Clear Lake Catfish Derby This Weekend

Photo by Brian Lull

One of the first fish I can remember catching was at Clear Lake, where my family used to always spend Memorial Day weekend at a friend’s getaway home. It just happened to be right on the beach at Clear Lake in the Lakeport area. When we’d get there, the first thing that I’d do is rig up my spinning rod and put a piece of clam, chicken liver or nightcrawler and cast from the beach.

So I remember as probably a 9-year-old landing  a 3- or 4-pound channel cat when everyone else was inside the house. So I quietly tip-toed up to the side door and surprised everyone that this grimy little kid had caught a Clear Lake cat! Fun times and I miss those days, which is why I felt a little sentimental seeing this column from the Lake County Record-Bee  previewing this weekend’s Clearlake Oaks/Glenhaven Catfish Derby. 

Here’s Record-Bee columnist Terry Knight with more:

Fishermen come from as far away as Hawaii to compete in the derby. It is the largest catfish derby in the West and remains one of the more popular fishing contests on Clear Lake. Last year’s winner was 11-year-old Tanner Castillo of Sutter. He entered as an adult and caught a 28.81-pound catfish. The winner of this year’s derby will take home a cash prize of $4,000 while second place is worth $1,000 and third place $800. The derby pays down 20 places based on a field of at least 350 adults. The winner in the kids division pockets $100.

Derby hours are from noon Friday until noon Sunday. The entry fee for the derby is $40 for adults if received before 11 p.m. Thursday. There is a $10 late fee for entries received after that time. The entry fee for children 15 and younger is $10. The awards ceremony starts at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Clearlake Oaks Firehouse where there will be a barbecue, music and a giant raffle. The firehouse is also the derby headquarters and fishermen can sign up for the derby starting Thursday at noon at the firehouse. Fishermen can also sign up for the derby at the Limit Out Bait and Tackle Shop in Clearlake Oaks.

Derby fishermen can fish around the clock during the hours of noon Friday until noon Sunday. Each fisherman is allowed to weigh in one catfish. If they catch a larger one, that fish will replace the previous fish. Any type of bait may be used and that includes live minnows, cut bait and nightcrawlers. Only live catfish can be weighed in and the top three finishers must successfully pass a lie-detector test.

I want to go and finish in the top three just I can take the lie-dectector test! Go to or call (707) 596-0248 for more information.