Clear Lake is well-known to bass fisherman as the best lake for bass fishing west of the Mississippi and it's often named as one of the top bass fishing lakes in the US. The lake is a great habitat for bass because of its warm, shallow water. Since Clear Lake doesn't freeze over, it's possible to fish any time of year, too.
Bass fishing is best done from a boat although it's possible to catch them from shore, both in the lake and along Cache Creek. Most bass fishermen use rip baits, spinner baits, jerk baits, plastic worms, or lures, one of the most popular being the Paddle Tail. According to Field and Stream Magazine, "The Paddle Tail craze began several years ago when a good majority of the Elite Series field employed the bait at the Bassmaster Clear Lake event. The event was ultimately won by Steve Kennedy who reported catching several of his key fish on the Basstrix Paddle Tail Swimbait."
The annual Clear Lake Team Bass Tournament, held in mid-March, draws bass fishermen from all over California and beyond. Clear Lake's record largemouth bass weighed in at 17.52 pounds.
While bass may be the most popular fish to catch, Clear Lake and Cache Creek are excellent spots for catching catfish, bluegill, crappie, and carp. These fish can easily be caught from shore, making fishing one of the most popular and enjoyable activities at Clear Lake Campground, right on Cache Creek. Catfish are the fish most commonly caught at the campground but campers also catch smaller fish, carp, and sometimes bass from our bank. Even kids have a great time fishing off the bank and hauling in their catch! There's a fish cleaning station right by the pier too so it's easy to clean your fish if you don't want to throw them back.
You don't need any special lures for these fish either, night crawlers or small minnows are good for bluegill, crappie, and catfish. Catfish will bite on other things too including crawdads, chicken liver, mackerel, and even hot dogs. It's not uncommon for catfish to weigh close to 20 pounds. Catfish Derby winners range from 22.24 to 24.87 pounds. Just remember that catfish have prickly spines so it's best to wear gloves when you handle them.
The annual Catfish Derby, held in May, is billed as the "largest catfish tournament west of the Mississippi".
Clear Lake Campground is the perfect place to spend lazy days fishing, watching ducks swim by or birds flying overhead, and enjoying the peaceful view of Anderson Marsh right across the creek. Our store stocks live night crawlers and frozen bait including mackerel, sardines, chicken liver, anchovies, and clams. We also sell hooks and weights but for bigger items and more selection, Clearlake Bait and Tackle is just 2.5 miles away at 14699 Lakeshore.
So just book your campsite and bring your pole - we'll be waiting for you!
Remember that you do need a fishing license to fish, even for a day. You can get one online from California Department of Fish and Wildlife or buy one in town at Clearlake Bait and Tackle.
If you'd like to spend a day with a fishing guide, you'll find several listed on Clear Lake Fishing.
More Activities to Enjoy at Clear Lake Campground:
Martha Bakerjian is a travel writer who divides her time between Clearlake and northern Tuscany. She writes about Italy on her site, Martha's Italy.