The Clearwater Chain is a very familiar to my fishing partner/brother, Spencer and I. We’ve had some good finishes out there, including a couple of wins. Because the chain is fed by the Clearwater River, water levels and clarity can change quickly, as has been the case this spring. In May, the lakes in the chain were low and gin clear, but with recent rains, lake levels have risen and the water has a stain to it. We’ve also had warm, stable weather the past couple of weeks which has pushed water temps into the low-80’s. The spawn is complete and the fish are migrating toward their traditional summertime locales.
Spencer and I each spent a few hours prefishing and found that the deeper weeds, especially the cabbage, is either behind schedule or non-existent. We spent the majority of our prefishing time checking deep breaks for any signs of green weed growth. We ended up finding 8 or 10 spots to rotate through and with the limited fishing we did, each of us caught a 4-pounder. There are two sayings we like to throw around when describing Clearwater:
. 95% of the fish are in 5% of the water.
2 You absolutely have to catch a 4-pounder to have any chance of winning.
The morning started warm, but cloudy with a slight breeze. We drew boat 7 for takeoff and were able to make it up to our starting spot first. This was an area with a sharp dropoff that ran near the reeds. It has a hard bottom and scattered vegetation off the break. The majority of our spots fit the same description. We put 5 keepers in the boat within the first 40 minutes with the biggest going 2-1/4 pounds. After pulling up to our second spot, we combined to catch 6 keepers in 6 casts and swung at least 15 over the rail in just a few minutes. That pushed our total weight into the 10-11 pound range. Then, the sun came out and the wind died down completely. The deeper fish seemed less affected by the change. Spencer and I hoped if we hit enough spots and ran through enough fish, we would end up with 5 nice ones. We narrowed our rotation down to about 4 spots and hit them periodically throughout the day. Some of the schools were holding in areas only 3 boat-lengths long. After returning to a spot, sometimes we needed to change up baits or colors to fire them up again. We culled up a few ounces at a time all day long and boated in the neighborhood of 40-60 fish, but our boat never ran into a pod of those 3.5 to 4 pounders that it takes to win. Spencer and I ended up finishing 3rd with 13.27 pounds, a pound and a half behind the winners, Lee Farber and Jeff Lueck. Considering we never caught that elusive kicker fish, we were happy to escape with a third place finish.
Here’s a list of our most productive baits:
· 5/16oz All-Terrain Swim jig (black/blue) with a matching 4” twin tail grub
· Jigworm – 1/8oz All-Terrain Mighty Jig with a 7” Berkley Power Worm (various colors)
· 5” Senko – wacky rigged, weighted and unweighted (various colors)
· 3/8oz All-Terrain Finesse Jig (green pumpkin) with matching 4” twin tail grub
Our next Metro Hawg Hunters tournament takes place on July 12th at Lake Waconia. For updated results, standings, and more information about our club check us out at metrohawghunters.com.
-Team Lahr (Brad & Spencer)