Keokuk, County – 224 Acres
Bass fishing in Iowa doesn’t get much better than this. Lake Belva Deer bass fishing tournaments shine at this deep man made lake in southern Iowa. This is a beautiful park with plenty of water to fish. You will find boat ramps on the northeast end of the lake as well as the south central part of the lake, near the campground. There are reserved spots in the southern ramp area for those camping at the park.
While crappie and bluegill fisherman often score major hauls, the tournament bass fishing at Lake Belva Deer can be excellent too. With so much food to fuel the bass population, this little gem of a lake is worth the drive.
The southeast end of the lake has the spillway rock wall just east of the ramp and parking lot. This rocked up wall is full of vegetation and is always worth a good pass or three. Many limits have come from this area and it can be good all day long. The southern end is the deepest of the wall and can produce some nice largemouth bass near the southern corner. When you see the small dock area, your in the deeper part of the east side wall. Timber fields are adjacent this deep cut and it covers a few hundred yards. Beware of many tall trees just under the surface, these tree house lure trolls that eat crankbaits on a regular basis. The first picture shown here was taken looking back at the spillway while the boat was sitting over trees in 18 feet of water. The rock jetty to the right is prime bass water as the vegetation has a clearing there.
Heading from east end to the west, near mid lake, there are nice rock points and plenty of deep timber to maneuver. Just on the outskirts of the public beach on the north side, is a weed line that used to win many tournaments here. While it comes and goes, the locals know when it’s coming back first and take full advantage. Try a soft jerk bait or topwater here for early bass. Once the sun rises flipping can produce quickly and handsomely around the edges or the nearby trees and weed lines. Crafty anglers can use wacky worms or shaky heads down the thicker trunked trees to pull the wider bass from their comfort zones. But beware, you’re going to go through some tackle, this place is a forest of trees and snags. It’s worth mentioning the south side of this area of the lake is also underfished, you’d be wise to change that trend.
You’ve got to be in it to win it and this is a good place to get after it. Many Lake Belva Deer Bass Tournament fisherman drive right past anglers fishing in these deeper waters but regret not spending more time here looking for that kicker that cost them the win. Take some time pre-fishing this area so you’ll have a kicker area you’re confident in.
As you get to the western area you can go left (east) or right (northeast), to hunt the greenbacks. The left takes you by the ramp and campground and right to the open flats and eventually up to the water overrun inlet.
The ramp next to campground has some nice cover with long docks and a floating cleaning station. This area has deeper water nearby and often hosts deeper bass coming up for a meal. With the weeds cleared from the ramp area, this spot has tons of options to power fish as well as flip or pitch with precision. High sun creates the cover via the docks and the weed clearing for the ramp, a path for bass on the move in and out from. Be patient and target the paths your lures can spend some time in.
The cove west of the ramp is mostly shallow but has some deep holes. You’ll need to navigate carefully here but it can pay off with some brush hugging swamp donkeys. Even top water bass are lurking under sloppy vegetation for a frog or floating worm. Baitfish have been known to pile up in this cove and that creates some awesome topwater action just above the tackle trolls; oh yes, the tackle trolls live here too.
When leaving the campground and headed northwest, you’ll go through some very deep water that’s been cleared out for boats. When the winds start to blow, rattle traps and crankbaits can cause havoc here. As a result, boat control is key once you’ve boated your bass, spot lock so you’re not pushed into the forest of trees you just bagged up in. Limits come fast when the wind is coming from the east or southeast in this area.
Edges, more edges and dark deep edges pay handsomely for those willing to wind them deep billed crankbaits down in this area. If the wind’s not up to the task, flipping and wacky worming can be very effective here as well. You’ll have company in this area; it’s full of fish and often other boats.
So you’ve made it all the way west and the lake opens up. The long flat sprawling across the northern Belva Deer lake edge, has man made structures peppered all over. Rocky points stretch just under a few points and make for nice targets as they also house smaller tree filled coves. Just about any bait works here if you can navigate the tackle trolls, but the wind will show you where best to target. Baitfish will be pushed up shallow along these areas and often show themselves if conditions are right.
The last area before you see the inlet area is called the flats or the humps. All DNR maps show this area is loaded with humps and manmade piles for fish to group up on. Forward facing sonar will yield plenty of crappie and bluegills here, and we all know what feeds on them. Where the small cove and the inlet area meets, sits a nice deep hole with a big tree down in it. You’ll know you’re there when you see a boat sitting on top of it hunting crappie. This is a nice area to hit all angles as bass move in and out of here all day and night. The flats are know for large vegetation clumps or islands that are 20 to 30 yards wide. Fish worms in the pockets and along the edges for some excellent bass fishing.
Try using a simple 7″ worm in green, purple or black on the flats. Take your time and drag it through the flats and on the edges of the weed beds that form in the summer. Those who drop shot will thrive here, those who won’t will miss out in the summer.
At the north west end of the lake is the inlet. The surrounding fields all drain off into an area that ends up draining into this manmade lake we call Lake Belva Deer. The steady water flow is always an attractant for bass and this inlet is no exception. With plenty of vegetation nearby, bluegills often pill up here and bring company with them. Heading from the flats to this area is long stretch of trees and vegetation right in the middle of the channel. Working along side these trees can pay off big with swim jigs, worms, spinnerbaits and most definitely chatter baits. Be fore warned, your jackhammer might not make it back to the boat here, toothy critters and trees just out of sight love to eat up tackle.
Check out the south wall just east of the ramp near the campground. Grab your crankbait and head east and keep you trolling motor on low. Have your net handy in this tight tree lined area, you’re going to need it. Thanks for visiting Bass-Cafe.com and please check out our YouTube Channel.
Lake Belva Deer is a hidden gem nestled in southeastern Iowa and should definitely be on your list to fish.
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