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Maffit Reservoir

West Gate

East Gate

Fishing Dock

Fishing Dock

Picnic Area

Picnic Area



Maffitt Reservoir

Dale Maffitt Reservoir is a 200-acre lake that sits amongst the tall oaks overlooking Des Moines Water Works’ L.D. McMullen Water Treatment Plant. The lake, primarily located in Polk County, also has corners that reach into Warren, Dallas and Madison Counties. The reservoir was constructed in the early 1940s, as a backup water source and named in honor of then General Manager of Des Moines Water Works.  In 2000, Des Moines Water Works began operating the L.D. McMullen Water Treatment Plant at Maffitt Reservoir in effort to produce enough water for Des Moines and surrounding areas’ growing population. For decades, nature lovers and anglers have enjoyed the serenity of the lake, as ducks, geese, river otter and a multitude of fish species call it home.

In addition to the land used for the lake itself, Des Moines Water Works maintains hundreds of acres surrounding the lake in an effort to protect the watershed. Today, Des Moines Water Works owns and maintains nearly 1,500 acres that comprise Dale Maffitt Reservoir and Park.

Located southwest of Des Moines, Dale Maffitt Reservoir and Park is truly a hidden gem. Fishing, picnicking, and hiking are favorite pastimes at Maffitt Reservoir and Park. For the general public’s convenience, several docks that extend nearly 20 feet into the lake are located along the shore. A nature trail of approximately 4.5 miles leads hikers around the lake.

Maffitt Reservoir Park Hours

Daylight Savings Time: 6:00 am to 9:00 pm
Standard Time: 7:00 am to 8:00 pm

Maffitt Reservoir Park Address

12460 Maffitt Lake Road, Cumming, Iowa, 50061

Maffitt Reservoir Rules & Regulations


Fishing is permitted by all legal methods outlined in the State Fishing Laws.  See, Iowa Department of Natural Resources publication, Iowa Fishing Regulations.

Permitted Canoes, Kayaks and Stand up Paddle Boards on Dale Maffitt Reservoir 

Canoes, kayaks and stand up paddle boards are allowed on Dale Maffitt Reservoir only with a valid use permit. No motors or propulsion by sail are allowed. Such use shall be in accordance with all state laws and regulations, including requirements for personal floatation devices, and is subject to state enforcement. No use by a person under the age of 18 is permitted unless one person eighteen years of age or older is on board. Users must purchase an annual boat permit at Des Moines Water Works General Office, located at 2201 George Flagg Parkway, in Des Moines, for $20.00 (cash, check or credit card).

Recreational Vehicles

No all terrain vehicles (ATVs), snowmobiles, watercraft, or unlicensed recreational motor vehicles shall be permitted to operate on Water Works property or waters, except that canoes and kayaks with a valid use permit are allowed on Dale Maffitt Reservoir.


Overnight camping is not permitted.

Fires and Fire Pits

Fires are allowed only in existing picnic area fireplaces and picnic area grills. Grilling is allowed only on picnic area grills. No digging of fire pits or trenches is permitted

Destruction of Plant Life

No person shall in any manner cut, deface, injure, or remove any tree, shrub, or plant. No person shall pick or destroy any flowers growing on Water Works’ property.

Disorderly and Obscene Conduct, Nuisances

No person shall use any loud, violent, obscene, or profane language; nor shall any person engage in disorderly or obscene conduct, or commit any nuisance on Water Works’ property.

Waste Material

No person shall deposit upon or litter the ground with any form of waste material. All such waste material must be carried off the property or placed in trash receptacles provided.

Property Damage

No person shall destroy, injure, deface, or otherwise abuse any building, equipment, sign, or other natural or material property belonging to Des Moines Water Works.

Domestic Animals

No leash is required for dogs or other animals at Maffitt Reservoir. 

Bridle Trails

All horses shall be kept on bridle trails and under control at all times. No person shall hitch a horse or other animal except at hitching rails where provided. In other areas, no horse or other animal shall be hitched to trees, shrubs, fences, etc. in such a manner as to result in property damage. Horses are not permitted in picnic areas.

Closed Areas

No person shall enter upon closed portions of Water Works property in disregard of closed gates or signs forbidding the same.

River, Ponds and Fountain

No person shall skate on the ice or swim in the waters of the Raccoon River or any natural or artificial body of water on Water Works property. Wading shall be considered swimming, except for fishing purposes. Launching of boats upon Des Moines Water Works property is not allowed.

Vehicle Operation

No person shall ride or drive any motor vehicle in Water Works Park except upon the established roadways, and shall not exceed a speed limit of 20 miles per hour at any time nor exceed any other posted speed limit. All park roads are considered public thoroughfares, subject to the same traffic laws as city streets or county roads. All vehicles shall be operated as required by law, including the Code of Iowa, and applicable ordinances.


All vehicle parking shall be confined to designated parking areas where provided. Where parking areas are not provided, the parking of vehicles shall be parallel to the roadway. No vehicle shall be permitted to park in such a manner as to congest traffic or obstruct any roadway or drive.

Bike/Pedestrian Trail

Multi-use recreational trails are open for use by the public at all times with the exception that portions of the trail system may be closed from time to time due to flooding, maintenance activities, or other circumstances. Closed sections of a trail shall not be used by the public. Use of the trail system after park hours is allowed, providing users stay on the trail at all times.


These rules are enforced by Water Works staff and by law enforcement officials. All use of Water Works Park and Dale Maffitt Reservoir is subject to compliance with the rules, and such privilege may be terminated or suspended as provided in the Water Works Board Policy Manual. Terminations and suspensions hereunder shall not apply to rights of use of multi-use recreational trails, providing users stay on the trail at all times. Any entry onto, or use of, Water Works Park or Dale Maffitt Reservoir in violation of a termination or suspension shall be deemed a trespass, and shall be subject to civil and criminal penalties for trespass as provided by law.

Complete Rules & Regulations for Dale Maffitt Reservoir Park 

Complete Rules & Regulations for Dale Maffit Reservoir Park


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