January 5, 2001
Happy New Year everyone, I'm sorry to say that I could not get any reports on catfish this week. I'm certain there are a few catfishermen on the lake but if they're catching any fish they're not telling anyone. As I have been saying for several weeks, we're not going to see much action until we get some heavy rains.
In lieu of a catfish report I'll describe some methods I would use if I were going out in the next few days:
In the south end of the lake (Rattlesnake Island, Bass Alley, Leubow Point etc.) I would try drift fishing with live jumbo minnows, cut mackerel or shrimp in 20 to 40 feet of water and use just enough weight to stay on or very close to the bottom.
In the north end (Nice/Lucerne, Lakeport, State Park etc.) I would concentrate on the Nice/Lucerne area in 20 to 30 feet of water making long drifts and bringing a good book or some crossword puzzles to kill time. I wish I had a more encouraging catfish report, well maybe next week.
January 12, 2001
The rain we've been having hasn't brought the lake level up very much but it has caused the catfish to start feeding a little in the Clearlake Oaks arm.
Bob Higgins of Limit Out Bait & Tackle in Clearlake Oaks (707-998-1006) reports quite a few large channel cats being taken in the Oaks area. Elden Riley of M & M Campground in the Oaks has been catching quite a few cats in the 12 to 17 pound range with jumbo minnows and mackerel while fishing from the beach on the lake side of the park. There was a 24 pound channel cat taken off the public beach near Island Park RV Park with mackerel. There have been quite a few large cats taken by bass anglers using jumbo minnows including a 22 pounder.
Al Freitas of Don's Bait & Tackle in Clearlake (707-995-9668) says he still hasn't had any reports from catfishermen but some of the bass fishermen are catching an occasional big cat on jumbo minnows.
There are no reports of channel cats being taken in the north end but they are starting to catch a few brown bullheads with mini crawlers and garden worms fishing where muddy run off water is going into the lake.
January 19, 2001
The catfish seem to have shut down for the most part due to extremely cold weather and lack of rain.
The large channel cats that were fairly active in the Clearlake Oaks arm have all but disappeared. While last week there were several reports of big catfish being caught by bass anglers using jumbo minnows there were no such reports this week.
There are a few brown bullheads falling for mini crawlers and garden worms in Rodman Slough but it's hardly worth the effort.
We guess we are back to waiting for the heavy rains to bring up the lake level and muddy up the water. If and when this happens we should see a vast improvement in the catfishing and until then the most we can hope for is a few active fish showing from time to time like they did in the Oaks last week.
January 26, 2001
The rain storms passing through our area seem to have improved the catfishing a little. The lake level is coming up and the muddy water runoff is bringing the fish closer to shore.
Al Freitas of Don's Bait & Tackle in Clearlake (707-995-9668) reports a few nice fish being taken in the Clearlake area. The hotspots have been: north of Monitor Island, the mouth of Cache Creek and the white bridge in Cache Creek. Top baits are cut bait and nightcrawlers. Most fish are running 8 to 14 pounds.
Due to the rainwater runoff, the brown bullheads ( yellow cats ) are starting to feed in the muddy water. If you want to try your luck on these tasty fish, just get some mini crawlers or better yet dig some garden worms and fish anywhere there is muddy water running into the lake from a creek or drainage ditch. Use a standard two hook bottom rig with #4 or #2 baitholder hooks and just enough weight to cast. Some of the better spots are Rodman Slough, the mouth of Kelsey Creek and any other creeks flowing into the lake especially in the north end. Occasionally you will hook into a big channel catfish while fishing for bullheads so use good quality gear so you can handle a big catfish.