Weekly DNR Fishing Report

fishing 2Spirit 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.


Beeds Lake

Not much angler activity this week. Channel Catfish – No Report: Channel catfishing is usually good after ice-out on the causeway near the bridges. Use cut bait or worms.

Lake Smith

Not much angler activity this week. Channel Catfish – No Report: Fish in the shallower water or bays on the warmer days or on the windward shorelines where bait is pushed.

Clear Lake

Water temperature is around 44 degrees. Walleye – Good: Shore fisherman near the Ventura grade have caught some walleyes during the day and at dark on minnows and twisters. Channel Catfish – Good: Catfish action has been good this past week. Use cut bait, worms or minnows near inlets and windblown shorelines in the early season. The water is still very clear in the shallows, so fish a little deeper on calm days. Bluegill – Fair: A few bluegills have been caught in the canals. Fish with small ice jigs under a bobber or add a split shot or two and vertical jig near structure. Muskellunge – Fair: Target shallow flats along the shoreline on the east end of the lake. Use a jig and a minnow or a slow moving artificial. Walleye anglers have caught a few near the outlet on the east end and also by the Marsh inlet by the Ventura grade. Black Crappie – Good: Crappies have been caught in the canals. Use small ice jigs under a bobber or add a split shot or two and vertical jig near structure. Check out the edges or inside the rushes around the lake as crappies will likely be found near them as well. Yellow Bass – Fair: Yellow bass have been caught in low numbers off the Grade. Farmer’s beach and Baptist camp shorelines can be good spots in the early season.

Crystal Lake

The fish cleaning station, boat launch dock, and the courtesy dock are in at Crystal Lake.

Blue Pit

Rainbow Trout – No Report: Trout stocked in winter should still be able to be caught throughout spring. Try using a quick searching lure like an inline spinner.

Bluebill Lake

The access gates to the boat ramp are now open and the courtesy dock has been installed. Minimal fishing activity has been observed to date. There is a 15 inch minimum length limit on largemouth bass.

Sports Schedule for Friday April 8th

trackNorthwest Iowa — Most area track and field squads were scheduled to be in action today with the two main events at Western Christian and Cherokee. The Western Christian invite has now been cancelled.


Coed Track
Sheldon,Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley, George-Little Rock, Sibley-Ocheyedan, Sioux Center and Okoboji at Western Christian (cancelled)


Girls Track
MOC-Floyd Valley, Spencer, Emmetsburg, Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn, Central Lyon, South O’Brien, Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn, Estherville/Lincoln Central, LeMars, Spirit Lake, Sioux Central, Woodbury Central, and Kingsley-Pierson at Cherokee

Many Iowa Evergreens Showing Signs of Winter Burn

dnrConifers, or evergreen trees, provide color and wind protection to the Iowa landscape during the winter months. However, this year, many of these trees are showing signs of winter desiccation, also known as winter burn.

Although this past winter may have been one of the warmer on record, several days had air temperatures above freezing, while the soil remained frozen.

“When this happens, conifers use the water reserves they have in their needles, but are unable to absorb new water from the frozen soil,” says Tivon Feeley, DNR forest health program leader. “Because roots in frozen soil have no ability to replace water, winter burn occurs as needles dry out and brown. The tree literally runs out of water.”

Symptoms of winter burn include browning or bleaching of needles and loss of needles, which can eventually lead to death. The symptoms tend to be worse on the windward side of the tree and become more apparent as the days become warmer.

According to Feeley, the DNR is beginning to receive calls about arborvitae, white pine and white fir with moderate to severe damage from winter burn, and he expects the damage will become more apparent in June and July.

If needles on trees are dead but buds are alive, new plant foliage will regrow to replace the winter burned foliage; however, if both the buds and needles are dead, the tree will not recover and will need to be removed.

“There is no way to prevent winter burn,” says Feeley, “however, you can reduce the risks by properly mulching around your conifers and watering in the fall just before the trees goes dormant.”

“Watering is especially important in drought years,” adds Feeley, “and therefore the DNR does not recommend conifers for newly planted windbreaks. Deciduous trees generally have fewer disease and insect problems, and grow quicker, resulting in faster protection.”

For more information about winter burn and other tree-related issues, contact a DNR district forester in your area. For a list of DNR staff by county, visit www.iowadnr.gov/contact.

Boater Reminder, Pull the Drain Plugs

Iowa DNRAnglers and boaters are reminded to make sure to pull the drain plug as a boat leaves a ramp to avoid spreading unwanted plants or animals to other water bodies.

The regulation, that went into effect on July 1, 2013, requires drain plugs and other water draining devices must be removed and/or remain open during transport. If you want to keep live bait when leaving a water access, you must replace water in bait containers with tap or bottle water.

Anglers leaving with fish are recommended to put them on ice, whether in a cooler, a bucket or a live well (plug must still be removed and/or opened).

“This regulation will help us avoid spreading invasive species from one body of water to another; through residual water inside your boat or vegetation which remains attached to your boat, motor or trailer,” said Joe Larscheid, chief of Fisheries for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

Invasive species could range from vegetation such as Eurasian watermilfoil or brittle naiad to water dwelling animals such as zebra mussels–or even minnows purchased elsewhere. Once introduced into another water body, the unwanted species can spread throughout, often with few or no natural predators or vegetation to control the spread. That crowds out native species; disrupting the ecology of the lake or stream…as well as fishing and other recreation.

Is it worth the extra few seconds to pull a drain plug or clean that aquatic plant trailing from your boat motor? It can cost a couple million of your license dollars…and three or four years of your fishing recreation to draw down a lake, kill out the invasive species, renovate it, restock it and wait for fish to grow back to catchable size.

Sports Schedule for Thursday April 7th

trackNorthwest Iowa — Another busy day of high school athletics is on the schedule for Thursday with track, golf and soccer all scheduled.

Boys Track
MOC-Floyd Valley, Central Lyon, Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn, Spencer, Sioux Central, LeMars, Estherville/Lincoln Central, Woodbury Central, South O’Brien, Spirit Lake, Kingsley-Pierson and Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn at Cherokee

Girls Golf
MOC Floyd Valley at Spencer

Boys Golf
Western at LeMars — PPD

Coed Golf
MMC RU at Akron Westfield
Harris Lake Park and Unity at West Sioux
South O’Brien at Trinity
Hinton at HMS

Boys Soccer
Okoboji at Unity
MOC Floyd Valley at Spencer
Western at Sioux Center
West Sioux at Storm Lake

Girls Soccer
Spencer at MOC Floyd Valley
Sioux Center at Western
Unity at Okoboji
Storm Lake at West Sioux

Western Names New Girls Hoops Coach

NegenHull, Iowa — Western Christian High School Director of Development & Promotions, Wes Fopma, has announced that Western has named a new Girls Basketball Coach.

Fopma says Justin Negen has accepted the position as Head Girls Basketball Coach at Western Christian High School for the 2016-17 school year. Negen has been an assistant coach for the girls varsity squad for the last five years during which the Wolfpack girls team won three state championships, one state runner up trophy, and one state semifinal trophy. Negen has also coached the freshman girls team for the past six years at Western. Negen has also been the head boys soccer coach for the last six years and teaches in the Social Studies department at Western.

Fopma says Negen replaces Bill Harmsen, who recently accepted the boys varsity basketball position at Western.