July 10, 2014 - 4:45 pm - Posted in Sports

Iowa DNRThe Iowa Department of Natural Resources issues a weekly fishing report on Thursdays in an effort to provide the latest information heading into the weekend. The weekly fishing report is compiled from information gathered from local bait shops, angler creel surveys, and county and state parks staff. For more information contact the Spirit Lake fish Hatchery at 712-336-1840.

Northwest Iowa

Lake Smith

Bluegills and crappies are being caught along the rocky shorelines.  Channel Catfish – Good: Catfish are near the rocks, spawning. Cast a piece of cutbait with a light splitshot about of foot above the hook near the rocks. If you don’t get bit in 15 minutes, recast. Cats will bite if it is close to their nests.

Lake Catherine

Catfish and bass are biting.  A few large bluegills are being caught.  Channel Catfish – Fair: There are some nice 22-27-inch cats in the lake. Try after dark with some cutbait, worms, or stinkbait.

Clear Lake

Channel Catfish – Fair: Try on the rock reefs, shoreline rocks or just try on the windward shorelines with some cutbait, worms, or stinkbait. North shore docks and Ventura grade are also worth a try. White Bass – Slow: An occasional white bass near the reeds on the little lake.  Largemouth Bass – Fair: An occasional largemouth near the edges of the reeds.  Walleye – Good: Shoreline docks have been ok at dark or on windy days. Boats have been picking some up yet trolling, or fishing near the rock reefs near state reef, Billy’s or Gilmore’s. Some fish by the edges of the reeds where the wind blows into them.  Muskellunge – Fair:   Yellow Bass – Fair: Walleye anglers are picking 5-10 up. The state reef and dodge’s point are worth a shot.

Crystal Lake

Bluegill – Fair: The bluegill bite is slowing down some but fish can still be caught. Fish with a popper or a bobber set shallow for the bluegills closer to shore. Or try with a slip bobber for the bluegills near the deeper dredged water (11-13 feet). Casting a lighter jig and letting it slowly sink will also catch some fish. Tip with a worm or leech.  Largemouth Bass – No Report: Try on the dredge cut weed line or up close to the rock shorelines.  Walleye – Fair: An occasional walleye near the edge of the dredge cut along the edge of the curlyleaf.

July 2, 2014 - 3:27 pm - Posted in Sports

Iowa DNRThe Iowa Department of Natural Resources issues a weekly fishing report on Thursdays in an effort to provide the latest information heading into the weekend. The weekly fishing report is compiled from information gathered from local bait shops, angler creel surveys, and county and state parks staff. For more information contact the Spirit Lake fish Hatchery at 712-336-1840.

Northwest Iowa

Storm Lake (including Little Storm Lake)

The dredge machine is in operation on Storm Lake.  Boaters should use caution and stay clear of the dredge machine, booster pump barge, and pipeline.  Channel Catfish – Excellent: Good numbers of catfish are being picked up on Sonny’s dip bait blood/cheese flavor.  White Bass – Good: Anglers are picking up white bass on chrome/pink crankbaits, silver Mepps, Kastmasters, or other shiny lures.  Walleye – Good: Anglers are still catching walleye.  Try using a #5 Shad Rap or a slow death rig with leeches or crawlers.  Focus efforts around the dredge cuts. The daily bag limit for walleye is three.  All walleye between 17 and 22 inches must be released, and only one over 22 inches may be kept.

Big Spirit Lake

Northern Pike – Good: Fishing for pike has been good lately. Trolling crankbaits and spinners near weed lines should produce good results for anglers. Smallmouth Bass – Good: Bass have been hitting top water baits and jigs tipped with live bait near rocky points.  Walleye – Fair: Anglers are continuing to catch many slot walleye during the day and in the evening. A few fish are being harvested by drifting and/or trolling live bait near weed lines and across rocky points.  Black Bullhead – Fair:

East Okoboji Lake

Bluegill – Good: Bluegill fishing has been good fishing near docks with small jigs and live bait.  Walleye – Fair: Many small walleyes are being caught fishing in the evenings with live bait along with a few angler acceptable sizes. Yellow Bass – Good: Jigging live bait over deeper rocky areas is producing a few nice sized yellow bass. Many small yellow bass are being caught on the north end of the lake near the spillway from Big Spirit.

West Okoboji Lake

Bluegill – Fair: A few bluegills are being caught near docks and over deeper rock piles. Fishing live bait with a small jig is producing the best results. Yellow Perch – Fair: A few yellow perch are being reported caught by anglers jigging live bait over deeper rock piles and rocky points.

June 26, 2014 - 3:22 pm - Posted in Sports

Iowa DNRThe Iowa Department of Natural Resources issues a weekly fishing report on Thursdays in an effort to provide the latest information heading into the weekend. The weekly fishing report is compiled from information gathered from local bait shops, angler creel surveys, and county and state parks staff. For more information contact the Spirit Lake fish Hatchery at 712-336-1840.

Storm Lake (including Little Storm Lake)

The dredge machine is in operation on Storm Lake.  Boaters should use caution and stay clear of the dredge machine, booster pump barge, and pipeline. Water levels were six inches below crest as of Tuesday.  Channel Catfish – Fair: Channel catfish are still being caught with traditional catfish baits.  Walleye – Good: Walleye fishing has slowed down some compared to the last several weeks, but anglers are still picking up fish on leeches under a bobber.  A lot of the walleye are slot fish, but there are some legal fish mixed in.  Some anglers are still picking up walleye with a jig and minnow while drifting in 8-10 feet of water. The daily bag limit for walleye is three.  All walleye between 17 and 22 inches must be released, and only one over 22 inches may be kept.

Big Spirit Lake

Smallmouth Bass – Good: Fishing deep rock piles will produce excellent action. Largemouth Bass – Good: Good largemouth bass bite reported. Fish deeper docks and weed beds will produce the best action.  Walleye – Fair: Some action reported in the early morning, fish weed beds and deeper water for the best action.

East Okoboji Lake

The Spirit Lake spillway began flowing on June 20. Anglers fishing the current area entering East Okoboji Lake will find consistent angling with the action picking up as the flow increases.   Channel Catfish – Good: Fish traditional baits after dark for plenty of pole bending activity.

West Okoboji Lake

Recent storms in the Iowa Great Lakes has limited angling on West Okoboji Lake.  Weed growth is limited; anglers are encouraged to focus on the weed lines as they continue to develop.

June 19, 2014 - 3:09 pm - Posted in Sports

Iowa DNRThe Iowa Department of Natural Resources issues a weekly fishing report on Thursdays in an effort to provide the latest information heading into the weekend. The weekly fishing report is compiled from information gathered from local bait shops, angler creel surveys, and county and state parks staff. For more information contact the Spirit Lake fish Hatchery at 712-336-1840.

Storm Lake (including Little Storm Lake)

The dredge machine is in operation on Storm Lake. Boaters should use caution and stay clear of the dredge machine, booster pump barge and pipeline. The daily bag limit for walleye is three. All walleye between 17 and 22 inches must be released, and only one over 22 inches may be kept. Water levels were 6 inches below crest as of Tuesday. Channel Catfish – Fair: Channel catfish are still being caught with traditional catfish baits. Walleye – Good: Walleye fishing continues to be good. Most of the keeper size fish are coming on leeches or night crawlers on jig or slip bobber. Twisters baited with a crawler tend to be picking up smaller fish. Most anglers have been drifting with a lot of focus around the dredge cuts.

Big Spirit Lake

Smallmouth Bass – Good: Fishing the deep rock piles will produce excellent action of this popular sport fish. Largemouth Bass – Good: Good largemouth bass bite reported. Fishing the deeper docks and weedbeds will produce the best action. Walleye – Fair: Fish weed beds and deeper water for the best action.

East Okoboji Lake

Channel Catfish – Good: Fish traditional baits after dark for plenty of pole bending activity.

West Okoboji Lake

Recent storms in the Iowa Great Lakes has limited angling on West Okoboji Lake. Weed growth is limited; anglers are encouraged to focus on the weed lines as they continue to develop.

June 12, 2014 - 4:20 pm - Posted in Sports

Iowa DNRThe Iowa Department of Natural Resources issues a weekly fishing report on Thursdays in an effort to provide the latest information heading into the weekend. The weekly fishing report is compiled from information gathered from local bait shops, angler creel surveys, and county and state parks staff. For more information contact the Spirit Lake fish Hatchery at 712-336-1840.

NORTHWEST IOWA

Storm Lake (including Little Storm Lake)

The dredge machine is in operation on Storm Lake. Boaters should use caution and stay clear of the dredge machine, booster pump barge, and pipeline.  Channel Catfish – Fair: Channel catfish are still being caught with traditional catfish baits. Walleye – Good: Walleye fishing continues to be good. Most of the keeper size fish are coming on leeches or night crawlers on jig or slip bobber. Twisters baited with a crawler tend to be picking up smaller fish.  Most anglers have been drifting with a lot of focus around the dredge cuts. The daily bag limit for walleye is three. All walleye between 17 and 22 inches must be released, and only one over 22 inches may be kept.

Clear Lake

Channel Catfish – Good: Catfish are spawning. Try the rock reefs, shoreline rocks or just try on the windward shorelines with some cutbait, worms or stink bait. The island has been good for quick bites. White Bass – Slow: An occasional white bass catch near the island, Dodge’s Point or near the Ventura grade. Largemouth Bass – Slow: An occasional largemouth near the edges of the reeds. Walleye – Good: Shoreline docks have been ok, yet at dark or on windy days. Boats have been picking some up yet trolling, or fishing near the rocks. Yellow Bass – Slow: The spawning bite looks like probably done. Fishing might be tough for a few weeks.

June 10, 2014 - 1:18 pm - Posted in Sports

Iowa DNRIowa’s unseasonably cold and snowy winter and wet spring is not likely to boost its pheasant population.

Pheasants typically show population increases following mild winters with spring that are warmer and dryer than normal. Based on that weather model, the western third of Iowa has the best chance to see an uptick in pheasants due to below average snowfall and less than eight inches of spring rain.

The weather model predicts the rest of the state to see either no population increase or fewer birds than last year. The nesting forecast will be updated by the August roadside survey, which is the best gauge of what pheasant hunters can expect to find in the fall.

Todd Bogenschutz, upland wildlife biologist for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, said while the weather is not what upland bird hunters had hoped for, there is some progress on pheasant habitat. Landowners began enrolling in continuous CRP on Monday.

“This is great news for Iowa’s new pheasant recovery continuous CRP practice designed specifically to help recover pheasant numbers,” Bogenschutz said. Iowa has 45,000 acres available on a first come, first served basis.

“There will not be a general CRP signup this year so this is an option that landowners with expiring general CRP should consider,” he said.

Information on Iowa’s pheasant recovery continuous CRP is available online at www.iowadnr.gov/habitat.

June 5, 2014 - 3:51 pm - Posted in Sports

Iowa DNRThe Iowa Department of Natural Resources issues a weekly fishing report on Thursdays in an effort to provide the latest information heading into the weekend. The weekly fishing report is compiled from information gathered from local bait shops, angler creel surveys, and county and state parks staff. For more information contact the Spirit Lake fish Hatchery at 712-336-1840.

NORTHWEST IOWA

Storm Lake (including Little Storm Lake)

The dredge machine is in operation on Storm Lake.  Boaters should use caution and stay clear of the dredge machine, booster pump barge, and pipeline.  Channel Catfish – Fair: Channel catfish are close to shore and anglers should do well with traditional catfish baits.  Most fish are around two pounds.  White Bass – Good: White bass are tight to shore.  Anglers should try casting hair jigs baited with a minnow or white twisters close to shore. There are a lot of white bass hanging around the big island and the east shore from the boat ramp north to the end of King’s Pointe jetty.  Walleye – Excellent: Anglers did very well for walleye last weekend and fish are continuing to be caught this week. Trolling shad colored crankbaits has produced good numbers of fish. Anglers that have been trolling 3+ MPH have been doing the best.  Anglers were also catching good numbers of walleye casting jigs baited with a piece of night crawler just south of the college island. Many fish in the slot are being caught along with legal sized fish. The daily bag limit for walleye is three. All walleye between 17-22 inches must be released, and only one over 22 inches may be kept.

Big Spirit Lake

Northern Pike – Good: Trolling crankbaits has produced the best action with good numbers caught last week. Smallmouth Bass – Good: Fish the deeper rock piles as the water warms on clear sunny days.  Look for prespawn fish and fish slowly; a jig tipped with a minnow will produce the best action. Largemouth Bass – Good: Good largemouth bass angling continues to be reported. Walleye – Fair: Activity continues to improve as the day bite has started.  Most fish are being caught in depths of 15 feet and deeper.  Best action continues to be after dark.  Dock or wader angling after 9 p.m. has produced the best action.  Slot fish continue to be caught; however, numbers of harvest able size fish is being creeled by the Spirit Lake walleye angler.

East Okoboji Lake

Channel Catfish – No Report: Fish after dark with bait on the bottom will produce excellent angling for this species.

West Okoboji Lake

Bluegill – Good: Action at the canal area continues to be good, look for the fish to shift to the main lake as the water warms, fish wooden docks associated with deeper water for the best action. Smallmouth Bass – Good: Good action reported for this pole bending species, look for bedding fish.  Largemouth Bass – Good: Good largemouth bass action continues with the canals producing fish. Look for deeper wooden docks in the main lake will also hold fish.  Walleye – Good: Best action occurs after dark.  Boat and wader fisherman have been successful with good numbers of 14-16-inch size fish being caught. No day bite being reported during the day.

May 29, 2014 - 3:52 pm - Posted in Sports

Iowa DNRThe Iowa Department of Natural Resources issues a weekly fishing report on Thursdays in an effort to provide the latest information heading into the weekend. The weekly fishing report is compiled from information gathered from local bait shops, angler creel surveys, and county and state parks staff. For more information contact the Spirit Lake fish Hatchery at 712-336-1840.

NORTHWEST IOWA

Storm Lake (including Little Storm Lake)

The dredge machine is in operation on Storm Lake.  Boaters should use caution and stay clear of the dredge machine, booster pump barge, and pipeline.  Channel Catfish – Fair: Channel catfish are close to shore and anglers should do well with traditional catfish baits.  Most fish are around two pounds.  White Bass – Good: White bass are tight to shore.  Anglers should try casting hair jigs baited with a minnow or white twisters close to shore.  There are a lot of white bass hanging out around the big island and the east shore from the boat ramp north to the end of King’s Pointe jetty.  Walleye – Excellent: Anglers did very well for walleye last weekend and fish are continuing to be caught this week.  Trolling shad colored crankbaits has produced good numbers of fish.  Anglers were also catching good numbers of walleye casting jigs baited with a piece of night crawler just south of the college island.  Many fish in the slot are being caught along with legal sized fish. The daily bag limit for walleye is three.  All walleye between 17 and 22 inches must be released, and only one over 22 inches may be kept.

Big Spirit Lake

Northern Pike – Good: Trolling crankbaits has produced  the best action with good numbers caught last week.  Smallmouth Bass – Good: Fish deeper rock piles as the water warms on clear sunny days.  Look for prespawn fish and fish slowly with a jig tipped with a minnow. Largemouth Bass – Good: Good largemouth bass angling continues to be reported. Walleye – Fair: Activity continues to improve as the day bite has started.  Most fish are being caught in depths of 15 feet and deeper.  Best action continues to be after dark.  Dock or wader angling after 9 p.m. has produced the best action. Slot fish continue to be caught; however, good  numbers of harvest able size fish is being creeled.

East Okoboji Lake

Channel Catfish – No Report: Fishing after dark with bait on the bottom will produce excellent angling for this species. Bluegill – No Report: Fish the north end and the wooden docks on the east side for the best action.  Cast a mini jig to locate panfish, persistence and patience will be rewarded with a mix bag of crappie, bluegill and yellow perch.

West Okoboji Lake

Bluegill – Good: Action at the canal area continues to be good, look for the fish to shift to the main lake as the water warms, fish wooden docks associated with deeper water for the best action.  Largemouth Bass – Good: Good largemouth bass action was reported in the canals over the weekend. Walleye – Good: Best action occurs after dark.  Boat and wader fisherman have been successful with good numbers of 14-16-inch size fish being caught.  No bite being reported during the day.

 

May 28, 2014 - 10:27 am - Posted in Sports

Iowa DNRA relatively new condition affecting emerging oak leaves, called oak tatters, is again appearing in Iowa.

The condition affects primarily white oaks, including white, bur and swamp white.  Red oaks are only occasionally affected.

Damage appears when leaves emerge in mid to late May. The leaves will appear lacy or tattered.  Heavily affected trees will produce new leaves that may not have tatters but may be smaller and lighter in color than normal leaves.

Producing replacement leaves reduces important energy reserves. Healthy trees can survive this stress but repeated damage or dames combined with other stress, like drought, other defoliation or site problems may make the tree more susceptible to decline or to other problems.

“Trees should recover unless they are tattered for three or more years in a row,” said Tivon Feeley, forest health program leader for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

The condition appears to be caused by damage to leaf tissue in the buds or as the buds begin to open for leave expansion. The source of the damage could be from low temperature injury before or during leaf expansion, insects feeding on the buds or developing leaves, or by herbicides affecting the physiology of the tree resulting in abnormal development of the leaves.

In addition to Iowa, oak tatters has been observed in Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Missouri.

In woodlands, little can be done to prevent additional damage after an oak tatters event, except to reduce other stresses such as grazing of livestock.

For yard or urban landscape trees, try to minimize other stresses like changes to the site, add mulch to the tree and water during extended dry periods.

 

Iowa DNRThe Central Iowa Trail Network is just one example of the success of Iowa’s Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) program, which was signed into law 25 years ago today.

Synonymous with healthier living through outdoor recreation, central Iowa’s trails give Iowa the good name it deserves.  Being one with nature while exploring Iowa has never been easier — thanks to 676 miles of mostly connected trails that saturate the greater Des Moines region.

From deer and turkey sightings during long tree-lined stretches to great blue herons and white pelicans in wetland environments, nature is on display along every turn through central Iowa trails.  At a slower pace a tranquil Iowa landscape becomes apparent.  Butterfly gardens, bird watching, beaches, camping, historic museums, pioneer cemeteries, lake views, and patches of native wildflowers and grasses round out the Central Iowa Trail Network experience.

“For Iowa to be able to attract and retain a quality work force, we need to be able to offer people recreational opportunities after 5 p.m., when people get off work,” said DNR Director Chuck Gipp.

“Here in Iowa, we have been highly successful at using REAP to leverage millions of dollars from other sources to create and maintain one of the best trails systems in the United States. Trail development makes our state more attractive for economic development and healthier by providing high quality recreational opportunities,” said Gipp.

A variety of routes enable Iowans and visitors from around the country to enjoy a range of prime, unspoiled Iowa scenery that can’t be seen by hurried commuters traveling over crowded highways.  Central Iowa’s recreational trails offer views that range from oak uplands to bottomland and shaded forest to prairie, like those seen on the Neil Smith Trail that connects Saylorville Lake with downtown Des Moines.

According to a 2011 study by UNI’s Dr. Sam Lankford, cyclist commuters generate $51,965,317 in direct and indirect economic impact to the State of Iowa.  The bicycle commuter population is estimated to save Iowa $13,266,020 in health care costs.  Recreational riders create $364,864,202, while saving $73,942,511 in health costs.

Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation Program Director Lisa Hein said, “We’ve had the advantage of having discontinued railroad corridors to build trails on, otherwise we would not have nearly as extensive a system as we do have.  Unfortunately the railroads couldn’t make it in these areas, but luckily we are bringing people and using those corridors for transportation creatively — building economic development in a more diverse way.”

“I think it says we’re really hungry for ways to get outside and into nature.  Re-using these railroad corridors is a very environmentally friendly way to get people outside without taking away lands that are under other uses.”

Hein explained, “The REAP program really helps the towns along the trails.  It helped Slater and Sheldahl connect as part of the High Trestle Trail [REAP] funds were leveraged with other federal grants to build that mile of trail.”

REAP grants originally purchased the right of way to the railroad through Slater that is now part of High Trestle Trail.  The locally well-known and nationally acclaimed High Trestle Trail Bridge between Woodward and Madrid lights the night sky with its mesmerizing LED display.

Additional REAP funding paid for the Grimm Park trailhead in Slater that now offers more paved parking, new restroom facilities and planned educational signs along the trail.  Slater Economic Development Coordinator Jennifer Davies emphasized, “In a community our size, we would have never been able to do that kind of a project without the REAP dollars, so it was very important to be able to enhance the trail system with those REAP dollars.”

Davies said several residents were leery of the benefits trails would bring to Slater at the start of the project.  Ten years later that attitude is completely gone — replaced by better health and business growth. Davies said the town’s residential district has also been growing as a result of the trail, and commented on the cross-town cooperation of businesses that promote special events, bringing in money to local economies.  Small towns along Central Iowa Trails Network have benefited economically, with new restaurants, bars, bike rental stores, coffee and ice cream shops sprouting up to get a piece of the recreational action.

The City of Bondurant has awarded a contract to construct about 2 miles of trail going east from the downtown Bondurant Regional Trailhead to the
existing Chichaqua Valley Trail (CVT).  $75,000 in REAP funding has already paved Bondurant’s trailhead, with an additional $75,000 grant that will build a 2-mile trail connecting the trail.  According to a 2010 study by Dr. Daniel Otto of Iowa State University, the CVT generates an estimated $240,000 in sales, $47,000 in income, and 3 additional jobs annually.

Bondurant City Administrator Mark Arentsen said of the Chichaqua Trail, “Our trailhead [built in 2012] is already a popular location with Bondurant residents.  People use it regularly for outdoor community events or just to stop and meet friends.  It’s a great community gathering place that wouldn’t be possible without REAP’s participation.”

“The City Recreation Department uses thetrails for walking and running programs, which have more participants every year.  We frequently see people use the trails for physical fitness and recreation.  New residents have commented on the City’s
trails and say that the City’s growing trail network is one of the reasons they moved to Bondurant, and we wouldn’t be able to continue expanding these trails without REAP funding.”

Finished in 2013 with the help of REAP funds, the Raccoon River Valley Trail’s loop’s “phenomenal usage” is testament to the viability of Central Iowa Trails Network’s goal of connecting major trails.  The Raccoon River Valley Trail alone runs for 53 miles through 11 cities and four counties, much of which is lined with trees and gives the feel of being under a shaded canopy. More than half of these cities have received REAP funding to connect trail segments and develop trail heads with restrooms and parking lots.

Heavy woods along the Clive Greenbelt Trail lead to Campbell Recreational Area, which contain softball fields, tennis courts, picnic areas, restrooms and handicap-accessible play equipment.  Always looking to improve Iowans’ quality of life, planned trail extensions will connect Jordan Creek Trail with the Clive Greenbelt Trail, Gray’s Lake, Great Western Trail and John Pat Dorrian Trail — all connected to Raccoon River Valley Recreational Trail.   Paved trails were found to be the most requested facilities by Iowans as outlined in the 2012 State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP).

In its 25 years, REAP has benefited every county in Iowa by supporting 14,535 projects. REAP has funded these projects with $264 million in state investments, leveraging two to three times the amount in private, local and federal dollars.

Collectively, these projects have improved the quality of life for all Iowans with better soil and water quality; added outdoor recreation opportunities; sustained economic development; enhanced knowledge and understanding of our ecological and environmental assets, and preservation of our cultural and historic treasures.

More information about the 25th Anniversary of REAP and projects by county can be found at www.iowadnr.gov/REAP25.