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The way we interact with others may be a little different right now with Iowa’s current State of Emergency. The Iowa DNR has made adjustments to protect the health and safety of state employees, the public, and our angling community.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t go fishing. Stay safe when fishing this spring with these tips:

  • Try a new fishing spot — if your regular fishing location is popular and busy, try out a new one where less people are fishing.
  • Once you find your spot, keep at least 6 feet of distance between you and other groups.
  • Stick with your immediate family, but keep groups to fewer than 10 people.
  • Bring lures from home instead of buying bait to minimize your interaction with other people.
  • Bring hand sanitizer and wash your hands often.

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 within each district, 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.

For current information, contact the district fisheries office at the phone number listed at the end of each district report.

NORTHEAST

Nashua dam is currently under repair. Water levels are lowered in the impoundment for the duration. Water clarity is good. Walleye — Fair: Anglers are finding good numbers of fish below dams and along current breaks. Jigs tipped with a minnow or twister tail work best. Channel Catfish — Fair: Use dead chubs and worms fished on the bottom.

Reports of anglers catching a few walleye and northern pike on the Cedar River. Walleye — Fair: Cast and retrieve plastics tipped with or without a minnow or crankbaits; walleye have moved out of over-wintering areas. Northern Pike — Good: Try a live chub or shiner fished under a bobber near slack water areas off of main current. Channel Catfish — Fair: Use chicken livers or dead cut baits fished on the bottom upstream of fallen snags.

There are abundant numbers of pike along the willows near the shoreline edges in George Wyth Lake. Northern Pike — Fair: Cast and retrieve spinnerbaits near the shore. Black Crappie — Fair: Try crappie jigs or a minnow fished under a bobber over structure; use electronics to find structure.

Manchester District Streams

N.E. area trout streams are in excellent condition and full of trout. Rainbow Trout — Good: Use flashy spinnerbaits or match the hatch with flies.

Reports of anglers catching a few walleye and smallmouth bass on the Maquoketa River. Walleye — Fair: Cast and retrieve plastics tipped with or without a minnow or crankbaits; walleye have moved out of over-wintering areas. Smallmouth Bass - Fair: Try a jig and plastic tipped with a minnow or cast spinner or crankbaits.

Anglers are catching some walleye on the Shell Rock River. Walleye — Fair: Cast and retrieve plastics tipped with or without a minnow or crankbaits; walleye have moved out of over-wintering areas.

Crappie should be moving into shallower water; the weekend forecast looks very warm so crappie should be staging to spawn. Black Crappie — Fair: Try crappie jigs or a minnow under a bobber fished over structure; use electronics to find structure. Also try fishing along the edges of aquatic vegetation.

A recent electrofishing survey revealed numerous year classes of walleye. Northern pike are biting well on the upper Wapsipinicon River. Walleye — Fair: Cast and retrieve plastics tipped with or without a minnow or crankbaits; walleye have moved out of over-wintering areas. Smallmouth Bass — Fair: Try a jig and plastic tipped with a minnow or cast spinner or crankbaits. Northern Pike — Good: Float a live chub or shiner under a bobber or cast bucktail spinners. Channel Catfish — Fair: Use chicken livers or dead cut baits fished on the bottom upstream of fallen snags.

Interior rivers are in excellent condition. Walleye, pike, smallmouth bass and channel catfish are being caught on most rivers. Fair to good reports of panfish on the area Black Hawk County lakes; the crappie spawn is in the midst. Trout stocking season is in full swing, but all stockings are unannounced due to COVID-19 precautions. All state fish hatcheries are closed to the public. Call the Manchester Hatchery at 563-927-3276 for more information.

NORTHWEST

Water temperature is in the upper 50’s. Water clarity has increased since last week. The outdoor walkway on the fish house structure in Town Bay is open to anglers; the indoor portion of the structure remains closed to the public due to physical distancing guidelines. Yellow Perch — Fair: Anglers are catching perch in Town Bay. Sorting is needed, but keepers are 8-10 inches. Black Crappie – Good: Shore fishing has been productive. Fish anywhere from shore with rock and structure. Use a small jig tipped with crawler or small minnow fished under a bobber along shore in Town Bay, Ice House Point from the inlet bridge and from the floating pier and fish house in Town Bay. Largemouth Bass – Fair. Walleye — Fair: Walleye fishing from shore has picked up. Use twisters, crankbaits and leeches or crawlers fished under a bobber.