Best Crappie Fishing in Iowa

Crappie fisherman holding up a large crappie by the mouth, Caught on the best crappie fishing waters in Iowa.
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For those in pursuit of the ultimate crappie-catching experience, Iowa’s waterways unveil a treasure trove of opportunities. In this detailed exploration, we’ll delve into the prime crappie fishing destinations across the state, uncovering the tactics and locales that promise a rewarding angling escapade. Join us as we cast a spotlight on Iowa’s lakes, rivers, and reservoirs, where thriving crappie populations and scenic landscapes converge to create the ideal backdrop for an exceptional fishing adventure in the Hawkeye State.



Rathbun Lake

Rathbun Lake beckons both seasoned anglers and eager novices to embark on an unforgettable crappie fishing journey. With its sprawling waters and enchanting landscapes, Rathbun Lake stands as a testament to the natural beauty that the Hawkeye State has to offer. Whether you’re drawn by the thrill of landing a trophy sized crappie or simply seek solace in the tranquil embrace of its shores.

Reasons To Crappie Fish in Rathbun Lake:

  • Tranquil Wilderness: Rathbun Lake offers a serene escape into the heart of nature. Its peaceful and undisturbed surroundings provide a serene backdrop for crappie fishing, allowing you to connect with the tranquility of the outdoors.
  • Varied Fishing Spots: With its vast expanse, Rathbun Lake presents a range of fishing spots. Whether you prefer fishing from the shore, a boat, or a secluded cove, you’ll find diverse options to tailor your fishing experience.
  • Trophy Sized Crappie: Rathbun Lake is renowned for yielding trophy-sized crappie. The chance to reel in a true lunker adds an element of excitement to your fishing trip and a potential story for the ages.
  • Year Round Fishing: Regardless of the season, Rathbun Lake’s temperate climate allows for year-round fishing. Experience the thrill of crappie fishing in different seasons, each offering its unique charm and challenges.
  • Family Friendly Atmosphere: Rathbun Lake is not just for serious anglers; it’s a welcoming destination for families. Create lasting memories as you teach your kids to fish, share stories around the campfire, and bond over the joys of angling.

Recommended Gear: Fishing Rods, Fishing Reels, Crappie Jigs, Pliers, Fishing Line, Tackle Box, Sunscreen


Saylorville Lake

Perched at the confluence of the Des Moines River, Saylorville Lake stands as a remarkable testament to human engineering and the harmonious coexistence of nature and recreation. Created by the Saylorville Dam, this expansive reservoir not only serves as a crucial flood control mechanism but also beckons outdoor enthusiasts with its diverse offerings. Whether you’re an avid angler seeking the thrill of crappie fishing, a boating enthusiast craving open waters, or a nature lover yearning for picturesque trails and abundant wildlife, Saylorville Lake presents a captivating playground where adventure and appreciation for the natural world seamlessly converge.

Reasons To Crappie Fish in Saylorville Lake:

  • Urban Oasis: Saylorville Lake offers a rare blend of outdoor adventure and urban proximity. Just a short drive from the city, you can escape the hustle and bustle and find yourself in a peaceful angler’s paradise.
  • Scenic Shoreline: The picturesque shoreline of Saylorville Lake is a perfect setting for crappie fishing. Enjoy breathtaking views as you cast your line, surrounded by the beauty of nature.
  • Prime Fishing Events: Saylorville Lake hosts various fishing tournaments and events throughout the year. Participate in these exciting gatherings, test your skills against fellow anglers, and potentially win valuable prizes.
  • Fishing Diversity: While crappie is a highlight, Saylorville Lake offers a variety of fish species. This diversity provides you with opportunities for multi-species fishing, adding extra excitement to your angling adventure.
  • Hidden Coves and Inlets: Explore the lake’s hidden coves and inlets that provide secluded fishing spots. These tucked-away areas offer not only great fishing but also a sense of exploration and discovery on the water.

Recommended Gear: Fish Bag, Fishing Reels, Crappie Jigs, Pliers, Fishing Line, Tackle Box, Fishing Net


Lake Red Rock

Engineered to serve as a crucial flood control mechanism, this expansive lake, nestled against the Des Moines River, has seamlessly woven its utilitarian purpose with a tapestry of recreational possibilities. Whether you’re an ardent angler in pursuit of crappie thrills, a water sports enthusiast craving the open waters, or a nature aficionado seeking solace among diverse ecosystems and abundant wildlife, Lake Red Rock beckons as a multifaceted playground where the realms of adventure and a deep connection with the natural world converge harmoniously.

Reasons To Crappie Fish in Lake Red Rock:

  • Giant Crappie: Lake Red Rock is renowned for producing sizable crappie. Get ready for the thrill of potentially landing trophy-sized fish that will leave you with a lasting angling memory.
  • Scenic Reservoir: Cradled within the stunning Iowa landscape, Lake Red Rock offers a scenic backdrop for your crappie fishing adventure. The tranquil waters and surrounding natural beauty create a serene and relaxing atmosphere.
  • Year Round Fishing: No matter the season, Lake Red Rock provides year-round fishing opportunities. Whether it’s under the warmth of the sun or the tranquility of a snowy day, you can indulge in crappie fishing all year long.
  • Abundant Wildlife: While crappie fishing, you’ll have the chance to witness diverse wildlife in their natural habitat. Keep an eye out for various bird species and other animals that call Lake Red Rock home.
  • Recreational Amenities: Lake Red Rock offers a range of recreational amenities beyond fishing. After a successful day of angling, you can enjoy hiking, picnicking, or even camping in the surrounding areas, making it a versatile destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

Recommended Gear: Fishing Net, Fishing Reels, Crappie Jigs, Sunscreen, Fishing Line, Tackle Box, Fish Bag


Coralville Reservoir

Amidst the picturesque landscapes of Iowa, Coralville Reservoir emerges as a dynamic and multi-faceted waterbody that beautifully intertwines environmental stewardship, water management, and recreational allure. Formed by the Coralville Dam, this expansive reservoir stands as a testament to human ingenuity and the delicate harmony between natural preservation and outdoor enjoyment. Beyond its essential role in flood control and water supply, Coralville Reservoir invites outdoor enthusiasts to partake in its diverse offerings.

Reasons To Crappie Fish in Coralville Reservoir:

  • Tranquil Shoreline: With its calm and peaceful shoreline, Coralville Reservoir offers a serene setting for crappie fishing. Enjoy the tranquility as you cast your line and unwind amidst the soothing sounds of nature.
  • Seasonal Diversity: Each season brings a different crappie fishing experience at Coralville Reservoir. From spring’s spawning action to the summer’s deeper waters, you can explore various techniques and approaches throughout the year.
  • Picnicking and Recreation: Beyond fishing, Coralville Reservoir offers a range of recreational activities. After a rewarding day of crappie fishing, you can relax with a picnic, hike along scenic trails, or indulge in water sports.
  • Abundant Wildlife: While fishing, you’ll have the chance to spot diverse wildlife. Keep an eye out for waterfowl, eagles, and other creatures that inhabit the area, adding an element of wildlife appreciation to your angling adventure.
  • Nighttime Excitement: Coralville Reservoir offers excellent nighttime crappie fishing opportunities. Experience the thrill of fishing under the stars, as crappie become more active during the darker hours, providing a unique and exciting angling experience.

Recommended Gear: Fishing Rods, Fishing Reels, Crappie Jigs, Pliers, Fishing Line, Tackle Box, Sunscreen


Storm Lake

This pristine lake, situated in Buena Vista County, is a testament to the harmonious coexistence of preservation and outdoor enjoyment. As a vital element of the Iowa Great Lakes region, Storm Lake not only offers a serene escape but also beckons outdoor enthusiasts to partake in its diverse offerings. Whether you’re a dedicated angler chasing the thrill of crappie fishing, a boating enthusiast seeking the tranquility of open waters, or an avid observer of wildlife and natural landscapes, Storm Lake serves as a remarkable playground where exploration, and recreation, converge.

Reasons To Crappie Fish in Storm Lake:

  • Hidden Gem: Storm Lake is a well-kept secret among anglers, providing a quieter and less crowded fishing experience compared to more popular destinations. Enjoy the serenity of a hidden gem as you cast your line.
  • Panfish Haven: In addition to crappie, Storm Lake is home to a variety of panfish species. Explore a diverse range of angling opportunities and potentially reel in a mix of crappie, bluegill, and more.
  • Accessible Shore Fishing: The lake’s accessible shoreline makes it easy for shore anglers to get in on the action. Whether you’re casting from the shore, a pier, or a jetty, you’ll find ample spots to set up for a great day of fishing.
  • Natural Beauty: Storm Lake is surrounded by beautiful landscapes and scenic vistas. Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the area while waiting for those crappie to bite.
  • Fishing Festivals: Storm Lake hosts various fishing tournaments and festivals throughout the year. Participate in these events to showcase your angling skills, connect with fellow fishing enthusiasts, and enjoy a festive atmosphere by the water.

Recommended Gear: Fish Bag, Fishing Reels, Crappie Jigs, Pliers, Fishing Line, Tackle Box, Fishing Net


West Okoboji Lake

West Okoboji Lake stands as a captivating testament to the profound beauty and recreational splendor that nature offers. As one of the jewels in the crown of this picturesque landscape, West Okoboji Lake is a destination that seamlessly weaves together stunning natural vistas with an array of outdoor experiences. Its glistening waters, surrounded by lush greenery and charming communities, beckon both seasoned adventurers and leisure seekers alike.

Reasons To Crappie Fish in West Okoboji Lake:

  • Crystal Clear Waters: West Okoboji Lake is known for its crystal clear waters, providing a visually stunning and immersive fishing experience. Witness the underwater world with exceptional clarity as you target crappie.
  • Island Exploration: The lake features picturesque islands that offer secluded fishing spots. Accessible by boat, these islands provide a sense of adventure and the opportunity to discover hidden fishing havens.
  • Thriving Resort Community: West Okoboji Lake is surrounded by a thriving resort community. Enjoy the convenience of amenities, dining options, and accommodations while indulging in world-class crappie fishing.
  • Unique Fishing Techniques: The lake’s clear waters and diverse lake structures invite experimentation with unique fishing techniques. Try sight-fishing for crappie or test your skills in different depths for an exciting challenge.
  • Breathtaking Sunsets: As you wait for crappie to bite, treat yourself to breathtaking sunsets over the lake’s horizon. The combination of exceptional fishing and stunning sunsets creates an atmosphere of tranquility and beauty.

Recommended Gear: Fishing Net, Fishing Reels, Crappie Jigs, Sunscreen, Fishing Line, Tackle Box, Fish Bag


Clear Lake

Clear Lake shines as a captivating waterbody that blends natural beauty with abundant recreational opportunities. Its pristine waters and scenic surroundings make it a cherished destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. Known for its clarity and charm, Clear Lake beckons visitors to explore its depths, partake in diverse water activities, and relish the serenity of its shores.

Reasons To Crappie Fish in Clear Lake:

  • Historic Fishing Destination: Clear Lake has a rich angling history, known for being one of the oldest recreational fishing spots in Iowa. Connect with the past as you cast your line into these time-honored waters.
  • Island Fishing Adventures: The lake features picturesque islands that offer not only scenic beauty but also unique fishing opportunities. Explore these island getaways for a serene and secluded crappie fishing experience.
  • Fishing Pier Accessibility: Clear Lake boasts easily accessible fishing piers, making it an excellent choice for anglers of all skill levels. Enjoy the convenience of fishing from the piers and focus on reeling in those crappie.
  • Year Round Fishing Events: Clear Lake hosts various fishing events and tournaments throughout the year. Engage in friendly competition, showcase your fishing prowess, and connect with fellow anglers in a vibrant fishing community.
  • Resort Town Charm: Beyond fishing, Clear Lake offers the charm of a resort town. Explore local shops, dine in lakeside restaurants, and experience the vibrant energy of a destination that caters to both anglers and leisure seekers.

Recommended Gear: Fishing Rods, Fishing Reels, Crappie Jigs, Pliers, Fishing Line, Tackle Box, Sunscreen


Lake Macbride

Lake Macbride, nestled within the captivating landscapes of eastern Iowa, beckons with its serene waters and diverse recreational opportunities. As one of the state’s largest and most picturesque lakes, Lake Macbride invites visitors to immerse themselves in its natural beauty and abundant offerings. From crappie fishing adventures that promise excitement for anglers of all skill levels, to leisurely boating on its expansive surface, the lake caters to a wide range of outdoor enthusiasts.

Reasons To Crappie Fish in Lake Macbride:

  • Scenic Wooded Shores: Lake Macbride offers picturesque wooded shores that create a serene backdrop for your crappie fishing. Immerse yourself in nature’s beauty as you wait for those crappie to bite.
  • Angler Friendly Amenities: Lake Macbride boasts angler-friendly amenities such as fishing docks, boat ramps, and designated fishing areas. Enjoy the convenience of well-maintained facilities for a hassle-free fishing experience.
  • Seasonal Fishing Variations: Throughout the seasons, Lake Macbride offers varied crappie fishing experiences. From shallow waters during spring spawn to deeper areas in summer, each season presents its own unique angling challenges and rewards.
  • Nature Trails and Wildlife: Combine your crappie fishing with a nature adventure. Lake Macbride features hiking trails and opportunities to spot wildlife, adding an element of exploration and nature appreciation to your fishing trip.
  • Family Bonding: Lake Macbride offers a perfect setting for family crappie fishing trips. Create lasting memories as you introduce your loved ones to the joys of fishing, share stories by the water, and foster a strong connection with nature together.

Recommended Gear: Fish Bag, Fishing Reels, Crappie Jigs, Pliers, Fishing Line, Tackle Box, Fishing Net


Mississippi River

The mighty Mississippi River, a legendary waterway spanning the heart of the United States, encapsulates a rich tapestry of history, commerce, and natural wonder. Stretching across multiple states, this iconic river serves as a lifeline for communities and industries while offering a wealth of recreational possibilities. Anglers are drawn to its storied waters, seeking the thrill of crappie fishing amidst its dynamic currents and diverse habitats.

Reasons To Crappie Fish in the Mississippi River:

  • Legendary River: The Mississippi River holds a storied history in American culture. Fishing along its iconic waters allows you to be a part of this legacy and connect with the heritage of angling.
  • Variety of Locations: The Mississippi River spans multiple states, providing diverse fishing locations and experiences. Explore different stretches of the river and discover unique crappie fishing opportunities.
  • Abundance of Fish: The river’s vastness ensures an abundance of crappie and other fish species. Enjoy the excitement of reeling in various catches, making every fishing trip a potential multi-species adventure.
  • Unpredictable Challenges: The Mississippi River presents ever-changing conditions, offering unpredictable challenges that test your angling skills. Adapt to shifting currents and varying depths for a thrilling and dynamic fishing experience.
  • Panoramic Scenery: Fishing along the Mississippi River treats you to stunning panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes. Bask in the natural beauty of the river’s banks and take in the awe-inspiring vistas as you fish.

Recommended Gear: Fishing Net, Fishing Reels, Crappie Jigs, Sunscreen, Fishing Line, Tackle Box, Fish Bag


Big Creek Lake

Big Creek Lake emerges as a captivating reservoir that seamlessly blends natural beauty with a plethora of outdoor activities. It’s expansive waters and lush surroundings create an inviting haven for adventurers and nature enthusiasts alike. Whether you’re an ardent angler in pursuit of crappie thrills, a water sports enthusiast seeking the open expanse, or a tranquility seeker yearning for lakeside serenity, Big Creek Lake offers a diverse range of experiences.

Reasons To Crappie Fish in Big Creek Lake:

  • Tranquil Wilderness: Big Creek Lake offers a serene escape into the heart of nature. Its peaceful and untouched surroundings provide the perfect backdrop for a relaxing and enjoyable crappie fishing experience.
  • Accessible Shoreline Fishing: The lake’s easily accessible shoreline allows anglers of all skill levels to enjoy crappie fishing without the need for a boat. Set up along the shores and cast your line with ease.
  • Family Friendly Atmosphere: Big Creek Lake is a family-friendly destination, making it an ideal spot to introduce your loved ones to the joys of fishing. Share quality time together while waiting for crappie to bite.
  • Scenic Picnicking: After a successful day of fishing, take advantage of the lake’s scenic picnic areas. Enjoy a delicious meal surrounded by nature’s beauty and reflect on your angling achievements.
  • Seasonal Fishing Delights: Experience the thrill of crappie fishing in different seasons at Big Creek Lake. From the excitement of spring spawn to the challenges of winter fishing, each season brings its own unique rewards.

Recommended Gear: Fishing Rods, Fishing Reels, Crappie Jigs, Pliers, Fishing Line, Tackle Box, Sunscreen


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