Trout fishing in Central Iowa? Yes, it’s possible. Thanks to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. The DNR raise trout hatchlings and stock local lakes during cooler months. So, if you’re an experienced angler or want to try trout fishing, there are a few local options! Below, we share where you can fish for trout near Des Moines.
Fishing for Trout In Central Iowa
Last year, Iowa trout permits shot up 25%! The pandemic spurred many Iowans to go trout fishing. And with cooler months just around the corner, anglers are gearing up for trout fishing.
Trout need cold water to live, and anyone who’s been through an Iowa summer knows it isn’t always cool here. But some spring-fed streams in northeast Iowa allow trout to survive year-round. These streams often have naturally bred brown and brook trout.1
But if you can’t travel to northeast Iowa, no worries! There are a few lakes in Central Iowa where you can fish for trout. The Iowa DNR stock trout in community ponds in the spring and fall.
Four community trout ponds are near Des Moines. And there are a couple more within easy driving distance. Below are lakes where you can fish for trout near Des Moines.
Trout Fishing Near Des Moines
Terra Lake, Johnston
Terra Lake is the closest community trout pond to Des Moines. It’s a 7-acre lake south of Pioneer Parkway in Johnston, with an accessible fishing pier and playground nearby.
Triumph Park Lake, Waukee
Triumph Park Lake is a 9-acre lake west of Des Moines, on the western edge of Waukee. It’s in a newer city park and has an accessible fishing pier, along with shore fishing. Plus, there’s a fantastic accessible playground nearby.
Banner Lakes (South), Indianola
Banner Lakes at Summerset State Park is a 222-acre park just south of Des Moines. The site was once a coal mine, which created a series of lakes now surrounded by woods and wetlands. The south lake gets stocked with trout seasonally.
Lake Petocka, Bondurant
Lake Petocka is a 19-acre lake northeast of Des Moines in Bondurant. Rainbow Trout (and sometimes Brook Trout) get stocked here seasonally. For more on fishing at Lake Petocka, check out the City of Bondurant webpage.
Other Central Iowa Trout Ponds
Ada Hayden Lake, Ames
Ada Hayden Lake in Ames is a 40-minute drive north of Des Moines. The 137-acre lake gets stocked with Rainbow Trout seasonally (sometimes Brook Trout too).
Sand Lake, Marshalltown
Sand Lake is an hour’s drive northeast of Des Moines. It’s a 95-acre lake stocked with Rainbow and Brook Trout seasonally.
A Brief Guide to Trout Fishing
Central Iowa Trout Fishing Season
In northeast Iowa, you can fish for trout year-round. But in Central Iowa, community trout ponds are usually stocked in the spring and fall. See the DNR website for the stocking schedule.
To fish for trout in Iowa, you need an annual fishing license and pay a Trout Fee. For more on Iowa fishing licenses and fees, see the Iowa DNR’s webpage.
Children under 16 are exempt if they are with an adult with a fishing license and a paid trout fee. But they must only catch the daily one-person limit between them. Yet, if children under 16 pay a trout fee, they’re allowed a daily limit of their own.
There are no length limits for trout in Central Iowa (some northeast Iowa streams have limitations). The one-person daily bag limit is five trout, with a combined possession limit of 10. For more on Iowa trout regulations, see the Iowa DNR website.
Fishing reports for Iowa
The best way to learn about Iowa’s fishing conditions is through the Iowa DNR’s fishing reports. Sign up for the weekly reports to see what types of fish are biting and where. You can also view the latest DNR fishing reports here.
The links below offer excellent information on trout fishing in Iowa!
- Iowa DNR Trout Fishing
- How to Fish for Trout (Iowa DNR)
- Learn about Rainbow Trout, Brook Trout, and Brown Trout
- Trout Fishing in Iowa Facebook page
• Trout Fishing in Iowa: Best trout streams and lakes
• Lakes Near Des Moines, Iowa
• Ice Fishing in Iowa: Safety, Gear, and the Top Ice Fishing Lakes
• Top Lakes in Iowa: 12 Best Lakes for Recreation and Relaxation
1. Trout Fishing. Iowa Department of Natural Resources. https://www.iowadnr.gov/fishing/trout-fishing