Barefoot Stage Live Cam

Whatever your plans may be this year, consider the convenience of a hoist rental from Parks Marina


Hosted by:
  • Parks Marina
  • 24457 178th Street - Okoboji
  • Iowa 51355 - United States
  • 712.332.7303

The Iowa Great Lakes

Not every visitor to the Iowa Great Lakes dreams about capturing a golden tan on the deck of a sleek boat, sailing against the backdrop of a glorious sunset or enjoying the area's exciting nightlife.

We refer, of course, to the countless fishermen, hunters and trails enthusiasts who enjoy our area during all four seasons and all types of weather.

Fishing and the Iowa Great Lakes have been synonymous since the earliest days and eleven fishing lakes in the county lure anglers to their shores annually. Covering over 14,000 acres, the lakes offer a wide variety of species, including northern, walleye, muskie, perch and large and small mouth bass.

Spirit Lake, touted as 'the quiet lake', is the largest body of water with 5,684 acres. In addition to having an accessible pier, boat rentals, ramps and camping sites, the lake is perfect for year around fishing.

The second largest lake, West Okoboji, is one of the best fishing spots during the off-season and for winter ice fishing. Because of the lake's popularity for water sports and boating during the three months of summer, it's difficult at that time to find a nice, quiet place to drown your bait.

The fishing is particularly good when the temperature of the weather and the lakes start to change, periods referred to as 'Fall Bite' and 'Spring Bite'. The 'ice villages' that appear on the lakes attest to the bountiful winter fishing, too.

For information about public fishing areas, lake maps, boat ramps, licenses or where the fish are biting, or if you just want to swap some good fish stories, four bait and tackle shops are ready to serve you. They also have the names of reputable fishing guides in the area, including one known as 'the fishing professor'.

Two youth fishing clinics are planned for 1998. The Upper Great Plains Chapter of Muskie, Inc. will sponsor one clinic during late May or early June, and the Iowa Great Lakes Fishing Club will give the second, held at Stoley's Pond near the Spencer Airport, in late May.

Approximately 40 fishing tournaments, some closed and some open to the public, are held every year. Six of the state's all-time record fish have been caught in area lakes: Smallmouth Bass (7 lbs. 12 oz.), White Bass (3 lbs. 14 oz.), Freshwater Drum (46 lbs.), Muskie (45 lbs. 9 oz.), Tiger Muskie (27 lbs. 2 oz.), and Northern Pike (25 lbs. 5 oz.).

Pheasant, deer, duck and geese continue to attract hunters to Dickinson County's 25 designated public hunting and trapping areas. Spread out over a total of 22,309 acres, the areas range from the largest (Spirit Lake, waterfowl on 5,684 acres) to the smallest (Henderson, squirrels on 14 acres).

Three areas offer diverse hunting opportunities for waterfowl, deer and pheasant: Diamond Lake, 598 acres which include a shallow lake, bordered by timber and grass; the Kettleson Hogsback Complex, 1,681 acres of marsh, upland, timber and prairie; and the Swan Lake-Christopherson Slough Complex, 930 acres, which is two-thirds shallow lake-marsh and one-third upland grass and timber.

Hunting guides are also available for visitors unfamiliar with the lakes area.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources carefully manages the public hunting lands. That management is necessary to provide food, winter cover and secure nesting habitat for resident and migratory wildlife species, and to provide public hunting opportunities. Special regulations, intended to protect wildlife, are posted at parking lots and access roads for your convenience.

By the way, if you should bag a trophy, you might want to check out the area's three taxidermy studios.

The Dickinson County Recreational Trails provide a safer place to bike, walk, rollerblade, run, cross-country ski and snowmobile.

Sixty miles of signed biking routes loop from the main trail, called the Spine Trail, which is now more than 14 miles long, extending from Milford to Spirit Lake. The latest section of the spine, which extends from 15th to 23rd Streets in Spirit Lake, was completed last year. A new branch, which connects the main trail to Kenue Park, was completed in the fall..

The bike routes are on low-traffic roads, designed for the user who wants a more challenging workout while enjoying the rural countryside. Several area businesses offer bicycle and rollerblade rentals. While on the trails, you are encouraged to wear a helmet if riding, take nothing but pictures and leave nothing but footprints.

Three organized bike rides are also held each year. The University of Okoboji Campus Classic, with 25-, 50- and 100-mile rides, is held the last Saturday in June. BRASL (Bike Ride Around Spirit Lake) has 14-, 35- and 65-mile rides and is set for the second Saturday in July. The Oktoberfest ride, with laps of 25 or 50 miles, takes place on the first Saturday in October.

The Dickinson County Conservation Board also sponsors nature hikes and bird hikes for all ages. Several outdoor treks will be part of ³Wings and Wetlands '98², held in mid-May. Whether you're hooking, hunting or hiking, be sure to pause and enjoy the scenic wonders and beauty of the Iowa Great Lakes.