FREE Fishing Weekend 2020: Where You Can Go Fishing with Des Moines Kids

FREE Fishing Weekend 2020: Where You Can Go Fishing with Des Moines Kids

Fishing is a classic family activity, but it can only be done outside of the Des Moines metro, right? Wrong! Not only does DSM offer different kinds of fishing experiences our rivers, lakes and ponds are truly teeming with fish, and we’ve got the scoop on where you and your kids can catch them.  Bonus, June 5-7, 2020 is FREE Fishing Weekend in Iowa

June 5th, 6th, and 7th, 2020, are “Free Fishing Days” for Iowa residents.  This means that Iowa residents can try the sport of fishing without a license or trout fee.

To legally fish in Iowa, all other times of the year, fishing licenses are required for anyone 16 or older (whether you plan to fish or just “help”).  This includes fishing at city, county and state parks. Yearly, seven-day, or 24-hour fishing licenses are available. You can purchase a fishing license on-line or from a licensed vendor. For additional information about fishing in Iowa here is a link to Iowa DNR’s 2020 Iowa Fishing Regulations.

Tips from Iowa DNR on taking kids fishing:

  • pack plenty of snacks and cold drinks
  • pick a fishing pole that fits your child’s hands
  • choose a spot close to home
  • morning trips are best – the fish bite better and kids have more energy
  • make sure there are restrooms near
  • pick a sunny day with moderate temperatures
  • keep the trip short – a couple hours at most
  • leave your fishing rod at home
  • remember you are taking the kids — they aren’t taking you
  • take plenty of breaks from fishing
  • take pictures
  • plan alternate activities to do if the weather turns bad or your child gets bored
  • emphasize that fishing is fun, catching is a bonus
  • have fun!

FREE Fishing Weekend 2020: Where You Can Go Fishing with Des Moines Kids –

Where to fish in the Des Moines area:

Annett Nature Center

15565 118th Avenue Indianola, IA 50125

Bring the whole family out for a morning of fishing fun at the Warren County Conservation headquarters. Anglers will be able to hook some Bluegill, Channel Catfish and Largemouth Bass from the shore of this six-acre pond.

Copper Creek Lake Park

4390 E. University Avenue, Pleasant Hill, IA 50327

Find several varieties of fish, including: Bluegill, Channel Catfish, Common Carp, Largemouth Bass and Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) at this Pleasant Hill park.  You can fish from the shore or carry-in, non-gas powered (non-inflatable) watercraft are allowed on the water.

Fort Des Moines Park

7200 SE 5th Street, Des Moines, IA 50315

The Fort Des Moines Pond is a great urban community fishing spot.  You can fish from the shore, fishing jetty or bring along your fishing boat. The pond is stocked with Bluegill, Channel Catfish and Largemouth Bass.

Glissman Conservation Area

32185 Panther Creek Road, Adel, IA 50003

Managed by Dallas County Conservation, Glissman Pond has a good population of Bluegill and Smallmouth bass and is a great place for beginning and experienced anglers.

Greenwood Park

4500 Grand Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50312

Pack up your bait, tackle and pole and visit Greenwood Park to try out your fishing skills. You’ll be able to hook Largemouth Bass, Bluegill and Channel Catfish in this picturesque pond located just south of the Des Moines Art Center.

Hawkeye Park

400 NW Lakeshore Drive, Ankeny, IA 50021

This suburban park pond is stocked with Black Crappie, Bluegill, Channel Catfish, Green Sunfish and Largemouth Bass.  Hawkeye Park Pond is maintained by Ankeny Parks and Recreation.

Kettlestone Commons Ponds 

230 Hickman Road, Waukee, IA 50263

Still somewhat under development, three ponds in Waukee’s Kettlestone Development are now stocked with Bluegill and Largemouth Bass.

Terra Park

6300 Pioneer Parkway, Johnston, IA 50131

The fishing pier on this eight-acre lake makes a great spot to cast your line. Terra Lake is stocked with Largemouth Bass, Channel Catfish and Bluegills. Canoes, kayaks and rowboats are also allowed on the water.

West Des Moines City Hall Pond

4200 Mills Civic Parkway, West Des Moines, IA 50265

This City fishing hole provides a great opportunity for local families to go fishing. Cast your line to catch Bluegill and Largemouth Bass at this community fishing pond.



Did we miss your family’s favorite fishing spot in the Des Moines area? Tell us about it in the comments below.

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