News release: Clear Lake in Sibley County opened to unlimited fishing

May 16, 2024

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has opened Clear Lake in Sibley County to unlimited fishing, allowing anglers to harvest fish that would likely not survive the upcoming winter during low water conditions on the 505-acre lake.

As part of a project to improve fish and wildlife habitat on Clear Lake, this spring the Minnesota DNR will begin to lower the lake’s water levels. The lake has been overwhelmed by large populations of common carp, causing turbid water and impeding aquatic plant growth. The lowered water levels mimic a drought, which can act as a natural “reset” to an ecosystem.

The drawdown will occur throughout the open water season of 2024. Plans call for lowering water levels by about 4 feet to create conditions for a winterkill and reduce common carp populations. The drawdown will also allow sediments to consolidate, which will allow new growth of submergent and emergent vegetation.

“Unlimited fishing presents an opportunity for anglers to harvest fish in Clear Lake as we proceed with the drawdown,” said Scott Mackenthun, Hutchinson area fisheries supervisor. “Clear Lake has suffered from impaired water quality for two decades.”

Unlimited fishing on Clear Lake will be in effect through Feb. 23, 2025. Anglers should check important rules for unlimited fishing that are available on the Minnesota DNR website.

Once water quality is improved, the Minnesota DNR will stock walleye, northern pike, yellow perch and bluegill in Clear Lake.

Common carp can have a negative impact on water quality when they uproot native plants and disturb phosphorous-rich bottom sediments through their feeding habits. A Minnesota Pollution Control Agency watershed assessment ( performed in 2017 found that Clear Lake had phosphorus levels more than three times the level that delineates an impaired water from non-impaired.

Anyone with questions about the Clear Lake project can contact Mackenthun at [email protected] or at 320-753-0324.

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