Fishing in California

Last updated on July 2nd, 2021 at 01:07 pm. Originally published on June 30th, 2021

The state of California covers a huge area and includes a variety of habitats. You will find mountain lakes and rivers, desert areas, and ocean fishing. The decision about where to go will probably depend a lot on what type of fish you want to catch. You can catch bass in lakes, trout in rivers, or bigger species in the ocean. The state has two sets of regulations, one for inland fishing and one for fishing in the ocean. Anyone over the age of 16 must have a valid fishing license unless you are fishing off a pier into the ocean or bay, and they must also keep a report card about what they catch.

A person in fishing from a kayak on a large blue lake.

Fishing Spots in California

Lake Shasta

Lake Shasta is located in northern California near Redding. This lake is the ideal place to catch bass, especially spotted bass. There are many marinas around the water’s edge where you can rent a boat to get out on the water where the fishing is the best. Use spinnerbaits, plastic worms, swimbait, or live bait for the best results. The fishing is good year-round but best in the spring.

McCloud River

The McCloud River in northern California offers spectacular fly-fishing opportunities. You will find nice campgrounds, waterfalls, and a river that is stocked with trout on a regular basis. If you go above the McCloud reservoir, the water is shallower, so it is easier to wade in while casting. Fish is also stocked regularly at Fowlers Camp Campground. You can use bait, lures, or flies to fish here. Keep up to five tasty trout for dinner.

The Delta

The Delta is a fishing hot spot located near San Joaquin in northern California where the San Joaquin River and the Sacramento River meet. The area has plenty of fishing holes, both secluded and out in the open. There are also marinas where you can rent a boat. Be ready to catch some good-sized striped bass, or you may choose to fly fish for rainbow trout.

Mammoth Lakes

The Mammoth Lakes are located in the central-eastern part of the state. They are stocked with rainbow and Alpers trout and have brown trout as well. They are fantastic for fishing from your boat or a float tube. There is also plenty of fishing from the bank. Do not plan to fish Horseshoe Lake, however, since it is not stocked like the others and does not offer good fishing spots.

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is located near Mariposa in California. This area is known for its wildlife and gorgeous scenery. The park also has lakes where you can fish year-round and rivers you can fish during the right season. You can take five brook trout daily that must be at least 10 inches long. The national park does not allow bait fishing, however, so keep that in mind when you plan your trip.

Where to Fish in California

If you enjoy different kinds of fishing, California is a desirable destination. Within this state, you can enjoy fishing in wilderness rivers, high mountain lakes, and along the coast of the Pacific Ocean. In northern California, there are the Sacramento and McCloud Rivers, where you can enjoy fly fishing or bait fishing for trout. Mountain lakes like Mammoth Lakes, Big Bear, and Lake Tahoe are popular for fishing and boating. There are also places all along the coast where you can fish off the pier or places inland like the San Francisco Bay.

Camping and Fishing in California

Be sure, when you go fishing and camping in California, that you carry your valid fishing license on you at all times. The only exception to this rule is if you are fishing from a pier into the ocean or if it is a free fishing weekend. Then, you do not need a license to fish.

Be sure to bring your pole and tackle box, depending on what type of fishing you are doing. Be sure to bring plenty of tackle since many of the wooded fishing areas may cause you to cast into the brush and lose your bait or lure. The lakes often have rocks or sunken logs that will grab your bait as well. If you fly fish, bring a belly pack so that you can carry gear with you when you wade out. You will probably want waders, too, since many of the rivers contain snow runoff and can be extremely cold. If you are ocean fishing, you will want a thicker pole designed for that type of fishing since it will stand up to the waves and currents. For the most part, you will enjoy mild temperatures in the state year-round.

Do not forget to bring a smart knife that you can use to clean your catch before cooking it up for dinner. Bring a nice skillet you can put on the griddle at camp. You can also pack some tin foil to wrap your fish in and set it right on the fire. Do not forget a little lemon and salt for taste.

Check the weather conditions before you go on your fishing California journey. In the higher elevations, it may be hot during the day but cold once the sun goes down. On the coast, there may be quite a bit of wind, so be ready with a windbreaker or layers of clothes. Before you head out on your trip, check out our blog for all you need to know about fishing.

With an RV rental, your fishing trip will be a little more comfortable! After you have spent a long day fishing, grill up your catch right at your campsite. Then, retire inside to enjoy all the comforts of home on board your RV. Plan your perfect fishing getaway with an RV rental from RVshare.

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