Walleye season opens May 2 on Iowa’s Great Lakes

The 144th walleye fishing season officially opens May 2 at Spirit Lake, East and West Okoboji lakes.

“The start of the walleye season typically draws many anglers to the Iowa Great Lakes,” said Mike Hawkins, fisheries biologist for the Iowa DNR. “But anglers should remember, there will be plenty of great fishing in the weeks and months ahead.”

The walleye season is just opening at the Iowa Great Lakes, but it is open continuously on all other Iowa lakes and streams. If your favorite walleye fishing spot is popular and busy, try out a new one where less people are fishing.

A day on the water could provide you the calm you need right now. Just be careful and responsible and abide by the physical distancing protocols recommended by the state to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Only one boat should use a ramp at a time to help prevent contact with other boaters.
Keep at least 6 feet of distance between you and other anglers and avoid popular areas where people may congregate.
Stick with your immediate family, but keep groups to fewer than 10 people.
Bring along hand sanitizer.
Disinfect surfaces that others may have touched (e.g boat dock handrails).

Walleye season opens the first Saturday in May and runs through February 14 each year on Spirit Lake, East Okoboji Lake and West Okoboji Lake. There is a protected slot limit on walleyes from 17- to 22-inches, with only one walleye over 22-inches allowed per day on Spirit Lake, East and West Okoboji Lake, Upper and Lower Gar Lake and Minnewashta Lake. The daily limit is three walleyes with a possession limit of six.

To further promote physical distancing and less travel, the Iowa Great Lakes Chamber of Commerce’s 38th annual Walleye Weekend Fishing Contest has been cancelled. An extended contest will still be held May 4th through August 31st. For more information on the contest, visit the Iowa Great Lakes Chamber’s website at www.okobojichamber.com.