From all indications, it looks like the heat wave is finally coming to an end. With temperatures that topped the century this week, only the bravest individuals ventured onto the lake. The fish reacted by not biting or diving deep. Overall the fishing was slow to mediocre. Most anglers were happy to catch two or three bass for a day’s effort. There are plenty of baitfish cruising along the shore, but not many bass.
Fishing pressure has also decreased significantly. While a few weeks ago the boat ramp parking lots were normally full on weekends, those same parking lots have been nearly empty recently, with only three or four bass boat trailers to be seen.
There are no major bass tournaments scheduled for this weekend, although there are a few club tournaments. Some of the major bass tournament organizations have canceled or postponed their tournaments that were scheduled to take place in September and October. The big fear is that the ramps are closed. As of Thursday, the Clearlake Oaks ramp and the Fifth Street ramp in Lakeport are the only public ramps still open.
The warm weather has impacted fish as well as anglers. The bass will seek cooler water by going deep and staying at the bottom. This is where patience plays a major role. When the bass hugs the bottom, you can’t pick it up too slowly.
Overall the water color of the lake is improving and is now a light brown color. Thursday morning the lake level was minus 1.98 feet on the Rumsey gauge. From all indications the lake will likely bottom out at minus 3ft Rumsey. The autumn rains should arrive towards the end of September. From November to February, we should receive the most rain.
The few catfishers on the lake caught huge catfish, including a number of 20-pounders. The hot bait has been a nightcrawler and the hook is allowed to sit on the bottom. The best fishing has been at a depth of 10 to 15 feet.
One of the main questions that visitors like to ask is, is catfish safe to eat? They are safe to eat, but there are warnings issued by the Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) that you should be aware of. Young women and those who are pregnant should not eat catfish because of the mercury in the fish. The same goes for children. Others should limit the amount of catfish they eat.
The trout action at Upper Blue Lake has slowed down a bit, but there are still some fish caught. The lake has not been stocked for several weeks. The lake is full and in very good condition.
A number of Clear Lake anglers report seeing baby grebes on the lake. It was feared there would be no hatching this year, but the chicks are finally here after a late hatch. Boaters are warned to be careful not to crush the chicks.
Zone A deer season has attracted a lot of hunters this year. A game warden reported seeing hunters everywhere while patrolling the Mendocino National Forest. He also said that overall the results were good.
Despite the drought, Clear Lake State Park is the perfect place to spend the weekend. The park is super clean and has great hiking trails as well as picnic areas. The park is teeming with wildlife and you will see deer, wild turkeys as well as raccoons and ospreys. It is one of Lake County’s gems.