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Weekly Northwest Iowa DNR Fishing Report

Northwest Iowa — The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has released their weekly fishing report for northwest Iowa. 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, 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.

NORTHWEST
Black Hawk Lake
Ice is up to 4 inches near the Ice House Point boat ramp; anglers have just started to get out on the ice. Ice is variable, especially in the east end where some areas recently froze over. Check ice thickness often. There are still open water fishing opportunities near the fish house in Town Bay.

Storm Lake (incl Little Storm Lake)
Anglers have started to get out on the ice in some areas using extreme caution and foot traffic only. Ice is variable; some waterfowl holes are still open and some have recently frozen over with thin ice. Use caution and check ice thickness often if venturing out. Bluegill – Fair. Yellow Perch – Fair.

Inconsistent ice thickness from 0-5 inches on area lakes. Anglers are starting to get out on some lakes. Avoid open areas and waterfowl holes that may have just recently frozen over. Use caution and check ice thickness often. For more information, contact the Black Hawk District office at 712-657-2638.

Blue Pit
Rainbow Trout – Fair. Trout were stocked the first week of November. You need a valid fishing license and pay the trout fee to fish for or possess trout. The daily bag limit is 5.

Clear Lake
Ice thickness is 0 to 7 inches. Staring January 1st, Clear Lake will have a protected slot on walleye. All walleye between 17 and 22 inches must be immediately released unharmed. No more than one walleye longer than 22 inches may be taken per day. The three fish daily bag limit remains unchanged. Bluegill – Slow: Use a small jig tipped with a waxworm in open areas in the vegetation in 2 to 3 feet of water. Walleye – Slow. Yellow Bass – Slow: Try a small jig tipped with bait in 5 to 6 feet of water. You have to stay mobile to find fish. Yellow Perch – Fair: Perch are biting in the Farmers beach area in 2 to 4 feet of water. Try fishing near vegetation; use a larger bait to get the bigger fish.

Lower Pine Lake
Lower Pine Lake is mostly ice-covered. Unsafe ice conditions; fishing is not recommended.

Rice Lake
Ice thickness is 0 to 6 inches. Bluegill – Slow. Walleye – Slow. Yellow Perch – Slow.

Upper Pine Lake
Upper Pine Lake is mostly ice-covered. Unsafe ice conditions; fishing is not recommended.

Aeration systems are running at Clear Lake, Crystal Lake, Rice Lake and Silver Lake. Avoid any open water areas and be cautious of waterfowl holes on these lakes that may have recently frozen over. Check ice thickness often as you go. For information on the lakes and rivers in north central Iowa, contact the Clear Lake Fish and Wildlife office at 641-357-3517.

East Okoboji Lake
The lake is fully iced with an average of 8 inches in most areas Black Crappie – Fair. Bluegill – Fair.

Lost Island Lake
The lake has varying ice conditions with an average of around 8 inches. Check ice conditions often.

Minnewashta Lake
The panfish and crappie bite has been fairly good recently with the recent onset of ice. The bite is good enough that live bait hasn’t been needed to be successful. Ice conditions are safe enough to venture out on foot with an average ice thickness of 8+ inches. Black Crappie – Fair: A nice crappie bite can be found with a little movement around the lake. Bluegill – Fair. Pumpkinseed – Fair.

Scharnberg Pond
Trout were stocked unannounced this fall. You need a valid fishing license and pay the trout fee to fish for or possess trout. Rainbow Trout – Good: Trout are biting on a variety of different baits. Try a worm or lure that imitates a minnow.

Silver Lake (Dickinson)
The lake is fully iced with an average thickness of 10 inches. Be weary of holes that have frozen over more recently on the main basin. Walleye – Fair.

Spirit Lake
The lake is fully iced, but conditions can vary in areas that had open holes until recently. Ice thickness is 7-8 inches in most places. Black Crappie – Fair: Mostly being caught along with perch; use tube jigs with wigglers or pilkies. Bluegill – Fair: Mostly being caught along with perch; use tube jigs with wigglers or pilkies. Yellow Perch – Fair.

West Okoboji Lake
The lake is fully iced, but conditions can vary in areas that had open holes until recently. Ice thickness is 7-8 inches in most places. Black Crappie – Fair. Bluegill – Fair.

Staring January 1st, the protective walleye slot limit will change to 19 to 25 inches at Big Spirit Lake, East and West Okoboji Lakes, Upper Gar Lake, Minnewashta Lake, Lower Gar Lake and Storm Lake; no more than one walleye longer than 25-inches can be taken per day. The majority of area lakes are fully iced over and have safe enough ice for foot traffic. There are a lot of holes and seams that have more recently frozen over. Make sure you have flotation, ice picks and check ice thickness often. Colder temperatures forecast this weekend should help create even better ice conditions. For current conditions, call the Spirit Lake District Office at 712-336-1840.