Clear Lake: Surface water temperature is in the lower 40s. Courtesy docks have been removed from boat ramps. Walleye - Fair: Fish off the jetties at the Ventura Grade in the evenings. Yellow Bass - Slow: Limited fishing activity this past week.
Cedar River (above Nashua): Water levels are on the rise. Flows remain high. Walleye - Fair: Find walleye in pockets and deeper water. Fish are taking a variety of bright colored lures or jigs tipped with worms or minnows. Smallmouth Bass -Slow: Use a slow presentation with a small spinnerbait.
Cedar River (Nashua to La Porte City): Reports of anglers catching walleye and smallmouth bass on the Cedar River in Black Hawk and Bremer counties. Walleye - Good: Anglers are doing well with jigs and plastics. Water temperatures have fallen quickly; look for deeper holes as walleye move into over wintering areas. Smallmouth Bass - Good: Try jig and plastics or crankbaits. Northern Pike - Fair: Cast and retrieve spoons or crankbaits.
Shell Rock River (Greene to Shell Rock): Reports of anglers catching walleye and smallmouth bass on the Shell Rock River in Bremer and Butler counties. Walleye - Good: Anglers are doing well with jigs and plastics. Water temperatures have fallen quickly; look for deeper holes as walleye move into over wintering areas. Anglers are still also having luck fishing the shallower water. Smallmouth Bass - Excellent: Anglers have been doing well with jigs and plastics.
Arrowhead Lake: The courtesy dock is removed for the season.
Bacon Creek Lake: About 1,600 rainbow trout were stocked on Nov. 7. Use small tube and twister jigs, in-line spinners, casting spoons, and live minnows or crawlers fished under a bobber.
Black Hawk Lake: Water temperatures are in the upper 40s. Bluegill - Fair: There has been limited fishing activity this week, but a few have had luck using a small jig with a small piece of crawler fished under a bobber in Town Bay and in the marina. Largemouth Bass - Fair: There is a 15-inch minimum length limit on largemouth bass in Black Hawk Lake.
Brushy Creek Lake: Courtesy docks are removed for the season. Walleye - Fair: Use minnows or leaches in the evenings. Largemouth Bass - Fair: Catch bass along shore and near vegetation just about anywhere with traditional bass lures. There is a 15-inch minimum length limit on largemouth bass in Brushy Creek Lake. Bluegill - Fair: Try tube jigs tipped with crawlers in 5-10 feet of water.
Moorland Pond: About 1,500 rainbow trout were stocked on Nov 1. Use small tube and twister jigs, in-line spinners, casting spoons, and live minnows or crawlers fished under a bobber.
North Twin Lake: Courtesy docks at the two south ramps are removed for the season.
Storm Lake (including Little Storm Lake): Storm Lake has a daily limit of 3 walleye and all 17- to 22-inch walleye must be released; no more than one walleye longer than 22 inches may be taken per day. Walleye - Fair: Try twisters and leaches fished under a bobber from shore and near the inlet. White Bass - Fair: Use crankbaits and crawlers fished from shore and near the inlet.
East Okoboji Lake: All docks including boat ramps are out. Limited fishing activity.
Silver Lake (Dickinson): Walleye - Good: Wader fishing is your best chance to catch trophy size fish.
Spirit Lake: Majority of the docks, including boat ramps are out. Limited fishing activity. Walleye - Good: Wader angler action is the best bite during the evening hours.
West Okoboji Lake: Most of the docks, including boat ramps are out. Limited fishing activity.
Decorah District Streams: Brown Trout - Good: Brown Trout spawn is near complete. Continue to watch the stream bottom for cleared areas in gravel (trout nests). Avoid stepping in the nests. Use larger flies or lures mimicking minnows. Rainbow Trout - Good: Use a small piece of worm or cheese on a hook under a bobber in a deeper hole. Brook Trout - Good: Brook Trout spawn is here; brook trout build nests in the stream bottom.
Lake Hendricks: Water clarity is improving as temperatures cool. Fish movements slow down to conserve energy, slow presentations down and use smaller tackle. Black Crappie - No Report: Fish lighter gear in deeper water for suspended fish. Try a small jig with a minnow and a slow retrieve.
Lake Meyer: Excellent water clarity. Fish activity slows as water temperatures cool. No angling activity. Bluegill – No Report: Use small lures with a piece of waxworm.
Turkey River (above Clermont): The Turkey River water levels are falling with improved clarity. Smallmouth Bass – Slow: Use lures mimicking minnows in off channel areas or deeper water. Walleye - Slow: Try jigs tipped with a minnow, worms and a variety of lures in current breaks and deeper water.
Upper Iowa River (above Decorah): Water levels stabilized with the last rainfall. Walleye - Fair: Use crankbaits or a hook tipped with a minnow in eddies and deeper water. Catches are highly variable. Smallmouth Bass - Fair: Anglers report nice catches of smallmouth. Look for fish in deeper pocket eddies and near undercut banks. A variety of lures and baits are working.
Upper Iowa River (below Decorah): Water levels stabilized after rain earlier in the week. Smallmouth Bass - Slow: Use bright colored lures fished in deeper water and rock ledges. Walleye - Fair: Try a jig tipped with minnow or bright twister tail fished deep. Shore fishing should yield better catches.
Volga Lake: Water clarity is improving. No anglers have been out. Fish move deeper during the day and shallow in evening, taking advantage of the sun warmed water.
Heritage Pond: Rainbow Trout - Good: Cast and retrieve lighter jigs or flies.
Lake Delhi: A few reports of anglers catching fish on Lake Delhi. Black Crappie - Fair: Try a jig and plastic or minnow under a slip bobber near structure fished at various depths to find crappie. Largemouth Bass - Fair: Use live baits or cast crankbaits.
Manchester District Streams: Spring Branch Creek has been busy with angling activity as many trout escaped with the recent flooding event.
Maquoketa River (above Monticello): Water levels continue to fall, but flows remain swift. Walleye - No Report: Water temperatures have fallen quickly; look for deeper holes as walleye move into over wintering areas. Smallmouth Bass - No Report: Try jig and plastics or crankbaits. Rainbow Trout - No Report: With recent flooding at the fish hatchery, many trout moved to the Maquoketa River.
North Prairie Lake: Rainbow Trout - Good: Cast and retrieve lighter jigs or flies.
Photos: Big fish caught in North Iowa
Steve Young muskie 1
Kid catches muskie
Houston muskie in East Park
Logan Conway and Muskie
Steve Ibarra 2
Sea Wall muskie
Clear Lake muskie
Redig's big fish
12th Street cat
Tom Caswell's Muskie
Big fish in St. Ansgar
Santee's northern pike
Richards' river monster
Mike Uhlenhopp's northern pike
Lenz lands a big one
Georgia Hanford cat
Frank and the fish
Echelbarger's northern pike
East Park walleye
Mom and son muskie
2 for one on Clear Lake
Big muskie caught on Clear Lake in January, 2016
Jeff Lutcavish with giant northern
Catfish in Clear Lake
Fall Classic walleye
Jensen's Fishing the Midwest: Fall can be the best time for trophy fish
Depending on where you live, the young people and their teachers are getting ready to go back to school, football season is either here or just around the corner, and the fall fishing season is not far off. Some folks may not like this progression of seasons, but many anglers do. They know that autumn can provide the best fishing of the year for both numbers of fish and trophy fish. Many anglers have caught the biggest fish of their life in the fall. If we want to take full advantage of fall fishing, now is a good time to make preparations to do so. Following are some things to keep in mind as we prepare for fall fishing.
Whether you’re fishing a lake, river, or reservoir, at some point in the fall the fish will school up. In the summer they’ll be loosely schooled more of the time, but when the fish feel the water temperatures drop and notice the days getting shorter, they’ll group up. Therefore, it works well to keep moving with an eye on your sonar until you find where the fish are hanging out.
The importance of paying attention to your sonar was once again driven home on a fall trip to Lake Kabetogama a couple of years ago. Kab is known for its walleyes, but it’s also a world-class smallmouth fishery. We were fishing for the smallmouth on deep structures. We located the structures on the maps in our sonar units, then cruised over them looking for fish. The first two spots were fishless, the third showed fish.
We dropped jigs and dropshot rigs to them and had immediate action. Just for the heck of it, we tried similar looking structures that didn’t show fish on the sonar, and that’s what we caught: Nothing. The fact that you’ve got to fish where the fish are if you want to catch fish was reinforced that day. We were using Raymarine sonar at the time: I can’t remember which units we had, but the Axiom series of sonar from Raymarine that we’re using now does an amazing job of showing fish, and they have the other features necessary that make fish-catching so much more consistent.
Start the autumn season off with fresh line. Just as we start the season with fresh line, we want to be sure our connection to the fish is in good shape in the fall. Be sure that when that fish-of-a-lifetime eats your bait, your line will be ready to handle it. There are lots of line choices out there, and they all have a purpose. With that said, day-in and day-out, I use P-Line CX or CXX Premium. These are kind of like monofilament line, and I’ve developed a lot of trust in them. If I want more sensitivity and better hooksetting ability, I use XTCB braid with a Tactical fluorocarbon leader. This set-up provides the ultimate in strength and minimal stretch, yet allows for a very natural presentation.
In the fall, fish like larger lures. Even the smaller fish eat bigger baits in the autumn. Mother Nature tells the fish that it’s better to eat one large meal instead of several smaller ones. Use big bait for big fish.
There are lots of options for recreation in the fall. Football and hunting take up lots of folk’s time. But if you like to fish, reserve some time for doing-so. The weather is pleasant, the scenery is nice, and the catching can be outstanding. Discover that for yourself when the leaves on the trees turn colorful.
Muskies: Mitchell County Conservation intern explains 'the mystery fish' (with photos)
OSAGE | Local anglers had an opportunity to hear about the “mystery fish" -- also known more commonly as the muskie, from Levi Nettleton, recent naturalist intern with Mitchell County Conservation.
Nettleton, who will be a senior science education major at the University of Northern Iowa this fall, told attendees muskies are known as the mystery fish because of their unpredictability.
“Muskies are very unpredictable,” he said. “You can find them in waters that are 6 inches to a 100 feet deep. They look like a pike, but they have six teeth instead of five teeth like northern, and northern are spotted.”
Nettleton said a female Muskie can lay up to 265,000 eggs, but their survival rate is very low. They spawn best in water temps of 55 to 65 degrees, laying their eggs randomly in shallow waters where predators can consume the eggs.
“Many fishermen believe the muskie is a major consumer of other game fish such as bass and walleye, but they are apt to eat softer fish like bullheads and minnows,” Nettleton said, noting they also eat insects, crayfish, small mammals and waterfowl.
"Many believe they are aggressive, but that isn’t true, unless they are feeding," he said. "They are complicated for naturalists to study.”
Nettleton said Muskies’ habitats also vary, meaning they can be found in weeds like tobacco cabbage or 30 feet deep in open water. He said fisherman can find them in different places throughout the year.
Nettleton shared his enthusiasm for catching the large game fish, something he started four years ago.
“Once you do it, it can become an addiction," he said. "There's a lot of skill in muskie fishing, and sometimes, muskies are called the fish of a 100,000 casts.”
Nettleton’s study has rewarded him well, as he caught and released 36 muskies last year and 12 so far this year.
Fishermen seeking muskies typically use 7- to 10-foot rods, according to Nettleton. He uses a 300- to 400-foot reel with 22 pounds of drag, with 50-100 braid line and steel or fluorocarbon leaders.
He also carries needle-nosed pliers longer than 8 inches and a rubberized net, so he doesn't harm the Muskie.
He gave some additional pointers:
• Leave the catch in the water and support and release it when the fish is calm.
• Cut the hook if the fish has been deep-hooked.
• Don't fish over 80 degrees.
• If trolling, start at 2 mph, increasing to 4 mph.
• Do figure-eights to attract muskies.
Nettleton, who whose biggest catch was 53 inches long, said there are Muskies in the Cedar, Iowa, Shell Rock, and Winnebago rivers, as well as in Clear Lake.
The largest populations of muskies are in Minnesota, according to Nettleton, where the largest caught was 56 inches long and weighed 54 pounds.