Enjoy Incredible Fishing At This Beautiful Midwest State Park

Fishing lovers, rejoice and grab your rod. Backbone State Park in Iowa is known for its peaceful natural surroundings and plentiful fishing opportunities. Sitting two and half hours northeast of Des Moine, Backbone is the oldest state park in Iowa with 2,000 acres of wilderness in the Maquoketa River valley. The park has several access points to the lakes and streams, making it ideal for anglers of all ages and activity levels.

The region is so abundant with trout, in particular, thanks to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, which stocks 16,000 fish a year into natural bodies of water like Richmond Springs, a beautiful lake sitting at the north end of the park. Each minute that goes by, Richmond Springs sends 2,000 gallons of water into the surrounding waterways, according to Iowa State Parks. The cold, quick-flowing water is perfect for trout — and perfect for catching them. One popular fishing spot is Fenchel Creek, a mile and a half stream fed by the lake. The most popular catches in this area are rainbow trout, brown trout, and brook trout.

What to know before you go

Iowa residents and non-residents are required to have a fishing license and pay a trout fee. An annual fishing license costs $22 for Iowa residents and $48 for non-residents. If interested in obtaining a fishing license for one day only, it costs $10.50 for Iowa residents and $12 for non-residents. Children under the age of 16 don't need their own license, provided that they are fishing with a license-carrying adult. The trout fee is $14.50 for residents and $17.50 for non-residents. Anglers can purchase their license through the Go Outdoors Electronic Licensing System of Iowa.

After a successful day of fishing, go ahead and enjoy your catch for dinner. Iowa-caught fish are safe to eat, thanks to their pristine natural environment. The government regularly tests the local fish populations for elevated levels of chemicals. In general, most contain little to no threat to human health, says the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

Once you've had your fill of fishing, don't miss out on the other activities in this stunning Midwest state park. On land, trekkers and bikers can explore 21 miles of trails. Climbers will love the bouldering and rock-climbing opportunities offered by the steep limestone cliffs. For more time near the water, you can always kayak, canoe, or rent an electric boat from the docks — the only kind allowed in order to preserve the scenery. No matter what time of year you visit Backbone State Park, you're sure to find fun activities for the whole family.