1.     Contestants must register and receive an entry number before fishing.  Contestants must present their entry number when weighing fish and accepting prizes.  Registration starts at 12 Noon on Thursday and ends at 11 PM on Friday at Derby headquarters at the Clearlake Oaks fire station, 12655 E Hwy 20, Clearlake Oaks.  Entries will not be accepted after 11 PM Friday.

2.     Contestants must possess a current California Sport Fishing License (with Second-Rod Stamp if fishing with two rods).  Fishing must be conducted under current California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Freshwater Sport Fishing Regulations.  Any contestant cited for a regulation violation during the Derby will be automatically disqualified.

3.     Fish must be caught by hook and line only.  Tackle, hook, lure, and bait combinations that conform to CDFW regulations are allowed.  Unattended lines, those attached to floats, balls, trot lines, etc. are not allowed.  Nets, spears, clubs, or guns are not allowed.  Landing nets that conform to CDFW regulations are allowed.

4.     Contestants must catch and retrieve their own fish.  Assistance by others with landing nets is allowed.

5.     Fish must be caught within the boundaries of Clear Lake, its tributaries, or its outflow (Cache Creek to dam).  Fishing is also allowed in water bodies, harbors, canals, etc. abutting Clear Lake.

6.     Fish must be caught and presented for weigh-in between 12 Noon on Friday and 12 Noon on Sunday.  Weigh-in is at Derby headquarters, Friday 12 Noon – 11 PM, Saturday 8 AM – 11 PM, and Sunday 8AM – 12 Noon.  Please bring your fish to weigh-in as soon as possible after caught, do not hold them until Sunday.

7.     Prizes will be awarded based on the weight of an individual contestant’s heaviest fish.  The heaviest fish caught wins 1st prize, the next heaviest 2nd prize, and so on.  In the event of ties, the prize money for each place will be added and divided equally.  Contestants may catch and weigh-in multiple fish, but only the heaviest fish will be counted.

8.     Only live catfish will be weighed and counted.  The Derby committee encourages that fish be returned to the lake after weigh-in, but contestants may keep their fish if they wish.

9.     All fish weighed will be logged and will have a hole punched in their dorsal fins.  Contestants will not be allowed to weigh-in fish that have a hole in their dorsal fin.

10.  Top finishers may be required to successfully pass a polygraph (lie-detector) test before claiming their prizes.  Additional tests may be given at the discretion of the Derby committee.  Winning contestants must be available for polygraph testing between 12 Noon and 1 PM Sunday, or will be disqualified.

11.  Individuals under 18 years of age entering the Derby must have an adult co-signer.  Kids under 16 may enter the Derby as an adult, but must pay the adult entry fee, and must also have a co-signer.  Adult co-signers must be prepared to take a polygraph test if requested.

12.  Winners of prize awards of $600 or more must complete an IRS form W-9 before claiming their prize.  They will receive an IRS form 1099 reporting the award.

13.  If fishing from a boat during the Derby, the vessel must have a current Lake County mussel inspection sticker.  If the vessel is registered in California, it must also have a current state mussel fee sticker.

14.  Entry fees for “no shows” will not be refunded, but can be applied towards next year’s Derby upon approval of the Derby committee.

15.  Interpretation of these rules is at the discretion of the Derby committee.  The committee reserves the right to disqualify any contestant found in violation of the rules.  The committee may also disqualify any contestant that, in the opinion of the committee, has behaved in an unsportsmanlike manner.


Kids Derby Rules

1. The Kids Derby is open to individuals 15 years of age and under.  Age for entry purposes is as of Friday of the Derby.

2. Kids contestants do not require a California state fishing license.  However, if a kids contestant reaches their 16th birthday during the Derby, he/she would require a license for those days.

3. Kid contestants must have an adult co-signer.

4.  Every kids contestant will receive a free Derby T-Shirt.

5.  Kids contestants are not eligible for prizes from the adult Derby.

6.  Kids contestants must be accompanied by an adult when weighing a fish and the adult must co-sign the weigh-in sheet.

7.  Kids must fish with their own rod and catch their own fish.

8.  Adult assistance is limited to:

  • Baiting hooks
  • Casting 
  • Supporting the child while he/she reels in the fish 
  • Bringing the fish on board or shore by hand or with a landing net  

9.  Adults may not: 

  • Set the hook  
  • Reel in the fish

10.  Adult co-signer for the kid's 1st prize winners must be prepared to take a polygraph test if requested.


Prizes must be picked up by Sunday between 9:00 AM - 2:00 PM.
All gifts not picked up will go to the next derby.


Decisions of the judges are final