state and weekend is favoring plenty of outdoor activity.

“State Parks are great destinations for these major summer holidays,” says Todd Coffelt, DNR State Parks Bureau chief. “Whether you are staying for a week or making a day trip, they provide great opportunities for families and friends to gather and make memories.”

Reservable campsites have been filled for three months. Last minute campers can take their chances with walk-in campsites, as 25-50 percent of all state park campsites are first-come, first-served. Most of these sites are non-electric and realistically most will be occupied by Thursday. Best chances to secure a site will be at smaller, more remote parks. Visit for a list of parks and their amenities.

Despite recent wet weather in some areas, nearly all state parks are in good shape and getting ready for the big weekend.

Here are a few reminders for those planning a trip to specific state parks this weekend.

· Only one state park campground is closed due to recent weather. Walnut Woods State Park, southwest of the Des Moines metro area, is still cleaning up from Raccoon River flooding. The park is expected to reopen late next week.

· Canyon Drive at Ledges State Park has reopened to vehicle traffic, but visitors are cautioned that any rain event in the area will likely close it again. Potential visitors wanting to drive into that area of the park are encouraged to call the park office at 515-432-1852 for closure information. The campground, trails, other roads, parking lots and both open shelters remain accessible by vehicle.

Visitors to Lake Macbride State Park in Johnson County and Pleasant Creek State Recreation Area in Linn County are reminded that those beaches will close at 6 PM each day. Due to high use and limited parking at the beach area at Lake Macbride, visitors should expect a beach closure on weekends and holidays. Access to the beach may be closed for up to 2 hours. During these times, people in vehicles will be stopped at the park entrance and asked to return to the beach at a later time or asked to visit one of the other beaches in Johnson County such as Sandy Beach, Sugar Bottom, West Overlook or Kent Park.

Equestrian trails are currently closed due to wet conditions at Brushy Creek State Recreation Area (except for the 12-mile Wet Weather Trail), Elk Rock and Waubonsie state parks and Shimek Forest (except the 3-mile Wet Weather Trail) and Stephens Forest. However, if dry weather conditions continue, equestrians are encouraged to call individual areas for re-openings.

Closure information is posted on the DNR website at and the parks reservation site at Current information is also available by calling individual park offices directly.

Radio Iowa/Baseball Coaches Association High School Poll 6/29/15

baseball fieldNorthwest Iowa — The latest Radio Iowa Baseball Coaches Association Baseball Poll is out and four area teams continue to earn spots in the poll. Hinton is the highest ranked with a seven ranking in Class 2A. In 3A Spirit Lake holds down the number eight spot with West Sioux and Gehlen in the nine and ten spots in Class 1A.

Class 4A
1. Waukee, LW #2
2. Cedar Rapids Jefferson, LW #4
3. Johnston, LW #1
4. Dowling Catholic, LW #6
5. Cedar Rapids Prairie, LW #8
6. Sioux City East, LW #5
7. Southeast Polk, LW #3
8. Cedar Rapids Kennedy, LW #10
9. Linn-Mar, LW #7
10.Lewis Central, LW (X)

Class 3A
1. Pella, LW #2
2. Waverly-Shell Rock, LW #3
3. Davenport Assumption, LW #1
4. West Delaware, LW #3
5. Knoxville, LW #5
6. Gilbert, LW #6
7. Williamsburg, LW #7
8. Spirit Lake, LW #9
9. Oskaloosa, LW (X)
10.Harlan, LW (X)

Class 2A
1. Cascade, LW #3
2. Wilton, LW #2
3. Dyersville Beckman, LW #1
4. Waterloo Columbus, LW #4
5. South Winneshiek, LW #7
6. Clear Lake, LW #5
7. Hinton, LW #8
8. New Hampton, LW (X)
9. Monticello, LW #9
10.Ogden, LW (X)

Class 1A
1. Mason City Newman, LW #1
2. Van Buren (Keosauqua), LW #2
3. Lisbon, LW #3
4. Pleasantville, LW #5
5. Martensdale-St. Mary’s, LW #6
6. Coon Rapids-Bayard, LW #4
7. Don Bosco, LW #8
8. Exira-EHK, LW #9
9. West Sioux (Hawarden), LW #10
10.LeMars Gehlen, LW (X)

6/26/15 Softball Rankings

ighsauNorthwest Iowa — In the latest IGHSAU Softball rankings, Akron-Westfield makes the move up to the top spot in Class 1A. Class 3A features  Spirit Lake edging up to the 5 spot, while Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley stays at #11, and Sioux Center jumps to the 13 spot.


1 Akron-Westfield 20-1 2
2 New London 20-1 5
3 Don Bosco 20-2 6
4 AGWSR 18-4 1
5 Woodbury Central 20-7 4
6 Lynnville-Sully 21-3 7
7 Marquette Catholic 20-2 3
8 Logan-Magnolia 20-2 8
9 River Valley 19-6 11
10 Glidden-Ralston 16-3 9
11 Westwood 19-9 NR
12 Wayne 14-4 12
13 Janesville 15-5 10
14 Martesndale-St. Marys 19-6 15
15 Central City 21-6 13

Dropped Out: Charter Oak-Ute (14)

Class 2A

1 Highland 13-2 1
2 Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont 22-4 2
3 Central Springs 17-3 3
4 IKM-Manning 19-3 5
5 Fort Dodge St. Edmond 21-6 4
6 Pella Christian 16-4 6
7 Wapello 17-4 10
8 BCLUW 12-7 8
9 North Union 22-8 7
10 Durant 18-7 12
11 Iowa City Regina 12-11 11
12 Cascade 16-7 9
13 Treynor 16-5 NR
14 Lawton-Bronson 16-7 13
15 Des Moines Christian 12-6 NR

Dropped Out: Alta/Aurelia (14), Ogden (15)

Class 3A

1 Benton Community 32-1 1
2 Solon 26-2 2
3 East Marshall 16-2 3
4 Greene County 19-4 4
5 Spirit Lake 24-4 6
6 Northeast 22-2 7
7 Center Point-Urbana 17-10 5
8 Mid-Prairie 17-8 9
9 West Liberty 12-4 8
10 Crestwood 17-3 10
11 Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley 18-2 11
12 Sioux Center 19-4 13
13 Columbus Catholic 14-5 12
14 Mount Vernon 18-8 14
15 Iowa Falls-Alden 13-6 15

Dropped Out: None

Class 4A

1 Indianola 26-2 2
2 Oskaloosa 21-2 1
3 Carlisle 21-3 3
4 ADM 20-3 4
5 Fort Dodge 16-10 5
6 Winterset 23-8 6
7 Davenport Assumption 22-5 8
8 Waverly-Shell Rock 21-2 9
9 Norwalk 15-7 7
10 Creston 19-4 11
11 Keokuk 16-6 10
12 Dallas Center-Grimes 14-11 12
13 Fairfield 16-5 NR
14 Knoxville 15-10 NR
15 North Scott 14-7 15

Dropped Out: Denison-Schleswig (13), Humboldt (14)

Class 5A

1 Iowa City West 23-1 2
2 West Des Moines Valley 25-2 4
3 Johnston 18-3 1
4 Pleasant Valley 21-3 3
5 Cedar Rapids Jefferson 20-5 6
6 Waukee 18-6 5
7 Dowling Catholic 15-9 9
8 Ankeny Centennial 14-10 NR
9 Cedar Rapids Kennedy 14-6 7
10 Urbandale 16-9 8

Dropped Out: Linn-Mar (10)

Sports Schedule for Saturday June 27th

baseballNorthwest Iowa — It’s another Saturday and that means more tournament action for area softball and baseball teams. Sheldon will be a part of the  Hinton baseball tournament and day two of the Okoboji softball tournament.


Sheldon and Akron Westfield at the Hinton tourney

Sioux Center, Unity and BHRV at the Gehlen tourney

Okoboji at E-LC


Sheldon, HMS and South O’Brien at Okoboji tourney

G-LC-CL, Algona and Lawton Bronson at Harris Lake Park tourney

Akron-Westfield, Cherokee, Denison-Schleswig, Estherville/Lincoln Central, LeMars, Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn Remsen Union, MOC-Floyd Valley, Newell-Fonda, North Union and Spirit Lake at the Spencer tournament

Weekly Iowa DNR Fishing Report

Spirit Lake, 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 more information contact the Spirit Lake fish Hatchery at 712-336-1840.


Storm Lake (including Little Storm Lake)

Boaters should use caution around the dredge barge, booster pump barge, and pipeline. Walleye regulations for Storm Lake are three fish per day, all fish between 17 and 22 inches must be released and only one over 22 inches may be kept. Walleye – Fair: Anglers are picking up walleye trolling crankbaits in the dredge cuts between the islands on the east side of the lake. Others have had success fishing in 4-6 feet of water in near shore areas. Channel Catfish – Fair: Anglers are catching catfish using dip baits and crawlers. They are having the best luck fishing the north shore areas, especially in the Circle Park area and the island near Circle Park. White Bass – Fair: White bass are being caught on spinners and crankbaits while fishing for walleyes. Anglers are also having luck fishing spinners and crankbaits in shallower areas near shore.

Lake Pahoja

Bluegill – Good: Bluegills are schooled up off the jetties. Bluegills are very large with many in the 7-8 inch range. Fish a worm and bobber. Largemouth Bass – Good: Largemouth are beginning to bed in the shallows along the south banks in shallower water. Throwing spinner baits or soft plastics for the aggressive males will produce bites.

Big Spirit Lake

Largemouth Bass – Good: Bass can be found near weed choked areas as they are protecting their fry. Fish are being caught in trickles using top water frogs. Anglers are also catching bass on boat hoists along the north banks in the deeper water. Try crankbaits or swimbaits to pull these bass out from under the hoists. Walleye – Good: Local anglers are catching walleye around 5:00 till dark at the North Grade. Fish above and below the slot are being caught and creeled. Successful anglers are using dark deer hair jigs tipped with leeches. Yellow Perch – Fair: The fishing pier at the grade is producing more 6-8 inch perch for anglers willing to sort through bullheads and bluegill. Successful anglers are using jig heads and wax worms. A hot bite has been reported near the Templar point in 16 feet of water. Anglers that were creeled were using wax worms and slip bobbers. These perch were 10 inches. Black Bullhead – Fair: The bullhead bite at the north grade is slowing. Creeled anglers are taking home single digits. These fish are 12-14 inches. Successful anglers are leaving the worm on the bottom and fishing around submerged vegetation. Northern Pike – Good: Fishermen fishing in Templar bar are catching large numbers of small northerns. Most fish are in the mid 20 inch range. Successful anglers are using Meps or small spinnerbaits. Johnson silver minnow tipped with a leech also has been proving to catch these fish.

Center Lake

Bluegill – Fair: 6-8 inch bluegill are being caught in low numbers along the north bank. Fish were being harvested using small lipstick jigs tipped with a nightcrawler. Crappie – Good: Smaller crappies are being caught on the north and east side of Center Lake. Anglers are using jigs tipped with wax worms.

East Okoboji Lake

Yellow Bass – Good: Large numbers of yellow bass are being caught near East Okoboji beach near the boat docks. Fish vary from small to a few larger 8-9 inch fish. Throw soft plastic shad for them. Anglers fishing under the highway 9 bridge are catching fair numbers of yellows using small plastic minnows. Yellow Perch – Fair: Numbers of smaller yellow perch are being caught while anglers are fishing for yellow bass. Pulling similar baits near the bottom will force more perch into your bucket. Largemouth Bass – Fair: Fish near the inlet to upper gar along the rocks to find a fast paced bass bite. Anglers are seeing bass bedding up in upper gar then swimming into East Okoboji. Walleye – Fair: Parks Marina and Lone Tree Point are reporting a hot bite for walleye. Anglers are drifting minnows along the bottom before dark. Larger walleye are being caught in 10-12 feet of water. Bluegill – Fair: Anglers are catching low numbers of 8 inch bluegills while fishing docks throughout East Okoboji. Anglers are fishing small jigs under docks tipped with wax worms.

Silver Lake (Dickinson)

Walleye – Good: Anglers are catching limits of walleye on Silver lake in Lake Park. Many anglers are catching limits using leeches and crankbaits while trolling or slip bobbers with minnows. Anglers are catching these fish throughout the water body.

West Okoboji Lake

Largemouth Bass – Good: Largemouth can be found under boat hoists, near weed lines, and on the drop offs. Fish these spots with football jigs, crankbaits, and Texas rigs. Bluegill – Good: The canals are loaded with bluegills. Large and small fish are being caught in good numbers. Pocahontas Point is holding a good bluegill population with anglers catching large fish with little sorting. Crappie – Fair: The trestle is still being reported to be a good bite. The canals are starting to fill with larger crappies. Smallmouth Bass – Good: Smallmouths have moved off beds and are now headed towards the rocky drop offs. Fish rock points that shoot out into the main basin of West Lake, Pillsbury, Fort Dodge, and Gull Point. Use jerk baits, football jigs, and swimbaits. Walleye – Good: Walleyes are being caught by shore anglers fishing the canal bridges after dark. Successful anglers are fishing darker crankbaits and bottom jigs with leeches. Fish being caught are in the 13-19 inch range. Yellow Bass – Good: In Smiths bay just north of the amusement park anglers are reporting a high catch rate of large yellow bass. Anglers using orange twister tails or plain hook with worm and split shot are catching yellows on every cast. Yellow Perch – Fair: Quality perch (8-10 inch) can be found in the shallows where substrate is exposed. Fish with wigglers and a small jig at Breezy point, Pillsbury, and Fort Dodge.

Five Island Lake

Walleye – Fair: Anglers fishing just north of town bay are catching 14-17 inch walleye. Anglers using bottom bouncers are stumbling upon numbers of walleyes as they approach the shallows.

Lost Island Lake

Yellow Bass – Good: Large yellow bass can be caught at the outlet of little lake. These fish are being seen and caught under the overhang of the outlet structure. A large number of smaller fish can be caught near the bridge where Lost Island dumps into little lake. Black Bullhead – Excellent: A very large number of bullheads are being seen while crews are electrofishing on Lost Island. These large numbers of bullhead are being seen at the mouth of little lake just west of the bridge. Crappie – Fair: Crappies are starting to group up in the shallow coves of little lake. These fish are swimming into the cattails in preparation for the spawn.