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Green Castle Recreation Area

Green Castle 4
Swan family - Adult swans with four cygnets on silt pond at Green Castle
Bison Cow and Calf - This bison cow and calf are part of a small herd at the south edge of Green Castle Recreation Area

Green Castle 2
Gander Lookout - Newly renovated Gander Lookout Shelter
 - Inside Gander Lookout Shelter

In 1977 Marshall County Conservation Board purchased a 116 1/2 acres area with a 16 acre lake now know as Green Castle Recreational Area. The rolling landscape of this area is painted with native prairie, evergreen trees, and hardwood trees. Green Castle has many day use facilities to offer including: three shelter houses (one reservable by contacting 641-752-5490), hiking trails,  astronomy observatory, and a small wildlife exhibit.

The lake itself has large populations of many game fish, jetties for easy shore line fishing, and numerous submerged fishing shelters to provide habitat to promote health fish populations. Additionally Green Castle Lake is the site of the current state record Crappie which weighed in at 4 lbs. 9 oz. and was 21 1/4 inches long.

When you visit make sure that you also stop by the wildlife exhibit to see the bison and swans and check out the Central Iowa Astronomy Club to see when their next astronomy event will be held at Green Castle Recreation Area.

Public Notice, Green Castle Lake Draw Down
Beginning the fall of 2012 Green Castle Lake will be drawn down 9’ from full pool level. The purpose of the draw down is to remove the presence of Common Carp that have continually degraded the fisheries of the lake since their discovery approximately 10 years ago. In late summer 2012 Iowa DNR Fisheries Biologists again surveyed the lake through electro shocking and determined up to half the live weight of fish is now consistent of Common Carp. The behavior of this invasive non-native fish species causes increased turbidity of the water and out competes with more desirable species of game fish.  During the survey in 2012 some game fish were found to still be present but not at population levels or sizes that indicate a healthy fisheries. By reducing the lake level, remaining fish will be confined to a smaller body of water making it easier for those fishing to catch. Regular Iowa State fishing rules and regulations are still in effect. However, the MCCB encourages anglers to keep and utilize all fish caught of legal size and limits. Catch and release is not advised because eventually all the fish need to be removed from the lake. The lake is expected to be lowered for approximately two years so the rough fish can be completely eliminated, silt removal work can be completed, and additional fish habitat structure can be added. The most efficient way to remove the Carp is to draw down the lake level and eventually remove all fish in the lake and begin again by restocking desirable species. Questions can be directed to the Marshall County Conservation Board offices at 641-752-5490.


1/2 mile south of Ferguson, Iowa
Click here for a map to Green Castle


Amenities Include:
  • Three picnic shelters (one reservable by contacting 641-752-5490)
  • Restrooms
  • Electricity (Available spring through fall)
  • Drinking water (Available spring through fall)
  • Playground
  • Hiking Trails 
  • Wildlife exhibit
  • Observatory
Allowed Activities Include:
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Fishing and ice fishing
  • Bird watching and wildlife viewing
  • Cross country skiing
  • Sledding
  • Ice skating
  • Carry in canoes and kayaks

Operating Hours & Seasons

Recreational Area Hours are 5:30 a.m. - 10:30 p.m.
Area is open year round.

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