Clear Lake in prespawn mode

The Carhartt Bassmaster College Series (April 6-7) and B.A.S.S. Nation (April 10-12) both have tournaments coming up on legendary Clear Lake, Calif., and these events should be hitting Clear Lake right on the money, which translates to lots of fish, and lots of big fish.

At this time (late March), the lake is in full prespawn mode, and the fishing is typical for Clear Lake – great. Expect nothing less at the Nation and College Series events, especially if you like fishing shallow.

Before looking at the patterns that BassGold recommends for Clear Lake in March-April, bear in mind a few things:

  1. Weather always plays a role. BassGold crunches many tournament patterns over several years to provide its recommendations, so it covers most weather scenarios, but always factor in current conditions.
  2. This is just a quick overview of the info BassGold has to offer, but it's still a lot. That's gold, and you can get more gold by applying what you know to what BassGold shows you.
  3. BassGold's data is based on thousands of tournament patterns, which means it's not what should or might work, it's what definitely has worked. Have confidence in it even if it's counterintuitive. BassGold's pattern info was second-guessed several times on the Bassmaster Elite Series last year but ended up being right every time.


The Macro Factors graph below tells the first part of the story: Hit the bank! More than 60 percent of winners and top finishers find their fish close to shore. But main lake offshore structure is about half as effective in wins.

That may indicate the presence of prespawn patterns. And sure enough if you look at April patterns alone, offshore structure becomes about a third as effective as fishing near shore.

The Habitat factors graph tells the rest of the story: spawning beds, emergent vegetation (tules, in this case), rock and docks are the most prevalent in wins and high finishes. Note that rock factors more in wins, and docks factor more in non-winning high finishes.

A variety of baits work, but the ones most prevalent – in the baits graph and in the pattern details – are swimbaits and drop shots. The pattern details also make it clear that drop shots in this lake are fished pretty shallow this time of year.

Weight-wise, the Weights by Month graph in this BassGold Pattern Report shows that you'll need to average in the high 20s per day to win or place high. Awesome. What makes that even better is there's always a chance on Clear Lake to get halfway to that number with just one fish.

Remember, BassGold shows what definitely has worked, so use that plus your own bass fishing experience plus the current conditions to go catch 'em!

Check out, a B.A.S.S. partner. The more time you spend with it, the more you'll get out of it. Save 15 percent on the one-year subscription price by using code BASS132 (case sensitive) when you sign up. Note that BassGold offers a three-day free trial.

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