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  1. #1

    Default Fly Fishing Des Moines, Iowa

    Iím looking for some recommendations for the Des Moines, Iowa area. I have heard Wipers can be caught below some of the dams. How is the smallmouth fishing in the local rivers? Finally, how far do I really need to go to get into some good trout fishing in the Driftless Region or neighboring states?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Fly Fishing Des Moines, Iowa

    Im probably not the greatest help, but Ive heard good things of Turtle creek located about 1/2 mile north of St. Ansgar off of Highway 218.
    I would also check out Wapsi river trout section. That is located 0.5 mile west of McIntire.
    They are both in Mitchell county.
    IA DNR just finished updating their trout info webpages and there is a lot of good info there.

    Good luck and let me know what you find.

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  4. #3
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    Default Re: Fly Fishing Des Moines, Iowa

    Quote Originally Posted by chicagojohn View Post
    I’m looking for some recommendations for the Des Moines, Iowa area. I have heard Wipers can be caught below some of the dams. How is the smallmouth fishing in the local rivers? Finally, how far do I really need to go to get into some good trout fishing in the Driftless Region or neighboring states?
    The Complete Guide to Iowa Trout Streams The 2ND Avenue Fly Shop, Des Moines, IA. The proprietor wrote the the book. milt. Also would know the immediate D.M. area.
    Last edited by milt spawn; 03-27-2012 at 04:38 PM.

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  6. Default Re: Fly Fishing Des Moines, Iowa

    I live in Des Moines. Some of the best places I fish are, Lake Patoka east side of Bondurant. The lake has trout, smallmouth bass, and wipers. They say the lake is spring fed, and trout can survive there year round. The same goes for Ada Hayden lake north side of Ames. They stock trout 11 to 13 inches in length. Someone was fishing for bluegill with poppers and caught a 19 inch rainbow last year in the hottest part of summer. The DNR said trout survive year round in that lake also, but in the summer time they are usually caught in 15+ feet of water. Across the HW from Ada Hayden is the Skunk river, smallmouth bass fishing. A few miles upstream is a place on the river called Sopers Mill, more good smallmouth bass fishing. West of Des Moines fishing below the dam at Lemon Mills park in Panora, more smallmouth bass fishing. I was riding my bicycle along the bike trail which runs next to Walnut creek, the creek runs behind Walmart in West Des Moines. This stream has rocks riffles, holes and undercut banks. I can't say for shure but to me this looks like prime smallmouth bass water. Banner lake south of Des Moines, more trout fishing, but I think this lake gets to warm in the summer months. I've been told you can catch wipers below the dams on the Des Moines river. and smallmouth where ever you see rocks, and riffles. I'm thinking about trying my luck fishing for wipers myself. I just got a Meiser 4/5 switch rod, and I think it would a be fun fishing for Wiper spey style. I'm told they catch them up to 12 pounds I Hope this information helps.

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  8. #5
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    Default Re: Fly Fishing Des Moines, Iowa

    I also live in Des Moines.

    Wiper fishing below the Saylorville Dam can be good. The problem we are having right now is too much rain. In order to wade the release needs to be 1700CFS. Right now it is 3500. However, you can still fish from the jetty. I would recommend an 8wt and a stripping basket to keep your line from getting tangled in the rocks. You can fish either side but I would suggest the east side.

    As been mentioned, the Skunk river can be good for smallmouth and carp. I've fished there a couple of times and have caught a few around 10". It is not a big fish river. We've had a couple of drought years which has taken a toll on the smallmouth population in the smaller rivers. Another river is the Middle Raccoon in Panora. It is still recovering from two years of drought, so I would not recommend it. I have never fished Walnut Creek, but think it is moslty a run off creek and would be very surprised if it held smallmouth bass.

    As far as trout fishing in the Driftless area. The closest stream is Spring Branch in Manchester. There is a hatchery there, so it gets a lot of attention. It is approximately 3 hours from DSM.

    I like to go up to the Highlandville/Dorchester area (4 hour one way drive) and fish both N Bear and Waterloo Creek. French can also be good on cloudy or rainy days. If the sun is shining forget French.

    You can find The Complete Guide to Iowa Trout Streams at Barnes and Noble. Gene Hughs who wrote the book passed away some months ago and his wife sold out the inventory and closed the bait shop. You might also be able to find it on line. I would highly recommend this book. Every guy I know who trout fishes in Iowa has this book. It give good details how to find the trout streams here in Iowa.

    Hope this helps.

    Dave
    Last edited by dar; 08-07-2014 at 09:28 AM. Reason: additional information

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  10. Default Re: Fly Fishing Des Moines, Iowa

    I've caught Smallmouth bass in the 3 to 4 pound class in the Skunk river, but it's been a few years back. Just try the deeper holes. For the largest Smallmouth bass try the Boone River just a few miles south of Webster City. Last year I caught one 20 inches in length. You also have a chance to catch Northern Pike there.

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  12. Default Re: Fly Fishing Des Moines, Iowa

    Since I dont live in DSM anymore I would like to add to the information on this post. Cottonwood access on the dsm river, south of the saylorville dam, holds the biggest smallies in the area. I used to catch 19-21 inchers there in the middle of June, along the rip rap. They hated 1/8th oz jigs in green let me tell you!

    My favorite place to fish in the whole area is sandpiper beach on the east side of saylorville reservoir. The whole month of august one could wade out 100 yards from shore, on the flats, and just pound the wipers. Some would be as long as my arm. At that time we chucked heavy spoons to where they were pushing the shad up to the surface. You have to look for that popping at the surface and you will catch a hundred fish by the end of the day. Also pulled in some nice eyes and channels doing that. I think a 5 weight with a heavyish streamer would do work there. This is a very little known secret, enjoy

  13. #8

    Default Re: Fly Fishing Des Moines, Iowa

    Quote Originally Posted by dar View Post
    I also live in Des Moines.

    Wiper fishing below the Saylorville Dam can be good. The problem we are having right now is too much rain. In order to wade the release needs to be 1700CFS. Right now it is 3500. However, you can still fish from the jetty. I would recommend an 8wt and a stripping basket to keep your line from getting tangled in the rocks. You can fish either side but I would suggest the east side.

    As been mentioned, the Skunk river can be good for smallmouth and carp. I've fished there a couple of times and have caught a few around 10". It is not a big fish river. We've had a couple of drought years which has taken a toll on the smallmouth population in the smaller rivers. Another river is the Middle Raccoon in Panora. It is still recovering from two years of drought, so I would not recommend it. I have never fished Walnut Creek, but think it is moslty a run off creek and would be very surprised if it held smallmouth bass.

    As far as trout fishing in the Driftless area. The closest stream is Spring Branch in Manchester. There is a hatchery there, so it gets a lot of attention. It is approximately 3 hours from DSM.

    I like to go up to the Highlandville/Dorchester area (4 hour one way drive) and fish both N Bear and Waterloo Creek. French can also be good on cloudy or rainy days. If the sun is shining forget French.

    You can find The Complete Guide to Iowa Trout Streams at Barnes and Noble. Gene Hughs who wrote the book passed away some months ago and his wife sold out the inventory and closed the bait shop. You might also be able to find it on line. I would highly recommend this book. Every guy I know who trout fishes in Iowa has this book. It give good details how to find the trout streams here in Iowa.

    Hope this helps.

    Dave
    X2.

    Your best bet for consistent fishing around Des Moines is farm ponds. I've had limited success on the rivers for smallmouth. Send me a message if you'd like more info about the driftless. Also, we'd love for you to join our local TU chapter
    Read my fishing blog RodandRivet.com

  14. Default Re: Fly Fishing Des Moines, Iowa

    I live in Council Bluffs. I am going to take a couple trips up to Des Moines this year and see if I can catch some smallmouth! i have only caught smallmouth once and that was in Yankton South Dakota on the dam. I would love to try catching them on a fly! What flies do you think would work the best? i will tie some up but need ideas....thanks for all the great tips!

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