Great Fishing In Iowa
All about fishing in the Hawkeye State
Iowa offers a rich fishing experience with its diverse variety of fish species and abundant fishing opportunities in warm water fisheries, cold water fisheries, ponds, lakes, and rivers.
Warm water fisheries in Iowa are known for their wide range of fish species that thrive in warmer water temperatures. These fisheries provide excellent angling opportunities for species such as largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, channel catfish, bluegill, crappie, walleye, and northern pike. Anglers can enjoy casting for bass in lakes, targeting catfish in rivers, or pursuing panfish in ponds. Warm water fisheries are particularly active during the spring, summer, and fall seasons when water temperatures are optimal for fish activity.
Cold water fisheries in Iowa are characterized by cooler water temperatures and support species that prefer colder waters. These fisheries are renowned for their populations of trout, including rainbow trout, brown trout, and brook trout. Cold water fisheries, such as trout streams and designated trout lakes, offer exciting opportunities for fly fishing, spin fishing, and bait fishing. Anglers can challenge themselves by targeting these beautiful and elusive fish in pristine natural settings.
Iowa's ponds, lakes, and rivers contribute to the state's vibrant fishing scene. Ponds, both natural and man-made, are ideal for family fishing outings and provide opportunities to catch species such as bluegill, crappie, largemouth bass, and catfish. Larger lakes, such as the Iowa Great Lakes, offer a variety of fishing experiences, from bass fishing to panfish angling. Iowa's rivers, including the Mississippi River and the Cedar River, provide excellent opportunities for catfish, walleye, and smallmouth bass fishing.
The diversity of Iowa's fishing opportunities makes it a great destination for anglers of all ages and skill levels. Whether it's fishing in a tranquil pond, exploring a scenic river, or enjoying the vastness of a lake, Iowa offers something for everyone. The state's warm water fisheries, cold water fisheries, ponds, lakes, and rivers provide a multitude of fishing experiences, ensuring that anglers can pursue their favorite species or try their hand at something new in Iowa's diverse fishing landscapes.
There are over 150 bodies of water in Iowa considered big enough to call a lake by most fisherman. Additionally there are ponds, streams and creeks with additional fishing options. We will focus on the larger fishing impoundments here giving size, location and species.
Bass, crappie and walleye are the focus of most Iowa anglers yet there are additional anglers with interest in muskellunge, trout, catfish, panfish, northern pike and others. Popular species for ice fishing in the state include crappie, bluegill and walleye.
Major Iowa Lakes & Species
Lake & Fish Chart
This chart shows the major angling destinations, cross referencing these waters with the major species to be found in each of the lakes or impoundments.
For a detailed list of primary fish species in IA, plus state fish records, see the list below.
Fishing lake sizes and locations in the state.
Big Creek Lake is an 830-acre lake in Central Iowa 2 miles northwest of Polk City.
Big Spirit Lake is a 5,700-acre lake in northwest Iowa on the Minnesota border, at Spirit Lake.
Black Hawk Lake is a 950-acre lake in northwest Iowa 10 miles east of Odebolt.
Browns Lake (Bigelow Park) is a 580-acre lake in northwest Iowa 1 mile west of Salix.
Brushy Creek Lake is a 690-acre lake in north-central Iowa 3 miles northeast of Lehigh.
Clear Lake is a 3,700-acre lake in north-central Iowa at Clear Lake.
Coralville Lake is a 5,300-acre lake in east-central Iowa 1 mile northeast of North Liberty.
DeSoto Lake, aka DeSoto Bend Lake, is a 790-acre lake in west-central Iowa 4 miles west of Missouri Valley.
East Okoboji Lake is an 1,800-acre lake in northwest Iowa at Okoboji.
Five Island Lake is a 950-acre lake in northwest Iowa at Emmestburg.
Lake Icaria is a 670-acre reservoir in southwest Iowa 2 miles east of Carbon.
Lake MacBride is an 810-acre lake in east-central Iowa, 2 miles northeast of North Liberty.
Lake Manawa is a 710-acre lake in west-central Iowa on the southern outskirts of Council Bluffs.
Lake Red Rock is a 15,200-acre lake in central Iowa 3 miles west of Pella.
Lake Wapello is a 1,150-acrelake in southeast Iowa, 8 miles east of Unionville.
Little River Lake is a 780-acre lake in south-central Iowa 1 mile northeast of Decatur City.
Little Spirit Lake is a 610-acre lake in northwest Iowa on the Minnesota border, at Spirit Lake.
Lost Grove Lake is a 400-acre reservoir in eastern Iowa, 2 miles east of Park View.
Lost Island Lake is a 1,260-acre lake in northwest Iowa 2 miles north of Ruthven.
North Twin Lake is a 450-acre lake in northwest Iowa 5 miles south of Pomeroy.
Okamanpeedan Lake, aka Tuttle Lake, is a 2,360-acre lake in northwest Iowa, 1 mile north of Doliver.
Pleasant Creek Lake is a 400-acre lake in east-central Iowa 3 miles north of Palo.
Rathbun Lake is a 11,000-acre lake in south-central Iowa 1 mile north of Rathbun.
Rock Creek Lake is a 490-acre lake in central Iowa 2 miles northeast of Kellog.
Saylorville Lake is a 5,400-acre lake in central Iowa at Polk City.
Silver Lake (Palo Alto) is a 1,000-acre lake in northwest Iowa 1 mile west of Ayrshire.
Storm Lake is a 3,200-acre lake in northwest Iowa at Storm Lake.
Three Mile Reservoir is an 880-acre lake in south-central Iowa 7 miles northeast of Creston.
Trumbull Lake is a 1,180-acre lake in northwest Iowa 2 miles north of Ruthven.
Twelve Mile Creek Lake is a 630-acre lake in south-central Iowa 7 miles northeast of Creston.
West Okoboji Lake is a 3,850-acre lake in northwest Iowa at Okoboji.
Fish Species & State Records in Iowa
World record: 22 lbs 4 oz
State Record: 10.75 lbs
World record: 11 lbs 15 oz
State Record: 7.75 lbs
World record: 9 lbs 8 oz
State Record: 2.0 lbs
World record: 58 lbs 0 oz
State Record: 38.13 lbs
World record: 123 lbs 9 oz
State Record: 81 lbs 0 oz
World record: 143 lbs 0 oz
State Record: 101.0 lbs
World record: 6 lbs 0 oz
State Record: 3.88 lbs
World record: 5 lbs 3 oz
State Record: 4.56 lbs
World record: 25 lbs 0 oz
State Record: 14.5 lbs
World record: 17 lbs 7 oz
State Record: 6.50 lbs
World record: 15 lbs 6 oz
State Record: 12.25 lbs
World record: 42 lbs 2 oz
State Record: 19.50 lbs
World record: 14 lbs 8 oz
State Record: 7.0 lbs
World record: 40 lbs 4 oz
State Record: 15.38 lbs
World record: 4 lbs 12 oz
State Record: 3.13 lbs
World record: 2.2 lbs
State Record: 2.06 lbs
World record: 2 lbs 4 oz
State Record: 0.96 lbs
World record: 5.4 lbs
State Record: 2.31 lbs
World record: 3.0 lbs
State Record: 1.50 lbs
World record: 2.4 lbs
State Record: 1.13 lbs
World record: 6.8 lbs
State Record: 5.11 lbs
World record: 2 lbs 15 oz
State Record: 1.75 lbs
World record: 4 lbs 3 oz
State Record: 2.79 lbs
Saltwater world record: 81 lbs 14 oz
State Record: 9.25 lbs
World record: 27 lbs 5 oz
State Record: 19.63 lbs
World record: 21 lbs 8 oz
State Record: 11.69 lbs
World record: 50 lbs 5 oz
State Record: 20.81 lbs
World record: 69 lbs 9 oz
State Record: 50.38 lbs
World record: 55 lbs 1 oz
State Record: 25.31 lbs
World record: 144 lbs
State Record: 107.0 lbs
World record: 51 lbs 2 oz
State Record: 27.13 lbs
Click the images and links above for species details.
State of IA Fishing Information
Find fishing regulations and information about fishing in Iowa at the Iowa Department of Natural Resources website.
Visit AA-Boats-Boating.com to find information about fishing boats in Iowa and other boating information.
Get your Iowa Fishing License here.
Fish for big bass
Excellent largemouth bass and smallmouth bass fishing opportunities are available to anglers.
Fishing in all states