Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Lake of Icaria


Icaria is an island in the Agean Sea 10 miles southwest of Samos.  It is also a lake four miles north of Corning, Iowa and about sixty miles from my home in Council Bluffs, Iowa. 

Early this spring, the local paper ran an article about fishing in some of southwest Iowa's lakes.  Lake Icaria, only 60 miles from me, was mentioned.  I had been there probably twenty years ago.  It was a deep clear lake but it was packed with people fishing.  Several years ago it was drawn down to clean out the rough fish and re-stocked with crappie, bass, catfish, and walleye.  The report in the paper specifically named walleye.  I was catching fish up at Pierre, and Webster, SD and my cup was starting to run over.  Southwest Iowa had very warm weather in middle to late July, and when it cooled Pam and I decided to go on a scouting trip to check it out.

We started out early with a big breakfast at the Council Bluffs Fish and Game Club, grabbed some crawlers, and headed over to Corning, Iowa.  Four miles north of Corning lies Lake Icaria.   We were really impressed with the campgrounds and parks the state of Iowa had completed in the area.  Several boat ramps were available, and if you are a motor home or 5th wheel camper, there are some really nice options.

A road bed extends across the lake at this location and we worked both sides.  The graph just hummed with targets and we had some hits, but they were really soft and nothing was boated.  To each side of the roadway, water depth was about fifteen to sixteen feet. 

The water was clear and the bank plunged down to fifteen to twenty foot depths.  Our only drawback was the surface temperature was 79 degrees.  We put on spinners and dropped them to the bottom, reeled them up a foot or two and back trolled against the wind and then drifted with the wind depending on where we were on the lake. The wind was starting to pick up in the 20 to 25 mph area, but in a small lake surrounded by hills, it was not a problem.   Near a submerged roadbed called Kale Road, we picked up some hits.  We could feel the light bite, but we were not getting good hook sets.

Spillway area at the dam, and looking southwesterly.  Close to the dam the water was only fifteen feet, but out 20 yards it dropped right down to 20 to 25 feet.  To the left of the picture the bank is really steep and the water depth is in the thirty foot range.

We had also purchased a book called "Sportsman's Connection" for the state of Iowa and it provided an excellent drawing of the topography of the lake.  I am going to check this book out for other states that I fish, mainly South Dakota and Kansas.  You can review what they have to offer for your state at their website 

Both graphs were humming and we showed a lot of fish with the majority below ten feet.  With the heat that had taken place, it was not surprising that the walleye had probably moved into deeper water.

Northern shoreline close to the dam. 

The wind had picked up considerably but with a smaller lake to fish on, it was not a problem.  We moved to the face of the dam.  At this location and out about 75 yards, we graphed a lot of fish suspended just off the bottom.  Toward the southwest shore the water got deeper down to thirty feet.  Out from the face of the dam at least ten yards, the water was twenty to twenty-five feet deep.  The bottom third of the graph was packed with fish.  

Southern shoreline showing a road that disappeared under the lake.

We changed from spinners to jigs and moved to the north shore letting the boat drift with the wind and kept the jig almost on the bottom.  Sometimes we would let it fall to the bottom and jig it up and down, but there was no action at all.  The poor bite probably was the result of a cold front passage during the night and we were in the blowout period.  

We had worked the lake for almost four hours and decided it was time to give it up.  Early next spring, we plan to hit the lake really hard as it is close to home.

We also drove all around the lake  where we could take some great pictures of the flowers.  Plus, it was fun to see a field of sunflowers all facing the sun.  When we first drove in to take the pictures, all were facing east.  When we took the pictures later they had turned almost straight south following the sun .

Field of Queen Ann's Lace in the park.

Field of sunflowers. 

Good hunting, good fishing, and good luck.  Hank 

Hammacher Schlemmer  



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