LAKEPORT, Calif. — Sometimes referred to as the “Bass Capital of the West,” Clear Lake is the largest freshwater lake entirely in the state of California. A lack of local fishing pressure and a thriving population of quality bass should make the B.A.S.S. Nation Western Divisional this week a slugfest.
“For as good of a lake as it is, it doesn’t get fishing pressure because there are so many other things to do in California,” said Bassmaster Elite Series pro Ish Monroe. He noted the popularity of saltwater fishing contributes to the lack of pressure at Clear Lake.
The California pro predicts Clear Lake largemouth will be spawning during the divisional. “The whole lake is a spawning lake,” said Monroe. “I have caught them from one end to the other, but the north end usually has the predominant spawning areas. The Clear Lake State Park, Lucerne and Nice are always predominant spawning areas.”
Clear Lake bass usually spawn on gravel, sand or lava rock bottoms in depths of 6 feet or less.
Monroe sight fishes on Clear Lake with a Missile Baits D Bomb creature bait (candy grass). “A lot of guys will catch them on big tubes like the white Ish Tube,” said Monroe. He also predicted that swimbaits such as the River2Sea Bottom Walker Shad would be successful.
The Western Divisional competitors should set their sights on some heavy limits at Clear Lake. “If you don’t have a 5-pound average, you might as well not even think about finishing in the Top 10,” said Monroe. “There are so many 5-pound aggressive males in that lake at that time.”
Forage base — crawfish, hitch, sunfish and threadfin shad
Surface acreage — 43,000 acres
Shoreline mileage — 62 miles
Average depth — 27 feet
Expected water clarity — 3 to 6 feet
Dominant structure/cover — rocks, reeds and docks
Predicted winning weight — 82 pounds, 6 ounces