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Great Trout Fishing In Iowa

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Guide to fishing for rainbow, brook and brown trout in area lakes.

By AA-Fishing Staff Writers

Trout Waters

Trout fishing in Iowa

Iowa offers excellent trout fishing opportunities, with both rainbow trout and brown trout stocked in various lakes and rivers across the state. Trout fishing in Iowa provides anglers with the chance to experience the thrill of catching these beautiful and elusive fish. The purpose of this page is to share basic information about trout fishing and identify trout fishing waters in the state.

Rainbow trout are one of the most commonly stocked trout species in Iowa. Known for their vibrant colors and acrobatic fights, rainbow trout are highly sought after by anglers. They can be found in designated trout streams and lakes such as the Manchester Trout Hatchery and Yellow River State Forest. Anglers can target rainbow trout using a variety of techniques, including fly fishing, spin fishing, and bait fishing. Popular artificial lures for rainbow trout include small spinners, spoons, and flies that mimic insects or small baitfish.

Brown trout, known for their elusive behavior and challenging fights, are another prized trout species found in Iowa. Brown trout can be found in designated trout streams such as the North and South Bear Creek. They tend to be more selective feeders and can be challenging to catch. Anglers often use live bait, such as worms or small minnows, or imitate natural prey with flies or lures to entice brown trout.

Iowa's trout fishing spots include both lakes and rivers, offering diverse fishing experiences. Trout lakes, such as Lake Petocka and Banner Lake, are popular destinations for anglers who prefer lake fishing. These lakes are regularly stocked with trout and often provide convenient access and amenities for anglers.

Trout rivers, such as the Upper Iowa River and the Maquoketa River, offer a more natural and scenic fishing experience. Anglers can wade or float these rivers and enjoy the beauty of the surrounding landscapes while targeting trout. River fishing often involves casting flies or using small lures to imitate natural prey and entice trout to strike.

When it comes to state records, Iowa has seen some impressive trout catches. The current state record for rainbow trout is over 19 pounds, while the record for brown trout stands at over 15 pounds. These records highlight the potential for landing trophy-sized trout in Iowa's waters.

Anglers looking to pursue trout in Iowa are advised to familiarize themselves with fishing regulations, including size and creel limits, and obtain the necessary fishing licenses and permits. It's also important to practice catch-and-release and handle trout with care to ensure the sustainability of the fishery.

Trout fishing in Iowa provides anglers with a rewarding and challenging experience in beautiful natural settings. Whether it's fly fishing on a tranquil river or casting from the shoreline of a stocked trout lake, Iowa's trout fishing opportunities cater to anglers of all skill levels and offer the chance to catch these prized freshwater game fish.

Urban lakes which are stocked with trout include Ada Hayden, Banner Lake (South), Big Lake, Discovery Park, Heritage Pond, Lake of the Hills, Moorland Pond, North Prairie, Ottumwa Park Pond, Petoka, Prairie Park, Sand Lake, Scharnberg Pond and Wilson Lake.

Fishing Boats For Rent In Iowa

Trout Species In The State

Rainbow Trout

Rainbow trout

World record: 42 lbs 2 oz

State Record: 19.50 lbs

Brook Trout

Brook trout

World record: 14 lbs 8 oz

State Record: 7.0 lbs

Brown Trout

Brown trout

World record: 40 lbs 4 oz

State Record: 15.38 lbs

Click the images and links above for species details.

Select the best trout lures and baits

Trout spinners, crankbaits and jerkbaits work well for shallow, reasonably active fish. Salmon eggs, worms and prepared baits will work at virtually all depths.

Iowa State Record Trout

The state record rainbow trout was caught from French Creek.

The state record brook trout was taken out of Fountain Springs Creek.

The state record brown trout came from North Prairie Lake.

Watch trout fishing videos to see trout anglers in action.

Additional trout information

Brown Trout
Brown trout being released.

The 5 primary trouts are the rainbow, brook, brown, cutthroat and lake trout. Browns are considered the most difficult to catch and brookies are the easiest. Pure cold water is key to survival of the trouts. Visit the Iowa Department of Natural Resources website for details regarding trout stocking in Iowa.

Trout Conservation
Trout Unlimited


Trout locations and info, by state.

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