The Ottumwa Courier

December 20, 2013

Southern Iowa Fishing Report


Ottumwa Courier

---- — Lake Belva Deer

Ice is about 2.5 inches thick, no anglers out yet. Not safe, thickness is too variable.

Lake Wapello

Most of the lake has frozen over but the ice is not thick enough to support anglers.

Red Haw Lake

The lake has frozen. There is about 3-4 inches of ice. The warmer weather has left a lot of water on top of the ice. Use caution if venturing out because different parts of the lake froze over at different times so the ice is not uniform in thickness.

Lake Sugema

The lake is partially covered with ice but still has quite a bit of open water. The ice that has formed is not capable of supporting anglers at this time. The Tug Forks ponds have 4-5 inches of ice. Some anglers have been out on Tug Forks West and have been catching some bluegills.

Rathbun Reservoir

The coves and bays have some ice but the ice is not thick enough to support anglers at this time. Different areas of the lake have iced up at different times so ice thickness is variable. Use caution when testing ice thickness. The current lake level is 905.07 feet. Don’t forget Lake Rathbun contains zebra mussels so make sure to clean, drain, and dry equipment before transporting to another water body. If you have other questions regarding fishing in south central Iowa call the Rathbun Fish Hatchery at 641-647-2406.

Lake Geode

Ice getting thicker slowly, still unsafe, about 2 inches around the edge; not going out farther to check thickness.

Pollmiller Park Lake

Ice is about 4 inches thick. A few anglers have been out. Be careful around any of the trees and stump fields where the ice will be thinner.

Lake of the Hills

Ice thickness varies, use common sense and test the ice before going out on it. Lake of the Hills is the only lake in West Lake Park that you can use live minnows as bait. Rainbow Trout - Fair: Trout fishing is sporadic, you need to find the habitat that is holding them they are not at every spot that there is habitat. Bluegill - Fair: Wax worms with ice jigs are the favorites, work the deeper brush piles. Crappie - Fair: Crappies are out with the bluegills but instead of fishing just off the bottom, work a couple feet off the bottom.

Wilson Lake

Ice still thin, unsafe conditions.

Big Hollow Lake

There is about 3 inches of poor quality ice. Nobody has been out yet. Give it a while to get some good ice before going out on it. Cold weather has set in and ice is forming but most of our ice is still a little on the thin side. For more information call the Lake Darling Fisheries Station at 319-694-2430.

Hannen Lake

Ice conditions are about 5-6 inches in most areas. Remember, no minnows are allowed here. Bluegill - Fair: Size has been small, but occasionally a larger fish is caught. Fish around brush with a jig/waxie. Crappie - Slow: Look for suspended fish in open water. Fishing early and/or late increase your odds of success.

Iowa Lake

Most of the lake has 3-6 inches but there is a small portion that has been kept open by geese this week. Bluegill - Good: Most fish have been on the small side. Fish around brush with a jig/waxie. Crappie - Excellent: Good reports of crappie are coming in. Most fish will be about 9 inches. Look for suspended fish in open water or around sunken brush.

Kent Park Lake

Most of the lake has about 4 inches of ice. The Conservation Education Pond is producing some bluegills as well. Bluegill - Good: Fish around brush piles with a jig/waxie. Bluegills up to 9 inches are available here. Crappie - Fair: Try around the brush with jigs/waxies as well. Most fish are about 9 inches.

Lake Macbride

Much of the lake has 3-5 inches, but ice thickness ranges from 2-7 inches. The protected bays and shallower areas are obviously the best ice, while open areas with deeper water are poorest. There is a section between the beach and the highlines that froze over Dec. 11 due to geese previously keeping it open. Use caution when venturing out. Bluegill - Fair: Fish a jig/waxie around brush, stumps, or rock. Size is marginal with most fish about 5-6 inches. Crappie - Fair: Most fish have been smaller black crappies. A few nicer white crappies are being caught occasionally. Anglers are trying both rock and brush piles. The south arm and around the main ramp have been the most popular. Walleye - Slow: A few smaller walleyes are being reported.

Pleasant Creek Lake

Most of the lake has 3-5 inches but caution should be used if venturing out. Yellow Perch - Fair: Anglers are reporting fish up to 10 inches being picked up around brush on jig/waxies. Walleye - Fair: Most fish are less than 15 inches, but an occasional keeper is being caught. Try small spoons towards evening for best results.

Diamond Lake

The lake has 3-6 inches with the exception of a small area that just froze over due to past goose activity. The dam area has the best ice currently, but caution should be used when venturing out. Remember, no minnows are allowed here. Bluegill - Good: Look for fish around brush. Try a jig/waxie for 6-8 inches fish. Crappie - Fair: Look for suspended fish around brush or open water. Use a jig/waxie for 8-10 inches fish.

Otter Creek Lake

Ice thickness is up to 7 inches but there is still a section of open water from geese activity. Caution should be used if venturing out. Most anglers are fishing the south third of the lake. Bluegill - Good: Try around brush with a jig/waxie for fish up to 9 inches. Yellow Bass - Fair: Most fish are 7-9 inches. Try a jig/waxie or small spoon near the bottom.

Union Grove Lake

Most of the lake has 4 inches plus of ice, with the exception of the center of the lake which is open due to geese activity. The aeration unit has not been turned on yet. No fishing reports are available. The silt pond has 5 inches plus on it and there have been some anglers catching smaller bluegills here.

Coralville Reservoir

Ice thickness is up to 6 inches in places, but much less in others. Many areas are not safe. Use extreme caution if venturing out and check ice frequently. The CORPS has completed the lowering of the lake down to a level of 683.3 feet.

Sand Lake

This lake is on the south side of Iowa City on Gilbert Street. Exact ice thicknesses are not known and caution should be used if venturing out. Rainbow Trout - Fair: Trout were stocked in November. Remember, you need a trout stamp in addition to a fishing license to fish for and possess trout. Crappie - Fair: Recent warmth and predicted rain may make conditions unsafe in previously fishable areas. Use caution if venturing out. For more information, contact Lake Macbride Fisheries Station at 319-624-3615.