Warm weather has slowed fishing at Clear Lake. In fact, it kept fishermen out of the lake except early in the morning or just before dark. The success rate varies from angler to angler. Some anglers report catching five to 12 bass a day while others struggle to fit two or three into the boat. The most successful fishermen found bass on their spawning grounds and enticed them to bite.
Overall the water clarity on Clear Lake is improving and in many areas you can see the bottom clearly. The county water resources department has hired a company to do spraying to control the weeds, which are thick all around the lake. There are no major bass tournaments scheduled this weekend but there are a few club tournaments. The lake is finally resting from the pressure of fishing.
Besides bass, catfish and crappie are also caught. Crappie holds in 6 to 10 feet of water and successful anglers use jigs of crappie fished under a bobber. Catfish are caught pretty much anywhere around the lake, including off the docks by anglers.
The lake level continues to drop. Thursday morning the lake level was minus 0.29 feet on the Rumsey gauge. The good news is that public ramps are still usable and boats can be launched as long as caution is exercised.
Recently, there have been a number of feral pig sightings around the county, including in the backyards of several Lakeport residents. A local resident told me he saw a wild boar through his patio window last week. He put water in basins for birds and other small wild animals. The basins are completely dry at the end of the day. In addition to pigs, he said at least five deer showed up daily for water.
Normally at this time there is water in the canyons, but this year the creeks are dry and devoid of foliage. Decreased water sources and weaker plant growth can reduce the population of insects, especially mosquitoes. Although humans may not care less about insects, animals such as bats need to eat insects to build up fat reserves for migration and hibernation.
While we all want to help wild animals, it is against the law to feed many species. For example, bears will eat just about anything, including garbage, dog and cat food, and just about anything digestible. Other wildlife that can become pests are raccoons, opossums, foxes and skunks. Opossums and skunks are commonly seen in many rural areas of Lake County. In fact, raccoons often find a way into the house. A few years ago a woman called me because she got up in the morning, walked into her living room to find three raccoons sleeping on her rug. She discovered that they had learned to open the screen door to gain access. She changed the door lock and that solved the problem.
A severe drought can also lead to the early death of wild animals. For example, a fawn that has no water will become weak and easy prey for a predator like a bear or a coyote.
It’s emotionally difficult to ignore a hungry animal, especially if it’s a young one like a fawn, but wildlife biologists say it’s the worst thing you can do. The wild animal must learn to take care of itself so that it does not become dependent on you.
Hopefully this drought will pass and we will have a wet winter that replenishes our streams and lakes.