The long wait is over for ice anglers

Right around the Dec. 25 ice anglers in the area were given their holiday gift – thick ice. It has been since the early part of last February that most people have ice fished in this area, so it has been a long wait, and I sure am glad it is over. The ice has arrived!

I have had the chance to fish on four different area bodies of water since Christmas Eve. This week I am going to share the local ice information on all the different bodies of water we have to choose from here in the Marshalltown area.

Hickory Grove Lake

This lake is the best area lake if you are looking for a meal of bluegills. A recent trip there proved once again why this is one of the most used lakes in the Marshalltown area. The bluegill population is fantastic, and there are plenty of opportunities for catching 8+ inch bluegills. Crappies roam the lake too, but are much harder to pinpoint during the winter time. The ice is in excellent shape at this lake, except for around the island. Geese have kept this part of the lake open recently, and will not be uniform to the rest of the lake. The mid-part of the lake had 6 inches of nice clear ice when I visited it last weekend.

Marshalltown Ponds

These three little gems located on the south side of town have seen a lot of ice fishing this year already. They are great for a short trip to catch bass, bluegills and crappies. All three locations have ice up to 6 inches thick and fish have been caught in the deeper areas of these ponds. Please remember catch and release in these ponds and keep them a great place to enjoy some fishing in the city limits.

Private Ponds

A lot of ice anglers spend the majority of their winter fishing on private ponds owned by farmers. These are fantastic, and all reports have the ice being stable at these area ponds. Remember to ask permission first, and be sure to see what the land owner wants you to do with the fish you catch. Some want them all thrown back in, while others may allow you to keep some to eat.

Green Castle Lake

This lake is about a third the size it normally is due to the draining process that is occurring. I have heard of two reports of good ice, over 5 inches and many fish coming through the ice. This small lake will be totally drained, so if you catch fish that are close to keeping, you might as well add them to your daily catch. Enjoy this little lake this winter, bluegills, crappies, bass and walleye have been caught there recently.

Sand Lake

Our nearest lake has built some good ice lately too and has had many anglers out testing their skills. Ice was reported to me at just less than 5 inches a few days ago. Use caution on this body of water, as it always holds many geese, and they will keep areas open later than other areas of the lake. Remember, the far north part of this lake has trout, if you keep trout, you must have the trout stamp along with your regular fishing license. Crappies and bluegills have been biting here, no reports of bass or walleyes, but they are in there too just waiting to be coaxed into biting.

Rock Creek Lake: Located south of Marshalltown about twenty-five minutes is usually the place to go for winter-time crappies. I say usually, because that has not been the case this year yet. I have several reports of anglers catching more bluegills than crappies from the lake so far in this early ice season. Ice is being reported at 6 inches throughout the lake as of last Monday.

Union Grove Lake: The ice is great at this area lake too, over 6 inches as of last weekend. Bluegills, once again seem to be the fish that is being caught most often. The overall size of bluegills in Union Grove has increased the last couple of years, so if you haven’t tried this place in a while, you may want to put it back on your list. Crappies, bass and catfish have been caught here recently too.

As always, no ice is safe ice, so use caution and use your ice safety materials, rope, floatation devices, ice picks and the buddy system to ensure a good day on the ice. Another reminder, your 2012 fishing license expires on Jan.10, so the next time you are out and about, pick up a new one, or order one online at

Be safe, and enjoy this wonderful ice fishing season.

Contact Todd Reed at and