This was wild! We were on a fishing trip to my friend's cabin in Central Minnesota in early October when we encountered the strange thing. The lake was making popping and snapping noises. It sounded kind of like Rice Krispie's cereal snap, crackling, and popping. What's behind this?

It happened on Clearwater Lake. Since there are 9 different Clearwater Lakes in Minnesota, I'll be specific. It happened on the one near Annandale in Wright County, Minnesota.

Google Maps
Google Maps

This lake is pretty popular for fishing, duck hunting, carp spearing, and recreation. The water is really clear, as the name indicates. The bottom is pretty mucky and weedy though. It makes a good habitat for fish. We usually have pretty good luck. Even if we only caught the skinniest 24" northern I've ever seen pictured below. (We released it)

Ken Hayes
Ken Hayes

We went out in the pontoon to a drop-off where it goes from 5 feet deep to 15 feet deep. I was targeting Northern Pike with a big sucker minnow and a large bobber. It usually does the trick.

We shut off the motor, cast out our lines, and sat down. That's when my friend hushed everyone, asking if we heard a noise. Sure enough, we heard a clicking, smacking, popping noise. I pulled out my phone and tried to capture the sound. You can barely hear it, but it's there. It was much louder in person.

What could this be caused by?

I reached out to contacts I have with the Minnesota DNR. They said it's most likely weeds and vegetation underwater decaying. The gas bubbles coming to the surface could be the cause.

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Another possible explanation

I also read somewhere that if you hear snapping noises in the water, it could actually be panfish sucking in their tiny prey in weeds and lilypads. They break the surface tension of the water and it makes a popping noise. I've been fishing for over 30 years, and I've never experienced that kind of popping noise on a lake.

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