Fat and healthy fish on Clear Lake for Western Divisional

LAKEPORT, Calif. — With the full moon this past weekend, contenders in the 2015 Old Milwaukee B.A.S.S. Nation Western Divisional can expect to catch prespawn and nesting bass at Clear Lake this week.

“The full moon of April is when bass start spawning there,” said Bassmaster Elite Series pro Chris Zaldain, who honed his skills on the northern California lake.

“The creek mouths on the northern end of the lake are your best bet because the fish go in and out there and a lot of them stay up the creeks,” Zaldain said. “The Clear Lake hitch also migrate up those creeks in April, so that is a perfect intersection for those big bass.”

The key lure to throw for prespawn bass will be an 8- to 10-inch swimbait in Clear Lake hitch or light hitch colors.

“It seems like every tournament in April is won on a big swimbait,” Zaldain said.

For bedding fish, Zaldain suggests deadsticking a variety of soft plastics such as wacky-rigged finesse worms, Senkos and Zoom Trick Worms. Bass on the northern end of the lake will be less than 4 feet deep, while largemouth on the southern end will be 12 feet deep or shallower.

Zaldain predicts plenty of quality bass will be caught during the divisional.

“The population of 4- to 6-pound fish on Clear Lake is amazing,” he said. “This time of year, the fish are fat and healthy.”

Lake Facts

Forage base — crawfish and Clear Lake hitch

Surface acreage — 43,785 acres

Average depth — 27 feet

Shoreline mileage — 100 miles

Expected water clarity — less than 2 feet of visibility on the north end and 5 to 6 feet of visibility on the south end

Dominant structure/cover — flooded willow trees, rocky points, cattails and tules

Predicted winning weight — 81 pounds