UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2020 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Diverse Patterns in Play at Clear Lake

Diverse Patterns in Play at Clear Lake

The gem of northern California is set to shine as anglers do their best to unlock Clear Lake’s treasure during the Costa FLW Series Western Division event powered by Evinrude and hosted by Konocti Vista Casino Resort & Marina. With warm and mostly sunny conditions on tap, we’re expecting a diverse event with all spring phases in play.

As the division’s second event plays out, pros will compete for a top award of up to $50,000 in cash and a new Ranger Z518C boat with a 200-hp Evinrude outboard. Co-anglers will cast for a Ranger Z175 boat with a 90-hp Evinrude outboard and an additional $5,000 if Ranger Cup qualified.       

Tournament details page

Day 1 takeoff gallery

About the fishery

Considered the oldest natural lake in North America, Clear Lake, which covers 68 square miles, is the largest natural lake wholly located within California. Fed by several inflowing creeks, Clear Lake drains through Cache Creek at its lower end.

Comprising a mostly shallow upper end and a lower end branching into two major arms – Red Bud and Rattlesnake – Clear Lake offers a variety of habitat features such as tules, shallow wood, docks, rocky shorelines and scattered islands.

The lake is nestled amid scenic mountains at the lower end of California’s famed wine country. Its dominant landscape feature is the towering Mount Konocti, a dormant volcano overlooking the narrow mid-lake region.

Water level on Clear Lake is measured using the Rumsey Gauge, which zeros at 1,318.26 feet above sea level. Clear lake is full at 7.56 feet, but it’s currently about 5 Rumsey.

 

Current conditions

This large and diverse fishery located about two hours north of Sacramento has seen significant water fluctuations of late, but its current status is looking favorable for spring patterns. Also promising is a modest, but noticeable return of the hydrilla that disappeared last year. Warming water will help spur this regrowth.

“The grass is not back to normal, but there is more than there was when the Costa FLW Series was here last fall,” says California pro Jimmy Reese, who notched a top 10 in that 2017 tournament. “The grass is not to the surface yet, and it’s probably 30 percent of where it should be; but it’s about 80 percent more than it was last fall.

“You can find water temperatures as high as 70 degrees on the right day, but most of the lake was 64 to 66 on Wednesday. A few more days of 80-plus degrees and that grass will get better and better.”

Reese says the increasing grass growth has helped the clarity situation. Heavy spring rains sent a plume of muddy water stretching from Rodman Slough at the upper end to mid-lake.

“The grass is filtering the water, and the water color, compared to last fall, is night-and-day. It’s way better visibility,” Reese says. “In some areas, it’s only a foot of visibility, but I’d say 90 percent of the lake is 3 to 4 feet of visibility.”

 

Tactics in play

Reese says he’s looking for a mixed bag of prespawn, spawn and postspawn activity, which will afford a range of options from sight-fishing to covering water for bass coming and going. Clear Lake typically sees several waves of spawners. According to Reese, there are enough beds to keep that interest alive, but he’s thinking that more big females will be on their way soon.

Utah pro Sunny Hawk says Clear Lake could see spawners top to bottom. Fish in the upper end spawn in the tules and shallow creek habitat, whereas bass on the lower end will utilize docks.

“Clear Lake has so many crawfish, any type of creature bait is a good choice for bed-fishing,” Hawk says. “For the prespawn/postspawn fish, under-spins and jerkbaits will work.”

Reese adds spinnerbaits, swimbaits and bladed jigs to that mix.

 

Critical factors

1. Water level – The lower water should bode well for bed-fishing, as bass will spawn in more accessible areas than the heavy cover where they might have otherwise vanished into if the water had stayed high. This will present the classic double-edged sword for sight-fishermen, as bass will be easier to spot, but as water declines wariness rises.

2. Wind – Currently, day one is looking calm, but Friday’s forecast calls for big winds of 20-plus mph. Clear Lake has plenty of wind breaks, but a big blow condenses the playing field.

“That’s going to play havoc on some of the bed-fishermen,” Reese predicts. “It will push a lot of people into the same areas. That won’t be good for two days in a row.”

3. Secondary spawns – Hawk notes that a mix of shad, bluegill, crappie, carp and catfish spawns have been creating mayhem in the shallows. Bass might take advantage of this, but it’s easy to get rabbit-trailed into burning a lot of time, unless you’re on quality fish.

Hawk says all of this shallow activity will offer windows of fierce topwater action.

 

Dock talk

Reese says that prior to practice, he was estimating a winning weight of 75 pounds, but he’s now pulling that down a bit.

“It could still be at that level, but it’s going to take the right person in the right area with nobody around,” he says. “There are some groups of big fish, and you might see a 30-pound bag, but you’re not going to be able to back it up.

“Right now, I’m thinking the check cut will be 15 to 17 pounds a day. Twenty a day will be huge.”

Hawk’s estimate: “I think it will be around 62 pounds for three days. It could swing higher with fish still moving around.”

 

Tournament details

Date: May 10-12, 2018

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: 6:30 a.m. PT

Takeoff Location: Konocti Vista Casino Resort & Marina, 2755 Mission Rancheria Road, Lakeport, CA 95453

Weigh-in time: 2:30 p.m. PT

Weigh-in location: Konocti Vista Casino Resort & Marina, 2755 Mission Rancheria Road, Lakeport, CA 95453

Tournament details page

Tags: david-a-brown  morning-story  2018-05-10-clear-lake 

Lake of the Ozarks Midday Update – Day 1

Lake of the Ozarks Midday Update – Day 1

All the talk leading up the final leg of the Costa FLW Series Central Division presented by Evinrude on Lake of the Ozarks was about the weather. And Mother Nature did not disappoint. READ MORE »

Stormy Start at Lake of the Ozarks

Stormy Start at Lake of the Ozarks

The final leg of the Costa FLW Series Central Division presented by Evinrude on Lake of the Ozarks will launch right as a massive cold front arrives. How massive? The forecast has been calling for heavy rain and a high of 74 today, and so far hasn’t been wrong. A major thunderstorm greeted anglers this morning and delayed takeoff by an hour and fifteen minutes thanks to abundant lightning. Tomorrow? A high in the mid 40s. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Grand Lake

Top 10 Patterns from Grand Lake

Curt Warren knew what he wanted to do, and it had nothing to do with weeding through a bunch of small fish up shallow. Rather, he focused his attention on deeper Grand Lake spots with chunk rock and brush and amassed a three-day total of 46 pounds, 7 ounces to win the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, presented by T-H Marine. Here’s how the rest of the top 10 caught their fish and earned their checks on Grand. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Grand Lake

Top 10 Baits from Grand Lake

A cold front moving in at the start of Grand Lake’s fall transition put a damper on seeing a bunch of big weights during the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, which was presented by T-H Marine, but plenty of pros managed to find the right fish to make things exciting on the final day. READ MORE »

Meador Repeats Co-Angler Win on Grand

Meador Repeats Co-Angler Win on Grand

Defending his title as co-angler winner in the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, which was presented by T-H Marine, was impressive enough, but the way Steven Meador did it was truly remarkable. After earning the 2018 win on Grand by 3 pounds, 6 ounces, the Bentonville, Ark., co-angler repeated the victory with a three-day total of 27-15 for a much slimmer winning margin this time around – just 10 ounces. READ MORE »

Warren Mounts Furious Comeback on Grand

Warren Mounts Furious Comeback on Grand

Curt Warren was a paragon of consistency over three days at Grand Lake, and the result was a victory in the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, presented by T-H Marine. Warren turned in limits of 14-5 on day one and 16-9 on day two, but it was his day-three limit of 15-9 that was the most impressive – no other pro even cracked the 13-pound mark battling the tough post-frontal conditions Grand had to offer on day three. READ MORE »

Grand Lake Midday Update – Day 3

Grand Lake Midday Update – Day 3

Typically, the first day or two following a cold front put bass in a bad mood, and today, Grand Lake’s fish are following the script. This has created a challenging scenario for the top-10 finalists in the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, presented by T-H Marine. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from Grand Lake - Day 2

Top 5 Patterns from Grand Lake - Day 2

When conditions changed, Cody Bird of Granbury, Texas completely scrapped his day-one pattern, caught a limit that weighed 13-11 and took over the lead of the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event, presented by T-H Marine, with a two-day total of 32-14. Here’s what the rest of the top five was up to on day two. READ MORE »

Bird Moves Ahead on Grand

Bird Moves Ahead on Grand

After his sizzling day-one pattern fizzled, Cody Bird adjusted his focus to a completely different scenario and sacked up a limit of 13-11 on day two to take over the lead in the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, presented by T-H Marine, with a two day total of 32-14. Going into Saturday’s final round, Bird holds a 7-ounce lead over day-one leader and Grand Lake stick Jason Christie. READ MORE »

Grand Lake Midday Update – Day 2

Grand Lake Midday Update – Day 2

You know fishing’s tough when the most common greeting we receive is the goose egg hand signal. No question, day two of the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, presented by T-H Marine, had a lot of anglers scratching for bites and scratching their heads. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from Grand Lake - Day 1

Top 5 Patterns from Grand Lake - Day 1

Jason Christie of Park Hill, Okla., leveraged his intimate understanding of Grand Lake’s tendencies to catch a five-bass limit that weighed 22 pounds, 10 ounces to take the lead on day one of the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event Presented by T-H Marine. Here are the details of the rest of the top five. READ MORE »

Christie Blasts 22-10 on Grand

Christie Blasts 22-10 on Grand

Oklahoma stick Jason Christie overcame the unsettling effects of a passing cold front to sack up a five-bass limit that weighed 22 pounds, 10 ounces for the day one lead in the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, presented by T-H Marine on Oklahoma’s Grand Lake. READ MORE »

Grand Lake Midday Update - Day 1

Grand Lake Midday Update - Day 1

After several weeks of hot, sunny conditions, anglers launched with cloudy skies, stout winds and air temperatures in the low 60s. By midday, the temperature rose into the mid to upper 60s and the wind started to subside, however, the first couple of hours saw Grand Lake’s temperamental side. READ MORE »

Changes Afoot at Grand Lake

Changes Afoot at Grand Lake

Fall is a time of change and movement; two notions bound to impact the outcome of the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, presented by T-H Marine, on Oklahoma’s Grand Lake. Typical fall migrations are underway, but an approaching cold front will likely complicate the already challenging nature of autumn’s transition. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from the Cal Delta

Top 10 Patterns from the Cal Delta

The Costa FLW Series Western Division event presented by Power-Pole on the California Delta featured all the typical Delta tactics. Punching, vibrating jigs, finesse and even a frog made an appearance in the top 10. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from the Cal Delta

Top 10 Baits from the Cal Delta

The Costa FLW Series Western Division event presented by Power-Pole on the California Delta had a lot of punching as usual, but it was far from the only thing going. Due to the lush grass and windy and touch conditions, vibrating jigs and finesse played a big role as well. READ MORE »

Farage Earns Fourth Co-Angler Win

Farage Earns Fourth Co-Angler Win

Weighing 14 pounds, 2 ounces on the final day of the Costa FLW Series Western Division event presented by Power-Pole on the California Delta, Jack Farage totaled 37-2 to edge ahead of Cesar Laguna for the co-angler win. The win is Farage's fourth as a co-angler at the FLW Series level and he took home a brand new Ranger boat because of it.  READ MORE »

Wire-to-Wire for Dyer

Wire-to-Wire for Dyer

Blake Dyer set the pace on day one with a 27-pound, 3-ounce bag and he never relinquished the lead in the Costa FLW Series Western Division event presented by Power-Pole on the California Delta. Weighing 15-8 on the final day, Dyer totaled 62-13 to stay ahead of a final-day charge from Jason Borofka. For his win, which is his first with FLW, Dyer takes home $31,114 and a trophy that will last forever. READ MORE »

Cal Delta Midday Update – Day 3

Cal Delta Midday Update – Day 3

Tournament fishing is full of highs and lows and today, the latter may play a key role in determining the outcome of the Costa FLW Series Western Division event resented by Power-Pole on the California Delta. Specifically, several anglers expressed their hopes of doing their best work during the afternoon low tide period. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from the Cal Delta – Day 2

Top 5 Patterns from the Cal Delta – Day 2

Blake Dyer has dominated through two days of the Costa FLW Series Western Division event presented by Power-Pole on the Cal Delta. With a total nearing 50 pounds, he’s also one of just two pros to bring in back-to-back 20-pound limits. However, that doesn’t mean the rest of the crew hasn’t been doing work, and with the big fish in the Delta, anything is possible on the final day. READ MORE »