Where to Go
From the launching ramp at Clear Lake Campground turn right and continue on Cache creek with your back to the highway.
Our itinerary takes you into a marsh, past a blue heron rookery, and out into the lake where a stand of tules hosts a clamorous array of red-winged, tri-colored and yellow-headed blackbirds. Amongst the cottonwoods, valley oaks, California
buckeye, California bay, and native California black walnut that line the creek you'll see plenty of birds, and in late April and into May you'll likely encounter large carp mating noisily in the shadows and you might come upon turtles sunning themselves on low branches and rocks. Optionally, you can paddle a bit more to have a bite to eat at The Spot, a local burger joint that has a pier and dock where you can tie up your kayak and eat very fine burgers and other fine sandwiches on the patio.
Let's take a look at the Map:
If you're wondering what the distances for the itinerary might be, it's approximately 2.75 miles to The Spot, 1.9 miles to Indian Island.
Freshwater Marsh Birds
Riparian Woodland Birds You Might See
Great Blue Herons, Red-shouldered hawks, great horned owls, Anna’s hummingbirds, American crows, wood ducks, phainopepla, golden eagles, and northern orioles thrive in Riparian Woodland.
Enjoy your kayak trip. Don't let go of that camera.
Spring is a beautiful time to come to Clear Lake. The hills are green, water in the lake is high, and fishing is usually good.
Then there's the kayaking. Oh, the kayaking!
This isn't the place that sinewy, unshaven, and fearless men shoot through rapids and torpedo down waterfalls. Kayaking Clear Lake--especially along Cache Creek, can be a family affair. In spring the water is at its highest, and the flow out the dam is just enough to give you some exercise as you paddle towards the lake. On the return you can drift lazily if you wish, gazing at the great blue herons, blindingly white egrets, and, if you are lucky, Clear Lake's famed white pelicans that can fill the sky, long vees of them turning from white to silver and back again as they bank into the wind.
Smaller birds are more easily heard than seen; they fill the air with songs city dwellers probably haven't heard before.
But here's the thing about springtime along Cache Creek. When the water is high (and as I write it's very high) you can duck into places with your kayak that you can't get into at other times of the year. Anderson Marsh is flooded, leaving reedy expanses for you to explore and get lost within. You need to have a good sense of direction to avoid getting helplessly lost, but have no fear, you are hemmed in by mountain slopes planted with vineyards, blossoming walnut trees and orchards of Bartlett pears.
If you are a visual person, you might enjoy a little video we've made with an old cell phone. It starts along the main creek, then heads toward the marsh and out again as we drift past the colorful trees just awakening from their winter slumber.
Remember, you can rent kayaks, canoes, or small motor boats right at Clear Lake Campground...
book a boat rental now.
James Martin is a travel writer who scribbles mostly about European places. He spends half his year in Italy, and writes the Wandering Italy Blog from the part of Tuscany nobody knows: The Lunigiana.