Iowa Spring Freshwater Fishing

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According to Joe Larscheid of  the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Bureau, “Spring is the number one time of year to catch fish.”

“Panfish will be close to shore as they prepare to spawn. They will be aggressive and not as wary as they are during other times of the year, so finesse is not as important as it is later in the summer. Fishing can be really good all day long,” he said.

Larscheid said fishing in May and June can offer kids or novice anglers the action they need to keep their attention.

“Remember to keep the hooks, bobbers and bait small because panfish have small mouths,” he said.

Many Iowa State Parks are located on lakes and late May can be an excellent time to catch bluegills, crappies, bass, walleyes, channel catfish and bullheads. Campers should remember to pack their fishing tackle and enjoy some time by the water.

The Iowa DNR has a first fish program that commemorates a person’s first catch with a certificate suitable for framing. “We want to celebrate fishing and bring more people to this high quality, family-friendly activity,” Larscheid said.

For more information about fishing in Iowa, visit Iowa DNR’s website: