June 2 2000
There have been quite a few catfishermen prefishing for this weekend's derby, especially in the south end. The wind has hampered their efforts to some extent but they still managed some nice fish.
Al Freitas of Don's Bait and Tackle in Clearlake (707-995-9668) reports 6 cats from 20 to 24 pounds weighed in this past week caught on live jumbo minnows and live crawdads. The best area has been in Cache Creek all the way from the dam to the mouth and most of the fish are being taken from late night to just after daybreak. Anglers are catching 3 to 5 fish per outing running from 6 to 12 pounds with an occasional larger one. Al received a report from a bass angler that large catfish around Shag Rock in the Narrows were getting his crawdads before the bass could find them.
Percy Oved of Limit Out Bait and Tackle in Clearlake Oaks (707-998-1006) reports catfishermen getting quite a few 4 to 6 pounders in the Keys and around Rattlesnake Island with nightcrawlers and mackerel both drift fishing and anchoring.
Ed Ott of Ed's Market in Nice (707-274-8029) had several reports of nice stringers of channel cats being taken in Rodman Slough with nightcrawlers, clams and crawdads.
Even yours truly managed a 20 pound 4 ounce channel cat off the public beach near my house in Nice last Sunday morning. The monster grabbed a peanut butter doughball that I was using for carp. I released him and hope to catch him again this weekend for the derby (fat chance!). Good luck to everyone in the derby this weekend.
June 9 2000
The Clearlake Oaks/Glenhaven Family Catfish Derby held last weekend once again proved how good the catfishing is at Clear Lake. The Clearlake Oaks arm and Bass Alley produced a fair share of the winning fish. Most of the participants that I talked to caught at least a few catfish in the 5 to 10 pound range.
Everett Walton of San Jose was drift fishing in a fleet of derby boats around Bass Alley and reports that there were 2 boats that were catching most of the fish using shrimp and mackerel. Everett caught 18.8 and 14 pounders with shrimp but was not in the derby.
We fished the Clearlake Oaks arm during the first two days of the derby and my partner and I caught 13 fish from 5 to 16.63 pounds. We had good action on small fish from 5 to 9 pounds at the mouth of the Keys and I caught 2 over 16 pounds behind Rattlesnake Island. My partner caught his fish on jumbo minnows while we caught all of mine on shrimp with Kick'n Catfish Attractant sprayed on them and no float or sinker. The natural fall of the bait seemed to help attract them.
We tried the north end of the lake on Sunday morning (by myself, my partner overslept!) for a couple of hours and caught a 12 pounder and a 5 pounder using the scented shrimp under a slip bobber in 6 feet of water near the True Value Hardware Store in Nice.
There were very few catfishermen out during the week but the few that I talked to were catching 3 or 4 fish per outing in the 5 to 12 pound range with shrimp, mackerel and nightcrawlers. With the improving weather predicted for the weekend we should see some good catches all around the lake
June 16 2000
The hot weather is causing the channel catfish to go into their spawning mode. A lot of large cats are being seen starting to spawn in shallow rocky areas all around the lake.
Al Freitas of Don's Bait and Tackle in Clearlake (707-995-9668) reports spotting large schools of cats in the Horseshoe Bend area ranging from around 5 pounds to well over 20 pounds. Anglers drift fishing around Bass Alley are still taking some good fish with mackerel. Cache Creek is giving up some real trophies including a 28 pounder weighed in yesterday morning also caught with mackerel.
Tom Rae of Sunset Resort in Clearlake (707-994-6642) reports his guests are getting cats from 10 to 13 pounds using clams and nightcrawlers off his dock.
Bob Higgins of Limit Out Bait and Tackle in Clearlake Oaks (707-998-1006) reports good action at Rattlesnake Island for channel cats weighing from around 5 to 10 pounds. The top baits are fresh clams and live crawdads.
The north end of the lake is producing good results for the few fishermen that are going out. Casting shrimp or crawdads under a slip bobber around tules and especially around rocky areas is giving up fish from 5 to 15 pounds. The cove just east of the Barnes Yard in Lucerne is loaded with spawning cats but they are a little wary and therefore difficult to catch. Rodman Slough in Nice is still a good bet with nightcrawlers and crawdads especially at night. The hot weather is supposed to stay with us for awhile which should make the catfishing even better.
June 23 2000
The continuing hot weather has brought the water temperature to over 70 degrees and the catfish are spawning in submerged rocks and tires all over the lake.
Al Freitas of Don's Bait and Tackle in Clearlake (707-995-9668) says the cats are concentrated around rocks and tires and are falling for clams and jumbo minnows. Most of the fish are running from 10 to 15 pounds. Catfishermen are doing well in Cache Creek as well as in the main lake.
The situation in the north end of the lake is a carbon copy of the south end. Anywhere you find large rocks or sunken tires you will find spawning catfish. The Nice/Lucerne area is just loaded with spawning fish. The best time to coax them into taking a bait is from about 4:00am to 9:00am and again in the evening from dusk to about 10:00pm. Try fishing a slip bobber set with the bait a foot or so from bottom. Another option is to locate a school of cats and fish with no weight and cast the bait just in front of the fish. The top baits in the north end are live crawdads, nightcrawlers and shrimp in that order. This pattern should continue for at least a couple of weeks or more depending on the weather and water temperature.
June 30 2000
The weather has remained hot and so has the catfishing.
The channel cats are still spawning around rocky areas and submerged tires in the north end of the lake. Most anglers are catching them with live crawdads, shrimp and nightcrawlers fished under a bobber just off the bottom.
Al Freitas of Don's Bait and Tackle in Clearlake (707-995-9668) says the catfishing is great. A lot of fish are being taken drift fishing from Bass Alley to White Rock using mackerel and extra large minnows. One boat came back with 13 channel cats weighing from 8 pounds to over 20 pounds. Cache Creek is also giving up some good fish using clams and nightcrawlers.
Tom Rae of the Sunset Fishing Resort and Lodge in Clearlake (707-994-6642) reports catching quite a few nice channel cats off of their dock in the 8 to 12 pound range with crawlers, cutbait, and clams in the early morning and around sunset.
Percy Oved of Limit Out Bait and Tackle in Clearlake Oaks (707-998-1006) reports fair catfishing behind Rattlesnake Island using mackerel. Percy and a friend of his caught 5 from 10 to 15 pounds earlier in the week.