The Des Moines metro area holds more fishing opportunities than people realize. When I first set foot in Iowa in 2013, I was not expecting the variety of fishing that exists. More than that; I was shocked to learn that the majority of these little drainage ditches and puddles (or if you prefer to call them "ponds")- they all seem to have fish.
According to the DNR's "Fish Local" map (fantastic resource, by the way, shoutout to Tyler Stubbs and the Community Fishing Program), there are close to 100 public fisheries within a 15 mile radius of downtown Des Moines. That is an incredible amount of fishing opportunities, and that number doesn't even include all of the rivers within a quick drive of Des Moines.
We always try to include "Local Ponds" in the Fishing Report so that people can learn that there is a great number of fishing opportunities likely within a short drive of their neighborhood.
Yesterday, I spent the day outside, in the rain, and exploring a handful of these ponds. The quality of the fishing was fantastic; the access was simple; and the species variety was great. In an afternoon outing, we managed to bring 5 different fishes (fishes=multiple fish species) to hand, including bass, carp, and a variety of panfish.
Many of these ponds tend to see a lot of vegetative growth later in the summer, so April through June tends to be the best time to find fishable waters.
There are also some fantastic rivers within a quick trip of Des Moines. The Des Moines River runs right through town; a variety of other smaller waters exist to the east and west of the Des Moines metro. The variety of species in the river systems increases greatly compared to the urban ponds. However, fish generally aren't as concentrated in the river system as they are in the local ponds; if you're new to the area, the ponds are a good place to start if you're looking for quick success.
If you're new to fly fishing, or aren't sure where to start, feel free to contact us for more information. We love to talk fishing and really enjoy the opportunities offered in urban areas. The Des Moines area is an incredible place to learn fly fishing.
Click here for the Iowa DNR's Fishing Report (4/27/2022)
Saylorville/Big Creek: Saylorville has been low and dirty since the ice breakup, but since the sediment study has concluded, it has started to come up a little bit. The catfish guys have been doing well! Big Creek has seen more traffic since the boat ramps went in, and bass and walleye guys have been plentiful. Expect this to continue throughout the early summer. A few wipers being caught in deep water, too.
Local Ponds: Fishing has been fantastic. Depending on the pond, some of your bass will still be holding in a little deeper water, but many ponds have fish moving up to shallower waters and preparing to spawn soon.
Des Moines River: There has been some great walleye fishing this spring throughout the DSM river system.
**Use Caution below Saylorville; flows may fluctuate as there is plenty of work being done downtown, as well as on Saylorville lake, that may impact flows.. For more info on this project, see this link.
Get in touch with us to book a fly fishing trip in Iowa!
~GUIDED FLY FISHING IN IOWA~