December 1, 2000
The cold and rainy weather has kept most catfishermen off the lake. The hardy souls that have made an effort have been getting a few good fish.
Al Freitas of Don's Bait & Tackle in Clearlake (707-995-9668) reports shore fishermen are catching a few channel catfish in the Pirates Cove area, most of the fish are running from 8 to 12 pounds and are grabbing dead minnows. They are catching quite a few pan-sized cats in Cache Creek up near the dam with nightcrawlers.
In the Clearlake Oaks arm there are a few nice fish being taken at Rattlesnake Island with jumbo minnows and mackerel. in 20 to 30 feet of water. M & M Camground in the Oaks is giving up an occasional large channel cat for anglers using mackerel and clams but it's a long wait between strikes.
There is almost no catfishing activity in the north end of the lake mainly due to the wintery weather and low lake level.. The only action is an occasional channel cat being caught off docks with clams or nightcrawlers at night. I doubt that this will change much until we get enough rain to bring the lake up at least a couple of feet.
December 8, 2000
Considering it's early December and the surface water temperature is running around 47° the catfishing is pretty decent. There aren't many catfishermen going out but the few that are willing to brave the cold are getting some nice fish.
Al Freitas of Don's Bait & Tackle in Clearlake (707-995-9668) reports bass guide Sandie Hager and her client caught 3 nice cats including a 27 pound monster at Bass Alley while drift fishing with jumbo minnows for bass in 6 feet of water. There are a few nice fish in the 10 pound range being taken at the pipeline with jumbo minnows.
Bob Higgins of Limit Out Bait & Tackle in Clearlake Oaks (707-998-1006) reports a few fish being caught drifting the southeast side of Rattlesnake Island with shad and mackerel in 20 to 45 feet of water.
As usual for this time of year there are no catfishermen on the north end of the lake. There are some big cats hanging around in 24 to 26 feet of water about a mile and a half off of Barnes Yard but nobody is fishing there except me. I went out Wednesday afternoon for a couple of hours and caught 2 nice ones weighing 14 and 15 pounds using shrimp soaked in Kick'N Catfish attractant.
December 15, 2000
The cold and wet weather has kept most catfishermen off the lake. The few catfish that are being taken are by bass anglers.
Al Freitas of Don's Bait & Tackle in Clearlake (707-995-9668) says the only catfish that he has heard of were caught with jumbo minnows while fishing for bass. There have been quite a few large cats in the 10 to 18 pound range taken by bass anglers fishing deeper breaks in 12 to 20 feet of water with minnows. If someone wanted to try their luck on cats in the Clearlake area, fishing minnows at Bass Alley, Luebow Point or similar areas should produce some big fish.
The north end of the lake is giving up a few nice fish for local anglers fishing off their docks at night. The top baits have been clams and nightcrawlers and most fish are running around 8 to 12 pounds. There hasn't been anyone drift fishing for cats in the north end in the last week but I feel certain that there are a few good fish hanging around out there waiting for someone to brave the weather and give it a try.
December 22, 2000
The catfishing remains very good for late in December but there aren't many anglers taking advantage of it.
Bob Higgins of Limit Out Bait & Tackle in Clearlake Oaks (707-998-1006) reports good action around Rattlesnake Island with jumbo minnows, crawdads and frozen shad. Elden Riley, manager of M & M Campground in the Oaks caught 8 cats from 8 to 15 pounds drift fishing the southwest side of Rattlesnake Island in 25 to 40 feet of water with frozen shad. Bob received several reports of bass fishermen catching big catfish while fishing jumbo minnows around Rattlesnake Island.
Al Freitas of Don's Bait & Tackle in Clearlake (707-995-9668) says there haven't been any serious catfishermen out but the bass guys are catching quite a few big catfish with jumbo minnows. Al Molidia of Clearlake was catching bass with jumbo minnows when he hooked a monster fish that turned out to be a 30 pound channel cat, the biggest catfish he ever caught and the biggest I have heard of since I moved here in 1994.
We couldn't get any reports on catfishing in the north end of the lake since no one is going out. If we could just get enough rain to get the runoff started and bring up the lake level a few feet I think we would see some action.