Best Fishing Lakes in California - Fished That (2022)

California is known for its beautiful coastlines and abundant fisheries. With over 3,000 lakes throughout the state, there are plenty of options to choose from when it comes time to take a trip on the water! If you’re looking for some top-notch fishing opportunities, check out these California lakes that are sure to put your line in deep waters with trophy fish. We have compiled a list of some of the most popular and beautiful lakes that offer a great outdoor experience for all ages. Whether you are an experienced fisherman or enjoy spending time on the water, these destinations are perfect for your next trip.

Salton Sea

The Salton Sea is one of the best fishing lakes in California, and it’s located at the border of both Riverside County and Imperial County. It has a surface area of 240,000 acres. It has become a popular destination for fishing enthusiasts because of its saltwater fish population. The Salton Sea hosts various species, including sturgeon, spotted bass, tilapia, and hardhead catfish. It’s an excellent choice for both novice and experienced anglers looking to catch the big one!

Lake Oroville

Lake Oroville is located in Butte County, California, roughly 70 miles north of Sacramento. This lake features three main recreational areas: Bidwell Canyon Marina, Beals Point Recreation Area, and Thermalito Forebay and Afterbay. Lake Oroville has a surface area of over 15,800 acres! It boasts an enormous population of warm water fish like bass, crappie, catfish, and cold-water species like rainbow trout and kokanee salmon. If you’re looking for a quieter fishing experience, Lake Oroville offers it all.

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Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe is another excellent fishing lake in California, and it’s located in Nevada and Placer County. This beautiful mountain lake spans an incredible surface area of 122,000 acres. The trout population here has been thriving for many years because Lake Tahoe boasts a year-round cold water system that supports residents and migratory fish. If you’re looking for a more active fishing experience, the Lake Tahoe Sport Fishing Fleet offers guided charters to get your line in deep waters.

Lake Havasu

Lake Havasu is located in Mohave County, Arizona, and it’s roughly 165 miles southeast of Grand Canyon National Park. This lake features a surface area of over 20,000 acres. It boasts an enormous population of cold-water and warm-water fish like striped bass, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, bluegill sunfish, channel catfish, and flathead catfish. Lake Havasu is a quieter experience for anglers who are looking to spend some time on the water in peace.

Folsom Lake

Folsom Lake spans an impressive 22 miles of shoreline with its 11,450 acres. It’s located in Sacramento County, California, and is a popular destination for fishing enthusiasts. It features the Folsom Lake State Recreational Area and hosts an impressive amount of species, including bass, trout, catfish, crappie, bluegill sunfish, Sacramento perch, and Chinook salmon. If you’re looking to catch big fish from the water in California with some friends or the whole family, Folsom Lake is an excellent choice.

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Eagle Lake

Eagle Lake is located in Lassen County, California, and it spans an impressive surface area of over 16,500 acres. It’s a quieter experience for anglers who are looking to enjoy nature without the hustle and bustle. Eagle Lake has two main recreational areas where you can fish, including Eastshore Road Recreation Area or Old Marina Boat Ramp. This lake hosts an abundance of cold-water fish like brown trout, rainbow trout, and kokanee salmon.

Lake Almanor

Last but certainly not least is Lake Almanor, which spans a very impressive 16 miles of shoreline, with its surface area being just under 29,000 acres. It’s located in Plumas County, California, and is a beautiful destination for fishing enthusiasts. This mountain lake hosts much cold-water fish like rainbow trout, brown trout, kokanee salmon, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, bluegill sunfish, yellow perch, and black crappie. It’s located within the Lassen National Forest, making it an unforgettable experience for anglers looking to enjoy nature at its finest.

Goose Lake

Goose Lake is located in Lassen County, California, and it’s roughly 20 miles southeast of the town of Chester. This mountain lake spans an impressive surface area of over 93,000 acres, one of the largest California fishing lakes. It has two main recreational places to fish, including Goose Lake State Recreation Area and Boggs Mountain Demonstration Forest. The trout population thrives in this lake year-round because of its cold water system. It’s an excellent fishing destination for anglers looking to spend some time on the water with their families or friends.

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Lake Shasta

Lake Shasta is another beautiful mountain lake located in Siskiyou County, California. This stunning body of water spans an impressive 45 miles long, with its surface area being just under 30,000 acres. It’s the largest reservoir in California. It boasts a wealth of cold-water fish like rainbow trout, brown trout, kokanee salmon, black crappie, bluegill sunfish, yellow perch, and smallmouth bass. Lake Shasta is a beautiful destination for anglers looking to catch big fish from the water in California with their family or friends.

Lake Berryessa

Lake Berryessa is located in Napa County, California, and it spans an impressive 22 miles of shoreline, with its surface area being 21,000 acres. It’s a quieter experience for fishers looking to spend some time on the water in peace. Lake Berryessa has two main recreational areas where you can fish, including Monticello Dam and The Monticello Fish Hatchery. This fantastic lake hosts an abundance of cold-water fish like rainbow trout, brown trout, kokanee salmon, black crappie, bluegill sunfish, yellow perch, Sacramento perch, and largemouth bass.

Mono Lake

Mono Lake spans an impressive surface area of 55,180 acres. It’s one of the largest and best fishing lakes in California, and it has two main recreational places where you can fish, including South Tufa Area and North Tufa Area. This fantastic lake hosts an abundance of cold-water fish like rainbow trout, brown trout, kokanee salmon, black crappie, bluegill sunfish, yellow perch, and brown bullhead.

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Honey Lake

Honey Lake is located in Lassen County, California, and it spans an impressive surface area of 47,000 acres. It’s a quieter experience for fishers who are looking to enjoy nature without the hustle and bustle. Honey Lake has two main recreational areas where you can fish, including The Main Ramp Area and Westshore Recreation Area. This lake hosts an abundance of cold-water fish like rainbow trout, brown trout, kokanee salmon, black crappie, bluegill sunfish, yellow perch, and Sacramento perch.

Clear Lake

Clear Lake is one of the largest fishing lakes in California, and it spans an impressive surface area of 44,400 acres. It’s a quieter experience for fishers looking to enjoy nature without a lot of people around them. Clear Lake has two main recreational areas where you can fish at. This lake has an abundance of cold-water fish like rainbow trout, brown trout, kokanee salmon, black crappie, bluegill sunfish, yellow perch, and largemouth bass.

Tule Lake

Tule Lake is located in Modoc County, California, and it spans an impressive surface area of 13,000 acres. It’s a much quieter experience for fishers looking to enjoy nature without the hustle and bustle that other fishing lakes have. Tule Lake has two main recreational areas where you can fish, including Eastshore Area and Westshore Area. This lake hosts an abundance of cold-water fish like rainbow trout, brown trout, kokanee salmon, black crappie, bluegill sunfish, yellow perch, Sacramento perch, and largemouth bass.

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FAQs

What lake has the most fish in California? ›

1: Lake Shasta

The lake received high marks for diversity — king salmon, rainbow and brown trout, largemouth, spotted and smallmouth bass, crappie, catfish, sturgeon, bluegill, readear sunfish, green sunfish… well, you get the idea.

Where are the biggest trout in California? ›

Bridgeport Reservoir once held the California state record for a brown trout. Something like 27 pounds! Bridgeport can get lost in the shadows of Crowley Lake, but those that frequent this fishery know that at times this is by far and away the best still water trout fishery in the Eastern Sierra.

Do any lakes in California have walleye? ›

Joe Bellomo of California got a surprise when he pulled in this 2.5-pound walleye at Lake Mead. Though you won't find a large walleye population in Lake Mead, they do show up every now and again, mostly in Gregg Basin. Photo courtesy of Joe Bellomo.

How many fish can you catch in a day in California? ›

The daily bag and possession limit is 20 fish in combination of all species (except shiner perch), with not more than 10 fish of any one species.

What is the best place to fish in the world? ›

Top 10 fishing spots of the world
  • Tusket River, Nova Scotia, Canada. ...
  • River Lochy, Queenstown, New Zealand. ...
  • River Lanio, Swedish Lapland. ...
  • River Moyola, Northern Ireland. ...
  • River Wye, Monsal Head, Derbyshire. ...
  • River Teifi, Wales. ...
  • The one that got away: Rio Grande, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina.
Dec 2, 2006

What lake has the most fish? ›

With more than 1000 fish species, Lake Malawi has more distinct fish species than any other lake in the world.

Where is the fishing capital of the world? ›

Florida is the “Fishing Capital of the World” because of its great resources and responsible management. The diversity of sport fishes, habitats, great weather, year-round fishing and superb tourism and fishing industry-related infrastructure are unsurpassed.

What lake do you fish most of the time? ›

Lake Erie is one of the most popular fishing lakes in the US, attracting many fishing enthusiasts. The most prominent species of fish in the lake include perch, salmon, carp, pike and rainbow trout.

What is the biggest fish in California? ›

White sturgeon are the largest freshwater fish in North America. They grow very large, the California state record is 468 pounds.

What fish are in season in California right now? ›

Open Fishing Seasons
  • Rockfish. The recreational fishery for rockfish (Sebastes species) is open year-round to divers and shore-based anglers. ...
  • Cabezon. ...
  • Kelp and Rock Greenlings. ...
  • Lingcod. ...
  • California Scorpionfish (a.k.a. sculpin) ...
  • Leopard Shark. ...
  • Soupfin Shark and Spiny Dogfish. ...
  • Other Federally Managed Groundfish.

How many trout can you keep in California? ›

The daily bag limit for trout caught in California waters is five fish with an additional ten brook trout allowed for harvesting.

What is the best bait for lake trout? ›

Live bait is generally the most consistently effective way to fish for lake trout. Minnows are usually the best option. Other good live bait options are nightcrawlers, salmon eggs, or anything similar to their native prey. One of the best artificial options for deepwater trout is a big bucktail jig.

Are there pike in California? ›

Northern pike are not currently found in California. Northern pike were found in Frenchman Reservoir in Plumas County, California in 1988, and were eradicated from the reservoir in 1991 and tributary streams in the Sierra Valley in 1992. Northern pike were discovered in Lake Davis, Plumas County in 1994.

What fish live in California lakes? ›

These lakes in northern CA offer fishing for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, spotted bass, channel catfish, flathead catfish, blue catfish, white catfish, black crappie, white crappie, walleye, rainbow trout, brown trout, lake trout, bluegill, green sunfish, white perch, yellow perch, chinook salmon, coho salmon, ...

Are there yellow perch in California? ›

Yellow perch (right side), caught in Iron Gate Reservoir, California on 13 May 2009 by Teejay O'Rear. Photo by Amber Manfree. Yellow perch are most commonly found in the weedy backwaters of rivers, shallow waters of lakes, and large ponds, usually in warmwater situations.

Is it illegal to fish at night in California? ›

Answer: Night fishing for crappie is permitted by the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) as long as the lake where you plan to fish permits fishing at night (Section 2.15). Some lakes prohibit night fishing for purposes of access control, safety or security reasons.

What is the crab limit for California? ›

The daily bag limit is 10 crab, and the minimum size limit is 5¾ inches. Recreational crabbing is not allowed from vessels licensed for commercial Dungeness crab fishing.

How many hooks can you fish with in California? ›

In California, “all fish may be taken only by angling with one closely attended rod and line or one hand line with not more than three hooks nor more than three artificial lures (each lure may have three hooks attached) thereto” (California Code of Regulations, section 2.00).

Can you fish in California without a license? ›

In California, anyone age 16 or above is required to get a sport fishing license to take any fish; shell fish, reptile or amphibian in the state. Like other fishing regulations, the license requirement is intended to protect fish populations so that generations of anglers will have good fishing opportunities.

Where is the best fishing in Southern California? ›

Here are six of the best places to go fishing in Southern California.
  • Redondo Beach Pier. Natural Feature. View. Pier at Redondo Beach, CA | © Amblin new / WikiCommons. ...
  • Lake Gregory. Park. View. Lake Gregory | ©miheco/Flickr. ...
  • Santa Monica Pier. Park, Amusement Park, Shop. View. Santa Monica Pier | ©Ivan Wong Rodenas/Flickr.
Jul 19, 2017

What is the fishing capital of the US? ›

Key West, Florida

What's more, there are several respected charter boat businesses operating in the region commonly referred to as the fishing capital of world. And the Florida Keys backs up that claim, boasting more than 900 world sportfishing records, more than any other destination on the planet.

What is the best freshwater fishing in the world? ›

The Best Destinations for Freshwater Fishing
  1. Amazon River, Brazil. ...
  2. Chalk Streams, England. ...
  3. South Platte River, Colorado, USA. ...
  4. Frying Pan River, Colorado, USA. ...
  5. Lake Okeechobee, Florida, USA. ...
  6. Lake Jindabyne, Australia. ...
  7. Breede River, South Africa. ...
  8. Pantabangan Lake, Philippines.
May 5, 2021

Where is fishing most popular? ›

In terms of geographical distribution, fishing participation remains highest in the South Atlantic region, which borders parts of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.

What lake has the biggest bass in California? ›

Bass Lake (Madera County, California)
Bass Lake
Max. length6.7 km (4.2 mi)
Max. width0.64 km (0.40 mi)
Surface area472 ha (1,170 acres)
Max. depth30 m (98 ft)
15 more rows

Which state has the best fishing lakes? ›

Alaska. Alaska was named the top state "fishcation" destination. Due to the Alaska's cold climate, little farming occurs so fishing is crucial for jobs and economic activity. Alaska is well known for its salmon, and Alaskan waters are swarming with 600 species of fish, including the king salmon (also known as Chinook).

What is the dirtiest lake in the world? ›

Lake Karachay is a small lake in western Russia's southern Ural highlands. It is regarded as the most polluted lake or even site on the planet. The lake, which is only one square mile in size, was used by the Soviet Union as a nuclear waste dump for 12 years between 1934 and 1957.

Which state has the best saltwater fishing? ›

Florida is the best state for saltwater fishing. Florida has access to both the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. The state has great weather conditions for fishing as well as the rarity and quantity of fish anglers look for.

What ocean has the best fishing? ›

A fishing expedition to The Keys wouldn't be complete without a trip to the Atlantic Ocean. There, you have a chance to angle for prized fish such as sailfish, swordfish and white marlin.

How do you catch big fish in a lake? ›

How To Catch The Biggest Bass In Your Lake - Full Seminar - YouTube

How do you choose where to fish in a lake? ›

How To Find Fish On Lakes and Rivers - a simple guide to watercraft

Are lingcod venomous? ›

Lingcod roe - definitely not poisonous.

How deep can you fish in California? ›

Since the 2002 season, anglers have been prohibited from bottomfishing in depths beyond 360 feet in the Pacific waters off Southern California; in special Cowcod Conservation Areas, the depth restriction was even shallower, set at 120 feet.

What fish can you catch and keep in California? ›

Open Fishing Seasons
  • Rockfish. The recreational fishery for rockfish (Sebastes species) is open year-round to divers and shore-based anglers. ...
  • Cabezon. ...
  • Kelp and Rock Greenlings. ...
  • Lingcod. ...
  • California Scorpionfish (a.k.a. sculpin) ...
  • California Sheephead. ...
  • Ocean Whitefish. ...
  • Leopard Shark.
Jul 1, 2022

What lake in California has the biggest bass? ›

Lake Berryessa

The biggest of the bunch will no doubt be a largemouth though. Lake Berryessa has given up its share of double-digit largemouth bass over the years, including a lake record over 17 pounds.

Where is the best fishing in Southern California? ›

Here are six of the best places to go fishing in Southern California.
  • Redondo Beach Pier. Natural Feature. View. Pier at Redondo Beach, CA | © Amblin new / WikiCommons. ...
  • Lake Gregory. Park. View. Lake Gregory | ©miheco/Flickr. ...
  • Santa Monica Pier. Park, Amusement Park, Shop. View. Santa Monica Pier | ©Ivan Wong Rodenas/Flickr.
Jul 19, 2017

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