Your chance to snag a big muskie!
BY: RACHEL WUMKES
Fishing is one of the top activities on Clear Lake. Anglers from far and wide peruse the water throughout the year in hopes to catch a big one. The yellow bass and walleye fishing is so good, they’ll practically jump in your boat. But the big guys, the elusive Muskie, is a bit tougher to snag on your line.
The muskellunge, often shortened to muskie, is a giant, freshwater fish. In fact, it is the largest member of the pike family. They are rare for a few reasons. First, being apex predators, there can only be so many in each body of water at one time. Second, these fish are incredibly wary of bait. Even if you find one, there’s a good chance it simply won’t bite!
The muskie has garnered the nickname “the fish of 1,000 casts” due to their difficulty to land.
They are carnivorous, eating mostly other fish like perch, suckers, and shiners. They also feed on frogs, crayfish, and large water insects. Some have even been known to take down a duckling or other small birds near shore.
According to the Iowa DNR website, (www.iowadnr.gov) Clear Lake received its first stock of Muskie in 1960. Fry from Wisconsin were raised at the Decorah trout hatchery. Forty fish were then stocked in our beloved lake. The program has continued to annually stock fish in Clear Lake.
Only a few bodies of water in Iowa are able to maintain a successful Muskie program. And even still, the fishery remains limited due to the capacity of what the lake can hold.
Each year, the Heartland Chapter (Chapter #10) of Muskies, Inc. hopes they’ll snag the big one!
Founded in 1955, they are dedicated to advancing conservation, promote muskellunge research, support the abatement of water pollution, and encourage a high-quality muskellunge sport fishery.
And they want YOU to try your luck at catching the big muskie this spring on beautiful Clear Lake!
The Annual Heartland Muskies Fishing Tournament is set for April 29, 2023. Entry and insurance release forms can be found HERE. The tournament is open to the public but is limited to the first 100 teams. Check-in will be from 6:00pm – 9:00pm on Friday, April 28th at the Ventura Community Center. Registrants can enjoy food, beverages, door prize drawings, and shop at the Heartland merchandise table.
And then Saturday… we fish!
At least from 6am until 4pm, anyway.
Remember, Muskies like the massive stuff, so make sure you’ve got a BIG lure on your line!
Participants will gather again from 4:30 until 10:00pm at the Ventura Community Center to enjoy the OP’s world-famous pizza and beverages. There will be an awards ceremony, raffle, and silent auction.
Prizes will be awarded for the following:
First Prize: $500 / Second Prize: $400 / Third Prize: $300 / Fourth Prize: $200 / Fifth Prize: $100 / Longest Muskie: $100 / Longest Non-Muskie: $25.
Even if you’re not the world’s greatest fisherman, what better way to spend a Saturday than out on the beautiful waters of Clear Lake, Iowa?
Life doesn’t get much better than that!