Copyright: - California State Parks
Having fun on Clear Lake.
Several thousand years ago, a landslide blocked natural drainage from a valley into the Russian River. The water rose until it found an outlet through Cache Creek into the Sacramento River to form Clear Lake, the largest natural lake entirely within California. Most of the water comes from runoff. Some comes from springs in Soda Bay. How the lake got its name is a mystery -- it contains algae, tules, downed trees and shrubs, and several kinds of water grass.
The lake also contains fish. The bass fishing is so good that the professional bass fishing organizations, such as U.S. Bass, Cal Bass, Western Bass, have designated Clear Lake as the number one bass lake in the nation, based on numbers of fish caught. There are also catfish, blackfish, Sacramento perch, hitch, crappie and bluegill.
Clear Lake features bird-watching, hiking along scenic trails. Hikers may see some deer, hares, rabbits, gray foxes, skunks, muskrats, raccoons, squirrels, chipmunks, and many kinds of birds
- . The lake features wood ducks, mallard, coots, gulls, valley quail, woodpeckers, western grebes, blue herons, seagulls, mourning doves, scrub jays, goldfinches, horned owls (at twilight), wrens, bushtits, blackbirds, red-shafted flickers, Cooper's hawks, and turkey vultures.
An abundance of wildflowers appear in the spring as well as colonies of bees in hollow trees. Spring flowers include the shooting star, a purple flower with a yellow center; the western redbud; the baby blue eye; the purple wild iris; and the California buckeye, with white flower spikes 5 to 7 inches long. There is manzanita, mountain mahogany, chamise and Toyon berries in the fall and winter. Trees include digger pines, blue oaks, and valley oaks on the higher ground; and black cottonwood, box elder, California black walnut, California laurel, and willows near the streams.
Recreation - The area is popular for all kinds of water recreation, including swimming, fishing, boating and water-skiing. Anglers can catch large mouth bass, crappie, bluegill and channel catfish. Hikers enjoy the Indian Nature Trail, a self-guided trail that shows how the Pomo people, who lived in the area for centuries, utilized the areas resources. The trail passes through the site of what was once a Pomo village.
Climate - Summers are generally mild. Fog is often encountered near the coastline, with sunny, warmer weather more common inland in the foothills. Winters are generally cool with considerable precipitation. Wear layers of clothing to accommodate cool to warm temperatures and good walking shoes. Rain protection should be included at any time of year.
The entrance to the park is 3.5 miles northeast of Kelseyville on Soda Bay Road, north of Calistoga in the wine country.