Fishing Iowa

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Top 10 Fishing Destinations in Iowa

In the heart of the Midwest, you will find the beautiful state of Iowa, which is also known as the top corn producer in the nation. Not only does it boast a rich history which dates back to the 17th Century, but it is also geographically diverse. What many are not aware of is that Iowa is bordered entirely by rivers on the east and the west, with the Des Moines River found at the south end of the state. Iowa is abundant in rolling hills, valleys and lakes. With more than 150 county and state lakes, innumerable streams, farm ponds, interior rivers, and the great Mississippi and Missouri rivers that border the state, Iowa is truly an anglers paradise. The many and varied artificial and natural lakes definitely contribute to making Iowa a great vacation destination!

About Iowa Fishing:

Iowa waters are some of the most fruitful in the country, where you can land more fish compared to other waters. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is enthusiastic about creating more excellent fishing prospects and a healthy marine environment through research, habitat development, and inhibition of exotic species in Iowa’s waters.

Fishing Species

Fishing in Iowa interior rivers means you can catch more large-sized fish. Iowa is home to an abundant variety of fish including prized-size catfish, small-mouth bass, walleye, perch, trout, pike and many more. For all you fishing enthusiasts, you must note that at least twelve species of fish reside in Iowa waters such as black bass species, six sunfish species, and three crappie-like members. Northeast Iowa is renowned for remarkable trout fishing. You may also come across several species of unusual fish in Iowa Rivers, including American eel, paddlefish, blue sucker, bowfin, shovelnose sturgeon, short-nose gar and northern hog sucker. 

Types of Catch Available

Freshwater

raindbow trout

Rainbow Trout

brook trout

Brook Trout

brown trout

Brown Trout

White Bass

White Bass

Striped Bass

Largemouth Bass

Largemouth Bass

smallmouth bass

Smallmouth Bass

spotted bass

Spotted Bass

Bluegill

Bluegill

Pumpkinseed Sunfish

northern pike

Northern Pike

walleye

Walleye

bullhead catfish

Bullhead Catfish

Channel Catfish

Channel Catfish

Crappie

Crappie

yellow perch

Yellow Perch

Carp

Grass Carp

State Fishing Records

Top 10 Fishing Spots Across Iowa

This bountiful state boasts an extensive variety of fishing including freshwater, fly, or even ice-fishing. Ask any angler about the places they would like to fish someday, and Iowa would definitely make the cut!

Iowa summers mean long days, warm nights and one of our beloved pastimes - fishing. Iowa has a varying habitat and thousands of fishing spots, which is why we have managed to carve out our Iowa fishing guide which will identify the top fishing spots, guaranteeing you a great, memorable catch.

Black Hawk Lake

Black Hawk Lake

Renovated in 2012, Black Hawk Lake provides great fishing for all ages. It lays on 729 acres and is located on the east edge of Lake View. With phenomenal Walleye fishing, anglers can find great catches throughout May with walleye about of up to 20 inches. Head towards Ice House Point (in Black Hawk State Park) for 8-inch bluegill and 8 to 10-inch crappie. You will catch dozens of largemouth bass per trip. The water temperatures are around 60 degrees, and many channel catfish surpass 4 pounds. To catch yellow Perch, anglers have been picking them from the floating dock and the fish house in Town Bay using crawlers and minnows. The Muskie is developing in Black Hawk, with the oldest fish approaching the highest 30-inch size range. Want to take a break from fishing? Simply hop on over to the trails and parks for camping and family fun!


Green Valley State Park

Green Valley State Park

In Southwest Iowa, near the community of Creston, Green Valley Lake is a top pick by anglers for the large variety of fish that populate it and because the access to the water is stress-free. With four boat ramps, handicap-accessible piers, and shoreline accessibility, anyone with a pole and  Iowa fishing license can reel in largemouth bass, channel catfish, black bullhead, black crappie, walleye, and many more exciting species. The best time to fish here is in summer months. Along with fishing, you can have a relaxing time with your whole family as it has many other scenic recreational activities.



Lake Ahquabi

Lake Ahquabi

Lake Ahquabi, 5 miles southwest of Indianola, offers a blissful escape from the summer heat. What makes it an angler’s paradise is that according to Department of Natural Resources (DNR), you can catch an average of 2.7 fish per hour, twice the catch rate of most Iowa lakes. Haul into black Crappie, bluegill, channel catfish, largemouth bass and redear sunfish throughout the year. No matter the amount of time you spend here, be sure to have a great time discovering the waters of this man-made reservoir.


Lake Mcbride

Lake Mcbride

Want to know which is the only spot in Iowa home to prized Kentucky spotted bass? Lake Macbride it is. Lake Macbride is home to an abundance of species, and you can cast for trophy wipers (10 pounds plus) and catch-and-release 30-inch muskies (40-inch minimum). Get ready to haul in bluegill, walleye, channel catfish, black bullhead, flathead catfish, green sunfish, muskellunge, quillback, wiper, crappie bigmouth buffalo and many more.  Take in some ice fishing in winter months, as it’s safe and rewarding.


Little River Lake

Little River Lake

Up for fall fishing? Little River Lake, an hour away from Des Moines, is a hot spot for fall fishing and an anglers dream come true for high-quality fishing. This lake produces healthy populations of walleye, black bullhead, bluegill, largemouth bass, and channel catfish. Spring is a fruitful season to fish here with bluegill up to 9 inches and largemouth bass up to 16 inches.


Pinicon Ridge Park

Pinicon Ridge Park

Pinicon Ridge Park in Linn County is a popular place for many types of outdoor adventures - but it’s an angler’s paradise any day. It populates smallmouth bass, bigmouth buffalo, and northern pike and fishers can head to this river any time of the year for a good chance to catch something fruitful. The Iowa DNR recognizes Pinicon Ridge Park  as one of the most premier fishing spots in Iowa. So, it’s a hot spot with plenty of fish to catch, and you can experience for yourself what makes it a great fishing destination.


Prarie Rose Lake

Prarie Rose Lake

Want to fish and gaze at scenic views together? Head to Prairie Rose Lake. It is settled among picturesque hills southeast of Harlan and is rich in excellent bass, channel catfish, green sunfish, bluegill and crappie fishing. Bluegills are huge, and the crappie inhabitants are increasingly fast. What makes this 205-acre lake spot memorable is that plentiful large-mouth bass provide great catches and release fishing (15-inch minimum length limit). Since the shore access is restricted due to lots of aquatic plant habitat, you must fish from a boat, kayak or jetty.


Hannen Park

Hannen Park

This is known as the first county conservation man-made lake in Iowa, and Hannen Lake within Hannen Park, is a full-fledged fishing adventure waiting to be enjoyed. Get ready to fish and boat upon 45 acres of water.   You have a fair chance to catch black crappie, bluegills and largemouth bass, creating thrilling moments every time you reel something in. Interestingly, Iowa DNR stocks this man-made lake with catfish throughout the year, providing every angler a chance to catch even more variety at Hannen Lake. With a campground close to the shore, this is one fishing hole in Iowa which can be easily explored multiple days at a time.

From running rivers to its picturesque lakes to its secret destinations, dive into an incredible experience of fishing in Iowa waters. With the right bait, enthusiasm, and the right spot, you might catch that big trophy you’ve always wanted.

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