Cerebral Cavernous Malformation (CCM) is a disease of vascular malformations known to be caused by mutations in one of three genes: CCM1, CCM2, or CCM3. Despite several studies, the mechanism of CCM lesion onset remains unclear. Using a Ccm1 knockout mouse model, we studied the morphogenesis of early lesion formation in the retina in order to provide insight into potential mechanisms. We demonstrate that lesions develop in a stereotypic location and pattern, preceded by endothelial hypersprouting as confirmed in a zebrafish model of disease. The vascular defects seen with loss of Ccm1 suggest a defect in endothelial flow response. Taken together, these results suggest new mechanisms of early CCM disease pathogenesis and provide a framework for further study.