Paddle the Maquoketa River Water Trail

Maquoketa River Water TrailMaquoketa, IA


The Maquoketa River is a popular and scenic river with relatively consistent flows and excellent fishing. In its headwaters, the Maquoketa is a coldwater trout stream containing a trout fishery upstream of the lake at Backbone State Park. A number of watercraft campsites are available offering downriver paddlers opporutnities for multiple days on the river. Downstream of the dam at Backbone State Park, it transitions into a walleye-smallmouth bass fisher. The area from the Mon-Maq Dam to Pictured Rocks Park is one of th most heavily paddled sections of river in Iowa. The areas in the vicinity of the Canton Canoe Access are also well known for their remarkable bluffs and wild setting. Anywhere downstream of the Mon-Maq Dam is a “big river” fishery, including sturgeon, sauger, flathead catfish, and drum.

Note that there is no portage to get around the Delhi Dam, and that the section of river above ti is primarily flanked by private residences along the still waters of Lake Delhi. this area requires a vehicle shuttle from Turtle Creek Park to the Maquoketa River access downstream of the dam.

Full water trail map available here (

*Major fish species present: Smallmouth bass, channel catfish, northern pike, walleye

*Minor fish species present: Crappie, white bass

ADDRESS, Maquoketa, IA 52060