Bass, crappie fishing heating up, but river levels low

DES MOINES – The following is this week’s fishing report for southeast Iowa lakes, ponds, and rivers from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

Big Hollow Lake 
Water temperature is about 84 degrees. The thermocline is set up at 5-7 feet deep. Don’t try fishing much below that; there is little to no oxygen below 7 feet. Largemouth Bass- Slow: Find bass at the lower end of the lake around the flooded trees in 6 to 7 feet of water. Bluegill – Fair: Most anglers are finding bluegill back in the trees (in the shade) in 3 to 5 feet of water. Channel Catfish – Fair: Catfish don’t mind the hot weather as much as the other fish do.  Drift cut bait along the face of the dam. 

Iowa River (Columbus Junction to Mississippi River) 
Iowa River water levels are holding steady with a very slow drop of less than a couple of inches every few days. Channel Catfish – Fair: Catfishing is decent right now. The best bite is after dark or just at first light. Use stink baits and cut baits.

Lake Belva Deer 
Water temperature is around 82 degrees. The thermocline is set up at 6-7 feet. Water clarity is at 24 inches with a brown green color to the water. Bluegill – Slow: Bluegills have moved out to deeper water for the summer.  Look for them in 6-7 feet of water as they adjust to the changing thermocline to stay cool with plenty of oxygen. Largemouth Bass – Slow: Bass are out in the thermocline trying to stay cool.  Slow drift/troll crankbaits down 6 to 7 feet below the  surface to find them. Channel Catfish – Fair: Catfishing is improving. Catfish don’t mind the hot weather as much as the other fish do. Try chicken liver and cut bait in above 8 feet of water. Redear Sunfish – Slow: Work along the old creek channel running down through the lake where sunfish are hunting snails to eat.

Lake Darling 
Water temperature is 84 degrees. The scum on top of the water is a mix of dust, planktonic algae, and pollen. The thermocline is set up at 5-7 feet. Largemouth Bass – Slow: Bass are taking it easy in the heat and don’t seem to be very hungry. Most bass remain out in 6 to 7 feet of water. Bluegill – Slow: Try slip bobbers and worm or vertically jigging in the brush piles and rock piles in 5-7 feet of water. Black Crappie – Slow: Look for crappie to remain in deeper water around the brush piles and rock piles down about 6-7 feet.  Channel Catfish – Good: Switch from the stream inlets to the culvert piles near the bank; where the catfish can avoid the heat in the shade. Chicken liver works best. Picked up with the flood waters bringing in new food.

Lost Grove Lake 
Water temperature is about 82 degrees. The thermocline is set up at 6-8 feet; concentrate your efforts in this zone. Largemouth Bass – FairBest bite is after dark or near it. Look for bass near the drop off to deeper (6-8 feet of water). Bluegill – Fair: The bite picked up a little bit the past few days. Best bite is towards late evening. Bluegills are keeping to the flooded trees and brush in 6 to 8 feet of water. Channel Catfish – Fair: Slow troll cut bait along the face of the dam and out around the deeper brush piles in 6 to 8 feet of water. 

Skunk River (Coppock to Mississippi River)
The Skunk River came up a little bit on August 4. It is forecast to hold steady the next few days. Water is a little too shallow in spots for the bigger flat bottom boats. Channel Catfish – Fair: Catfishing picked up a little the past couple of days. Find catfish in the brush piles and log jams.

For more information on the above lakes call the Lake Darling Fisheries Office at 319- 694-2430.

Central Park Lake
Bluegill – Good: Try small jigs or worms to catch 4- to 8-inch fish. Largemouth Bass – Fair: Many artificial baits are working. Most fish are 8- to 15-inches. Redear Sunfish – Fair: Use small jigs and worms to catch fish up to 7-inches.

Coralville Reservoir
Channel Catfish – Fair: Drift or troll cut bait in the channel. The upper half of the lake is best. Largemouth Bass – Fair: Use crankbaits on tapering rock banks. The lower half of the lake is best.

Diamond Lake 
Black Crappie – Fair: Most crappie are around 8-inches. Look for suspended fish throughout the basin in 6-9 feet of water. Bluegill – Fair: Try fishing the shallow pockets. Channel Catfish – Fair: Chicken livers and stink bait work best. 

Iowa Lake (Iowa County) 
Bluegill – Fair: Find bluegill along the shoreline and in pockets of the weeds. Largemouth Bass– Fair: Try jigs fished along shallow structure and crankbaits in 8-10 feet of water. Black Crappie – Good: Crappies are suspended 5-9 feet down over deeper water. Channel Catfish – Good. 

Lake Macbride 
There is a 10 hp maximum in effect at this time; these may be run at 5 mph or less. Black Crappie – Fair: Try fishing over brush piles in 3-8 feet of water. Walleye – Slow: Try trolling or jigging in 7-15 feet of water.  Largemouth Bass – Fair: Try crankbaits, topwaters and soft plastics fished in shallow rock and wood. Bluegill – Fair: Try fishing in shallow pockets and around on rock reefs. White Bass – Fair: Look for surface activity at sunset. 

Otter Creek Lake
The lake will be drained and restored this fall/winter. Relaxed fishing regulations started on June 15. There is no limit to poles and harvest sizes/numbers are eliminated. The boat ramp, boat usage of any kind, and the west side of the lake is closed. Bluegill – Slow: Try small jigs or worms in shallow pockets and around brush. Yellow Bass – Slow: Bass are out in open water.

Hawthorn Lake
Largemouth Bass– Fair: Use spinnerbaits and crankbaits fished along rocky shorelines and fishing jetties. Bluegill – Slow: Use small jigs tipped with live bait fished around the rip-rapped shorelines. Channel Catfish – Fair: Try night crawlers in 6-8 feet of water. 

Lake Miami
Largemouth Bass– Fair: Use spinnerbaits and rubber worms fished along the dam and around the fishing jetties. Bluegill – Fair: Use small jigs around the jetties and the submerged structure. Channel Catfish – Fair: Try night crawlers or cut bait. 

Lake Sugema
Black Crappie – Slow: Use small jigs with live bait. Keep moving until you find active fish. Largemouth Bass – Fair: Use spinnerbaits and crankbaits fished along the fishing jetties and other rocky shorelines. Bluegill – Fair: Try small jigs fished along the edge of the vegetation. 

Lake Wapello
Bluegill– Fair: Try small jigs around the shorelines and the submerged structure. Black Crappie – Slow: Use jig and minnows around the submerged structure. Largemouth Bass – Fair: Use spinnerbaits or crankbaits fished around submerged structures. Try topwater lures in the mornings and evenings. Channel Catfish – Fair: Use nightcrawlers or cut bait along shorelines in 4-8 feet of water. 

Rathbun Reservoir
The current lake level is 905.83 feet msl; recreation pool is 904 feet msl. Lake Rathbun has zebra mussels so make sure to properly drain, clean and dry equipment before transporting to another waterbody. Channel Catfish – Good: Target windblown shorelines and areas with rip-rap with shad sides or night crawlers. Black Crappie – Fair: Try trolling for suspended crappies over rock piles using small crankbaits.  Walleye– Good: Troll crankbaits or night crawler rigs over rock piles and near lake depth changes such as the old river channel. Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) – Good: Try minnows and jigs fished over rock piles or trolling crankbaits.

Red Haw Lake
Largemouth Bass– Fair: Use crankbaits or plastics or topwater lures in areas along the shorelines and the dam early and late in the day.  Bluegill – Slow: Use small jigs under a bobber. Channel Catfish – Fair: Try nightcrawlers around the fishing jetties. 

Contact the Rathbun Fish Hatchery at 641-647-2406 with questions about fishing in south central Iowa.

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