Each year myself and three friends get together for our annual shotgun deer hunting camp weekend. We always have a blast on that weekend and this year we decided we would like to get together for another weekend of fun. Some ideas were kicked around for a summer trip, but with my tournament schedule along with everyone else's schedule we couldn't make it work. I love ice fishing and suggested we get together to ice fish for a weekend. A couple of guys had never ice fished before, but decided they would like to try. Now while there's a lot of great ice fishing opportunities right here on our local lakes in the Cedar Valley, we decided we'd like to put some miles on and get out of town for the weekend. I had known Kevan Paul for a few years now, and I had talked with him about his sleeper shack rentals at Clear Lake. I suggested this to the guys and we decided to give it a try on the weekend of January 26th. This week I'll recap our trip and give you some information on contacting Kevan Paul and fishing Clear Lake.
To begin to recap our trip, I have to back up to Monday January 22nd. A large storm made its way through the area dumping two inches of rain over the Clear Lake area. I spoke with Kevan Monday afternoon to see what the ice conditions were after the rain. Some areas had twelve inches of standing water on top of the ice and it wasn't looking good for our trip. Kevan told me to call him Wednesday night to check ice conditions again and see what we needed to do. We were worried we would need to cancel and I couldn't wait to talk with Kevan Wednesday for an ice report. Wednesday came and Kevan said the lake had taken the water well and the ice was in great shape! GAME ON! I relayed to the guys, and Friday afternoon we were on our way!! We arrived in Clear Lake
around 2pm Friday afternoon and met with our guide Lonnie Wheeler at Clear Lake Bait and Tackle. There he directed us to which Bait and jig colors were the best to be using for the weekend. We bought our bait and Lonnie told us to follow him to our sleeper shack. Now, for those that have never seen one of these sleeper shacks, they are by no means a shack!! Kevans rentals have all the comforts of home. Ours had sleeping for four in comfortable beds, stove with oven, forced air furnace, lights throughout, a bathroom and satellite TV! With holes in the floor to fish while you watch your favorite show right out on the lake. We followed Lonnie to the lake and drove on, it's always a weird feeling for me to drive on ice, but I had full confidence in Kevan and Lonnie that the ice was safe enough to do so.
We arrived at the shack, got our supplies in and started fishing. Like I had mentioned earlier a couple of the guys had never ice fished before, so I got them started by showing them how to operate a flasher and read what was going on. Once I had them going I started fishing.
Fishing started out slow, and I was finding out Clear Lake was a different animal opposed to what I was used to around home. Kevan called and told us we needed to get out and move around a lot. We did that Friday night without much luck. We went into town for dinner and decided we would hit it really hard in the morning.
The next morning we were up early, it's so nice to stay in these sleepers because you're already at the lake. You can literally start fishing in your pajamas! I fished for a bit inside and then decided to get out and move around. I got a few bites hole hopping, but couldn't find a good bite yet. We decided to head to the west end of the lake. We fished along a weed line and found some small perch, but they still weren't what we were looking for. So around 11am we headed back to the sleeper. Had a quick lunch, and made a game plan to each go in a different direction to find these fish. I headed north, while my friend Jared went south and Jerry and Derek headed east and west.
After a half an hour of hole hopping North, Jared called and said to meet him to the south, as he was marking fish on the flasher. I met up with him and found an open hole. On nice days like the one we had, there are holes drilled everywhere from guys moving around. I dropped my Skandia Jig down the hole and a fish immediately rose up from the bottom! The fish nabbed my jig and I hooked up with my first Clear Lake yellow bass!!! Soon after Jared hooked up and we were fired up!!! Soon Jerry saw what was going on and headed our way. He found a hole and soon hooked up with a walleye! His first fish ever through the ice was a beautiful 16" walleye!
We now all had the hang of it and started catching fish. We fished until dark marking and catching fish. If only we had worked our way south sooner like guide Lonnie had told us to! We hole hopped in an area about the size of half of a football field to stay on the fish. I learned a few things about fishing Clear Lake on this trip. The fish up there, especially the yellow bass are very nomadic. The schools move constantly. When I mentioned hole hopping you literally move from hole to hole never spending more than a few minutes at each hole.
Another thing to remember is change bait frequently. If you drop down and the fish won't hit a wax worm, try a spike or a minnow head. Our best color turned out to be a white Skandia glow jig with a little pink and black on it. Also listen to your guide while up there. Lonnie and Kevan told us to work our way south, but we were reluctant to head south because of the crowd of people that were South of us. Once we moved South we realized why everyone was there and most guys were happy to talk and point us in the right direction.
I must say you simply can't beat the hospitality we received from Kevan Paul and his guide Lonnie Mueller. The service was top notch, the sleeper was clean and warm, and Lonnie was fun to hang out with. Kevan will customize your trip to suit your needs, so if you're looking for a close getaway winter or summer, contact Kevan Paul at 641-529-2359 or www.paulsfishingguide.com he will take great care of you. All in all it was a fantastic trip and as always in fishing I learned a lot! Until next time, Get Outdoors!!