Banner Lakes provide fishing enthusiasts excellent fishing and boating opportunities. The south lake is central Iowa’s only trout fishery, from October through May. Trout ranging from 1/2 pound to 10 pounds in size are stocked each year. Iowa residents and nonresidents must pay the trout fee to fish for or possess trout. Other species in both lakes include channel catfish, largemouth bass, bluegill, and crappie. A number of shoreline fishing opportunities are located on the south lake and both lakes have new single-lane boat ramps and associated parking. Motor regulations are any size motor at no wake speed.
The Walter Residence and the Visitor Center are open to the public Memorial Day Weekend through October 31, Thursday through Sunday. Guided tours of the house depart the Visitor Center on the hour from 11:00 a.m. through 4:00 p.m. We request you please reserve your party's tour. All tour requests need size of party, with desired date and time. Include a contact name and telephone number so that we may confirm your selection or possibly reschedule. The park telephone number is 319-934-3572. Walk-ins are accepted only as space permits. School group tours are available, please contact the park for further information.
Clear Lake State Park is located on the southeast shore of beautiful 3,643-acre Clear Lake, one of the major outdoor recreation features of northern Iowa. Although the state park is only 55 acres in size, it offers a tremendous diversity of outdoor recreation opportunities due to its location on the lake as well as its natural beauty. The park is characterized by gently rolling ground with open, mature groves of oak trees. Several small draws and thickets provide habitat for owls, squirrels, opossums, raccoons, rabbits, many species of songbirds and an occasional deer. Scenic Woodford Island is a 3-acre island managed primarily for wildlife habitat and is an excellent spot for fishing.
The "lakes area" of northwest Iowa offers a tremendous array of outdoor recreation opportunities, year-round. The unique setting of beautiful and clear Lakes East and West Okoboji, Big Spirit Lake and other water bodies truly provides wonderful opportunities for outdoor recreation. The focal point for state parks and recreation areas in this region is beautiful Gull Point State Park, established in 1933. Gull Point provides a pleasing, shaded setting on West Okoboji Lake and offers a well-rounded variety of outdoor recreation facilities.
For a different type of camping experience, why not try the Fairport Recreation Area Campground located 6 miles away from Wildcat Den State Park on Highway 22. Fairport is located right on the Mississippi River and offers 42 campsites, all of which have electrical hook-ups. Modern shower and rest room facilities and a trailer dump station are available at the Fairport Campground. Advance campsite reservations can be made online through the park reservation system. Half of the campsites are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Camping is also available at Wildcat Den State Park.
Fort Defiance State Park's 191 acres of rugged woodland provide a beautiful contrast to the gently rolling surrounding farmlands. The park's trails, picnic areas and scenic overlooks provide a great place to relax. Its lush cover of vegetation includes hawthorn, plum, locust and many species of the state tree - the oak. In the spring, the slopes are speckled with trillium, bloodroot, hepatica and violets. A small prairie with native grasses and flowers, including the endangered prairie bush clover, thrives on a secluded knoll.
Green Valley Lake is used for all types of boating; water skiing is allowed in a designated area. For safety reasons, there are special regulations governing water skiing. All other boats must keep out of the general traffic pattern of boats pulling skiers and must not operate at speeds greater than five miles per hour when within 50 feet of another craft or person. All water skiers, including those using surfboard-type devices, must wear U.S. Coast Guard approved life-saving jackets. No boat is allowed to be operated within 100 feet of shore at speeds greater than five miles per hour. Boats must also maintain a "no wake" speed when outside the ski zone. Four boat ramps on Green Valley Lake provide convenient lake access.
Lake Activities (boating, fishing). Gull Point's beach provides a fine place for young and old to sunbathe and splash in the crystal clear water. West Okoboji and the many other lakes are some of the prime fishing spots in Iowa. Anglers will find challenging sport pursuing a variety of game fish, including walleye, northern pike, smallmouth bass, white bass, perch, bluegills, crappies, catfish and bullheads. Boating is also very popular on the lakes using everything from canoes to sailboats and ski rigs.
Visitors to Honey Creek State Park return often to enjoy the beautiful setting of 828 acres of rolling, timbered hills against a background of beautiful Lake Rathbun, Iowa's largest lake. In 1954, Congress authorized the construction of Rathbun Lake because the Chariton River Valley in south central Iowa was susceptible to flood and drought problems. The dam was completed in 1969 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Rathbun Lake provides flood protection for 149,300 acres of land along the Chariton River.