Fish live in many bodies of water. From the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, to lakes and reservoirs, to smaller streams and rivers. Even small farm ponds may have sizable fish populations, sometimes over 200 pounds of fish per acre of water. The type of habitat will determine the kinds of fish that live there.
Types of fish in Iowa
There are 148 different kinds of fish in Iowa. Scientists have classified fish into groups.
Primitive fish – resemble their fossilized ancestors. Primitive fish are most commonly found in major rivers, like the Missouri and Mississippi, and their tributaries. Rarely are they found in the lake and waterways within the state. Some examples include: lampreys (eel-like fish), paddlefish, sturgeon, gar, and bowfin.
Bony fish – most fish in Iowa and around the world are bony fish. Bony fish are more evolutionarily advanced than primitive fish and differ from them in several ways. There are several families of bony fish found in Iowa. Some families include: pike, perch, sunfish, trout, catfish, minnow, and sucker.
The Fisheries Bureau of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) performs most of the public fish management operations in Iowa. The goal of the Fisheries Bureau is to make sure Iowa waters always have a continuous yield of healthy fish. In managing the fish populations of Iowa’s waters, the DNR has implemented a number of fishing rules and regulation to protect fish and allow for safe, enjoyable outings. See the web link below for Iowa rules and regulations.
Funding for Fish
If you are 16 or older and want to fish in Iowa, you must purchase a fishing license. The funds collected from license fees are used to fund the states fisheries management program, Iowa’s six fish hatcheries, and to fund educational programs. The money is also used to build new lakes, public access roads, fishing jetties, underwater structures, and to enforce fishing laws in the state.
Polk County Fishing
For information on fishing in Polk County check out the Things to Do section in this web site.
Iowa Outdoors Magazine - Fishing - pictures, information, distribution maps, and tips from experts on how to catch all 148 species in Iowa. Includes Iowa rules and regulations and suggestions on where to fish. Excellent resource.