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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Maquoketa River
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)
Maquoketa River highlighted
U.S. Geological Survey Geographical Names Information System: Maquoketa River

The Maquoketa River is a tributary of the Mississippi River, approximately 140 miles (about 211 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 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 three 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] one at Backbone Lake in Backbone State Park and Lakehurst dam at Maquoketa.

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.


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