Home Forums Fishing Panfishing Rathbun Crappie

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  • AvatarMengo
    Participant
    Post count: 136

    Anybody have any recent experience or info on how the crappie fishing at Rathbun is lately? Going there this weekend for five days………hoping the fishing is quite better than the last two years. I know that the water is up about 7 ft over normal; was wondering if it is really muddy? Is anyone catching any decent fish?

    Cheers!

    Avatarbtomlin
    Participant
    Post count: 315

    Can’t help with bite, but water is up 11′ over normal and pretty dirty. There has been a lot of boats, but I haven’t heard of a “hot bite”. Good luck and more importantly…have fun!

    Avatarmarcus
    Participant
    Post count: 76

    DINKS DINKS DINKS lots of fish but no size
    Was down there today and I can usally find decent fish, was that way during hard water fishin…..I am stumped
    Good Luck

    AvatarMengo
    Participant
    Post count: 136

    Back from Rathbun. Fished Saturday and Sunday and it was SO bad that we played golf Monday and came back home yesterday…………without even fishing Monday or Tuesday. The last 2-3 years at Rathbun have been pretty poor, but this year takes the cake. We had 12-14 guys fishing and probably only caught a half dozen keepers. Yes, there are some dinks for sure, but that has been the story for several years.

    I think the lake is shot. Too much flood control and too little erosion control. A local told us that over 50% of the walleyes in the lake have gone through the spillway, as there is nothing at the outlet tube to stop fish from being sucked in. I have no idea how many walleyes maybe USED to be in Rathbun, but there surely are some big problems with the lake, in my opinion. Banks dropping everywhere with large trees that are just being killed. And they don’t do a whole lot of good as structure for the future either………..that is, assuming that a “normal pool” will occur in the future.

    Sad to say, but it looks to me like Rathbun is down and going down further.

    Avatarpheasant1
    Participant
    Post count: 1502

    Your local is nuts if he thinks 50% went out the spillway. I’ve fished Rathbun religously for walleyes and cant remember the last time I even fished next to the dam. No good walleye fishing over that way and haven’t located bait fish over there in years. I think he’s blowing some smoke so you won’t go back. Crappie spawn the last couple years has been terrible there, but inconsistent weather and water pool are main culprits. Plenty of good fish but a WHOLE LOT of water!

    AvatarGonefishing
    Participant
    Post count: 424

    I love hearing this stuff. 50% of fish gone? Really? LOL made my day 😆

    Avatarbowmaker
    Participant
    Post count: 725

    My son and I fished the spillway Sunday morning for several hours. We caught probably 150 to 200 small 8 to 10 inch walleyes along with several small crappies. The water and fish were very cold. We were using minnows on a lindy rig with a floating jig and fishing right across from the big tube and the water was right up to the bottom of that tube, and pretty dirty. Earlier in the spring the DNR spent a few days shocking walleyes in the spillway and relocating them up toward the north end of the lake to see how quickly they would migrate and to where. The reports were that they took about 500 fish ranging from 2 pounds to 9 pounds. My son was there and watched then scooping up 5 pound fish right in front of him. I don’t believe the bit about 50 percent of the walleyes going down the spillway because if that were the case you would be able to walk across the river on their backs, they would be packed so tight you would never be able to make a cast with out hooking or snagging one and that ain’t the case.

    Avatarwiskeyjack
    Participant
    Post count: 190

    Looks like an estimated 40% from the DNR reports.

    DNR Working to Improve Walleye Fishing at Rathbun
    Posted: April 20, 2010

    MORAVIA, Iowa – The annual spring walleye egg collection at Lake Rathbun ended two weeks ago and the conditions could not have been better. Fisheries crews with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources collected adult walleyes for nine nights to supply the hatchery with enough eggs to produce 51 million walleye fry.

    The bulk of those adult walleyes can be traced to the 2006 year class. Walleyes are an important resource at Lake Rathbun and their popularity continues to grow.

    “While we caught a lot of fish, this 2006 year class could be so much larger,” said Mark Flammang, fisheries biologist for the DNR at Lake Rathbun. “Our walleye population is down, but the weather was perfect and that attracted a lot of fish to the dam.”

    Walleyes have not always been as prominent in the lake as they are today. In the 1980s, the population crashed. A major effort to increase walleye survival in the 1990s re-established the population and the lake began its run as a major player in the Midwest walleye fishing world.

    Then, the 2000s brought four years of flooding that knocked the walleye population back down.

    Rathbun Flood Control Reservoir
    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is in charge of Lake Rathbun’s water level and operates the lake as a federal flood control reservoir. When water level rises, the Corps will increase the water release to get the reservoir to normal pool in case it needs to store water to prevent downstream flooding.

    In 2001, Rathbun experienced flood conditions from late winter on through summer and the Corps allowed as much water as possible to pass through the dam. Mixed in with the out-flowing water was an estimated 40 percent of the adult walleye population. Other high water years in 2007, 2008 and 2009, also impacted the population, but were not as bad.

    “The walleye loss is not just during flood events in the spring, its high flows anytime,” Flammang said. To try to quantify the loss, he collected walleyes below the spillway from October 2009 to February, tagged them and retuned them to the lake. Of the fish tagged, 10 percent were recaptured below the spillway, during moderate flows, when high numbers of walleyes would not normally be near the dam.

    The problem is magnified in the spring when the outflows are high and the walleyes are moving to the dam looking to spawn. Many are washed through and end up in the Chariton River. Since the Chariton River does not have the characteristics of a walleye stream, they move south to Missouri eventually ending up in the Missouri River.

    “We need to find an answer to minimize walleye loss,” Flammang said. “There is a possible solution. The first step to solving this problem is to reduce the outflow at a time when walleye abundance is critical and outmigration peaks, which is during the spring because most of the spawning habitat is at the dam, and then install a non-physical barrier to keep the fish away from the outflow area and in the lake.”

    Flammang said there are non-physical barriers in place today around the country that use strobe lights, bubbles and other techniques to keep fish away from specific areas.

    The non-physical barrier has the potential to help walleyes and to improve fishing across the board, including the crappie and white bass. Rathbun has a huge crappie class coming up and the population looks to be strong for years to come. White bass numbers could also improve.

    “There is a lot of good that can come from this,” Flammang said. “I hope to get to a point to find a deterrent system.”

    Based on his five month study, the impact of the lost walleyes is $200,000 in fishing and the local economic benefit. “If we can reduce our loss to 30 percent of what is currently is, the investment in the barrier can be recouped rather quickly,” he said.

    But until then, Flammang will continue to capture walleyes that wash through the dam, tag them and return them to the lake. He has tagged about 1,300 walleyes so far and has roughly 500 tags left.

    “There will be good fishing here for walleyes, crappies, channel catfish and white bass,” Flammang said. “This lake is the most important walleye fishery south of I-80. If we could get the barrier, we could take the walleye population to new heights and protect other species as well.”

    And Lake Rathbun would again be mentioned among the premier walleye and crappie fisheries in the Midwest.

    AvatarJRwIA
    Participant
    Post count: 286

    You beat me to the news release whiskyjack.

    3-4 years ago, I got a call from a former co-worker who lives near Glasgow, Mo., on the Missouri River, just a few miles downstream from the mouth of the Chariton River. John is a life long river rat catfishing guy. I had taken him walleye fishin in Iowa and S. Daklota a few times over the years. He proceeded to tell me that for a year or two, he had been getting an occasional walleye while catfishing and wanted some tips on how to target them. “John, are ya sure they are walleyes and not sauger, I know ya got some down there in the Missouri?” “No, Jeff, these are walleyes, they got fangs like yours do.” “John, rattlers have fangs, walleye have teeth, as do sauger.” No Jeff, we’re pretty sure they are walleyes.” “Ok, do ya have any wingdams down there?” “Ya, south of town there is lots of them… (pause)… ah, that is where I’m catching them.” “So what are ya catching them on?” “A couple on smashed chubs but mostly crawler gobs” “John, get some Shad Raps, like we used in Dakota”. “Should I run the boat backwards and drag those around like we did up there?” “No John, you drink way too much beer when you fish to be backtrolling, anchor upstream of the wing dam and cast back to it, 10 – 15 cast, then move if nothing, and make sure there is current hitting that section of dam.”

    John caught a few that summer and fall on a pretty regular basis. The next summer he calls. ‘Jeff, caught 3 walleyes today, one really big’un. Stopped at the bait shop on the way home to show the big’un off. The game warden was there. He said these walleyes are comin down the Chariton from Iowa, outta some lake up there. Did ya know that?” “Yea John, heard that, especially that last couple years with all the floods. But didn’t know you lived so close to the Chariton”.

    “Yea, heard ’bout them floods. Well thank ya Iowa…. hope ya don’t have any droughts.”

    AvatarSlabHappy
    Participant
    Post count: 20

    Hey Mengo,

    Pheasant 1 and Gonefishing, so eager to ridicule you, apologize for making fools of themselves. Thanks for the accurate report, keep it up, brother!

    AvatarIAcrankbait
    Participant
    Post count: 300

    I’ve heard electronic barriers are used to keep fish out of places, would be cool if they could use one to keep them in.

    Avatarbrandon1718
    Participant
    Post count: 919

    just to let you know.In 2001, Rathbun experienced flood conditions from late winter on through summer and the Corps allowed as much water as possible to pass through the dam. Mixed in with the out-flowing water was an estimated 40 percent of the adult walleye population. Other high water years in 2007, 2008 and 2009, also impacted the population, but were not as bad. it says in 2001 they lost 40%not 2010 🙄

    AvatarGonefishing
    Participant
    Post count: 424

    So, 9 years ago the DNR says that we MAY have lost 40% of adult walleyes and now Rathbun is the dead sea? Your right the walleyes are gone! The lake is dead, you should probably find a different lake to fish.

    Avatarpheasant1
    Participant
    Post count: 1502

    Quote “In 2001, Rathbun experienced flood conditions from late winter on through summer and the Corps allowed as much water as possible to pass through the dam. Mixed in with the out-flowing water was an estimated 40 percent of the adult walleye population. Other high water years in 2007, 2008 and 2009, also impacted the population, but were not as bad. ”

    The original post said 50% this says 40%, 9 years ago. The article admits the last 3 years havent been as bad and that 2006 class are 4 and 6lb fish now. I can understand SPRING high water washing out some walleyes, but the rest of the statement about the flooding makes NO sense. See, if some of you have actually FISHED the lake you would realize that when the water is high other than EARLY spring the best place to find the walleyes is wind swept shorelines, or shallow weeds way back in the bays . Rathbun continues to be one of best summer lakes to catch walleyes the truly big fish never make it to the damn as I’ve havent heard of a big fish being caught there. Keeping the fish in there would be a great idea if we could do it effectively and efficiently.

    Avatarpheasant1
    Participant
    Post count: 1502

    Here’s my apology to Slabhappy for being able to read! Also back to his topic of Crappie fishing, if you have access to a boad the new vegitation along the shore over in Honey Creek can provide some decent fish also the weedy shores adjacent to the beeches have produce well in the past.

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