Iowa’s Cedar River Smallmouth Fishing

All over the United States there are creeks, streams, rivers that hold some amazing smallmouth bass easily accessible on foot or small water craft. One of these is the Cedar River just south of the Minnesota border flowing south into the Iowa River.

Cedar IowaCatch and release regulations have protected the smallmouth population in the upper portion of the river, allowing a good population of large bass.

Here are some great tips tips from Game and Fish Magazine:

When I was stationed in north-central Iowa, a local game warden tipped me off that there were smallmouth bass in some tributaries to the Upper Cedar River in Franklin County,” continued Conover. “I did some exploring and had a lot of fun catching smallmouths from Otter Creek, Spring Creek and Maynes Creek. I think there were maybe half a dozen other guys who knew about the smallmouths, and we didn’t talk about it much. It was a fun little fishery that we had all to ourselves.”

Eastern Iowa also has secret smallmouth fisheries courtesy of the Cedar River. Dave McClure of Cedar Rapids said Indian Creek, which flows through the city of Cedar Rapids, is an excellent example.

McClure has explored long stretches of the Cedar River, the Iowa River and smaller rivers like the Wapsipinicon, Maquoketa and Volga. Any time he encounters a sizable tributary, he thinks “smallmouth.”  Source

These small creeks are all over the midwest. Talk to locals to find these hidden gems where you find anglers for miles of fishable water.

Take a look at this underwater footage of the Cedar. Although we don’t see smallmouth in this video, you can see the ideal habitat with the river rock and cover available.


Focus on using grubs, stick worms and even buzz baits in shallow riffle areas. The bass hunker down in these areas waiting for food, and well oxygenated food.

If you have any experience with Cedar River, let us know!


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