Chris Burns Hits the Hard Water
Fishing at Clear Lake
Ice fishing always brings me back so many memories from my youth. Many of days, I wish I could turn time back and be young and carefree again. I’m writing about fishing for some of the toothless wonders, not the one you are sitting on, but bluegills, crappies, perch and yellow bass. Last weekend a group of us went on a three-day trip fishing trop to one of my childhood fishing hot spots in Clear Lake, Iowa. Six of us took out on this adventure: three of my son’s friend, my son in law, my son-in-law’s father , and long time friend Phil Hardy. It was a good group everyone worked hard, fished hard, ate well, and caught a lot of fish. Clear Lake, Iowa is set up for all seasons of fishing. The three main bait shops: Clear Lake Bait and Tackle, Crazy Minnow, and the newly reopened Dom should all be a first stop on your fishing adventure. All shops were current on the “hot” tackle and fishing reports. They even provided lake maps marked with the current areas to try. Please support these local tackle shops. We ate at the following restaurants: The Other Place, The OP in Clear Lake, and the Northwestern Steakhouse in Mason City all of which had great food and great service. Day One we parked on Dead Man’s Curve on North Shore Drive. We loaded the quads up and headed out to the reed beds. We began punching holes in 1.8 – 3 feet of water. It seems if we weren’t in the aquatic vegetation we weren’t getting bit. Through the Aqua-view Underwater Camera it looked liked asparagus spears growing out of the sand. The best areas had some pondweed mixed in. We started each morning with our favorite ice lures and jigs. We found that early in the day and the end of the day small spoons like the Lindy Frostee, Northland Forage Minnows, Custom Jigs, and Spin Slender Spoons with a small minnow or red spikes seemed to be the ticket. Then starting about 10 am it’s was best with a 3mm Tungsten Jig with a gold hook and a minnow. Also, light-weight line was the key, but caused a lot of lose of lures in the reeds after hooking up Clear Lakes chunky crappies. We fished Day One and Two in the same large reed fields. Day Three we fished two sand bars on the south side of the lake for yellow bass. We had private beach access to a beach, but found ourselves facing a 25 mph north head wind. We moved to the north side of Clear Lake and made access in the town of Ventura. We used our Lowrance Electronics loaded with fishing hot spots map to see the many new dredge cuts in Clear Lake. We drilled around seventy holes checking with our electronics for signs of fish. We finally ended up back in reeds in a different area in front of the Baptist Camp in about 2-3 feet of water. During the three days we caught plenty of fish to make a memorable trip and a good learning experience. We caught bluegills, crappies, perch, and yellow bass. We released some of the biggest fish to help sustain good genetics in the fishery. These were some of the healthiest chunky fish I’ve seen in a lake for a long time. I hope that someday you can take a trip to Clear Lake. Iowa and experience this fantastic fishery.