Easter Lake Fishery Improvements

Fishery Improvements Overview

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Polk County Conservation Board, and Central Iowa Anglers are working to enhance the fishery at Easter Lake. These exciting improvements include shoreline stabilization and deepening, removal of excess sediment, and construction of an in-lake silt pond. A fish rearing pond was constructed near the lake to rear Walleye fingerlings for Easter Lake.

The spillway was updated to include a fish barrier to prevent injurious fish (Common Carp and Gizzard Shad) from reentering the lake. The gate-valve outlet structure was replaced, which can be an important tool for manipulating water levels to improve the fishery. Fish habitat structures (cedar trees, spawning beds, catfish hides, and rock piles) were installed as well.

Easter Lake’s fish rearing pond, used to raise Walleye fingerlings for future fishing.

Fish Species Found at Easter Lake

Fish Common to Easter Lake include: Walleye, Channel Catfish, Bluegill, Large Mouth Bass, and Black Crappie. Click each photo to learn more. Photos courtesy of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources

Winter 2015
Spillway Improvements

Construction for the dam and spillway at Easter Lake began in 1965. In 1967, Easter Lake was officially opened. As part of the Easter Lake Water Quality Management Plan, it was established that repairs and adjustments to the spillway would be needed to sustain an effective fisheries restoration. (Learn more)

Spring 2016
Fish Rearing Pond Improvements

The original fish rearing pond located at Easter Lake was constructed in 1982. In the past, this pond has been used to rear walleye and largemouth bass fingerlings. Improvements were made to increase the success and survival rate of fingerlings reared for future fishery. (Learn more)

2019 - 2020
Fishery Renovation

The Polk County Conservation Board, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, City of Des Moines, Polk Soil & Water Conservation District, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship – Division of Soil Conservation, and other partners have been collaborating for nearly a decade to restore Easter Lake and its watershed. These partners have met numerous times with stakeholders, citizens, and watershed landowners during public meetings to explain the restoration project, including the eventual need for a fish renovation. (Learn more)

Fall 2018
Shoreline Stabilization & Jetty Construction

At Easter Lake there is a total of 35,300 linear feet of shoreline. Through the years, shoreline erosion in Easter Lake has contributed to the loss of surface acreage, depth, and habitat. Shoreline erosion is a natural process that can be increased by physical factors such as wind/wave action, ice heave, recreational use, and lack of aquatic vegetation. To address shoreline erosion, key areas were identified to be regraded and armored with a combination of riprap, Flexamat, and tall grass management and buffers. (Learn more)

Fall 2018
Lake Dredging

The removal of excess sediment from Easter Lake is a key component of the lake restoration plan. Since its creation in 1967, Easter Lake has lost 30% of its lake volume due to sedimentation. Excess sediment has accumulated in the lakebed overtime decreasing the lake’s volume, increasing phosphorus, and overall decreasing water quality. (Learn more)

Fall 2018
Fish Habitat Installation

As part of the many exciting improvements to Easter Lake’s fishery, 130 new fish habitat structures have been placed throughout the lakebed in 2018. These fish habitat structures include cedar trees, spawning beds, catfish hides, and rock piles. (Learn more)

Spring 2019 - Spring 2020
Fish Restock

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has been working with Polk County Conservation to develop a stocking plan for Easter Lake. We are happy to share that the plan is now in motion. (Learn more)


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