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DBM Tourney: Clark Lake, KS 6/9-6/10/2007
Article By: Matt Massey
I recently fished the Denver Bassmasters tournament at Clark Lake in southwest Kansas. I arrived in town Friday afternoon after a long six-hour drive from Denver. As I was driving I noticed the fields around the area had giant pools of water. The area had been getting lots of rain and the lake would most likely be very high and muddy. I started putting together my game plan for the tournament. When lakes become very muddy, bass will move and stay up shallow for longer periods of time.
The lake water temperature was 65 degrees when we put in at 5 AM. I started fishing with a buzzbait, I wanted to cover a lot of water fast and let the fish tell me what they were doing. After 20 minutes with no hits on top, I switched to a 3/4oz black and red Picasso jig with a large loud rattle. I started pitching into the reeds along shore in a small cove towards the upper end of the lake. I fished the entire cover from point to point with no fish. I decided to move so I fired up my Mercury and headed up the lake towards the dam. I stopped to fish a cove on the north side of the lake. Still pitching a jig, I ended up catching a short, (less than 15') and also an 18" 3 pound largemouth. I felt pretty good after I landed the bigger fish, I had a pattern. I noticed that the fish were hanging out between the weed line and the shore, usually on a piece of wood in 2-4 feet of water. I moved to another small cut on the lake that the wind had filled with hundreds of logs, just like a giant beaver hut. I started picking apart the water making multiple casts to every hole I could get my jig into. I had to make 5-6 casts to each spot to get bit. I ended up pulling out 3 more fish from this spot and lost 3 more. I had to use very heavy line and prefer to use fluorocarbon because of its low stretch and abrasion resistance. I was using Seaguar 20 pound test fluorocarbon. The fish were not hitting real hard, there would just be weight on the line when lifted up. I fished this “junk” for about an hour before I headed up the river. The river is very shallow with the left side deeper than the right. It is also loaded with reeds, weeds and timber. I started pitching into every hole I could get my jig into. This area of the lake was getting a lot of pressure and I did not get bit very much up there. I headed back to where I started the morning and repeated what I had been doing throughout the day. The water temp was 68-70 when we got off the water at 4 PM.
That night I awoke to a severe thunderstorm. It came through around 1:30am and dumped about 2 inches of rain in an hour. This was either going to be good or very bad for my fishing the next day. I launched at 5:25am and the first spot I went to was the cut with all of the lay downs. I fished this area thoroughly without getting a bite. My fish have left the area. I backed off into deeper water with nothing to be found. I headed up river trying to get my limit. I knew all I needed was 10 lbs to win this thing. I was not able to get my limit and only ended up with 1 fish weighing 2.11 lbs. I ended up dropping from 2nd to 5th over all. The tournament was a success over all. Anytime I can be on the water fishing is great though!
Water and weather:
I found that the fish were in the spawn-post spawn stage and scattered throughout the lake. When fishing during these times you will be able to still find some fish on beds but usually the females will back out to the first deeper drop adjacent to the spawning flats. On this trip the bigger fish were still tucked up in the reeds that were close to deep water. This lake was full of shad, they were around 4 inches long. The fish were very healthy and didn’t have to work too hard for a meal. Repeated casts were necessary to get them to bite and patience was a must. I like to use darker lures with a loud rattle in very muddy water, they are easier for the fish to locate.