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The Iowa Guide 

The Premier Iowa Great Lakes Fishing Guide

Fish of the week.

Eric Wright won the battle against this big 26 1/4 inch walleye to get Fish of the Week honors.



Fun with walleye and yellow bass.

October 20 thru November 6, 2015 water temps 48-52

I've been fishing on East Okoboji the past few days with great results. We've been catching some big walleye but the even more exciting thing is that we are catching some nice keeper size eyes. Mixed in with the walleye are yellow bass and just a few a crappie. The basin area is holding most of the fish but they move around alot. This means locating them each day is important. Trolling is effective as well as jigging with Jigging Raps.

Walleye and smallmouth bite are both picking up.

October 8 thru 19, 2015 water temps Spirit Lake mid 50s Okoboji upper 50s

Spirit Lake has a nice walleye bite in 12-14 feet on rock points for fish of all size. Keepers in the 14-17 inch range are still tough to find but we are getting a few. Jigs with Power Minnows, Jigging Raps and Rippin Raps are all producing at times. Fall is officially here as I have started to catch some smallmouth on jerkbaits. Jigs with Havoc Flat Dawgs and Swim Senkos are also catching. Some smallies have been in 2 feet and some in 14 so they haven't bunched up just yet.


On West Okoboji the walleye we've been catching are deep, 30 plus feet, on points. Jigging Raps have been the best . I have also had some luck with smallmouth on topwater over shallow rock points just before dark. These have been mostly smaller fish but still fun.

Fall is here, sort of.

September 13 thru Oct. 7 water temps in the low 60s

The weather continues to be very nice. In fact it's too nice to help move the fish into their fall mode. The water temperatures remain in the 60s and that is warm for October. The trolling bite on East Okoboji is still fair for walleye with lots of yellow bass and some crappie to keep my clients busy in between walleye bites.


I have been on Spirit Lake a few times and found some smallmouth bass cooperative. When conditions are calm, with low light, smallies are hitting topwater. Otherwise 1/8th to 1/4 oz jigs tipped with Flat Dawgs have been the key on deeper rocks. Some walleye are also hitting these jigs.

It's still summer but signs of the fall bite are here.

September 1-12, 2014 water temps 68-71 degrees

I know I haven't  made a new report in a loooong time, and I'm sorry about that. The truth is, nothing had changed until recently.


My clients have still been catching bass on weed edges in 14 to 20 feet on West Okoboji. Berkley power worms and Havoc Flat Dawgs on jigs have been getting bit consistently. Walleye have been hitting these presentations also. Though not getting as many bites, skirted jigs with a 4" Chigger Craw trailer have been getting bigger fish. The bluegill and yellow bass have been good on the very deep weed edges in 20-30 feet depths. Slip bobbers and jigger spoons tipped with red worms or wigglers work well.


The change has come when ever we get a nice little cold front. If the water temp drops just a little the crankbait bite for walleye on East Okoboji heats up. Bonus fish on this trolling bite are yellow bass and crappie. Here is a real tip for you: If the sheephead are the biggest share of your catch when trolling, speed up. Also the bluegill and yellow bass have been very good on East lake with the same baits as on West.


I have not been on Spirit Lake lately but plan to be soon. Fall is near and so is a great bite so call and book your trip now.

The bite is good.

July 22-August 7 - Water temps mid 70s

The largemouth bass bite on West Okoboji has been very good, and consistent, with most of the fish running 1-3 pounds. Most of these nice bass are holding on weed points in 14-17 feet of water. My clients have been catching lots of fish while casting 7" Power Worms, Havoc Flat Dawgs, and skirted jigs tipped with Chigger Craws. The yellow bass and bluegill are also chewing. Shucks Jigger spoons tipped with silver wigglers or red worms in 24+ feet of water has been the key.

Master Angler Yellows, good largemouth, and action on Spirit.

July 5-21, 2015 water temps Mid 70s

I'm sorry for the delay in reports but I've been busy, and maybe playing too much golf.


West Okoboji

The bluegill bite, along with some great yellow bass fishing has kept my clients very happy. Slip bobbers with leeches are still putting the biggest gills in the boat with the key depth being 24-30 feet. Shuck's Jigger spoons tipped with either a red worm or leech are also showing good results and are even better when the yellows are present. The best largemouth bite has been in the weeds around 14-17 feet with a number of baits working well. For the most action 1/4 oz jig tipped with Berkley Power Worm or Havoc Flat Dawg has been great. Most of the bigger bites have come on skirted jigs with a Chigger Craw trailer.


Spirit Lake

I've only been on Spirit Lake for a 1/2 day and it took a little while to figure out a decent pattern. We found both walleye and smallmouth on rock points fishing with jigs and 4" Power Minnows. A crankbait only produced one bite but it was the biggest smallmouth of the day.


Great fishing this week.

June 27 thru July 3, water temps low 70s

What a fantasitic week of fishing here on The Iowa Great Lakes. Four Iowa Master Angler fish came in the boat. The first was by young Liam Plumb on West Okoboji when he boated a 20 inch smallmouth while fishing with a leech under a slip bobber. Liam followed that up the next day with a 27 1/2 inch walleye from Spirit Lake while pulling a spinner/ nightcrawler combination behind a bottom bouncer. Then we had two 10 1/4 inch blugill from West Okoboji by Ryan and Sam, both gills ate leeches under a slip bobber.


The succesful patterns have been: On Okoboji, leeches and redworms under bobbers in 20 plus feet of water. On Spirit, pulling bottom bouncers with Slow Death hooks or spinner/ night crawler combos out in the basin.

The walleye fishing is great right now.

June 22 - 26th water temps low 70s

The walleye fishing on Spirit Lake has been phenominal this past week. The fish are roaming the basin chasing schools of shiners. Pulling bottom bouncers at 1.1 mph with my Terrova trolling motor has been the ticket to getting bit. Behind the bouncer a 3 foot leader with a Slow Death Hook or a spinner tipped with a 3" Gulp minnow are both good presentations. Sometimes leeches on a plain hook are better.



Bluegill and Bass

June 10-21 water temps upper 60s

I've been on West Okoboji most of this past week and the fishing has been pretty good. Casting 1/8th oz jigs tipped with a 5" Power Shakey Worm has been producing bites from bass, crappie and walleye. Deep points and humps have been the key structures. The bluegill fishing has also been pretty good fishing in 16 to 23 feet of water. Shuck's Jigger Spoons tipped with a red worm or a slip bobber rig with a red worm or leech has kept fish on the line.


Over on Spirit Lake the walleye bite has been best for me early in the morning. Pulling bottom bouncers in the basin area is the key. Both crawlers and leeches have worked. The smallmouth have been fussy. In lowlight times there has been a topwater bite. On the rocks jig/Power Minnow combos have scored some bites.

Walleye bite is changing and the smallmouth bite is picking up,

June 2-9 water temps Spirit Lake 65-68 degrees

The high temperatures this past week made the water temperatures really climb and the walleye vacated the rock points where we have enjoyed so much success the past two weeks. Now I'm catching one fish here and one there as the walleye are really spread out. I've caught lots of small fish but the bigger fish have been tough to pattern.


On a better note, the smallmouth seem to have recovered from the spawn are hitting jigs tipped with 4" inch Power Minnows and Swim Senkos on the rock points.


I have not been on the Okobojis for a couple of weeks so I have no report from those lakes. 

The summer peak period is starting.

May 26-June 1 Water temps 58 to 61

We have finally had some nice days and the water temperatures are creeping back up where they belong. The fish are responding positively to this warming trend. I spent some time on both E. & W. Okoboji with positive results. On East Lake the yellow bass are still biting like crazy. Shuck's Jigger Spoons or a slip bobber are both working when tipped with a red worm, waxie, or wiggler. Please keep all of these invasive fish and feed the neighborhood. They are very tasty. West Okoboji showed off with a variety of fish. On a bobber and a leech we caught big crappie and bluegill on some rock piles in 12-16 feet of water. Casting jigs tipped with tubes or 5" Power Shakey Worms to these same rock piles got the attention of pike, and bass.


On Spirit Lake the walleye bite has been good, especially early and late, right on the top lip where a flat drops into the basin. Casting Ripple Shads, and Gulp Minnows on jigs is working. Also a slip bobber rig tipped with a leech. These same baits fished on rock points is bending the rods with both walleye and smallmouth. The weeds are starting to grow and the walleye will be heading for these weeds.

The bite has been a changing.

May 17-25 water temps 55 to 60 degrees

The weather has been unpredictable and not very nice. But even with the poor weather the smallmouth have been moving on to beds. These smallmouth aren't really feeding but if a bait falls in the bed they will pick it up and carry it off the bed, so a quick hookset is needed. Tube baits and Senko type lures are working.


The deep walleye bite rigging shiners has really died off. The water on Spirit Lake is starting to get some color and we've been able to put some fish in the net using jig/Power Minnow combos, and with a leech under a slip bobber. Rocky points in 8-12 feet of depth has been the key locale. The better walleye bite has been trolling crankbaits on some of the area pothole lakes. This pattern has produced  good results for me and put some keeper size fish, something very rare on Spirit Lake, in the live well.


On E. Okoboji the yellow bass are absolutely thick. You can basically catch them on whatever method you choose. They are mostly small 6-8 inches but please keep them all and feed the nieghborhood.

First big walleye of the year.

May 4-16,Spirit Lake water temp. 58-60

The water temperatures are on the rise and the bites are changing. I've been on Spirit lake all week fishing for both walleye and smallmouth bass. The best walleye bite, at least during the day, is happening on deep flats, 16-18 feet. Drifting or slow trolling with a light bottom bouncer, a 4-5 foot snell with a plain hook. A nice lively shiner has been the best bait. That's the setup that caught the "Fish of the Week". I have also been catching some walleye on a jig tipped with a 4" Power minnow.


The jig/power minnow  combo has also been the key to hooking up with smallmouth. Work these jigs on rock points in the 6 to 12 foot depths. Expect some bonus walleye too.

A beautiful weekend for walleye opener.

May 2-3 Water temps East Okoboji & Spirit Lake upper 50s

I had three trips booked for opening weekend. Saturday I fished with Maureen and we headed to East Okoboji since that was so good last fall. We started out trolling the basin with leadcore and Flicker Shads, sizes 4 & 5, and had the first fish before all three lines were set. It was a fast bite for two hours but all of the fish were small so we moved to a lip were it drops from 10-12 feet to 17 feet. There we pulled bottom bouncers and live bait, both leeches and crawlers. We caught the same small walleye but we added in some nice yellow bass with two master angler award size fish. Maureen took home enough yellows for a good fish fry.


Saturday afternoon with Lou we went to Spirit Lake and immediately got on a good walleye bite drifting a deep flat in 16-18 feet. Most of the fish came on shiners, with the fish showing a preference to the biggest shiners we had. A couple fish hit jigs and Power Minnows. Since these were all slot fish, except one over, and Lou wanted a fish fry we went back to East O. Sunday morning. We loaded the livewell with yellows working Shucks Jigger Spoons tipped with a red worm. We also pulled some live bait on the lip and had some more yellows along with two nice walleye, one keeper and one slot size. Leeches were best for the walleye while the yellows liked a night crawler on a #4 slow death hook.

Calm days made for interesting fishing.

April 15-18 Water temps upper 40s to low 50s

Spirit Lake is very clear and, of course, so is West Okoboji. The smallmouth fishing was pretty good early in the week when we had some breeze. Thursday brought beautiful weather with air temperatures in the 70s and the wind was non-existant. The bite got tougher. We still managed to fool a few smallmouth and more walleyes bit than I've seen all year, a good sign. The interesting thing is with the clear water I was visaully able to see the smallmouth, and I mean lots of smallmouth, sometimes up to 30 or more at a time. But we couldn't get them to bite anything under those clear skies and flat conditions. This was the case on both lakes. The fish would follow a bait and then spook. Anytime there would be a little breeze or some cloud cover that would decrease visibility a little you could get a bite. In fact on Friday the 17th after hours of frustration on both Spirit and Okoboji the sky clouded up around 4:30 and the bite was on, we caught 20 smallmouth, with 2 over 4 pounds, in 1 1/2 hours. Jerk baits are still  the key presentation.

Cold fronts didn't shut them down.

April 5-10 Spirit water temp 45 deg.

We have had some nasty cold fronts the past couple of days with big winds. However, on the days nice enough to fish the smallmouth have cooperated. Jerkbaits fished slow over rocks in 6-12 feet has been the key. Today, the 10th, Evan and I had 15 fish in a 1/2 day. 


The walleye seem to be spawning as the couple we've caught each day are milking.

A succesful first guide trip for 2015.

March 31, 2015 Spirit Lake temp. 42-44 degrees

I had my first guide trip of the year with Chuck and Greg joining me for a day of smallmouth fishing. We started around 11:00 and the first few hours were slow with a fish here and a fish there. The two biggest fish of the day hit jerkbaits on a deep rock point around 2:00 pm.  After a late lunch we hit a nice rockpile and had five quick bites from good smallmouth bass but only landed two of them. I also boated the first walleye of the year here. We moved around to three or four more spots with a fish here and there. The last spot of the day, a shallow rock flat proved the best of the day with Chuck putting 5 good ones in the net in 30 minutes. Jerkbaits were the key to getting bit today.

First day of 2015

March 19-25, 2015 water temp 40 degrees

I got out 3 days in this past week. Day one was nice but the wind was up and limited where I could fish, no bites. Day two, Friday, was a nice day with light winds and sunshine. My second stop of the day was on big sprawling point with numerous rockpiles spread over it. The first three cast with a #10 XRap yielded three bites and I landed two of those bites. That was it for there. The next rock point provided two more fish. The XRaps accounted for all the bites. Saturday brought sunshine but also a big temperature drop and the fish didn't cooperate. I haven't been out since because the cold and wind have been terrible. Next week we get upper 50s and 60s with light winds. I predict great fishing, so Book your Trip now.

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