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Mercury Advisory

Contact

Call (707) 467- 4200

US Army Corps of Engineers 

1160 Lake Mendocino Drive

Ukiah, California 95482

Fishing at Lake Mendocino

No Tall Tales Here 

   

There are plenty of places to fish at Lake Mendocino. There are only four places you can't fish. These are at both of the boat ramps, the government boat dock at the southern end of the lake, and at the designated swim beach in the Pomo A and B Day-Use Areas. Some of the best fishing is found in protected coves around the lake. Trout fishing is available in nearby rivers. 
Licenses are required for anglers over 16 years old.

Click on Fish and Game's logo to find fishing and hunting regulations.

 

Fish drawings courtesy of Maryland Department of Natural Resources website: http://www.dnr.state.md.us/fisheries/fishfacts/index.asp.

Fish at Lake Mendocino

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Largemouth Bass  (Micropterus salmoides)

 

Food Value

Fish that meet size limits are usually good if skinned.

Distinguishing Features

Upper jaw extends past rear margin of eye. Deeply notched dorsal fin. Body usually dark and blotchy with longitudinal bands on sides.

Size

Averages 1-3 pounds but up to 6 pounds is also fairly common. Rarely larger than 10 pounds in California. World record: 22 pounds, 4 ounces.

Preferred Habitat

Warm, shallow waters at around 80 degrees F. Will hide in shelter or vegetation to wait passing prey. Prefers live bait.



Smallmouth Bass (Micropterus dolomieui)

 
Food Value

Excellent

Distinguishing Features

Dark vertical barring on sides. Upper jaw does not extend past eye and dorsal fin is not deeply notched.

Size

Averages 1-2 pounds but up to 4 pounds is also fairly common. World record: 10 pounds, 14 ounces.

Preferred Habitat

Prefer colder, swifter water than Largemouth Bass, around 70 degrees F. More likely to be found around rocks and submerged trees and logs.

 

Striped Bass (Morone saxatilis)

Food Value

Very good. Light, rich flesh.

Distinguishing Features

Usually dark green to dark gray color above, silver belly. Seven to eight stripes on sides reaching from head to tail.

Size

Averages 5-20 pounds with 50 pound fishes possible. Freshwater world record: 67.8 pounds.

Preferred Habitat

Like deep, cool to cold waters. Will hide in deeper areas of lakes. Best to try trolling or drifting. Can often find a school of Striper's when they are striking at a school of shad or other fish near the surface. This is called a " boil".

 

Black Crappie (Pomoxis nigromaculatus)

Food Value

Excellent

Distinguishing Features

Green to dark gray on back, white to yellow on sides. Sides have spots and wavy, broken lines. Tail and rear fins are large and fan shaped.

Size

Average between 8 ounces and 2 pounds. Can reach up to 4 pounds. World Record: 4 pounds, 8 ounces.

Preferred Habitat

Prefers cleaner water than the White Crappie. Usually found in and around brushy areas.

 

White Crappie (Pomoxis annularis)

Food Value

Excellent

Distinguishing Features

Lighter color than Black Crappie. More symetrical markings arranged in vertical bars.

Size

Most weigh about 12 ounces but 1 to 2 pounds is common. Can reach 3 pounds. World Record: 5 pounds, 3 ounces.

Preferred Habitat

Prefer murkier water than Black Crappie but usually found near each other. Like to be close to cover including logs, brush piles, or vegetation.

 

Bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus)

 
Food Value

Good to Excellent. Larger fish should be skinned.

Distinguishing Features

Small mouth. Black spot located just behind gill and sometimes another on the base of the dorsal fin. Body olive green with five to seven verticle bands and orange or light colored belly. Fish is usually taller than wide.

Size

Averages up to half pound. Some strains can reach 4 pounds. World Record: 4 pounds, 12 ounces.

Preferred Habitat

Prefers lots of shelter, often found under docks or in dense vegetation.

 

Redear Sunfish (Lepomis microlophus)

Food Value

Excellent. Thick, tasty fillets.

Distinguishing Features

Bright red spot at gill flap. Olive to bluish color on sides and bright yellow belly. Some have dark verticle bars on side.

Size

Average half pound to one pound. Up to 2 pounds are also common. Can reach 4 pounds. World record: 5 pounds, 7 ounces.

Preferred Habitat

Shallow, weedy water.

 

White Catfish (Ameiurus catus)

 
Food Value

Excellent

Distinguishing Features

White belly. Back and sides are shades of gray and blue. Tail slightly forked with rounded lobes.

Size

Averages a pound or two but up to three pounds is common. Can reach 15 pounds but it is rare. World record: 18 pounds, 4 ounces.

Preferred Habitat

Prefers slow moving areas and weed edges.

Channel Catfish (Ictalurus punctatus)

 
Food Value

Excellent

Distinguishing Features

Light blue or gray on top, silver below. Smaller fish have black spots sprinkled on sides. Rounded anal fin.

Size

6 inches to 4 pounds average. Larger fish, however, are fairly common. Can reach 50 pounds. World record: 58 pounds.

Preferred Habitat

Most often found at night. Prefer flowing streams and will hide in holes near flowing streams during the day.

Yellow Bullhead Catfish  (Ameiurus natalis)

Food Value

Very good.

Distinguishing Features

Brown on top, yellow belly. Square tail. White chin barbels.

Size

Averages less than a pound. Can reach up to two pounds. World Record: 4 pounds, 4 ounces.

Preferred Habitat

Found in still water. Bottom feeder.

 

Tule Perch (Hysterocarpus traski)

Food Value

Ok, but not much meat.

Distinguishing Features

Compressed body, round body with small mouth and slightly forked tail. Colors range from silver, blue, white, or combination of all three.

Size

Maximum of about 8 inches.

Preferred Habitat

Prefer lots of vegetation.

Sacramento Pikeminnow (Ptychocheilus grandis)

Food Value

Poor. Lots of bones.

Distinguishing Features

Blue-green to gray above, silver below.

Size

Average 1 to 2 pounds. World record: 14.5 pounds.

Preferred Habitat

Lakes, streams, and estuaries.

Bow & Arrow Fishing

 

Bow and arrow fishing is permitted only for the taking of carp, goldfish, western sucker, Sacramento blackfish, hardhead, Sacramento pikeminnow and lamprey, all year, except in:

  • (a) Designated salmon spawning areas.
  • (b) The Colorado River District where only carp, tilapia, goldfish and mullet may be taken.
  • (c) See bullfrogs (Section 5.05).
  • (d) The East Fork Walker River between Bridgeport Dam and the Nevada State line where carp only may be taken during trout season.