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Shining in the middle of the Ozarks in southeastern Missouri, Clearwater Lake offers visitors more than 1,600 acres of water for boating, skiing, swimming and fishing. Originally built for flood control, the lake has become one of the area's premiere recreation lakes. With its proximity to the City of Piedmont and three state parks, Clearwater Lake is sure to become an Ozarks favorite.
Clearwater Lake is an impoundment of the Black River and was created in 1948 with the construction of the Clearwater Dam. Building started on the dam in 1940 but was delayed by the Second World War. The US Army Corps of Engineers built the reservoir for flood control and controls the lake's water levels today. The lake stays at a full pool of 498 feet above sea level until June first. Water levels are gradually drawn down and reach 496.5 feet above sea level by September 15th. The Corps also controls Clearwater Lake's 27 shoreline miles. As a result, there are no lakefront vacation rentals. However, vacation rentals are available nearby, as is real estate for sale.
Clearwater Lake's tree-lined shore has a wilderness feel, but the lake is still easily accessible. The US Army Corps of Engineers maintains five parks on the lake's shoreline, providing ample access for boating, water skiing, jet skiing, swimming, canoeing and fishing. Seasonal hunting is allowed on much of the public land surrounding the lake.
Bluff View Park, Piedmont Park, Webb Creek Park, and the Highway K Park all have campgrounds with picnic areas and swimming beaches. Marinas and public boat ramps are also available in the parks. The River Road Park is at the Clearwater Dam and has a visitors' center and campground. A boat ramp provides boating and fishing access to the Black River. The park is next to the Black River Wildlife Viewing Area. The area is closed to hunting and is a fantastic place to see the waterfowl and wildlife that make their homes at Clearwater Lake.
Fishing is a four season sport at Clearwater Lake. Anglers can expect to find plenty of crappie in the lake in the late winter and early spring. Winter is also a good time to fish for walleye in the river below the dam. The white bass bite during turkey season, and largemouth bass and catfish can be found from summer through the fall.
Clearwater Lake is six miles from the City of Piedmont with any amenities a visitor might need. It is a short drive from the lake to three state parks. Named for one Missouri's governors, the Sam A. Baker State Park covers 5,323 acres in the St. Francois Mountains. It was established in 1926 and is one of Missouri's oldest state parks. The Johnson's Shut-ins State Park has 8,549 acres for camping, hiking, backpacking and horseback riding. The park's primary attraction is the 180-acre Johnson's Shut-Ins Natural Area; shut-ins refer to a geological phenomenon formed over 1.5 billion years. The swift waters of the Black River became trapped or shut-in by hard igneous rocks; the swirling, churning water formed huge potholes and created natural waterslides and canyon-like gorges in the weaker rock. The third state park, 131-acre Elephant Rocks State Park, features giant boulders of red granite, the type often used to make monuments.
Oak and evergreen lined shores combine with clean, clear water to make Clearwater Lake a fantastic Ozarks destination. With a variety of state parks and the City of Piedmont all within a short drive, it is sure to be a favorite with the entire family.
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