California is a great place to visit for many reasons. It has great surf, breathtaking hikes, world-class wineries, and of course, beautiful weather.
However, what many people don’t know is that California is a great fishing spot. With 840 miles of coastline, there are plenty of great places to go fishing in California.
But, you’re likely not going to have enough time (or tackle) to explore all 840 miles of the California coast.
So, where do you need to make sure you visit?
Check out this guide to learn about the best fishing spots in California.
1. Yosemite National Park
That’s right, Yosemite National Park isn’t just a place for hikers and rock climbers. Those who fish will also find plenty of places in the park to cast their lines.
Here are just some of the fish you can expect to catch in Yosemite:
- Rainbow trout
- Black bass
- Brown trout
- Smallmouth bass
However, to protect spawning rainbow trout, the fishing season doesn’t open until June 15th along the rivers and streams in Yosemite.
But, you can fish in the lakes and reservoirs all year-round.
Here are some local regulations that you should be aware of when fishing in Yosemite National Park:
- You can’t use alive or dead minnows
- Roe, amphibians and unpreserved fish eggs cannot be used or possessed
- If you’re fishing from Happy Isle to Foresta Bridge, you may only catch rainbow trout on a catch and release basis
- You can’t use artificial lures or flies with a barbed hook
Because it’s a national park, Yosemite also offers plenty of facilities to its visitors. One could easily turn their visit to Yosemite into a weeklong fishing trip.
2. McCloud River
If you’re looking for some great trout fishing, then McCloud River is the place to go.
In fact, many people would argue that it’s the best trout fishing spot in the entire country.
This river runs along Mount Shasta, and it’s made of glacial water, it has a beautiful turquoise color to it.
You can fish along the river from the last Saturday in April until November 15th. Expect to catch a lot of rainbows and trouts that average 14 inches in size and weigh up to 10 pounds.
If you want to find the best fishing spots along the McCloud River, we recommend hiring a local guide.
Before heading out, you can attend one of these lithium battery conferences to learn about the best gear to take with you.
3. Clear Lake
If you prefer bass over trout, then you definitely want to head to Clear Lake. With over 44,000 acres of water, this is the largest freshwater lake in California.
Plus, the area around the lake is home to 10,000 vineyards and at least 35 wineries, so once you finish with your fishing for the day, you can kick back with a nice glass of vino.
In addition to bass, you’ll also find:
If you fish here in the early season, make sure to check out the area of Berger Bay, as well as the Lakeport area.
4. Lake Shasta
Lake Shasta is another excellent year-round fishing destination in California.
Here, you’ll have your pick from a variety of bass, rainbow trout, sunfish, crappie, catfish, and more.
If you’re on the hunt for brown trout, we suggest spending the majority of your time between Hirz Bay and Turntable Bay. For rainbows, head to Little Squaw Creek, Dry Fork, or Big Backbone Creek.
Lake Shasta is a great place to catch bass year-round, and it’s also a great place to catch catfish during the summer months.
Plus, the area around the lake is absolutely stunning, so even if nothing bites, you’ll be able to enjoy the beautiful scenery.
5. San Joaquin Delta
The San Joaquin Delta is one spot that should be on every fisherman’s bucket list.
This delta runs throughout California, and here you can expect to catch:
- Common Carp
- King Salmon
If you’re looking to catch some stripers, the best time to head to the Delta is between the spring and the fall. Those on the hunt for sturgeon will have their best luck in the early winter through the early summer.
6. Lake Cuyamaca
This is a small reservoir that is situated about an hour’s drive east of San Diego in the Cuyamaca Mountains.
And, although the reservoir is small, it gets up to 45,000 rainbow trout each year. And, thanks to the beautiful San Diego weather, you’ll be able to fish here year-round.
In addition to plenty of rainbow trout, this is also a great spot for catching bass- anywhere between 7 to 11 pounds.
Other species you can expect to catch here include:
- Channel catfish
- Blue and white crappie
Another great thing about Cuyamaca is that it offers lakefront camping. On the north shore of the lake, there is tent camping available, and there are even a few condos up there that you can rent out.
You can also take a short drive to Cuyamaca State Park, where you’ll find plenty of larger campgrounds and RV hookups.
You can fish at this lake all year-round, from 6 am to sunset.
7. Smith River
Last but not least we have Smith River.
Located in northwestern California, this river is considered the state’s prime spot for salmon fishing and steelhead fishing.
In fact, it’s not uncommon to catch salmon here weighing between 50 and 60 pounds.
Another unique fact about Smith River is that it’s known as California’s last wild river. While fishing, you’ll get views of sheer rock walls, towering redwood trees, and deep, clear pools.
Plus, when you’re not fishing, the local town area offers plenty to keep you entertained.
Best Fishing Spots in California: Are You Ready to Go Fishing?
Now that you know about the best fishing spots in California, it’s time to head out there.
No matter which spot you choose, you’ll be sure to have a great time fishing with some jaw-dropping views.
Also, if you liked this article, be sure to check back in with our blog for more fishing tips and tricks.