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Tournament fishing on Rathbun Lake

Monday, July 13, 2015

There are a number of benefits to sport fishing, including the relaxation that comes from being outdoors, the social bonding that occurs between fisherpeople, the thrill of catching a trophy-worthy fish, and the economic boost to the local economy from those visiting the area to take part in a tournament.


While some people question the ethics of sport fishing, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources has developed guidelines for tournaments so as to minimize damage to the fish and the environment. In order to host a tournament, organizations must follow these guidelines, which can include but aren’t limited to:


aerated live wells

release of live fish

fish measured to length and released from a boat

designated release areas

designated release persons

multiple weigh-ins when water temperatures exceed 70 degrees Fahrenheit

scheduled weigh-in no later than 2:00 PM in the months of June, July, and August

no weigh-in tournaments allowed for walleye, northern pike, and muskellunge in the months of June, July and August (


Rathbun Lake in Appanoose County, Iowa, is a popular place for fishing tournaments. Currently, there are 15 tournaments scheduled on the lake through the DNR between May and October 2015. Of these tournaments, 4 of them are open to the public, including the following:


Four Season Bass Club Team Tournament - 05/02/2015 & 05/03/2015

Iowa Premier Bass - 2015 Rathbun Open - 05/31/2015

Iowa Bass Nation Team Trail - 06/07/2015

Iowa Bass Nation Team Trail - 08/01/2015


To check for up-to-date tournament information, go to the Iowa DNR’s Special Events Application System ( and click on the “Search for Events” button at the bottom of the screen. A map will pop up with a set of filters on the side. Select the appropriate filters for your search.


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Appanoose County Fast Facts

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