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Top 10 public fishing spots in Des Moines


There are several public fishing locations in Des Moines, Iowa, giving anglers the chance to engage in their favorite activity in both urban and rural environments. The top ten public fishing locations in and around Des Moines are listed below in the blog:

1. Gray’s Lake Park

Gray’s Lake Park, located in downtown Des Moines, offers a scenic urban fishing experience. Anglers can catch a variety of freshwater species, including bass and catfish. The park’s walking trails and amenities make it a popular spot for local anglers.

2. Raccoon River Park – Blue Heron Lake

Raccoon River Park features Blue Heron Lake, providing freshwater fishing opportunities. Anglers can target bass, crappie, and bluegill while enjoying the park’s picturesque surroundings. The park also offers additional recreational activities for families.

3. Big Creek State Park

The Big Creek State Park, located north of Des Moines, has excellent fishing. Bass, walleye, and other species can be caught by anglers using the park’s boat ramps or the shoreline. Local fishermen love the park because of its huge lake and scenic surroundings.

4. Yellow Banks Park – Des Moines River

Yellow Banks Park provides fishing along the Des Moines River, offering a mix of urban and natural scenery. Anglers can explore different sections of the riverbanks, targeting a variety of freshwater species. The park’s trails and green spaces add to the overall fishing experience.

5. Saylorville Reservoir

Northwest of Des Moines, Saylorville Reservoir is a well-known fishing spot. Fishing for bass, catfish, and crappie is available in the reservoir. Anglers can fish from the shoreline or use the various boat ramps available.

6. Easter Lake Park

Easter Lake Park provides freshwater fishing opportunities in a serene setting. Anglers can catch bass, bluegill, and more in the lake. The park’s recent restoration efforts have enhanced the fishing habitat, making it an attractive spot for local anglers.

7. Walnut Woods State Park – Walnut Creek

Walnut Woods State Park features fishing along Walnut Creek, providing a natural escape for anglers. The creek is home to various freshwater species, and anglers can explore different sections for a diverse fishing experience. The park’s wooded surroundings add to the tranquility of the fishing spot.

8. Annett Nature Center – DMACC Pond

The DMACC Pond at Annett Nature Center offers a family-friendly fishing experience. Anglers can catch a variety of species, and the pond’s accessibility makes it suitable for all skill levels. The nature center’s educational programs add to the overall outing.

9. Terra Lake Park

Terra Lake Park, in Johnston, offers fishing opportunities in a suburban setting. Targeting bass, bluegill, and other species, anglers can fish from the lake’s coastline. The park’s recreational facilities make it the perfect place to spend a lazy day fishing.

10. MacRae Park – Raccoon River

MacRae Park provides fishing along the Raccoon River, offering an urban fishing experience. Anglers can catch a variety of freshwater species while enjoying the park’s green spaces. The park’s location provides convenient access for local residents.


A few things to remember before you go fishing:

  1. Never trespass on private property to get to a fishing spot, only use public access or property you’ve received permission to access.
  2. Research your fishing spot(s) ahead of time so you know what to expect, and where the public access starts and ends.
  3. Be prepared – dress for the weather, bring a spare change of dry clothes/towels just in case, and bring everything you’ll need to fish and enjoy the day (bait, lures, rod, ice, snacks, etc.).
  4. Be aware of all the state regulations like catch limits, licenses, seasons, size & species restrictions.
  5. Be safe and have fun! No one wants to spoil the fun with hypothermia or a hook in the leg, so remember to have fun responsibly.

Posted on November 29, 2023

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