0112 DNR Fishing

Jeff Sorenson of Council Bluffs reels in a rainbow trout in January of 2014 at Big Lake during an ice fishing event sponsored by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the Council Bluffs Parks and Recreation Department.

Ice fishing opened on DeSoto Lake on Tuesday and is expected to continue through the end of February.

Ice fishing is permitted during the period when conditions permit. It is up to individual anglers to determine the safety of the ice. A general guideline is 4 inches of clear and solid ice as a minimum for foot travel and ice fishing.

As always, the visitor center is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. except federal holidays. The windows overlooking DeSoto Lake allow glimpses into the wintry days without the cold of the outside. Eagles, ducks, swans and geese have been spotted from the visitor center viewing gallery windows in recent days.

There are also bird feeders at the center that have been attracting a wide array of birds including cardinals, nuthatches, chickadees and woodpeckers.

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An entrance permit is required for all vehicles on days other than fee-free days. The regular daily entrance fee for private vehicles is $3. Permits may be obtained at the pay stations near the entrances or at the Visitor Center. The charge for commercial vans and buses is $20, or $30 if 21 or more people are aboard. Annual permits, including the $15 DeSoto Refuge Pass, can be obtained at the visitor center.

DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge is located north of Council Bluffs along on U.S. Highway 30 between Missouri Valley and Blair, Nebraska. Boyer Chute National Wildlife Refuge is located along U.S. Highway 75 near Ft. Calhoun, Nebraska. For more information, call 712-388-4800, email the refuge at desoto@fws.gov or go online to fws.gov/midwest/desoto/.

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