UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - Potomac River

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Fall Patterns Ramping Up at Clear Lake

Fall Patterns Ramping Up at Clear Lake
Jim Moulton

Changes are afoot at Clear Lake, and watchful anglers will be hoping that fall’s onset will counteract potentially tough conditions as the Costa FLW Series Western Division concludes on this California powerhouse fishery Sept. 28-30.

 

What’s happening now

The grass common to Clear Lake’s shallow upper end has been greatly reduced this year, according to California pro Jared Lintner, who, during a recent scouting trip, also found heavy algae staining throughout much of the north end. The staining, he says, lightens as you head south, but he estimates no more than a foot of visibility anywhere on Clear Lake.

Another change anglers will encounter is the weather. A cool-down earlier this month brought relief from sweltering heat and high water temperatures, though highs climbed back into the 90s late last week. This week’s forecast is for another cool-down. Not only might the cooling water diminish the algae levels, but as divisional points leader Joe Uribe Jr. notes, it’s likely to kick off the early fall transition.

“As air temperatures drop into daytime highs of upper 70s to low 80s, with overnight temperatures in the low 50s, the fish should start schooling up on shad in the early mornings and late evenings,” Uribe says. “The shad should start moving to the mouths and backs of the creeks, coves and shallow docks.

“The weather will really dictate how good the bite will be as it either gets colder or warmer before the event,” Uribe adds. “Typically the colder it gets the better at Clear Lake, as the fish will really start to move up during the colder nights, and they’ll school up in the early brisk mornings around shallow cover to feed on shad.”

In normal years, Uribe would lean more toward the lake’s north end, but given the grass situation, he thinks the entire lake will be in play, with bait and bass broadly scattered.

“The south end offers deeper water and more rock, and the north end offers lots of shallow docks and sloughs,” Uribe says. “The mid-lake will probably be the most crowded as anglers will tend to group up on community areas with deep water and bigger boulder-type rock. Fishing there will come down to luck of the draw and a matter of posting up on the right sweet spots.”

Lintner says that high water could also impact the scene. The water was a couple of feet high early last week, and though it’s dropped a few inches, according to the USGS, it’s still about 1 1/2 to 2 feet above normal for fall.

“You put 2 more feet of water in the lake and that obviously opens up the shallow spots like the tules, docks and laydowns, along with little sloughs and creeks,” Lintner says. “But it also puts more water on those rock piles and corners of seawalls.”

 

Todd Woods

Baits and patterns

If the onset of fall patterns can outshine the lake’s conditions, anglers could see a wide-open playing field with something for just about any style. That said, Uribe warns against inflexible game plans.

“You really have to keep everything honest this time of the year by fishing shallow and fast one day and then slow and deep the next,” he says. “You can catch them really good on a drop-shot and jig around rock piles and docks, but then you can also catch them good shallow on topwater and crankbaits.

“The one thing I really like about Clear Lake is how diverse it fishes. For example, the top 10 anglers on the final day will all be doing something different, or they may all be fishing deep or shallow but with different baits catching good ones. In my opinion this is one of the best lakes in the country. You can literally catch a 10-pounder on a drop-shot, jig, crankbait, swimbait or any other reaction bait.”

 

Making it count

Concerned that the lack of grass could impact even the fall spike, Lintner says it’s going to be even more critical than ever to maximize those big bites.

“A lot of guys might expect this to be your typical Clear Lake where you can catch a bunch of big fish, like it’s always been,” he says. “So, know that those 4 1/2- to 6-pound bites are precious.

“There have been years when you weigh 22 to 23 pounds and you’re in the middle of the pack. Now, you have to figure out how to get one of those big bites each day. That’s going to separate you from the majority of the field.”

Uribe predicts 16 to 17 pounds a day will make the check cut, but he thinks an angler will need to average 19 to 20 to make the top 10 and 23 to 24 to win.

“This time of year, the key has typically been to find several schools of larger fish holding in areas and rotate on those spots throughout the day,” Uribe says. “Usually if you catch a few 4- to 5-pounders in one area there are more.

“There are lots of smaller fish showing this time of year, but certain areas you find will have quality,” he adds. “The bigger fish are usually caught in deeper water from 10 to 20 feet. The schooling fish will be shallow in 3 to 5 feet of water. You have to find quality on Clear Lake and fish for 20 to 25 pounds a day, versus 10 to 15 pounds a day.”

 

Tournament details

Format: All boaters and co-anglers will compete for two days. The top 10 boaters and co-anglers based on cumulative weight after two days of competition will advance to the third and final round, with the winner in each category determined by the heaviest cumulative three-day weight.

Takeoff Time: 7:00 a.m. PT

Takeoff Location: Konocti Vista Casino Resort & Marina, 2755 Mission Rancheria Rd, Lakeport, CA

Weigh-In Time: 3:00 p.m. PT

Weigh-In Location: Konocti Vista Casino Resort & Marina

Complete details

Tags: david-a-brown  pre-tournament  2017-09-28-clear-lake 

Another Potomac Rumble Looms

Another Potomac Rumble Looms

Moving south from Lake Champlain, the second stop of the 2019 Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits is on the Potomac River. The tournament, which is presented by Lowrance and runs Aug. 22-24, should offer a fairly standard set of August conditions for the anglers, with plenty of quality largemouths to go around. READ MORE »

Smith Honored with Sportsmanship, Community Leadership Award

Smith Honored with Sportsmanship, Community Leadership Award

Capt. Blake Smith was presented with the 2019 Forrest L. Wood Sportsmanship & Community Leadership Award by the award’s namesake, Forrest Wood, at the 2019 FLW Cup pre-tournament banquet in Hot Springs, Ark. Smith, of Lakeland, Fla., has fished the FLW Tour since 2015. READ MORE »

Day 3 of Practice with Scanlon

Day 3 of Practice with Scanlon

Casey Scanlon won the FLW Tour season finale at Lake Champlain, which he almost had to do to make the FLW Cup. Now that he’s here at Lake Hamilton, he’s got a shot at $300,000 and a possible edge over the competition due to his momentum and extensive Ozark experience. READ MORE »

Hard Lessons and the FLW Cup

Hard Lessons and the FLW Cup

Two terrible tournaments to end the season cost Miles Burghoff his shot at the Polaris Rookie of the Year title. This week at the FLW Cup on Lake Hamilton, he's hoping to apply the lessons learned at the end of the season to his preparation for the championship event. READ MORE »

Thrift Roams Hamilton on Day 2

Thrift Roams Hamilton on Day 2

In seemingly any tournament that Bryan Thrift shows up to he is without a doubt one of the favorites to win. With two FLW Tour Angler of the Year titles, six Tour wins and five Costa FLW Series wins – including his most recent on Lake Champlain just a few weeks ago – it’s easy to understand why. READ MORE »

Riding Around Practice on Day 2

Riding Around Practice on Day 2

In a Ranger Z520L with a 250-hp Evinrude G2, it takes about 15 minutes to run from Carpenter Dam, which impounds Lake Hamilton, to the Blakely Mountain Dam that separates Hamilton from Lake Ouachita. If you stop and chat with 11 pros along the way, however, you’ll need most of the morning, but you’ll also wind up with a pretty sound idea of what’s going on at Hamilton for this week’s FLW Cup. READ MORE »

The First Morning with B. Lat

The First Morning with B. Lat

You won’t hear Brian Latimer complain about hot weather and tough fishing in Arkansas during this week’s FLW Cup at Lake Hamilton. For B. Lat, sweating it out on the water is vastly better than working in the heat installing landscaping and mowing lawns for a living, which is what he was doing just a few years ago. A lot’s changed since those days. Now, Latimer is an FLW Tour champion, with a growing fishing media company and his first shot at a Cup title. READ MORE »

From the All-American to the Cup

From the All-American to the Cup

Brennon McCord is a self-described quiet, easygoing guy, but the 22-year-old T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League All-American champion hopes to make some Lake Hamilton noise in his first FLW Cup appearance. For the moment, understandably so, he’s still basking in the afterglow of a victory that earned what he calls the biggest honor of his career. READ MORE »

FLW Cup Schedule of Events

FLW Cup Schedule of Events

The FLW Cup goes down August 9-11 on Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, Ark. As the crowning event of the FLW Tour season, there’s naturally a lot that goes with it, from takeoffs, the FLW Expo, a Trace Adkins concert and of course the weigh-ins at the Bank OZK Arena. Below you’ll find everything you’ll need to follow or attend the Cup, from the times to each event and seminar to each giveaway going on. Keep in mind, everything is free to attend and all times are Central. READ MORE »

Pre-Practice Report from Hamilton

Pre-Practice Report from Hamilton

For some, preparation has been in the form of map study and online research, while others have made the trek to Lake Hamilton to get eyes on the playing field, which went off limits July 22. READ MORE »

The FLW Cup Playing Field

The FLW Cup Playing Field

It’s been 14 seasons since the FLW Cup has been held at Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, Ark. In the years since, FLW fans have likely developed some familiarity with nearby Lake Ouachita, which has been a frequent destination for the Cup and, in fact, hosted last year’s championship event. Hamilton is less-known because it hasn’t gotten the nod to host the finale since July 2005, when George Cochran won his third bass-fishing world championship . READ MORE »

McCaghren Ready for Hamilton

McCaghren Ready for Hamilton

Billy McCaghren spends a lot of his free time coaching 8- to 10-year-old boys on how to swing and catch; but when the FLW Cup visits Hot Springs August 9-11, the Arkansas pro is hopeful that some of his young baseball players will be able to swing by and see the Lake Hamilton bass he plans on catching. READ MORE »

Summertime on Champlain

Summertime on Champlain

For three years running now, the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits has kicked off on Lake Champlain. The tournament, which is presented by Polaris, should offer great fishing like usual, but it’s going to be far different than the last two FLW Series tilts on the big Northern lake. READ MORE »

FLW Live Schedule for Lake Champlain

FLW Live Schedule for Lake Champlain

FLW Live is back for the season finale of the FLW Tour on Lake Champlain. The event, which is presented by T-H Marine and hosted by the City of Plattsburgh and Adirondack Coast Visitors Bureau runs Thursday, June 27 through Sunday, June 30. READ MORE »

Exploring Champlain with Strelic

Exploring Champlain with Strelic

Living about as far as possible from Champlain, Wade Strelic is looking to finish his rookie season strong at the FLW Tour finale. Hailing from Alpine, Calif., near San Diego, Strelic is sitting 28th in points and has made the check cut in three out of six events so far – another good derby will lock him in to the FLW Cup. READ MORE »

Nelson Wraps Champlain Practice

Nelson Wraps Champlain Practice

Ron Nelson is easily in the group of favorites in the event and a bonafide Northern expert, so I was eager to hop in the boat for a morning with the smallie snatcher. Champlain isn’t fishing quite like it was the years he won, but Nelson is still guaranteed to have a lot of eyes on him come day one. READ MORE »

Scouting for Smallies with Felix

Scouting for Smallies with Felix

Over the years, a lot of anglers have established impressive records on Lake Champlain, but few have done it as quickly and authoritatively as Austin Felix. READ MORE »

Get to Know Lake Champlain

Get to Know Lake Champlain

Lake Champlain is a giant of a lake. It stretches 100-plus miles from its beginning down south at Whitehall, N.Y., and runs all the way up to the Canadian border between the Green Mountains of Vermont and the Adirondacks in New York. Though the competitors aren’t allowed to venture into Canada, there is still plenty for anglers to break down for the final event of the 2019 FLW Tour season. READ MORE »

High School Championship Top 10 Baits

High School Championship Top 10 Baits

June is typically ledge-fishing season in the Tennessee Valley, especially at Pickwick, but the 2019 High School Fishing National Championship was a more diverse event than most folks might have expected. Patterns ranging from junk-fishing the bank to targeting docks and other shoreline cover to working the main-lake ledges all worked. Here are the baits used by the top 10 teams during the week. READ MORE »

Cicero and Snyder Win World Finals

Cicero and Snyder Win World Finals

Anthony Cicero IV and Dakota Snyder went right to their spot, locked up a big limit early and about six and a half hours later, brought what would be the winning sack of 16 pounds, 6 ounces to McFarland Park where the Elizabethtown High School duo won the 10th Annual High School Fishing World Finals. READ MORE »