Navigation Home - AA-Fishing Lakes Fish

Fishing Rathbun Lake

AKA: Rathbun Reservoir

Pick A LakePick A SpeciesPick A State

By AA-Fishing Staff Writers

Rathbun Lake, IA

Popular Fish Species Rathbun Lake, IA

Rathbun Lake Popular Fish - Walleye

Walleye Fishing

According to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, fishing for walleye in Rathbun Lake should be good this year. Due to a steady stocking program, a healthy population of walleye are thriving here and growing to bragging size. May and June tend to be the best time for weekend anglers to catch them. During this time they tend to move shallower and closer to shore. Other times of the year they are more likely to roam around in deeper water. As always, staying close by schools of baitfish. They are eager to feed throughout the lake, but tend to concentrate around structure on points, flats and ledges off the river channels. A proven method for catching walleye here is trolling with spinners tipped with live bait, or trolling with long-billed, deep diving crankbaits. However casting live bait, jigs, worms and spoons also works well at times.

Rathbun Lake Popular Fish - Crappie

Crappie Fishing

Anglers will be happy to know both black crappie and white crappie reside in Rathbun Lake, and crappie are a very popular species this year. Crappie fishing is on the rise and they can be found in sizeable schools. Crappie always like cover and structure, so locate brush and vegetation. Using a fish finder can help locate schools of crappie, which tend to stack vertically around cover. Live bait and small jigs are the most common method for crappie here. In spring and fall focus on the 8 to 12 foot range. As the crappie move deep in summer and winter, follow points out deep, as well as find ledges near channels in deeper water.

Rathbun Lake Popular Fish - Largemouth Bass

Largemouth Bass Fishing

Fishing in Rathbun Lake for largemouth bass can run hot and cold at times. Per the Iowa DNR, the fishing has been better than usual this year. Big bass are thriving in Rathbun Lake due to excellent fisheries management and plenty of cover for both baitfish and bass. When the bite is good, bass are typically shallow and aggressive. If you find them shallow and they are not tempted to bite, slow down and use smaller, lighter baits. Fishing for largemouth bass is good virtually any time they are shallow - in spring, mornings in summer, and during warm Fall afternoons. Use shallow crankbaits around rip rap. Around grass use worms, jigs, topwater and spinnerbaits. In deeper water, big worms, jigs and spoons are three good weapons. In winter, spend your time fishing Rathbun Lake on deeper structure where the bass spend much of their time.

Rathbun Lake Fishing Video

Fish species to fish for...

Guide to fishing for largemouth bass, channel catfish, flathead catfish, black crappie, walleye, bluegill, warmouth, white bass and hybrid striped bass at Rathbun Lake in Iowa.

With plenty of access for shoreline fishing, Rathbun Lake is a favorite of anglers who enjoy fishing from the bank. And, there's over 150 miles of shoreline accessible to anglers fishing from boats.

Rathbun Lake in Iowa is a renowned fishing destination, offering anglers a wealth of opportunities to reel in a variety of popular fish species. As one of the largest lakes in the state, Rathbun Lake spans over 11,000 acres and provides anglers with ample space to explore its waters.

One of the sought-after fish species in Rathbun Lake is crappie. Anglers can find both black crappie and white crappie in the lake, providing exciting angling opportunities. These panfish can be targeted near submerged structures, such as brush piles, fallen trees, or rock piles. Anglers often have success using small jigs, minnows, or artificial baits to entice crappie. Spring and fall tend to be productive seasons for crappie fishing in Rathbun Lake.

Largemouth bass is another popular species in Rathbun Lake. The lake's diverse habitat, including weed beds, submerged structures, and rocky shorelines, provides an ideal environment for bass. Anglers can target largemouth bass using various techniques, such as casting with soft plastic baits, topwater lures, or crankbaits. Largemouth bass in Rathbun Lake can reach impressive sizes, providing an exciting challenge for anglers.

Rathbun Lake also offers opportunities to catch other fish species, including walleye, channel catfish, flathead catfish, and bluegill. Walleye can be targeted using techniques such as trolling with crankbaits or spinner rigs, casting with jigs or live bait rigging. Channel catfish and flathead catfish can be pursued using cut bait, stinkbaits, or live bait in areas with good cover. Bluegill can be found near vegetation or submerged structures and can be caught using small jigs, worms, or crickets.

Rathbun Lake in Iowa offers excellent fishing opportunities for a variety of popular fish species, including crappie, largemouth bass, walleye, channel catfish, flathead catfish, and bluegill. With its boating options, camping facilities, and diverse fishing opportunities, Rathbun Lake provides a complete outdoor experience for anglers and nature enthusiasts, making it a top destination for fishing in the heart of Iowa.

This is an 11,000-acre lake in south-central Iowa that produces big walleye, bass and crappie. The full list of fish species includes bass, catfish, crappie, walleye, sunfish and hybrid stripers. There are half a dozen campgrounds at or nearby the lake, as well as a marina, stores, lodging, bait and tackle, restaurants and rental boats. Several boat launch ramps are open to the public.

Fishing Boats For Rent In Iowa

Primary fish species residing in Rathbun Lake

Click images for fishing tips and details about each species.

Largemouth bass Channel catfish Flathead catfish Black crappie Walleye Bluegill Warmouth Sunfish White Bass Hybrid Striped Bass

Rathbun Lake Amenities

Marina: YES
Boat Rental: NO
Boat Launch Ramp: YES
Campgrounds: YES
RV Hookups: YES
Lodging: YES
Convenience Store: YES
Bait & Tackle: YES
Restaurant: YES

Today's Weather & Forecast

Boating is a popular activity on Rathbun Lake, and anglers can take advantage of the lake's boat ramps and marinas to access their favorite fishing spots. Whether it's a motorized boat, kayak, or canoe, boating provides anglers with the flexibility to explore different areas of the lake and increase their chances of success.

Public Boat Launch Ramps & Landings

Honey Creek Boat Launch Ramp
Located mid lake, on the south side of the north arm of the lake, off Hornet Place, this is a six-lane, concrete ramp with docks and paved parking.

Island View Park East Boat Launch Ramp
Located in the southeast section of the lake, off Intaglio Place, this is a four-lane, concrete ramp with paved parking.

Island View Park Southeast Boat Launch Ramp
Located in the southeast section of the lake, off Isthmus Place, this is a two-lane, concrete ramp with a dock and paved parking.

Island View Park West Boat Launch Ramp
Located in the southeast section of the lake, off Islandview Place, this is a four-lane, concrete ramp with a dock and paved parking.

Prarie Ridge Park Boat Launch Ramp
Located in the northeast section of the lake, off Pumpkin Circle, this is a three-lane, concrete ramp with a dock and paved parking.

The Preserve Boat Launch Ramp
Located mid lake, on the north side of the north arm of the lake, off Resort Drive, this is a two-lane, concrete ramp with a dock and paved parking.

Rolling Cove Park Boat Launch Ramp
Located mid lake, on the south side of the lake, off Redhawk Place, this is a two-lane, concrete ramp with paved parking.

Southfork Boat Launch Ramp
Located mid lake, on the south side of the lake, east side of the south fork, off Southfork Place, this is a three-lane, concrete ramp with a dock and paved parking.


Rathbun Marina
21646 Marina Pl
Moravia, Iowa 52571
641 724-3212

Fishing Guides On Rathbun Lake

Lake Rathbun Guide Services - walleye, crappie, catfish

If you offer fishing guide services on this lake, please contact us for a free listing, to be posted here.

Fishing License

Click here for a Iowa Fishing License.

Camping facilities are available near Rathbun Lake, allowing anglers to extend their fishing trips and fully immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the area. Campgrounds offer amenities such as RV hookups, tent sites, picnic areas, and hiking trails, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable stay for visitors.

Campgrounds & RV Parks Nearby

Bridgeview Campground - 641 724-3062

Honey Creek State Park Campground - 641 724-3739

Prairie Ridge Park Campground - 641 724-3103

Dam Site Depot Campground - 641 799-8383

Buck Creek Campground - 641 724-3206

Island View Campground - 641 647-2079

Doggs RV Park - 641 724-3044

Rathbun Lake IA Map - Fishing & Camping Areas

Contact Information

Rathbun Lake
Island View Campground
19357 Islandview Pl
Mystic, IA 52574
641 647-2079


Fishing lakes in each state.

AL Fishing Lakes AR Fishing Lakes AZ Fishing Lakes CA Fishing Lakes CO Fishing Lakes CT Fishing Lakes DC Fishing Lakes DE Fishing Lakes FL Fishing Lakes GA Fishing Lakes HI Fishing Lakes IA Fishing Lakes ID Fishing Lakes
IL Fishing Lakes IN Fishing Lakes KS Fishing Lakes KY Fishing Lakes LA Fishing Lakes MA Fishing Lakes MD Fishing Lakes ME Fishing Lakes MI Fishing Lakes MN Fishing Lakes MO Fishing Lakes MS Fishing Lakes MT Fishing Lakes
NC Fishing Lakes ND Fishing Lakes NE Fishing Lakes NH Fishing Lakes NJ Fishing Lakes NM Fishing Lakes NV Fishing Lakes NY Fishing Lakes OH Fishing Lakes OK Fishing Lakes OR Fishing Lakes PA Fishing Lakes
RI Fishing Lakes SC Fishing Lakes SD Fishing Lakes TN Fishing Lakes TX Fishing Lakes UT Fishing Lakes VA Fishing Lakes VT Fishing Lakes WA Fishing Lakes WI Fishing Lakes WV Fishing Lakes WY Fishing Lakes