The annual fishing forecast from the Iowa DNR lets you in on where to get the best catch.
Anyone 16 and older needs an Iowa fishing license; you can buy your license online or from any license retailer.
1. Lake Rathbun, Moravia
Lake Rathbun is Iowa's perennial crappie hot spot. Anglers catch them by the dozens. White bass and hybrid striped bass fishing is tough to beat - perfect for newbies. It will be a successful year for 9- to 12-inch crappies, especially mid-May to mid-June.
2. Black Hawk Lake, Lake View
Black Hawk Lake, renovated in 2012, has great fishing for all ages. Walleye fishing last spring was phenomenal with anglers taking home limits throughout May. Try right off of Ice House Point (part of Black Hawk State Park) for 8-inch bluegill and 8- to 10-inch crappies. Catch dozens of largemouth bass per trip. Many channel cat exceed four pounds. Set the drag and hook a muskie for an incredible fight. Half the shore is public, with numerous trails and parks for camping and family fun, including Black Hawk State Park.
3. Clear Lake, North Central Iowa
Clear Lake provides great shore and boat angling, one of Iowa's better walleye fisheries. Catch 14- to 20-inch walleyes (14-inch minimum), with rod-bending trophies running eight pounds and more. Good yellow bass fishing and improved chances for crappie and yellow perch. A handy fish cleaning facility is available at McIntosh Woods State Park.
4. Lake Macbride, Solon
Lake Macbride offers great fishing for all ages and skills. Haul in bluegill, walleye, channel catfish and crappie. Cast for trophy wipers (10 pounds plus) and catch-and-release 30-inch muskies (40-inch minimum). Multi-use trails wind for miles around the lake. Pontoon, motorboat, canoe, paddle boat or kayak rentals are available at Lake Macbride State Park.
5. Prairie Rose Lake, Harlan
Prairie Rose Lake, nestled among scenic hills southeast of Harlan, has excellent bass, channel catfish, bluegill and crappie fishing. Bluegills are big and the crappie population is developing fast. Abundant bass provide great catch-and-release fishing (15-inch minimum length limit). Fish the rock piles and reefs added during the 2012 renovation. Shore access is limited with lots of aquatic plant habitat, so fish from a boat, kayak or jetty. Prairie Rose State Park offers numerous family friendly amenities, including camping, cabins, trails, and a swimming beach.
Looking for more fishing holes?
Check out these nine additional hot spots for a big catch!
6. Cedar River, Black Hawk County
7. Crawford Creek, Ida County
8. Big Creek Lake, Polk City
9. Lake Anita, Anita
10. Brushy Creek Lake, Lehigh
11. Lake Sugema, Keosauqua
12. West Lake Okoboji, Okoboji