The North Raccoon River
Headwaters to the Des Moines River

bottom composition - Mostly sand with areas of mud, marl or gravel. Little natural rock, but many man-made riffle/dams. Turbidity, algae blooms, and long-distance fish migrations - I can't call any of it prime fly water. However, its fertility means baitfish are large and hyper-abundant. The drought years effected the upper sections and I don't know if previous stocking levels continue today.

best level for fly fishing = 6 ft. at Perry or Jefferson, or 8 ft. at Sac City, or Lanesboro for finding fish spread throughout the river. Otherwise, think seasonal migration of baitfish and predatory species. Below the dams when water is high, above the dams when it is low. Click for the current level at Sac City, Lanesboro, Jefferson, Perry, Van Meter, and West Des Moines

primary fly species = smallmouth bass (frogs, gizzard shad, shiners, minnows, crayfish, leeches), common carp (crayfish, leeches, insect larvae)

secondary species = walleye (emerald shiners, leeches), white bass (emerald shiners), freshwater drum (minnows, crayfish, leeches, insect larvae) shortnose gar (gizzard shad), flathead catfish (suckers), channel catfish (anything), yellow bass (emerald shiners), largemouth buffalo, smallmouth buffalo (insect larvae).
Vogel Access 230th St. just north of hwy. 20 The river is shallow and winding here with sandy runs and fallen trees, some carp, but more fly stealing creek chubs. When the water level is low beaver dams become numerous.
Mc Donald Greenbelt - Lubeck Woods - accessibility unknown off Rolf Ave. (M65) north of Sac City
Riverview Lions Park - canoe access off M 54 in Sac City, Iowa Small riffle-dam just downstream. The park entrance is also a cemetery entrance - a little weird.
Just upstream from the mouth of Big Cedar Creek is another small riffle-dam accessible only by boat. Otherwise shallow, sand runs dropping into logjam, bend pools characterized the area. Near Hagge Park clay bluffs, marl, and gravel appear. The bank along the road to the Hagge Park dam is reinforced, the water deepens and slows above the dam.
Hagge Park - canoe access, - large, modern campground, smell from nearby hog lots if the wind is wrong goes with the territory. A separate road leads to a rock dam. CR D42 (280th St.) The dam gets plenty of local pressure, but early summer baitfish runs bring walleye. Low light periods are key.
Sand drop-offs, bend pools, and runs with old cars for bank stabilization, lack of abrupt structural change makes difficult "reading". Carp work the long, gravel bars or flooded grass if the level rises.
White Horse Access - boat ramp, rock dam - good kayak ride when water is a little high off 335th St.

N 42o 18' 7"
W 94o 53' 56"
Walleye, smallmouth, and drum below the dam during early summer baitfish runs. More bend pools.
Grant City Park - campground, difficult canoe access, rock dam off 360th St. just north of Auburn, Iowa High local pressure. Downstream clay bluffs supply some rock, then a sharp bend and sand drop-off followed by a rocky outcrop creating an eddy attracts smallmouth. Carp work the gravel bars.
abandoned road - dry weather parking near the river and canoe access N28 bridge The remains of an old bridge and several erosion control structures create minor eddies - popular with locals. Clay bluffs mark the bend pools, gravel bars attract carp.
Rainbow Bend - camping, boat ramp CR N37 Sandy with drop-offs in the sharp bends, bank stabilization, gravel pit mines.
Hobbs County Park Treasure Road just east of the N41 (aka. hwy. 286, Timber Ave.) bridge The river is wide, shallow, and sandy with strong currrent. Bank stabilization surrounds the railroad bridge, abandoned pit mines are now ponds. Upstream from N41 some gravel and natural rock below a clay bluff. One bend downstream from Hobbs Co. Park a significant rocky outcrop in a sharp bend creates an eddy, perhaps a wintering pool?
Carroll County Access - rock dam A short, but somewhat difficult distance east of Hobbs County Park - from Treasure Road turn on 130th St. then on Voyager Rd. Rock dam and bank stabilization.
North Raccoon Access - canoe access CR E19 (Velvet Ave.) The canoe launch is on the north side of the bridge, the south turn off is a redneck shooting range.
Merritt Access - canoe access, low rock dam off CR N50 (Velvet Ave.) Frequent bank stabilization, but little else to break the current. Mostly suckers.
Buttrick Bluff Wildlife Area
Bennett Access - camping, canoe launch, riffle- dam Take Zephyr Ave. north off hwy. 30 rock dam, bank stabilization
Richey County Park N 58 A rocky area sits below a bluff in the sharp bend.
Horseshoe Bend Wildlife Area - West Unit Brentwood Ave.

N 42o 7' 5"
W 94o 36' 2"
bank stabilization - a minor, gravel riffle downstream forms a shallow eddy if the level is low.
A shallow, off-current pool near a clay bluff attracts carp.
Hyde Park - various camping options, boat ramp, rock dam - decent kayak ride when flowing good off N65 about a mile north of the bridge rock dam, bank stabilization
Hobart Area - hunting area N65 bridge There is a large clay bluff just upstream with some eroded rock.
Brown Bridge River Access - boat ramp E33 bridge bank stabilization, minor riffle
Mc Mahon Wildlife Area - boat ramp, rock dam From hwy. 30 just west of the bridge take next turn south on 230th St. (Hillcrest Rd.) North of hwy.30 - I don't know if the old gravel pit on the west side of the river is accessible via the wildlife area? Between hwy. 30 and the dam lying to the south is a sharp bend and deep pool - the boat ramp is downstream from the dam. Below the dam a minor rille attracts carp.
Henderson Park - boat ramp, rock dam hwy. 4 bridge Eddies below the dam get heavy local pressure due to its proximity to Jefferson.
Downstream from the mouth of Buttrick Creek an erosion control mound in a sharp bend creates a wintering pool. White bass, drum, smallmouth, carp, etc. during Fall.
Squirrel Hollow Park - various camping options, rock dam, boat ramp Redwood Ave. just southeast of the P30 bridge The dam creates eddies and a deep pool, they get heavy fishing pressure. Walleye, white bass, smallmouth bass, catfish, carp, buffalo, drum, etc.
Adkin's Bridge Access - boat ramp Turn south on S ave. immediately west of the E57 bridge bank stabilization
Sportsman's Park - various camping options 130th St. a short distance east of Dawson, Iowa An immense clay bluff here, accessed by a dangerous climb, supplies a fair amount of rock attracting carp, smallmouth buffalo, etc.
Perry Access - boat ramp off hwy. 141 where it crosses the river at Perry, Iowa Creek mouth deltas, natural rock, and reinforcement of sharp bends and bridges around Perry create eddies and off-current pockets. Species diversity is good during mid-summer.
Spring Valley Access - boat ramp P58 Shortnose gar in current hold tight to logs in logjams, finding them in oxbows, or off-current areas at the downstream end of sandbars is better. Upstream a minor bluff and rocky patches attract smallmouth, catfish, carp, gar, drum etc.
Catfish logjam bends between sand runs mostly, there is a clay bluff and minor pool.
Snyder Access - boat ramp F31 Bridge tagged "Coon and Moon Lab" during the meth heyday.
Mostly sand runs with strong current and catfish logjams in the bends, there are some backwaters areas and oxbows below Snyder Access and some rip rap along the road that runs close to the river north of hwy. 44
Highway 44 Access - hwy. 44 bank stabilization upstream along road
Mostly sand and logjams. The river divides upstream from Adel. The south branch has an oxbow with catfish and gar, the dam pool has carp, but depth makes a fly fishing approach difficult. Flow over the dam stopped during the drought of 2012.
Several City Parks, in Adel provide access to the river. - boat ramp, major lowhead dam Adel, IA Heavy local pressure below the dam - white bass, etc.
Puckerbrush Access - boat ramp off R16 north of Interstate 80 Upstream a couple rocky, gravel bars for late summer carp, otherwise it is now a muddy catfish river.
The confluence of the North and South Raccoon rivers has a drop-off, and gravely sand bar.
Booneville Access - boat ramp F90 bank stabilization and backwaters
Bend pools with log jams, frequent bank stabilization, gravel, even some natural rock. Surprising sucker numbers given the turbidity feed channel and flathead catfish. Another surprise between I35 bridge and Walnut Woods is a major rock riffle attracting carp and drum.
Walnut Woods State Park - boat ramp, etc. follow signs off the hwy. 5 Bypass Bank stabilization, gravel, and some natural rock downstream attracts drum and carp during low water.
Blue Heron Lake at Raccoon River Regional Park

Gray's Lake

Grand Ave. in West Des Moines

Fleur Dr. in Des Moines, IA.

Channel alteration and bank stabilization are now almost continuous, a man-made riffle in Water Works Park and a minor dam as well. The old gravel pit lakes in Des Moines, occasionally flooded by the Raccoon, are the best places for gar, carp, smallmouth buffalo, etc.- A short distance below Gray's Lake the Raccoon joins the Des Moines River.
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