Clear Lake is now recognized as one of the best largemouth bass and catfish lakes in the West. It’s also exceptional because it’s a large, natural body of nutrient-rich warm water. And Clear Lake has great on-shore facilities including camping, resorts, marinas, restaurants, towns, and much more. It bills itself as the “Bass Capital of the West” and it hosts scores of major black bass tournaments.
Clear Lake produces many large bucketmouth for several reasons. It all starts with a rich food chain, from zooplankton on up to native minnows, threadfin shad and crayfish. These all make big meals for always hungry bass. Furthermore, Clear Lake is a natural body of water and therefore not subject to fluctuations in water level like dammed reservoirs.
This provides stable spawning grounds for largemouths and abundant cover along the shorelines. Shallowness is another almost unique Clear Lake asset. Most Northern California reservoirs are in deep, cold canyons. Largemouth bass (and catfish) like warm water, and that’s what Clear Lake provides.
Anglers catch more bass and bigger bass at Clear Lake than any other lake in the West. Average largemouths run anywhere from 3 to 5 pounds, and monsters up to 10 pounds are caught frequently. Commercial carp operators at Clear Lake have netted and released bass in the 16 to 17 pound range.