Iowa fishing guide

Welcome to your key source for all fishing-related information in Iowa. Discover not only the prime fishing spots but also learn about the diverse species inhabiting these waters. Stay informed about the latest fishing regulations and licensing requirements for fishing in Iowa

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10 waterbodies
26 cities
42 fish

Lakes and reservoirs for fishing in Iowa

Below are the largest and most popular lakes, reservoirs, and bays for fishing in Iowa. Each Iowa body of water includes information on fish species, analytics, and a map with fishing spots

Licenses for fishing in Iowa

You can purchase fishing and hunting licenses for the state of Iowa on the official Iowa DNR licensing website. This page provides details on how to buy licenses and permits.

License Type Resident Fee Non-Resident Fee
Annual Fishing $22 $48
One-Day Fishing (includes Trout/Salmon) $10.50 $12
Three-Day Fishing - $20.50
Seven-Day Fishing $15.50 $37.50
Trout/Salmon Stamp $10 $10
Boundary Water Trotline $26 $49.50
Outdoor Combo - Hunting / Fishing / Habitat $55.00 -
Disabled American Veterans Hunt/Fish $2.50 -
Disabled American Veterans 10-Year Hunt/Fish $26 -

Additional Information:

  • Iowa residents born before April 1, 1943, are exempt from needing a fishing license.
  • Residents and nonresidents under age 18 also do not need a fishing license.
  • Other exemptions include residents who are legally blind, residents of state-owned mental rehabilitation facilities, and residents taking part in supervised fishing activities sponsored by licensed health care facilities.

Fishing Regulations in Iowa

Prohibited Gear and Fishing Methods
  • Fishing with explosives, poisons, or electrical devices is illegal.
  • Use of seines, nets, traps, or trotlines is restricted or prohibited in many waters.
  • Snagging fish is not permitted except in designated areas.
  • Spearing, bowfishing, or gigging is allowed only for certain species and in specific waters.
  • Chumming is prohibited in all inland waters.
  • Limb lines and setlines are subject to specific regulations.
  • No fishing with more than two lines simultaneously, except in border waters.
Catch Limits
  • Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass: Combined daily limit of 5.
  • Walleye, Sauger, and Saugeye: Combined daily limit of 5, with size restrictions in certain waters.
  • Channel Catfish: Daily limit of 8.
  • Flathead Catfish: Daily limit of 5.
  • Trout: Daily limit of 5, trout stamp required.
  • Northern Pike: Daily limit of 3.
  • Muskellunge: Daily limit of 1, minimum length of 40 inches.
  • Crappie (White and Black): Daily limit of 25 combined.
  • Bluegill: No daily limit.
  • Yellow Perch: Daily limit of 25.
  • Bullheads: No daily limit.
Restrictions on Access to Water Bodies
  • Access to certain water bodies may be restricted during specific times for conservation purposes.
  • No fishing within 200 feet of fish hatcheries or fish rearing stations.
  • Private property fishing requires explicit permission from the landowner.
  • Some urban lakes and ponds have special regulations and access restrictions.
  • Boat fishing may be restricted in certain waters, especially in nature preserves.
Zones of Special Regulation
  • Specific waters have catch-and-release regulations for certain species.
  • Artificial lure only zones in designated catch-and-release streams.
  • Special trout regulations in designated trout streams and lakes.
  • Size and bag limit variations for specific species in certain areas.
  • Restricted fishing areas around endangered species habitats.
Protection of Rare Species
  • Fishing for threatened or endangered species is strictly prohibited.
  • Special restrictions in habitats of rare or sensitive species.
  • Regulations aimed at protecting critical habitats and breeding areas.
  • Mandatory release of rare species if accidentally caught.
  • Monitoring programs for the catch of vulnerable species.
Seasonal Restrictions
  • Seasonal closures for certain species to protect spawning periods.
  • Ice fishing is subject to specific safety regulations and possible area closures.
  • Special regulations during spawning runs in certain rivers and streams.
  • Temporary restrictions during ecological or environmental studies.
  • Alterations in bag and size limits during different seasons for certain species.

Most popular cities for fishing in Iowa

The largest and most popular fishing cities in Iowa. Cities in Iowa include information on fishing, as well as a map with fishing spots. Explore the cities to know what fish are caught and in which bodies of water.

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Nearby waterbodies (10)
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