Angling in the Iowa Great Lakes offers diversity.
By Greg Drees
People are drawn to water magnetically, spiritually. Anglers are among the most ardent to seek lakes of fortune. They come from near and far to the waters of Okoboji, lured by the legend of the fisheries, which are healthy, diverse and full of mystery.
Some ply the waters in showy boats rigged with an arsenal of digital fish-finding gadgets. Others choose more elemental approaches in chest waders or from shorelines. Ice fishers, too, come in all shapes and sizes, from the fundamental to the sublime. But the quest is all the same: To be out there enjoying the resource, sharing and making friendships on the water and, truth be known, to catch that elusive trophy or put a fish or two in the creel for a special dinner.
Most anglers agree – from guides who are on the water daily, to the casual weekender – that the good ole’ days of fishing are NOW in the Iowa Great Lakes.
“What I’ m impressed with right now is the overall health of the fisheries in the Iowa Great Lakes” Grosvenor said. “We are putting numbers of fish in the boat that are hard to believe.
”Burns concurred, saying there is a bite going on somewhere all the time. “If I look at the overall picture in my 17 years of experience as a guide on these waters, I don’ t remember better times.”
Springtime means open water in Okoboji – typically in late March or early April – and anglers are anxious to launch tie boats. If Doug Burns can be on Big Spirit immediately after ice-out, he’s targeting smallmouth bass on rocky points that reach out into the main lake basin. “I’m throwing jerk baits or hair jigs, maybe even a blade bait, and it can be phenomenal if you’re timing is right,” Burns said.