The US Army Corps of Engineers completed construction of the Clearwater Lake Dam in 1948, with the prime purpose of maintaining flood control for the Black River drainage around the Poplar Bluff region. At a conservation pool of 1,630 acres, the lake is a great size for recreational and fishing boats up to 30’ long, with a keel depth of 1.5’ or less. At maximum flood level, the lake increases over 6 times in size to 10,350 acres. The Corps of Engineers maintains a summer pool at 498’, and a winter pool at 494’. For the current water levels, the USGS maintains water level monitors, which can be accessed here.
What to do at Clearwater Lake
While not the largest of lakes, Clearwater still has plenty to offer the visitor. Fishing is primarily focused on the spring and winter spawn, and crappie and catfish during the summer months. A great resource for the fisherman can be found here. The Corps periodically drops trees in the lake to provide fish habitat. A map of the brush areas can be found here. If fishing up the Black River, it is best to have a jet prop due to the shallow water levels above the Bluff View Area. The Logan and Webb Creek branches are shallow as well, it would be wise to check in with the local marinas to get their input on the current fishing conditions.During the summer months the lake becomes a recreational playground, with boating enthusiasts hitting the water primarily during the weekends. Pulling water toys, skiing, wake boarding, and knee boarding are popular activities that elicit shrieks of glee on all areas of the lake. The weekday visitor can find that the lake is quite peaceful and not quite as busy. Most of the dedicated fishermen leave the lake to the “weekenders” then hit the fishing holes during the weekdays.When visitors tire of the waters, there are still many activities that can make for pleasurable days. The Corps maintains several hiking trails around the lake, and a biking trail at the River Road campground. Also at the River Road campground is a tournament volleyball pit, as well as basketball courts, playgrounds, and a great view of the spillway. Golfing enthusiasts can visit the Canyon Club Golf Course in Piedmont, while hikers can visit the nearby Lon Sanders Canyon Conservation Area for a scramble over the shut-ins of McKenzie Creek.At night time, the casual visitor only has to gaze upwards to see sights that are simply not available in the big towns as the Milky Way comes out to dance in the skies. A popular time to visit is during August 11-13 to view the biggest celestial event of the year - the Perseid Meteor Shower. With upwards of 100 meteors per hour, the clear skies of Clearwater Lake makes for a memorable evening.
Resources for Clearwater Lake
The visitor’s prime resource is the Clearwater Lake Visitor’s Guide, published annually by the Clearwater Lake Association. Feel free to jump to the Visitor Guide page and download a copy of the current Visitor Guide.