Since my last post there have been several tournaments an at least a couple of those tournaments were able to bring in some big bags of fish for five fish going over 30lbs. Those tournaments were able to hit the lake under ideal conditions for "Sight Fishing"" and or bed fishing as it is called. Recent weather changes with wind and colder temperatures has pulled the fish back out and finding numbers of bed fish has been hard to do. The weather has made the bite up and down and at times down right tough. That should change as we get later into this week and with temperatures expected to get into the low 80's and stay there. It's my opinion that the majority of fish have yet to spawn and that should happen within these next couple of weeks if the weather remains stable and hot. The tournament people have found their best success if not sight fishing to be the use of a LV 500 lipless crank bait used with a yo yo pumping style retrieve. Other techniques such as jerk baits and swim baits like the locally made trash fish are also putting fish in the boat. For those who like to use techniques and baits such as a drop shot rig, senko's and shakey head jigs, be prepared to wade through large numbers of small fish in the six to eight inch range. (They are everywhere) It's been a very busy lake with spring break, tournaments, club tournaments and just casual fisherman and we have more tournaments pending. In a nut shell, look for the water temp's to move up and stay in the low 60's, more spawning fish will be moving up, the senko bite should kick into gear with more fish moving shallow, the live bait action has been good and should stay that way for the next few weeks. Please if you are taking fish off of the beds and are not in a tournament, take a picture and put them back to do their thing and protect their eggs. Currently the lake is in good shape with higher water levels than anytime last year and as soon as the winds die down, the water clarity will be excellent. Be safe, be courteous, have fun, God Bless, Bob
Since my last report and with no recent rains, the water clarity has cleared up considerably, especially on the West & North ends of the lake. The last three weeks have seen three big tournaments on the lake that have resulted in several 10lbers and lots of 7's, 8's & 9lb fish being caught. That being said, the vast majority of the fisherman are catching fish in the 2 to 3 lb range. Currently we are having a small cooler system moving through with maybe some sprinkles but right back into a warming trend for the next week. On the warm afternoons the bass are moving into the shallows and suspending under the docks. It's my guess with the water temps getting up into the low 60's in the afternoons, the bass will be bedding up soon. The crappie and bluegill are already making beds, and the bass will soon follow. Everything you can imagine is being used to target the bass, big glide baits, Arigs, big & small swim baits, jerk baits, drop shot, shakey head, crank baits, chatter baits, all are being used and all will work at the right time and right place. The fish are schooling and staging in the normal pre spawn bays and coves. You have to move around, cover water and locate the concentrations of fish. Now is also a good time to start throwing the trusted senko, a great pre spawn bait, fan cast it around and under the docks and out in the open to target the bass that are holding out a little deeper. A reminder for all of you that may be bringing a boat from out of the County to have your boat inspected and get your required Lake County Clearance sticker before launching your boat. The sticker from the State of Ca is not sufficient, you must have the Lake County Sticker.
Also keep in mind that all of the larger fish with the fat bellies this time of the year are probably females with eggs in them. Take your pictures, handle with care and get them back in the water asap. Now is a great time to come and fish Clear Lake and target a fish of a lifetime. Take measurements, a good photo, and have a replica made for your wall mount, release the trophy alive. I constantly hear complaints from other fisherman of people being rude, cutting them off, barging in front of them, etc. Be courteous regardless if you are in a tournament or not, there is plenty of areas to catch fish here at Clear Lake without trying to poach someone's area. The next month or so will be off the charts for catching quality bass, be safe, enjoy, be courteous, God Bless, Bob
Since my last report, the month of January proved to be a very slow and tough bite through out the month. Many of the locals contributed this to the vast amount of bait fish in the lake that provided plenty of food for the fish. My years of experience on this lake has always found January to be one of the toughest months of the year for catching fish. February has started off with a much better bite and this past week almost seemed like spring time conditions. The water temp was getting up to around 54 degrees and the water clarity was very good due to the fact we had no rain or run off for the entire month of January. I had a couple of recent days on the lake where I was able to boat up to 20 fish for five hours on the lake. Using a shakey head jig with a trick worm or Robo brand worm on it, jerk baits and drop shot were all coming on strong. Now we are in the middle of a storm that is passing through and has brought over 8 inches total of rain in some areas and the creeks are all running muddy. This will probably back the bite off considerably, at least in those areas where the creeks are flowing in. The good news is that the lake is now at 3 1/2 feet and is rising fast. My guess is this latest storm will get the lake level to four feet or better which is much better than anytime last year.
This is the time that the Alabama rigs, big swim baits and big glide baits will put a big fish in the boat for those that can stay with throwing them all day long. It certainly was fun this past week to see the tough bite subsiding and to be able to catch fish in the normal areas with the normal presentations. My guess is that it will take at least a week for the mud lines to clear out and settle and with a warming trend predicted for this upcoming week, we should be right back into a strong bite again. Anyone venturing out this next week or so should look for the cleaner water which will probably be mid lake and in the South Arms. I was impressed with the quality and size of the fish we caught this past week and it looks like we are going to have a good spring time bite. Higher water levels will provide more cover for the fish and with the abundance of bait fish in the lake, the bass are all fat and healthy.
Watch for more floating logs and limbs in the lake from this past storm, wear your life jackets, be sure to have your boat inspected before launching if you are coming from out of the area, and the wardens are checking for 2015 fishing license's. Have Fun, God Bless, Bob
Guiding is always slow during December and I always use this time to get my gear, boat, etc in order for the next season. Since my last report in November the bite has remained slow, to tough. I have turned down some trips during this time frame because of the slow bite and wanting my customers to have a better experience for their trip. I fished yesterday, (12/29/14) with a friend of mine testing the "live bait" bite. We hit several locations landing three ten inch bass, one three pound and one six pounder. We also broke one off that would have gone better than the six that we landed. Water clarity on the North & West end of the lake is stained to muddy in some areas close to the feeder creeks. We fished mid lake and in the South arms where the clarity is much better. The water temps varied from 48 degrees to 52 degrees in some areas with the warmer water mid lake and South arms. We drop shotted minnows and the fish we caught were all in deep water from 15 to 24 feet. This month of December has seen the lake rise over three feet in level and we are now at a higher point for lake level than anytime for last year. The big storm that we had pushed a lot of debris, tree limbs, logs, into the lake. The winds have blown most of this stuff onto the shore lines but depending on how and what direction the wind blows, this stuff can be re blown out into the lake. Use caution while boating, yesterday I did see some stuff out in the middle of the lake. The reports around the lake are that the live bait bite remains slow, reaction baits such as the Lucky craft LV500, umbrella rigs, and crank baits are putting a few fish in the boat. There still seems to be massive schools of bait fish and some reports of shad being seen. The fish we caught yesterday were "Fat" with big bellies. The good news is that if you put in your time, be versatile with your baits and presentations, catching a big bass is always in the cards here at Clear lake as evidenced by the six we landed yesterday. We currently are in a very good position to have a much fuller lake than last year which will move the spawning bass more into the shallows and flooded tules which will now have water on them. Just a reminder to make sure you have that 2015 fishing license, have your boat inspected and get your stickers before launching, be safe, wear your life jackets, watch out for logs, a small stick in the water can be attached to a much larger boat damaging log just under the surface.
Here's to a ""Happy, Healthy, Prosperous, Great 2015 Fishing Season for all of us, God Bless, Bob
Currently the Lake level is holding steady but is at it's lowest level of the year which is also the lowest it has been in many years. That being said, there is still plenty of water to fish in and two main ramps are still open in the cities of Clearlake Oaks and in Lakeport. Overall the fishing for and catching of the larger bass remains a challenge and requires mixing it up with reaction type baits such as deep diving crankbaits, lipless crankbaits fished with a yo yo type retrieve, jigs, and swimbaits. Covering a lot of water, targeting ledges and drop offs and rocky structure seems to be the best bet. The off shore weed beds are fast disappearing so the flipping and punching will not be a factor much longer. I have had reports of senko's working in the shallow parts of the lake, (North & West Ends) also shallow running square billed crankbaits. If you plan on using a drop shot rig, plan on wading through hundreds of the small four to seven inch bass. These can be caught almost anywhere in the lake and both in shallow and deep water. The lake is literally loaded with massive schools of bait fish and combine this with the massive amounts of smaller bass, the bigger bass have plenty to feed on. Using a reaction type bait such as the Lucky craft LV 500 can trigger those bigger bass to bite, again you just have to cover water and find the schools or areas that are holding the bigger fish. We got lucky on a trip yesterday, (11/10/14) and my customer landed a seven and a eight pounder using the LV 500 targeting rocky banks with deep water close by.(Check out the photos on the photo tab)
There is hardly any boat traffic on the lake and the weather has been perfect with very little wind making for ideal conditions to get you and test your skills and try your luck. I have been hearing lot's of people crying the blues because of a tough and slow bite. Personally I think that's when it becomes fun trying to figure them out and how can you complain with great fishing weather, no boat traffic and to be able to fish in a lake that can offer up a seven & eight pound bass in the same outing. That's it for now, God Bless all of our veteran's and all those who are protecting and fighting to keep our freedom. Boat Safe, be careful in the shallows, be courteous, ""Happy Veterans" Day. Bob
Since my last report the only thing that has changed is that the lake has gotten a little lower and a couple of ramp areas have closed due to the shallow water. The main ramps in the city of Lakeport, Clearlake Oaks and the city of Clearlake all have usable ramps. Exercise caution when launching and motor out into the deeper water with your main engine trimmed up until you get deep enough to get up on plane. This last weekend was the start of four major tournaments hitting the lake this week. Last week was the Angler's Choice fish off with 63 boats. It took 62 pounds for ten fish, two days, to win this tournament. While that is "Fantastic"" the reality is that most teams struggled to put together a decent limit of fish.
The main cause of the bite being slow and tough right now in my opinion is the VAST amount of bait in the lake along with millions of small fingerling bass in the 3 to 7 inch range. The big bass have all they want to eat and we will need some colder temp's, cooler water trend to turn these bigger fish on. Currently our weather trend is warm to hot with several up coming days predicted in the high 80's to low 90's. All of the fisherman who been fishing the upper end of the lake have basically been concentrating on the only thing they can fish and that is vast amounts of off shore weed beds. Most all of the docks on the West end of the lake have very little water under them to hold fish. As I said in my last post, using a drop shot will eventually get you a decent size fish but you will spend most of your day taking off the small fingerling bass. It will take bigger baits, big crankbaits, larger flipping, punching type baits, and certain topwater baits to eliminate the smaller fish bite. I am sure that those off shore weed beds are holding bigger fish for those who can spend their time working them, but it will take a lot of work and the right baits to catch them. Deep diving crankbaits, swimbaits and working a jig in the deeper waters will be a big part of the upcoming FLW tournament pros's and yes there will be a lot of them working those off shore weed beds. Triton Boat owners tournament starts tomorrow, 4th & 5th,(maybe 80 boats) then FLW is here Oct 9th through the 11. (maybe 100 boats) The following week will see ABA having their year end rally that should bring over 125 boats. All of these tournaments will be operating out of the West end of the lake and most of them will be using the 3rd & 5th street ramps in Lakeport. For you casual fisherman that may be planning on coming to the lake for any of these dates, you may want to consider launching at Clearlake Oaks, or at Redbud park in Clearlake.
All in all it is good news of the size of the fish for the winners of last weeks tournament. It is also good news that the lake is loaded with bait and that we have thousands if not millions of small fingerling bass. If you have younger fisherman, it is a great time to rig up a drop shot rig with a small worm and watch them catch all of those smaller bass, they will not get bored. Be safe, launch with caution, and boat with your motor trimmed up when you are within 50 yards of shore just to be safe. God Bless, Bob
Clear lake is currently at it's lowest level than it has been in years but there is still plenty of water left for the fish and to fish in. Compared to all the other lakes in Northern California, Clear Lakes drop in water level does not impact the fishing and or the access to the lake as it would elsewhere. The main ramps in the cities of Lakeport, Clearlake Oaks and the city of Clearlake are all still usable. Boaters do need to exercise caution and be aware that boating anywhere in close to shore should be done at slow speeds and with engines trimmed up until you get out into at least four to five feet of water. The lake will continue to drop about two inches a week over the next couple of months. As far as the fishing goes, the lake is literally loaded with thousands of small bass in the three to eight inch range. Also the silverside minnows have exploded all around the lake so there is a lot of bait size fish for the bigger bass to eat. This has made catching a larger bass harder and requires a change up in techniques and presentations. In the deeper water you need to fish deeper with a jig or deep diving crankbait to get away from the small fish. In the shallow waters, (North and West end of the lake) using top water baits such as a wake bait, buzz bait, and frogs will also keep the smaller bass away and you will be targeting the bigger bass. Chatter baits have also been successful in catching the larger bass.
With our shallow water conditions, you can find weed lines and weed beds as much as a mile off shore. These areas are going to be holding the bigger bass and using the punching technique and flipping larger plastic baits into the pockets and edges of these areas will also produce the bigger bass. A days outing right now using a drop shot rig is going to result in 20 to 50 small bass being caught. You may get a kicker bass during that time but odds are your going to catch all small fish with the drop shot. Bigger bass are going to come on something that will keep the smaller bass from biting.
Most all of the docks on the upper end of the lake have very little water on them and the fish have pulled out into those outer weed areas that I have mentioned above. In the deeper areas of the lake, concentrate on jig's, deep diving crankbaits and swim baits worked slowly along the bottom. Clearlake is open for business and there is plenty of areas to fish, Pray for rain, God Bless, Bob
The water level here at Clear Lake is fine for fishing. There are plenty of both shallow and deep water areas to try your luck. Even with the drought, Clear Lake is much better off than most lakes and most of the ramps around the lake are usable and they are "Free" . The water conditions are actually very good and the algae blooms have not been a problem. Boat traffic is very light and it seems that people think the drought and or the algae blooms have effected the lake but that is not the case. Mid lake the water is clear and conditions are perfect for boating. The lake is currently fishing slow to tough, fishing slow and being patient is the key to feeling the bite. I recommend using light line, and definitely having a good sensitive rod that is matched for the size of bait and technique you are using. Currently I have been concentrating my customers on using the drop shot technique and I use Dobyn's rod's, the champion series 701sf is a great rod. I use power pro line, 20lb test with a fluorocarbon 12lb test leader and I rig the bait about 12 inches above the 1/8oz weight. Watermelon candy has been one of my better colors.
Even with a tough bite this past week my customers have managed to land several fish in the three to seven pound class. Catching 5 to 8 fish has to be considered a good day for my ""Five Hour"" trips and for most customers catching a solid three pound bass is better than what they are use to. The weeds are already dying off and many areas of the lake are starting to clear up. I haven't tried a lot of top water but for those who have the time to stay with it, black buzz baits, frogs, Rico poppers and river to Sea whopper poppers have been putting some fish in the boat. The silver side minnows are starting to show and mass up in schools, this will help the top water action around the remaining weed beds and reaction baits such as chatterbaits and spinnerbaits will work as the bass start to feed on the minnows. The lake is slowly dropping about 2 1/2 inches a week and by October we will be a "minus" on the Rumsey gauge that is used to measure the lake depth. This will mean that some of the ramps will not be usable but the main ramp in the Oaks, Clear Lake and Lakeport should still be okay. It will also mean that you will need to use caution while boating in close to shore and any extending points going out into the lake.
Currently I would say it is a great time to get out on the lake, the water conditions are good and you can almost have the lake to yourself during the week. You also can at any cast catch a fish over five pounds such as the seven pound fish that my customer caught earlier this week. (See the photo page for July) If it's topwater you like, come try it, If it's drop shotting you like, come try it, if you want to fish jig's, come try it, in other words even with a tough bite, it's still a good time to fish and all of the above will work if you stay with it. Have Fun, be safe, be courteous, God Bless, Bob
Since my last report, most of the fish have finished their spawn but here at Clearlake some fish will continue to spawn through the month of June and even some in July. With our low water conditions that all lakes in California are experiencing the weed growth has exploded and is further off shore than normal on the West and upper end of the lake. The weed growth presents both good news and bad news. The good news is that the fish on the West and North ends of the lake literally have miles and miles have cover to protect them and to forage in. The bad news is that finding these fish and getting a bait in front of them will require a lot of work, patience and some different techniques. This past week we have had a real quite lake since most of the bigger tournaments are over for the season and the last big one that will hit the lake this next week has had an off limits imposed from the 2nd to the 6th. (today) The 2nd annual WON Clearlake open official pre fish starts tomorrow with the tournament starting next week. It's expected to draw somewhere between 75 and a 100 boats so we will have a very busy lake through Friday the 13th. A lot of patterns and baits are working and you can pretty much pick the one you like the best and stay with it and have reasonable success. Chatterbaits worked through the weeds, weightless flukes and zoom horny toads worked over the weed mats and dropped into the holes in the weeds, both texas and wacky rigged senko's worked around the edges and in the open areas, topwater baits such as buzz baits, frogs, whopper poppers, rico's, zara spooks, will all work if you stay with them long enough and cover enough water to find the right conditions to use them.
With the heavy weed cover a lot of fisherman will be flipping or punching some baits down through the weeds and into the holes in the mats with a variety of plastics and jigs.
It really is a fun time to fish, you can target fish with big and small baits, you can catch post and pre spawn fish, you can choose to fight through the vast areas of weeds on the West & North ends of the lake, or you can fish the deeper water and target structure and rock piles. A couple of key reminders, the lake is about three feet lower than normal, be very careful boating close to shore, there are rocks just under the surface that have not been exposed before, I have personally damaged my prop twice in the last months. Also the water temps are getting up into the high 70's during the hot days, the fish will not do well being carried around in the livewells. If your not in a tournament, catch, picture and release the fish as soon as possible. If your coming from out of the area or county, remember you must have your boat inspected before launching into the lake. Currently with our water level at 1.79 feet above our scale, most of the launch ramps are still usable. The Lucerne ramp is questionable and getting in and out of the State Park and the Konocti Casino area will require caution and a raised motor. Have fun, be careful, respect the other people fishing, ""Be Courteous"" God Bless, Bob
Since my last report many of the fish have spawned but here at Clearlake the fish will spawn all the way through June. May has brought a lot of high winds at times and the past couple of weeks has also seen the water temperatures drop about eight degrees from the highs. All of this has made for an on and off bite and the high winds has made a lot of the lake to rough to fish. The topwater action has just started and will continue to get better as we get warmer weather and a stable weather pattern. Baits such as rico's, zara spooks, buzz baits, and frogs will all start to produce as the fish start to feed up from the rigors of the spawn. Our lake level is about four feet below our level for this same time last year. I have found that this has pushed the fish a lot further off shore but still only in four to six feet of water due to the low water levels for this year.
The weed growth has already started to explode and it is a good possibility that the weeds will impact us much more than past year with the low water conditions. Currently it will be hard to beat a texas rigged or wacky rigged senko, a drop shot rig, or a shakey head jig for any consistent pattern of catching fish. As we go further into summer the lake level will continue to drop but using the launch ramps and being able to fish will not be a problem. Be versatile, fish further off shore than in past years, start trying the top water baits, and be careful boating close to shore due to lower water conditions. God Bless, Bob