Hunting & Fishing
Conservation and hunting groups cooperate to provide some of the best pheasant, waterfowl, turkey, and deer hunting to be found anywhere. Groups such as Pheasants Forever are very active in the Loess Hills and their efforts have paid off. Ducks Unlimited chapters in the area have provided waterfowl habitat so that the central flyway migratory ducks and geese find occasion to stop in on their migrations.
Responsible hunters may be able to arrange Lease and guided hunting.
A few public hunting areas are listed below.
Loess Hills Wildlife Area
This 3,896-acre property contains some of the best Loess Hills formations and prairie stands found in Iowa. Hiking is allowed throughout the area but trails are limited. Upland timber and prairie habitat provide good populations of deer, quail, squirrel, pheasant and turkey
Blue Lake Wildlife Area
Located adjacent to and west of Lewis and Clark State Park, this 865-acre area is a very popular "drive through" wildlife viewing site in the evenings. Hunting is allowed in the wildlife area but prohibited on state park land.
Middle Decatur Bend Wildlife Area
Good deer, pheasant, woodcock and waterfowl hunting is available on this 338-acre park area.
Louisville Bend Wildlife Area
This 904-acre site has a reputation for good hunting and wildlife viewing.
Badger Lake Wildlife Area
This site is an old oxbow lake that provides upland and marsh habitats. This 987-acre area is popular for viewing and hunting pheasants and waterfowl.
Blencoe Lake Wildlife Area
This 70-acre tract offers hunters a variety of marsh and dry timber. Access to this area is by river only.
Preparation Canyon State Park is located on the northeast corner of the Preparation Canyon Unit of the Loess Hills Forest. This park offers picnicking and hiking trails and a backpack trail with camp sites. Pheasant and Wild Turkey are popular game birds in the forest. White Tail deer, rabbit, and squirrel also populate the area.
Except for certain areas within 200 yards of residences and the headquarters area, the entire Loess Hills forest is open to hunting.
Public Hunting Area located between Castana and Mapleton
Picturesque farm ponds full of bass, crappie and bluegills exist on most properties. Pan fishing is a very popular way for parents to involve their children in the outdoor world. Trophy-sized bass can be had by the skillful angler working the farm ponds. Responsible fishermen have no trouble obtaining permission to try their skill on these lovely ponds.
A few of the area fishing spots:
Rodney Pits Recreation Area
This complex is actually three separate abandoned gravel pits that are being developed into a recreation and fishing area. Located two miles east of the town of Rodney, the combined 42 acres of water provide good fishing for bass, bluegill, crappie, and catfish. Future facilities will include camping pads, complete with electricity, vault toilets, an open shelter house, and drinking water. Camping is available for a fee.
Lewis and Clark State Park
This 176-acre park is situated on a 259-acre "Blue Lake". The park offers hiking trails, swim beach, enclosed lodge and historical display of the keelboat and other equipment used by the Lewis and Clark party. There are 81 electrical camping sites for visitors. The auto trail through the park and adjoining wildlife management area is a popular evening activity to view the abundant wildlife.
Oldham Recreation Area
This 13-acre park is located on a 12-acre lake, 1 1/2 miles northwest of the town of Soldier. A boat ramp and a swimming beach with a diving raft make this park very popular, along with some of the best fishing in the County! Electricity is available to picnickers and campers. Camping is available for a fee.
Located approximately 4 miles southeast of the town of Moorhead, this 25-acre park includes a 15-acre pond with 10 acres of land. Good populations of white crappie, bass, bluegill, carp, and catfish are available to area anglers. A boat ramp is available, and other improvements are planned for the future. Camping fees are charged.
Onawa Materials Yard
Situated on old Oxbow lake (5 1/4 miles west of the town of Onawa), this site was once used by the Corps as a material storage area for work done along the Missouri River. The 3-acre site is now used for primitive camping and for waterfowl viewing during the spring and fall migration.
Camping is available for a fee.
Blue Lake is a 269-acre oxbow lake located west of Onawa, in Monona County. Typical of many oxbow lakes, this lake is plagued by a dense vegetation growth in the spring and early summer months. This aquatic vegetation provides excellent habitat for the lake's main fish species, the largemouth bass. Blue lake has gotten a well-deserved reputation as a premiere largemouth bass fishery, especially by anglers that are targeting this species and know how to fish the weeds and weed line.
This 5-acre park is an excellent waterfowl and eagle viewing site in the early spring and fall! Situated on Middle Decatur Bend Oxbow, the area is popular for fishing, canoeing, and primitive camping. Potable water and vault toilets are the only facilities provided. Camping fees are charged.
The Missouri River offers popular fishing, camping, and hiking areas, as well as boating and skiing. The "Muddy Mo" is home to many species of fish and is a popular spot for anglers. The beautiful bluffs flanking the river are covered with vegetation that makes any visit worthwhile.