This Labor Day weekend could see heat records broken in Lake County. The impact on Clear Lake fishermen could be nothing short of disastrous. Water temperatures could easily reach over 80 degrees. In fact, this is the perfect time to fish at night or late at night.
Several anglers suggest that the overall bass population in the lake may be declining, but there’s no way to know for sure. The Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) has done few surveys in Clear Lake to determine the bass population, so we really don’t know if the numbers are up or down. The best gauge we can use are the results of bass tournaments. For example, Sunday’s Kayak Tournament in Lakeport produced very few bass and that tournament had some excellent anglers.
We don’t know the reason for the bad fishing. This could be due to a mass kill of bass or the fact that the fish have moved to other areas of the lake. When fish die, only a few float to the surface because gases are not formed in their bodies. Most sink to the bottom.
Another factor could be the combination of low lake levels and warm temperatures, which forced bass to go deeper into the water. This year, the lake level is lower than it has been in recent memory.
Several tournament anglers believe that something happened without knowing what. They said they hadn’t seen such poor fishing in Clear Lake in a number of years.
Some of the local fishing guides target the deeper waters at the south end of the lake and still don’t catch many fish.
What is surprising is that there seem to be a lot of baitfish. During the mornings at Library Park in Lakeport, baitfish can be seen all over the water. A few anglers think there might be too many bait fish and the bass are gorging themselves, and that’s why they don’t bite.
The fishing could actually get worse as the lake level drops. Thursday morning the lake level was minus 1.85 feet on the Rumsey gauge. The ramps that are still open are Clearlake Oaks, Redbud, Lakeside County Park (although it’s very low and you have to be very careful about it) and Fifth Street in Library Park in Lakeport. In fact, all open ramps require great care when launching boats because boat trailers can easily get stuck.
The good news is that baby grebes are finally being spotted around the lake. Hatching was late this year and few nests were seen until a few weeks ago. Grebes are one of our important birds and it is exciting to know that they are nesting now and chicks are everywhere. Boaters should be very careful not to run over the chicks
Despite the drought, Clear Lake State Park is still the perfect place to spend Labor Day 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.
Deer hunters report seeing beautiful bucks in the Mendocino National Forest. Great care must be taken when traveling in the forest due to the extreme danger of fire. Always write down your vehicle registration number and tell a family member or friend when you’ll be back and where you’re going. This little piece of information could save your life in an emergency.