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Bass Fishing In Iowa

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Guide to fishing for smallmouth, spotted and largemouth bass.

By Rick Seaman

Bass fishing At Daybreak

Iowa Bass Fishing

Bass fishing in Iowa is a beloved pursuit, cherished by anglers of all ages, backgrounds, and skill levels. Few experiences rival the thrill of hooking into a largemouth or smallmouth bass, making it a timeless pastime that transcends cultural boundaries. Whether you're a seasoned pro or a novice angler eager to learn the ropes, mastering the art of bass fishing can be immensely rewarding. That's why this page is dedicated to offering invaluable insights and tips on bass fishing, providing a comprehensive guide on everything from bass fishing techniques to essential bass-catching strategies. Whether you're seeking advice on selecting the perfect lure or honing your casting skills, we're here to equip you with the knowledge and expertise needed to excel on the water. Dive into our wealth of information to discover the secrets of successful bass fishing and unlock the full potential of your angling endeavors.

Bass Fishing Favorites

Largemouth Bass Fishing In Iowa

Largemouth Bass

Largemouth bass are the most abundant, and most pursued bass in Iowa. They are available in most warm-water lakes in the state, they tend to thrive in most water conditions and grow to bragging size in relative short order. Often called big mouth bass, or wide mouth bass, they are savvy predators that feed on most things that live in their territory. Bass in the 5 to 8-pound range are common in Iowa. The state record largemouth bass is over 10 pounds.

Finding & Catching Bigmouth Bass

Anglers can target big mouth bass in various lakes, reservoirs, and rivers. Spring and early summer are typically the best seasons for targeting largemouth bass as they are more active and feeding in the shallows near shoreline cover. Start with topwater baits, as they cover the water most efficiently. Reaction baits like crankbaits and spinnerbaits are the next choice. For finicky bass, plastic worms and jigs may entice a bite as you can move them very slowly around cover. In the heat of summer and the cold of winter bass move to deeper water, usually following the baitfish. Jigs, drop shot rigs and spoons are a good approach for bass holding in deep water. Vary your retrieve speed and action to find what the bass like today!

Smallmouth Bass Fishing In Iowa

Smallmouth Bass

While smallmouth bass don't grow as large as their cousin the largemouth, they make up the difference with tenacious fights. Known for long battles and spectacular jumps, smallies grow fat and strong but rarely exceed ten pounds. Their range and locations are often with or nearby the largemouths. The state record smallmouth bass is over 7 pounds.

Smallmouth bass prefer clear and rocky habitats, such as rivers, streams, and some lakes. Anglers can target smallmouth bass by casting lures along rocky shorelines, submerged rock piles, or around bridge pilings. Smallmouth bass are known for their aggressive strikes and acrobatic fights, making them a favorite among anglers seeking an exciting fishing experience. Popular lure choices for smallmouth bass include jigs, crankbaits, and soft plastic baits. Spring and early fall are generally good times to target smallmouth bass when water temperatures are ideal.

Spotted Bass Fishing In Iowa

Spotted bass, while less common than largemouth and smallmouth bass in Iowa, can still be found in some lakes and rivers. They are similar in appearance and behavior to largemouth bass but have distinct markings, including dark spots along their lateral line. Spotted bass prefer rocky habitats and can be targeted using similar techniques as smallmouth bass. They are known for their voracious appetite and aggressive strikes, providing anglers with thrilling fishing experiences.

Iowa Lake at Sunrise

When bass fishing in Iowa, it's important to familiarize yourself with the fishing regulations and any specific size or creel limits set by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Conservation of the bass population ensures sustainable fishing opportunities for future generations.

Iowa is peppered with lakes, rivers, streams, creeks, ponds and lakes. Bass make their home in most of these waters. Visit the Bass Knowledge Center for additional, valuable information about bass and bass fishing.

Best Bass Fishing Lakes In Iowa

The larger impoundments sporting a population of bass include Big Creek Lake, Big Spirit Lake, Black Hawk Lake, Browns Lake, Brushy Creek Lake, Clear Lake, Coralville Lake, DeSoto Lake, East Okoboji Lake, Five Island Lake, Lake Fisher, Lake Icaria, Lake MacBride, Lake Manawa, Lake Red Rock, Lake Wapello, Little River Lake, Little Spirit Lake, Lost Grove Lake, Lost Island Lake, Okamanpeedan Lake, Pleasant Creek Lake, Rathbun Lake, Rock Creek Lake, Saylorville Lake, Silver Lake, Storm Lake, Three Mile Reservoir, Twelve Mile Creek Lake and West Okoboji Lake.

Whether you choose to fish for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, or spotted bass, Iowa's lakes, rivers, and reservoirs provide ample opportunities to pursue these exciting and challenging sportfish. The state's diverse waterways offer a variety of habitats and fishing conditions, ensuring that every angler can find their preferred bass fishing experience in Iowa.

Fishing Boats For Rent In Iowa

Bass In Iowa

Largemouth Bass

Largemouth bass

World record: 22 lbs 4 oz

State Record: 10.75 lbs

Smallmouth Bass

Smallmouth bass

World record: 11 lbs 15 oz

State Record: 7.75 lbs

Spotted Bass

Spotted bass

World record: 9 lbs 8 oz

State Record: 2.0 lbs

Click the images and links above for species details.

Iowa State Record Bass

The state record largemouth bass was caught from Lake Fisher.

The state record smallmouth bass came from West Okoboji Lake.

The state record spotted bass was caught out of Coralville Reservoir.

Top 5 bass fishing lures for Iowa this year

When bass are shallow, spinnerbaits, crankbaits and top water lures are the most productive. As they move deeper, worms and jigs are among the top producers.

Bass fishing basics video.
Bass fishing in Iowa

Bass are one of the most sought after of all the game fish. Its appeal spans cultures, age groups and genders to tap on the heart strings of anglers everywhere. Join us in our endeavor to offer information about bass fishing on your favorite bass lake in Iowa.

Understanding the primary seasonal movements of smallmouth bass and largemouth bass is key to locating them on local lakes in the Hawkeye State.

Bass fishing book

Catch big bass!


Bass fishing information by state.

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