Cracking the Code: Unveiling Iowa’s Fishing Season Start Date!

When does fishing season start in Iowa


Fishing is a beloved pastime for many outdoor enthusiasts in Iowa. With its numerous lakes, rivers, and streams, the state offers ample opportunities for anglers to indulge in their favorite sport. However, before heading out with your gear, it’s important to know when the fishing season officially begins in Iowa. In this blog post, we’ll provide you with all the information you need about the start of fishing season and what you can expect during this exciting time.

The General Fishing Season Dates

In Iowa, the general fishing season starts on April 1st each year and extends until October 31st. These dates apply to most lakes and rivers throughout the state where angling activities are allowed. It’s important to note that these dates may vary slightly depending on specific regulations for certain bodies of water or fish species.

Fishing Seasons by Species

Iowa boasts a diverse range of fish species living in its waters. To ensure sustainable populations and responsible angling practices, different fish have specific seasons when they can be targeted legally. Here are some popular fish species found in Iowa along with their respective fishing seasons:

  • Bass: The bass fishing season typically opens on May 24th (Memorial Day weekend) and remains open until mid-February of the following year.
  • Trout: Trout fishing enthusiasts will be delighted to know that there are two trout seasons: spring and fall/winter trout seasons.
    • Spring Trout Season: This usually begins around April 1st and runs through late October or early November (depending on weather conditions).
    • Fall/Winter Trout Season: This season starts in early October and continues until the end of February, providing anglers with an opportunity to reel in some trout during colder months.
  • Crappie: Crappie fishing can be enjoyed throughout the general fishing season, from April to October. However, they are most active during springtime when water temperatures start to rise.

Licenses and Regulations

Prior to casting your line in Iowa’s waters, it’s essential to obtain the appropriate fishing license. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) issues licenses that allow residents and non-residents alike to fish legally within state boundaries. You can purchase a fishing license online through the DNR website or from authorized vendors across the state.

In addition to licensing requirements, it’s crucial for anglers to familiarize themselves with any specific regulations governing catch limits, size restrictions, and special rules for certain bodies of water or fish species. Staying informed about these regulations helps maintain healthy fish populations and ensures sustainable angling practices for future generations.


Iowa offers fantastic opportunities for fishing enthusiasts throughout its plentiful lakes, rivers, and streams. Understanding when fishing season begins is crucial for planning your outdoor adventures effectively. Remember that while the general fishing season runs from April 1st until October 31st each year, different species may have specific seasons or additional regulations that need consideration. Always check local guidelines before embarking on your next exciting angling excursion!