Big Hollow Open House 2021

Graphic showing Big Hollow park sign with two dogs in front of it with date and time information

Welcome to the Big Hollow Open House webpage!

The Big Hollow Open House and Fill the Lake Floatilla events originally scheduled for May 15 were completely rained out. So Des Moines County Conservation (DMCC) has rescheduled the events for June 5 at Big Hollow Recreation Area near Sperry, IA. The Open House event offers free fishing pole loans and free bait donated by Pro Marine in Mediapolis, fishing pole and tackle giveaways courtesy of the Aldo Leopold Chapter of Pheasants Forever, free canoe and kayak rentals, a digital scavenger hunt and multiple other activities throughout the park. The largest event of the day is likely to be the Fill the Lake Floatilla where anyone with a canoe or kayak is invited onto the lake in front of the beach for a group photo to be taken with a drone at 2:00 PM. The photos will be used to promote awareness of, and show support for water quality and outdoor recreation at the lake. 

The Open House event will take place rain or shine. The Fill the Lake Floatilla event is weather-dependent. 

The weekend of June 5 is also the state's Free Fishing Weekend which allows anglers to fish throughout the state without a fishing license. Accordingly, the Burlington/West Burlington Optimist Club is hosting a free kid's fishing derby at the park beginning at 9:00 AM on June 5 at the shelter houses in the east picnic area.

June 5 is also National Trails Day during which Des Moines County Conservation will host a guided a trail hike at Big Hollow beginning at 10:00 AM. The hike will start at the parking lot off of 190th St. near the eastern park boundary. 

For the campers, that weekend is also one of several promotional weekends of the year. Any camper that pays for an electric site Friday and Saturday nights in any DMCC park (Big Hollow, Welter, or 4th Pumping Station) will get a voucher for a free night's stay to use later in the year. Sites are likely to fill up quickly so the department recommends arriving early to secure a site for the weekend. All reservable sites at Big Hollow are already booked for that weekend. 

Open House Event on Facebook

Where can I rent (for free) a canoe/kayak during the Open House?
At the beach. Canoe/kayak rentals are free for this event. 

Where can I borrow a fishing pole or get bait?
Fishing poles will be available at the park entrance at at the east picnic area during the morning's fishing derby.

How do I get the scavenger hunt information?
Download the PDF here or scroll down this page. 

What's the deal with the "floatilla" thing?
The goal of the Fill the Lake Floatilla will be to pack the lake full of paddlers and then take aerial photos with a drone. The footage will be used in future marketing and advocacy efforts to raise awareness of water quality and recreation on the lake. If you want to join in, bring your canoe/kayak and join us just out from the beach. Weather permitting, the drone photo will be taken at 2:00 PM.

Learn more about the Big Hollow Water Quality Project

Big Hollow Scavenger hunt clues

I want to talk to a person associated with this event. Who do I call?
Call our shop at (319) 985-2502. If nobody answers that, call our Director on his cell at (319) 572-1564.