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Winter Clear Lake Fishing Tips

Ross England

Ideal winter conditions are water temps in the low to mid 50's, though in a typical winter the water will get down to the very low 40ís. The abundance of threadfin shad will hang out most of the winter in the deeper portions of Clear Lake between Rattlesnake Island on the Clear Lake Oaks arm and Jago Bay in the Redbud arm.

Jerk baits and rattle baits will produce plenty of action. My favorite fishing baits are the Lucky Craft Pointer 78 and 78DD in Chartreuse Shad and Nishiki. Work them slowly with a couple of tugs and a long pause (a count of up to 10) paying close attention to the slack line, you will see many of the hits before you feel them. Work around shorelines with docks or rocky shorelines.

Slow rolling a large frame spinnerbait (1/2 or ĺ ounce) through the front edge of the tule beds or working a light weight jig in the same areas can produce good results, especially during a warming trend.

Drop-shotting small worms in 5 to 15 feet of water will also produce many bites. Another plastic option is the shakey or shaky head jig and worm. Fish docks and concentrate on the 5 to 8 foot depth range.


Spring Clear Lake Fishing Tips

Springtime, water temps have reached the low 60's to low 70's. Early in the season, look for a warming trend and stable weather for a couple of days and break out the swim baits. This is the Clear Lake fishing season when there are more big fish up in shallow water than any other time of the year. Early season colors such as Shad or Hitch will transition into Carp variations as the water warms, for the most part stick with 6" baits unless you have a lot of experience. This is the one time of year when every body on the water fishing has an opportunity for a fish of a lifetime!

Spinner baits and jigs will still catch fish. Rip baits should get larger, move from the 4 inch versions to the 6 to 8 inch models.

The variety of plastics options is wide open. Senkos and worms fished weightless in the tules and around shallow docks will become effective. Shakey worms, worms on dart heads, split shotting, and drop shotting will all work.

In the mid temperature range of spring on Clear Lake, start using a frog around areas of spawning activity. This is typically a morning bite, but when you find it...what fun!


Summer Clear Lake Fishing Tips

Summer signals water temps from the low 70's to as high as 90 in some spots. It also signals the growth of grasses, aquatic weeds, and algae blooms. An early and late topwater bite begins on Ricoís, Spooks, and buzz baits. Weedless frogs are getting more and more effective in the tules and weed mats as the water warms.

Cranking rattle baits and big, deep running crank baits kicks into gear in the deeper portions of Clear Lake California. Blades will work on both rocky banks and in the shade of the many docks surrounding the lake.

My most productive method of fishing Clear Lake at this time, and favorite due to the light tackle, drop shotting really starts putting numbers of fish in the boat. Look for off shore rock piles, ledges, humps, and steeper rocky points, the Mother Lode may be resting on one of these spots at any given time.


Fall Clear Lake Fishing Tips

Fall is the time of cooling water temps from the norm of high 70's to mid 80's back into the low 70's to upper 50ís. The water has been dropping all summer long, being pulled by the farmers in the Sacramento valley. The water goes through many changes both in quality and depth. Fish arenít quite as stacked on structural locations as during the past months. They are getting more scattered and following bait.

Top water now may work during the day, frogs, buzz baits, and Spooks. Spinnerbaits are absolutely catching both quantity and quality. Jig fishing remains effective as well as bigger crank baits fished in relatively shallow water. Flipping in the deepest tules you can find will produce numbers of fish and the most obscure remaining weed beds can produce big numbers of fish.



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