September 28, 2021

Outdoor news

Spring is an excellent time for a boating education course

It may not feel like boating season yet, but the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR), along with boating safety advocates nationwide, are urging boaters to KeepYourEdge by enrolling in a boating education course this spring.

“Education is the key to having a safe and enjoyable day on the water, and spring is the perfect time to take a course before the summer boating season begins,” said Susan Stocker, boating law administrator and education coordinator for the Iowa DNR.

Traditional and online courses are available. Courses are made to fit every schedule and lifestyle. The Iowa DNR has boater education information online at

“A boating safety course provides critical boating knowledge and better prepares you for the risks you may face while boating,” Stocker said.

Benefits to taking a boater education course

  • Boost your confidence and Keep Your Edge by brushing up on essential boating skills.
  • Even if you have already taken a course or are an experienced boater Keep Your Edge by taking a new course to sharpen your skills.
  • A boating safety course can save boaters money. Many boat insurance providers offer discounts to people who have successfully completed a boating safety course.

Iowa boating statistics

  • In 2018, there were 32 reported boating incidents on Iowa waters: 17 of those were personal injury; seven involved property damage and eight resulted in fatalities. Of the eight fatalities, three involved alcohol as a contributing factor
  • In 2019, there were 22 reported boating incidents on Iowa waters: 14 of those were personal injury; six involved property damage and six resulted in fatalities. Of the six fatalities, two involved alcohol as a contributing factor
  • In 2020, there were 39 reported boating incidents on Iowa waters: 16 of those were personal injury; 17 involved property damage, and nine resulted in fatalities. Of the nine fatalities, six involved alcohol as a contributing factor.

Teaching outdoor skills courses scheduled this summer

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is sponsoring four how to teach outdoor skills courses for K–12 teachers, naturalists and other educators this summer.

Hands-on sessions (indoors and outside) will provide introductory skills instruction and development, teaching materials and lesson plans. The cost of each course varies. Create an account on the AEALearning website to find the cost, registration deadline and requirements for each course.

  • Introduction to Basic Outdoor Skills, June 15-16 at Annett Nature Center, Indianola. Participants will receive introductory instruction and lesson plans for planning outings, map reading, hiking, paddling, fishing, archery, campfire cooking and basic firearm safety/shooting.
  • Fish Iowa! Basic Fishing, June 28-29 at Jones County Conservation Center, Center Junction. Participants will learn fishing basics including fish identification, fishing locations, casting techniques and cleaning and cooking fish. Instruction will include a variety of demonstration and hands-on, experiential approaches.
  • Archery and Bowfishing, July 12-13 at Mahaska County Conservation Center, Oskaloosa. Participants will learn basic archery and archery instructional skills, as well as bowfishing basics. Participants will receive National Archery in the Schools and Explore Bowfishing instructional materials.
  • Hunter Education, July 19-20 at Olofson Shooting Range, Polk City. Learn the requirements to become a certified hunter education instructor, including firearm handling and safety, hunter education class requirements and policies and procedures.

Educators can earn license renewal for all four courses. Graduate credit is also available for the Introduction to Basic Outdoor Skills and Fish Iowa! Basic Fishing sessions.

Register for the how to teach outdoor skills courses through the AEALearning website at You will be asked to create an account if you do not already have one. After you login, enter “outdoor skills” in the course search to find registration information for each course.

Four community tour ponds stocked last week

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) released between 1,000 to 2,000 rainbow trout at four community trout ponds as part of its cool weather trout program that brings trout to areas that cannot support them during the summer.

The following locations are ready for anglers to catch trout: Banner Lake South (Indianola), Big Lake (Council Bluffs), Moorland Pond (Fort Dodge) and Terra Lake (Johnston).

All spring community trout stockings will be unannounced this year and family fishing events will not be held to help reduce the crowd size at stocking locations and minimize the spread of COVID-19.

Check the DNR website at and watch for future press releases to find out when the remaining community trout locations have been stocked.

The spring community trout stockings are a great place to take kids to catch their first fish. A small hook with a nightcrawler or corn under a small bobber or small simple spinners such as a panther martin or mepps is all you need to get in on the fun.

Bringing trout to cities and towns offers a “close to home” option for Iowans who might not travel to the coldwater streams in northeast Iowa to discover trout fishing.

The popular program is supported by the sales of the trout fee. Anglers need a valid fishing license and pay the trout fee to fish for or possess trout. The daily limit is five trout per licensed angler with a possession limit of 10.

Children age 15 or younger can fish for trout with a properly licensed adult, but they must limit their catch to one daily limit. The child can purchase a trout fee which will allow them to catch their own limit.

Find more information about trout fishing in Iowa on the DNR trout fishing webpage.