Here's to a ""Happy, Healthy, Prosperous, Great 2015 Fishing Season for all of us, 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
March was an interesting month, towards the end of March we had a nice warming trend with the water temps getting up to 62 degrees on the warm afternoons. This kicked the fish to the banks and even a few started making beds. The bite was hot during that period with some big bags weighed in by the tournament folks. The last week of March and these first few days of April brought cold day and nighttime temperatures, with snow on the local hill tops and the water temps dropped 6 to 8 degrees. This backed the fish off and the bite turned tough. Now we are at the very start of a warming trend, the water is starting to clear from the recent storms which over a period of a week saw about four inches of rain. The lake has come up about a 1/2 foot but still is four feet below the level for this same time last year. Today I saw fish up shallow warming their bellies and the males are starting to think about making beds. The drop shot bite has been working and the senko bite has also kicked in and will Get even better over this next week with the warm weather predicted. Currently the mouths of all the creeks are muddy but with no more rain predicted for this next week, the lake will clear fast. Before the rains, the lake had gotten real clear and you could see the bass easily in the shallows. This will be the pattern for the rest of April and we should see and absolutely great bite on almost anything you use, live bait, drop shot, shakey head rigs, swim baits, glide baits such as the River to Sea S wavers, senko's will be great.
I would remind everyone that all big fish, three pounds and up should be released. All females will have eggs in them and will need to spawn. Weigh, picture, and drop them back in. The lake will be busy with almost all weekends having club tournaments and major tournament organizations holding their tournaments. Be safe, be courteous, don't cut off or crowd in front of someone already working a shoreline or a set of docks. Watch your wakes and treat other fisherman the way you expect to be treated.
Take care of the fish, Clear Lake will be very busy this year with better water levels than most of the lakes, let's make if fun for all. The guides are busy, I book up early, don't wait until the last minute to book a trip, plan ahead if you can. Take care, God Bless, Bob
Since my last report and with the recent rains, the lake has come up one foot from it's low point. We are now at 1.69 on our measuring scale but still a long ways from normal and or where we were last year at 5.97 feet. I would consider the fishing "strong" even though you have to work hard for them and cover a lot of water. The fish are all quality fish in the three to five pound range for the average and several big fish being caught that have tipped the scales at ten pounds or better. This month of March will see a big tournament hitting the lake every weekend. The tournament folks are throwing a lot of big baits to entice those big fish. Baits like the Dep's 250, a whole variety of "A" rigs and big swim baits are being used for those who just want to target big fish. Baits such as lipless crank baits, jigs, drop shot, jerk baits, crank baits, small swim baits, chatter baits, spinnerbaits, "you name it"" it will all work this time of the year if you stay with them long enough and cover enough water. You pretty much have to pick your favorites and fish your personal strengths. No matter what you throw, it's a given that if you are fishing a tournament here, you had better have over 30 lbs of fish for your best five and over 60 lbs for a two day event if you expect to have a reasonable chance of winning the tournament. The upper end of the lake has muddied up quite a bit around the mouth of the creeks which are all running with this last rain we received. These areas are holding fish despite the muddy water and with a few days of stable weather with no rain and or wind and these areas will clear up fairly fast.
Personally this past week my customers have used swim baits, jig's, drop shot, jerk baits and "A" rigs plus live minnows to put fish in the boat. I expect that the months of March & April will produce some amazing five fish limits and very possible set some records for tournament weights. In the past months there have been several fish over the ten pound mark that have been caught and released with some over 11lbs reported. This is an absolute best time to get on the lake, fish your favorite bait and have a chance to land your fish of a lifetime. Please keep in mind that the lake is still very shallow in most areas around the shoreline and many areas with rocks "just under" the surface. Also please picture and release all big fish as soon as possible. The big fish will all have eggs in them at this time of the year and need to be released to keep this great fishery going. Be safe, Be courteous, respect your fellow fisherman, take care of the fish, wear your life jackets, "Have Fun"" & God Bless, Bob
This time of the year is slow for guiding and I haven't had a lot of time out on the water. The recent rains of around five inches has brought the lake up to 1.05 on the scale that we measure by. Last year the lake was at 5.92 feet so you can see we still have a long ways to go to normal. The good news is that the main ramps at Redbud park in Clear Lake, the ramp at Clear Lake Oaks, plus the two ramps in the town of Lakeport at 3rd & 5th streets are all very usable with no problems launching. If you are planning on launching out of the Casino marina or the State park, you may have to use your trolling motor to navigate out to the main lake. ""Be Careful"" very shallow there. With the low water conditions, practically no one is fishing the upper or West end of the lake. The good news is that the people who are fishing the Rattlesnake and Redbud arms of the lake are catching some good solid fish. It is rare to catch one under two pounds and most are all above the three pound range. The minnow bite is the best way to go for putting fish in the boat. Fish are being caught both shallow and deep, experiment and move around to find fish. I am using bobber set ups for targeting fish in the 3 out to the 8 to 10 foot range. In deeper water such as 15 to 25 feet, I am using a split shot or drop shot rig for the minnows. A typical five hour trip for me for two people should put 10 to 15 fish in the boat and will improve as we go further into March.
Those who are using strictly artificial baits and may be pre fishing for upcoming tournaments are using a variety of Alabama rigs, swimbaits in all sizes including the big Huddleston and the ""68" Huddleston, top hook ospreys are also a favorite. Jig's, crankbaits both shallow and the new strike king deep runners along with shaky head rigs and drop shot are also working. Don't forget the lipless cranks used in a yo yo style retrieve. I will say from all the reports, you really have to put your time in using all of the above and if you catch a limit of five fish for your efforts, you can say you have done well. If it's your first time to put your boat out in the lake, be sure to get it inspected and get your clearance sticker. Also all of the deeper fish are coming up with over inflated bladders, be sure to weigh, take a picture and release them right away so they can swim down and equalize their bladders.
I am looking forward to another great year on Clear Lake. If you are planning a trip with me in the future, please try and book early, I am booking up for the prime months so don't miss out. Be safe, wear your life jackets, be careful in the shallow shoreline areas, God Bless, Bob