Lake Wapello gearing up for camping season

Lake Wapello in Drakesville, Iowa

Peak camping season has arrived and Lake Wapello in Drakesville is celebrating with their camping kickoff week.

Park rangers get ready for the season by first opening the shower houses and attending to trees and fallen limbs on the property. The early warm weather has let them get a head start on preparations this year.

"It gave us a head start, we were able to get a lot more done through the winter than we normally are, but it also meant people came out earlier to park and camp earlier than normal," said Park Ranger Chad Horn. "We've had pretty good numbers all spring since March."

They were also able to open the camping shower houses about a week earlier than usual.

Horn said one of the biggest attractions on the campgrounds is the fishing. The lake was drained in 2008 and re-filled in 2009 with new fish. They're anticipating another good season this summer.

"We should have pretty good numbers... this is the third year for the new fish in the lake and the fishing's doing really well," he said. "The fish are growing at enormous rates and people are having pretty good success fishing, and just with the beautiful weather, we've had quite a bit of activity already out here."

Lake Wapello will be holding its first 5K and 10K run this Saturday, May 5 at 9 a.m. Participants can register online, by calling the park or on the day of the race.

To make a reservation at any of Iowa's state parks, including Lake Wapello, visit

or call 1-877-IAPARKS.