Every fishing trip starts with at least one person wanting to catch a certain fish. Sometimes those trips happen sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they happen and still fail at catching that desired fish. Eric Kol made the comment to me that he wanted to ice fish for Yellow Bass on Clear Lake in Iowa. I had been there and caught a few yellows. I looked at Facebook pages of the Crazy Minnow and Clear Lake Bait & Tackle and I was hooked. Piles of yellows on the ice every day. I am not a meat hunter but those number we were sure to get at least a few and that is always a dangerous thought to have.
With sleet, rain, and freezing roads in the forecast I left my house with my truck full and a trailer with our ice transportation at 3:45 am after a couple hours of sleep. With a couple stops and taking our time, we arrived at the bait shop before sunup right at opening time. Licenses, spikes, and minnows in hand we headed out to the landing suggested by the bait shop. With the anticipation of finding the fish right away, we carefully loaded everything in the sled and off we went.
Admittedly we could have walked the short distance but it cut out a lot of walking time. We stopped in a big flat and drilled some holes. Within minutes Eric caught the first fish that in his words was a walleye the size of a log perch. As time went by no fish were active and only a few were even seen on our flashers. There were about 30 holes drilled and no sign of catching anymore from that area.
I started to pack up for a move. To where I was not sure. Passing by other fishermen we could see a fish here and there. Looking at the map there was nothing different about that spot. We drove on a bit and found a spot that just felt good. Same depth of 9 feet but more on the edge of the big bowl. The first hole I drilled of the 6 exploratory holes produced the first, second, third, and fourth fish for Eric. I was not finding fish in the other holes so another hole was drilled right next to the one producing. With fish sniffing my bait I was feeling a little snubbed by the yellows. With some work and figuring out the fish I was able to produce my first yellow of the trip. As Eric described they were a bugger of a bite. Up-bite of a crappie and light takes.
With thumbs up I knew it may not be long.
Lifer Yellow for Eric!
I got to join in on the action too!
In the background, another fisherman pulls up a fish after Eric missed more bites than Eric could count.
We drilled some more holes and set up the shack to prepare for the upcoming rain. All set up in the shack with the producing holes no more fish were around. I decided to go find the fish. Like the shack I drilled two holes next to each other so if I found fish Eric and I could fish side by side. We found that very productive because we could use two different setups and get fish going and stay there. In the rain I found a couple holes that the fish were staying. Eric and I pulled up many fish in a short time. After about 6 hours of fishing we decided that we had a great time and head home.
The ice was covering everything! We had to remove the ice just to leave.
More and more people were showing up likely after work for them. As we were leaving some guys we stuck. I always carry two chains to put under the tires in case I get stuck. I taught them how to drive out without any pushing. It is much safer and easier and can be done alone. Many times those chains have been used for others and a must in every fisherman’s trunk.
We loaded up everything and headed home early. The drive home was uneventful as we always want. I was so glad to be home since only an hour later there was chatter that all the roads were slick around my home.
A successful and enjoyable day.
Our best setups were
-Noodle Style rod with light line 2-4 pound test
-Small white jigs tipped with 3+spikes
-Small silver spoons with 4+spikes
Jigging to draw them in and holding perfectly still seemed to work best for me. There were times when they hit hard but very few. That is why the noodle rods seemed to do well.
The surprise was the purple hue to the under-side of the mouth.
The bass hit light and you needed to be able to see the bite. Many times they just grabbed the spike. They were found on the bottom in bout 9 feet of water. If you plan to head down there check out the two Bait Shops in town on FB and they will set you up on where to go. They make their living that way and treated us right.
-Set line with a minnow caught one fish of the 30+ caught