Rich natural resources mean there's an abundance of places for fishing in Iowa.
From the Mississippi River to small inland streams, countless fish challenge
anglers who want a way to get away from it all and spend relaxing time outdoors.
Those planning Iowa fishing trips will find an array of outfitters, boat rentals, fishing tournaments, bait shops, guides, and lake lodging locales that welcome anglers and equip them for fishing excursions. Whether you're planning an Iowa fly fishing excursion, looking for game fish on the big lakes, or hoping to spend some time fishing in Iowa as just one of the fun things to do, vacationers will find a number of places where they can enjoy the great outdoors and work on their fish stories.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has identified a number of hotspots for fishing in Iowa and is in charge of keeping many of the waterways stocked for those interested in Iowa fishing. It also provides license for residents and visitors (trout fishers are required to purchase a special permit). The DNR's visitor centers in Spirit Lake, Rathburn, Fairport, Big Springs, Manchester, and Decorah serve as fisheries and are open for tours. Spring Branch Creek, found on the grounds of the Manchester fishery grounds, is one of the top places for Iowa trout fishing.
Throughout the state, the limestone bluffs and abundant streams that trickle from the Mississippi's tributaries make Iowa fly fishing some of the best of the Midwest. Those who have been Iowa trout fishing know that the schools of rainbow and brook trout live in these waters. But for first-timers, securing the services of a guide is smart. A number of local experts join both novice and expert anglers for some Iowa fly fishing, leading them to some of the best places to catch fish. The aptly named Trout River, east of Decorah, has public land, facilities for camping, and some of the best waters for those going Iowa trout fishing.
Fly fishing here is also great for bass, bluegills, and crappies, especially in the warm waters of the Maquoketa and Cedar rivers. When planning on bass fishing in Iowa, anglers can catch a number of temperate species in Manchester and other Iowa waterways. The yellow and white species are native to Iowa waters, while the ocean-striped bass and the striped bass x white bass hybrid are recent additions to bass fishing in Iowa. The catches in Cerro Gordo's Clear Lake are particularly good for yellow bass.
The Hawkeye State's great lakes in the Okoboji Lakes region, carved by glaciers, are favorite places for fishing in Iowa. The chain of lakes, some of the best for Iowa fishing, stretches from near the Minnesota border south and includes Iowa's largest lake, Spirit Lake. West Okoboji Lake is known as one of the best places for Iowa trout fishing and those looking for bass fishing in Iowa have found bountiful catches throughout the chain of lakes.
When deciding when to go to this state, don't leave out the winter. These great lakes and other spots around the state are becoming more and more popular places for ice fishing in Iowa.
Rathbun Lake, a manmade lake created by and still managed by the Army Corps of Engineers, is another favorite for Iowa fishing. Accessible through Honey Creek State Park, this resvoir is a fine place to catch channel catfish, crappie, and walleye. It's also a favorite for bass fishing in Iowa.