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For fishing enthusiasts, the Iowa Great Lakes is the place to be. For a novice angler or a semi-pro, fishing the Iowa Great Lakes can be fun, challenging and rewarding. For easy fishing fun, grab a pole, get some worms and try fishing under the docks for bluegill or crappies. For more challenging fishing, try for perch or bass. Perch are usually found in deeper water, but often school around rocky points and reefs, and bass can be found around bridges, submerged trees and under docks, especially in the mornings and early evenings.

If your looking for Walleyes, try rock reefs, sand beaches and areas around bridges at night. Northerns and Muskies are other fishing challenges. But for early season fishing in a more relaxed approach, hooking a night crawler on the line and letting it sit on the bottom while waiting for a bullhead to bite may be all the fishing required. For the serious fisherman, however, there are many fishing guide services. In this area, the local bait shops can put a fisherman onto some of the operating guides and their services.

Some of the guides that have been in business here for some time and are available for guide work are:

  • John Grosvenor is a fishing guide for all species of fish. He operates out of the Dry Dock area in Arnolds Park. His business phone is (712) 330-5815. Email   website:  

  • Ron Carson is a fishing guide that works out of Village West resort on West Lake Okoboji. He has 14 years experience working with new youth anglers and the experienced fisherman with flexible scheduling. His contact is through Village West (712) 337-3223 ext. 463 or cell phone 712/ 330-3458. Email is

  • Shannon Green of Spencer, is the current Iowa State Muskie recorder holder. He guides particularly for Muskies and walleyes in our area lakes. Green can be reached by calling cell (712) 260-1690. Email

  • Ryan Hale is a very active guide on the IGL's chain of waters. 2011 will be Ryan's 8th year working as a guide in the area. He has been featured in numerous Iowa based magazines and has been seen on IPTV. Hale can be contacted at (712) 446-3604(h) or (712) 441-5334(c). website:

Fishing in the Iowa Great Lakes area isn't only for sport fishermen. DNR rules allow the spear fishing of any rough fish, which includes carp, buffalo, suckers, sheepshead, and gar. This can be accomplished from the shoreline, using hand spears or bows and arrows; or by scuba divers using spring-loaded or pneumatic spear guns. Spear guns are prohibited within 100 feet of any swimming beach. There is no limit to the number of rough fish you can harvest while spearfishing, but you do need a valid fishing license. Most of these rough fish are smoked. Your local bait shop will be glad to give you tips and recipes.

Iowa Fishing licenses can be obtained at: Buy-Rite, Kabele's Trading Post, Oh Shucks Bait Shop, Pioneer Beach Resort, Stan's Bait Shop,and Wal-Mart. OnLine fishing licenses CLICK HERE

The Spirit Lake Department of Natural Resources Fish Hatchery is located at 122 252nd Street in Orleans. Telephone 712/ 336-1840. A good source for fishing information and a interesting lobby display of local fish.

Iowa DNR Fishing Website  CLICK HERE

Iowa Fishing regulations website   CLICK HERE

Information on Iowa Great Lakes fishing can be found at website   CLICK HERE


Fishing/ Outdoors Radio Show

The Great Outdoors - with Steve Weisman - Friday 10:30 AM - KILR FM 95.9 MHz.


Iowa Great Lakes Water Safety Council PO Box 232 Spirit Lake, IA 51360