DES MOINES – The warm and cold weather trends this winter is making ice
conditions in many parts of Iowa unstable, and anglers venturing out to the frozen lakes and ponds should use extra caution. Even on the northern lakes, like West Okoboji and Five Island, there is some open water. With near record warm temperatures predicted for Tuesday and Wednesday, more lakes will lose ice and holes will open.

“It hasn’t been one of our better winters for ice fishing that’s for sure,” said
Marion Conover, chief of the DNR’s fisheries bureau. “There is some good ice on some of our northern lakes, like Spirit, but I would be pretty careful going out on any lake.”

Even with the poor ice conditions in much of the state, there is some fishing
activity. At Lake Cornelia, near Clarion, anglers have been catching 8 to 10-inch yellow perch. At West Okoboji, anglers have been catching some 7 to 9-inch bluegills in the bays. Anglers are still catching yellow bass at Clear Lake in the morning and evening, but the fishing has slowed. Perch fishing is variable at Spirit Lake, and there is quite a bit of fishing pressure. Anglers are also catching a few walleyes there.

Anglers are also having some success at Lake Catherine, near Forest City, Beeds
Lake, near Hampton and Indian Lake at Eldred Sherwood Park, in Hancock County.

“There are places where anglers can go if they are willing to drive. Cold
temperatures are predicted later this week, but what we really need is a sustained cold spell to make good quality ice,” Conover said. “Even on Clear Lake, the ice varies and there is a large amount of open water.”

Once a lake or pond skims over with ice, it doesn’t take long for that new ice to
grow. But until the weather cooperates, ice fishing will be relegated to lakes in northern Iowa.

For more information, contact Mick Klemesrud at 515-281-8653.