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.
Three 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. Terra Lake gets stocked with rainbow trout annually.
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. There is a north lake and a south lake. Banner Lake South gets stocked with rainbow 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 that gets 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. There are no announcements when the lakes get stocked. But the Iowa DNR fishing reports can help you figure out when they’re biting (more on the fishing reports below).
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 not catch more than the daily one-person limit between the two of 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 find out about 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!
1. Trout Fishing. Iowa Department of Natural Resources. https://www.iowadnr.gov/fishing/trout-fishing