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Marshalltown area fishing

April 14, 2012
By TODD REED , Times-Republican

In the next few weeks I am going to dedicate each week to one local area fishing location. I will highlight not only just where to go fishing, but what that park surrounding the lakes are like too. Today's column will be an overall assessment of the Marshalltown area, and what it has to offer you, your family and friends.

As many of you know, I did not grow up in the Marshalltown area, I grew up in Northeast Iowa, and lakes are quite rare in that part of the state. The Mississippi River dominates that part of the state along with the many interior rivers, such as the Cedar River and Wapsipinicon River. The latter was just a few blocks away from where I spent my first twenty years of my life. Looking back, I wouldn't have wanted it any other way. The "Wapsi" was a short bike ride away, and once in a while friends or relatives would take me to the Mississippi River, which was about 90 minutes from my home town of Independence. First, if you have never been to the Mississippi River in Northeast Iowa, you are missing out on the best area of Iowa, in my opinion. The sites, sounds and of course fishing on Pools 9 and 10 are second to none. (Pools 9 and 10 are the most northern parts of the Mississippi River along Iowa's border)

I have had the pleasure, like several people did for me, to introduce the Mighty Mississippi to several people. These people had never seen it before, other than crossing over it while driving, and the most common response is; amazing or unbelievable. I have fished in many different states in this great country, on some the best bodies of water, but the river just keeps calling me back. Again, if you have never experienced the Mississippi River, especially in Northeast Iowa, do yourself a favor and put it on a short list of things to do this summer. There are many river tours available on Pool 10, a "Google search" will lead you in the right direction, or drop me an email, and I will gladly help you out.

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There is the Iowa River and many area lakes to explore during the fishing season. Over the next few weeks, I will highlight each area fishing hole and help you catch more fish. 

Although the Mississippi River isn't on the Marshalltown area fishing spots, it is only about three hours away, and I try to make it up there as much as possible each year. Most of the times it is for bass tournaments, but the best times are when you have no time constraints and you can fully take in the marvels of that part of the state.

As you can see, my second love of my life might be the Mississippi River, but the second chapter of my life, moving to Marshalltown after college introduced me to a whole new world of fishing. Although I crave "The River", the surrounding lakes in the area offer a lot of fishing opportunities if you know where and when to look for them. In the next few weeks, I will offer my suggestions to you on the surrounding lakes so that you and your friends and family can enjoy a day of fishing at the numerous local fishing areas.

Here is a brief summary of areas fishing locations.

Iowa River- This body of water that winds through Marshall County is top destination for catfish, walleye, and smallmouth bass. There a few access points to the river at county and city parks, but gaining access to most of the river must be done by asking land owners along the rive banks. The Iowa River is best fished when the water is at normal level or if the water is low. All fish species will hang near the current seems looking for their next meal. Live bait and small artificial baits are best to used on this small interior river.

Sand Lake/Green Castle Lake- These two lakes in Marshall County were once quarries where sand and rock were mined. Because of this, both are very deep. Both lakes have several jetties and fishing piers to fish off of. These jetties also have brush near by which allows bank anglers a chance to get close to the fishing action. Bluegills are the most abundant fish in both lakes, while crappies, catfish, largemouth and smallmouth bass are present too. The Smallmouth Bass are only in Sand Lake. These small ponds offer a lot of action, but if you are looking for a meal of fish to fry, these wouldn't be your best choice of area lakes.

Union Grove Lake- Union Grove Lake is located near Gladbrook. This lake is about 100 acres and makes for a great spot to fish for bluegills, crappies and bass. This lake is very good for anglers that do not have boats, as it offers several jetties and brush piles along the banks of the lake. This lake is not very deep; almost the entire lake is less than 10 feet deep. That doesn't hurt the population though, this lake ranks #2 in panfish population on my radar, so be sure to check it out.

Pine Lake Chain- Upper and Lower Pine Lakes are found in Pine Lake State Park by Eldora. These lakes are separate from each other, but are really the same when it comes to fishing. The panfish population overall is a bit small, but the bass population in both lakes are doing well. Lower Pine Lake offers the best fishing action from shore, while Upper Pine can only be accessed very little by land. Upper Pine Lake is 69 acres while Lower Pine Lake is 62 acres.

Hickory Grove Lake- This 100 acre lake can be found just west of the city of Colo. This lake is #1 on my list of lakes for big panfish. Crappies and bluegills can be found in this deep clear-water lake. While the average sized panfish is big in this lake, the bass population is on the small size. There are a lot of bass to catch here, but most are well below the keeper size of 15 inches. This lake also offers good channel cat fishing. There are plenty of areas on the shore to fish around the lake, so if you don't have a boat, this lake would be good for you also.

Rock Creek Lake- This is Marshalltown's biggest area lake, covering over 450 acres. Rock Creek Lake ranks #1 on my list of panfish population. This lake is full of crappies and bluegills, and whether you have a boat or not, Rock Creek is a great choice. Most of the lake can be walked around by shore angles looking to catch some fish. There are many big largemouth bass that swim in Rock Creek too, along with catfish. I have the best luck for all species in the months of April, May, June, and September. Most of this lake is shallow, less than twelve foot of water, and in those hot summer months the fish are less cooperative.

I hope you take some time to pick out a favorite lake or try to get to know a new one in the area soon. The fishing action is good right now, and will only get better as the water continues to warm near the sixty degree mark.


Contact Todd Reed at



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