Fishing & Boating News

YETI FLW College Fishing Western Conference Finale set for Clear Lake

by: Joe Opager, Director of Public Relations,

Clear Lake
Photo by courtesy FLW Outdoors
(Sep 19, 2017 - LAKEPORT, CA.)

 YETI FLW College Fishing is heading to Clear Lake on Sept. 30 for the third and final regular-season stop in the Western Conference. A full field of college fishing clubs will be competing for the top award of a $2,000 club scholarship and a berth into the 2018 College Fishing National Championship, which will be hosted on the Red River in Shreveport, Louisiana, next May.

“Clear Lake can be tough, because everything looks so good,” said Costa FLW Series pro Jeff Michels of Lakehead, California, the back-to-back 2012 and 2013 Western Division Angler of the Year and a two-time Forrest Wood Cup qualifier. “Even though this tournament is a little later than usual we’ve had some abnormally warm weather and the bass are still right in the transition period between summer and fall patterns.

“Teams are going to catch them real shallow on topwater baits all the way down to 30 to 35 feet cranking deep rock piles,” Michels continued. “This tournament could literally be won at any depth right now.”

Michels said that Strike King 8XD and 10XD crankbaits would work really well deep cranking, while a Lucky Craft squarebill crankbait would be effective up shallow.

“This time of the year, Clear Lake really sets up similar to the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Rivers out east,” Michels said. “If you can find a mega-school on a rock pile or two, you’re going to be really tough to beat.”

Michels predicted that the winning club would bring a five-bass limit in excess of 20 pounds to the scale.

“I think 20 to 22 pounds will put you right there to win it,” he said. “My advice would be to find a school of fish and if you do, don’t leave them. The bite may slow down, but it will pick back up. If you want to win, don’t go running and gunning in this tournament.”

Anglers will take off from the Konocti Vista Casino Resort and Marina, located at 2755 Mission Rancheria Road, in Lakeport, at 7:30 a.m. PDT Saturday. Weigh-in will be held at the marina beginning at 2 p.m. Takeoff and weigh-in are free and open to the public.

Schools are allowed to register up until the morning of the tournament. Entries may be made either by phone or at

Schools currently registered to compete in the Clear Lake tournament, which is hosted by the Konocti Vista Casino Resort and Marina, include:
California Polytechnic State University – Clayton Lauchland, Lodi, Calif., and Christopher LeClair, Santa Clarita, Calif
California Polytechnic State University – Nick Rinauro, San Jose, Calif., and Alec Pitts, Santa Rosa, Calif.
California State University-Chico– Austin Crane and David Griswold, both of Oroville, Calif.
California State University-Chico – Tyler Firebaugh, Danville, Calif., and Chad Sweitzer, Chico, Calif.
California State University-Chico – Jakob Conlan and Frank Tomasello, both of Morgan Hill, Calif.
California State University-Chico – Travis Strain and Sean Huber, both of Chico, Calif.
California State University-Chico – Travis Gonsalves, Modesto, Calif., and Thoma Avilla, Escalon, Calif.
Grand Canyon University – Joseph Dwyer, Scottsdale, Ariz., and Cody Blood, Galt, Ariz.
Sonoma State University – B.J. Kendrick, Morgan Hill, Calif., and Josh Hanna, Danville, Calif.
Sonoma State University – Jake Banuelos, Pinole, Calif., and Peter Bizzini, Modesto, Calif.
University of California-Merced – Gregory Dooman, Castro Valley, Calif., and Herbie LeBlanc, Gilroy, Calif.

FLW College Fishing teams compete in three regular-season qualifying tournaments in one of five conferences – Central, Northern, Southern, Southeastern and Western. The top ten teams from each division’s three regular-season tournaments and the top 20 teams from the annual FLW College Fishing Open will advance to the 2018 FLW College Fishing National Championship on the Red River, hosted by the Shreveport-Bossier Sports Commission & Red River Waterway Commission. Additional teams will qualify for the National Championship if the field size in regular-season events exceeds 100 boats.

College Fishing is free to enter. All participants must be registered, full-time students at a college, university or community college and members of a college fishing club that is recognized by their school.

About FLW
FLW is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money in 2017 across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, with offices in Minneapolis, FLW conducts more than 258 bass-fishing tournaments annually across the United States and sanctions tournaments in Canada, China, Mexico, South Africa and South Korea. FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW" television show, broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, while FLW Bass Fishing magazine delivers cutting-edge tips from top pros.