Maquoketa River

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Maquoketa River
North Fork Maquoketa River.jpg
The North Fork of the Maquoketa River at Dyersville, Iowa in 1996
Country United States
State Iowa
 - coordinates 42°43′08″N 91°42′39″W / 42.7189°N 91.7107°W / 42.7189; -91.7107
Source confluence
 - coordinates 42°11′18″N 90°18′35″W / 42.1883°N 90.3096°W / 42.1883; -90.3096
Mouth Mississippi River
 - elevation 591 ft (180 m)
Length 150 mi (241 km)
Maquoketa River highlighted
U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Maquoketa River

The Maquoketa River is a tributary of the Mississippi River, approximately 150 miles (240 km) long,[1] in northeastern Iowa in the United States. Its watershed covers 1,694 square miles (4,387 km2)[2] within a rural region of rolling hills and farmland southwest of Dubuque. It is not to be confused with the Little Maquoketa River, another distinct direct tributary of the Upper Mississippi River meeting the Big River north of Dubuque. The river and its tributaries mark the border of the Driftless Area of Iowa, with the areas east of it not having been covered by ice during the last ice age.


The Maquoketa rises in southeastern Fayette County just southwest of Arlington in Fairfield Township, and approximately 10 miles (16 km) west of Oelwein. It flows briefly northeastward, then generally southeastward through Clayton, Delaware, Jones and Jackson Counties, through Backbone State Park and the towns of Dundee, Manchester and Monticello.

At Maquoketa, it receives the North Fork Maquoketa River from the north; the North Fork rises in northern Dubuque County and flows 96 miles (154 km)[1] generally southward past Dyersville and Cascade. The Maquoketa then flows generally eastward in a meandering course as it approaches the Mississippi. It enters Pool 13[3] of the Mississippi from the southwest in eastern Jackson County a few miles upstream from Sabula approximately 30 mi (48 km) southeast of Dubuque.

The river is considered one of the best smallmouth bass and trout fisheries in Iowa.[4]

There are four small dams on the river, one downriver from Manchester, forming the 400-acre (1.6 km2) Lake Delhi (the USGS terms it, Hartwick Lake)[5] in Delaware County,[6] in Jones County there is one in Monticello which was once used to generate power for the town and one at Backbone Lake in Backbone State Park and Lakehurst dam at Maquoketa. On Saturday July 24, 2010, the dam at Lake Delhi failed due to heavy rains and the rapid rise of the Maquoketa River.[7]

Maquoketa Caves State Park, a few miles upstream from Maquoketa protects a segment of the Driftless Area's karst topography, characterized by caves, ice caves and sinkholes.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey. National Hydrography Dataset high-resolution flowline data. The National Map, accessed May 13, 2011
  2. ^ "Evaluating Agricultural Nonpoint Loadings on Pool 13 from Maquoketa River Watershed, Iowa", USGS, Retrieved July 18, 2007
  3. ^ Pool 13, Army Corps of Engineers, Retrieved July 18, 2007
  4. ^ Iowa DNR: Trout fishing on the Maquoketa, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, retrieved July 18, 2007
  5. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Hartwick Lake and Dam, Retrieved July 18, 2007
  6. ^ Iowa DNR, Retrieved July 18, 2007 Archived September 27, 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "CNN:Dam fails in eastern Iowa, causing massive flooding". July 24, 2010. Retrieved July 24, 2010. 

External links[edit]