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Lake Rathbun is a 11,000 acre Army Corps of Engineer reservoir located in Appanoose County. Facilities include Honey Creek State Park, six Corps of Engineer campgrounds, two marinas and multiple boat ramps.

Rathbun Fish Hatchery is located below the lake dam. Iowa Department of Natural Resources biologists raise channel catfish, walleye and largemouth bass at the hatchery. Visitors are welcomed during normal working hours.

The reservoir is known throughout the Midwest for outstanding crappie fishing. More than 167,000 crappies are harvested from the lake each year. Each spring soon after ice melt anglers experience some of the best channel catfish fishing found anywhere. Summer months, June through August, provide excellent walleye and white bass fishing.

The lower lake section extends from the dam into the the Honey Creek and Ham Creek arms and extends up the main lake to the Island View West Area. Specific locations in this area are good for crappie, walleye and white bass fishing. Lake water quality is always best in the lower lake portion.

The mid lake section begins at the Island View area and extends to the Rolling Cove area. Anglers seek this area for walleye and white bass. Crappie Cove is a favorite area among crappie anglers.

The upper lake area begins at Rolling Cove and extends above the flooded timber line. This is a favorite area for white bass and walleye fishing.

The flooded timber area extends into the channels of the North and South Fork Rivers. Channel catfish fishing is excellent in this area. Most of the ice fishing occurs in the Atwell area of the North Fork.

  • Area: 11,000 acres
  • Maximum depth: 50 ft.
  • Drainage: 549 square miles.
  • Lake type: Reservoir
  • Stratifies: Occasionally.
  • Boat access: Many around the lake.
  • Motor Regulation: None
  • Special Regulations: None.
  • Facilities: Camping, Swimming, Picnicking, Hunting, Water Skiing and Hiking

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