California Fishing
CA Sport Fishing
California Lakes
California Rivers



California Fishing

There are over 3,000 Lakes and Reservoirs in California and over 30,000 miles of Rivers and Streams that provide inland anglers with some of the greatest fishing in the World. And then there are the thousands of miles of Pacific Ocean coastline, San Francisco Bay, and over 700 miles of waterways in the Delta for the more adventurous fisherman. Make sure to check the local California Fishing Report before you head out on the water as California features an immense variety of fishing opportunities including; Lake fishing for Bass, River and Stream fishing for Trout and Salmon, and Ocean fishing for Rockfish and Barracuda. is your source for the most detailed California Fishing information on the Top California Fishing Lakes, California Rivers, and California Sport Fishing destinations. You will also find information on the Top California Fishing Charters, California Fishing Reports, Fishing Resorts, California Fishing Guides, Campgrounds, Marinas, and MUCH MORE.



CA Bass Fishing Report

California Bass Fishing


California Lakes, Rivers, and Reservoirs are home to a large population of Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Florida-strain Bass, and even Alabama Spotted Bass. The California daily limit for Bass is FIVE per angler, and depending on the waters you fish and time of day and year, this can be a challenge to reach. The key to successful Bass fishing in California lies in technique. Without question, there are certain, very unique methods used in lure selection and bait presentation that work best in landing the tough-to-catch California Bass. Bass fishing is best during the spring and fall. The basic technique used in bass fishing is casting and retrieving a plug, spoon, spinnerbait, jig, plastic, worm, or live bait. Bass are almost always on or near the bottom, or near underwater cover like a fallen tree. The "bottom" could be near shore in 2 feet of water in the spring, or it might be in 40 feet of water on the slope of a sunken island. Largemouth bass prefer to be near structures, whether it be a rocky fall-off, a sunken log, a weed bed, standing timber, or rocky points. Cast your bait so it lands or is retrieved near structures, and retrieve slowly. Smallmouth bass are most often found over rocky points, over submerged gravel bars and near sharp bank drop-offs. Coves and waters with stumps showing just above the water are also good Smallmouth bass fishing spots.


Top California Bass Fishing Lakes


Clear Lake

Shasta Lake

California Delta

Diamond Valley Lake

Lake Havasu

Bullards Bar Reservoir

Lake Oroville

Trinity Lake

San Pablo Reservoir


CA Trout Fishing Report

California Trout Fishing


Fishing for Trout in California Lakes is very different from stream trout fishing. This is true because the lake environment changes the behavior of trout. Stream trout are always facing upstream, confined to shallow waters, on or near the bottom, and near or behind structures like boulders, undercuts, etc. Trout in California Lakes have different rules to follow as food doesn't flow to them, they must find it. California Lake temperatures vary by season and depth, so trout will change depth to find oxygen rich water of a comfortable temperature for them. At times they may be near the surface, and at other times they may be down 80 feet or more. Research has shown that Rainbow trout and Brown trout favor water temperatures between 55-60 F. Trout like to use structures to shelter themselves from predators and to keep out of direct sun. Depending upon the time of year, overhanging trees, cliff areas, submerged points, coves, and submerged river channels are good spots to fish. Trolling, bait fishing, and casting are all primary methods for California trout fishing.


Top California Trout Fishing Lakes


Lake Almanor

Lake Tahoe

Shasta Lake

Big Bear Lake

San Pablo Reservoir

Eagle Lake

Convict Lake

Folsom Lake

Donner Lake

Lake Berryessa


San Francisco Bay Fishing


San Francisco Bay is known for producing outstanding Striped Bass fishing and big catches can be made throughout the year. Striped bass spawn from about April to mid-June in the fresh waters of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers. After spawning, the fish move back down into the saltwater bays. They spend most of the summer and fall in salt water before returning once again to brackish water and freshwater sloughs and rivers. In general, the fishing season in San Francisco Bay extends from March to December, with best fishing from mid-August to November. October is consistently the best striped bass fishing month. In San Pablo Bay, Carquinez Strait, and Suisun Bay, striped bass are caught year-round with best fishing usually in October and November, with a lesser run of fish in June-August. Most spring and summer fish are caught trolling in the late afternoon. Fall-run fish are caught still fishing or drifting. Within San Francisco Bay proper, in such areas as the Golden Gate Bridge, Raccoon Strait, Berkeley flats and off Alcatraz and Treasure Islands, fishing usually starts in June and extends through October into November. Most fish are caught after mid-August, with peak catches in October. A popular fishing method is drifting with live bait in areas where an abrupt change in depth occurs and when the current is running swiftest. The striped bass fishing in South San Francisco Bay extends from June through September, and in some years fishing may last until November or December. Fishing usually peaks around the San Mateo Bridge area in June and July around the Dumbarton Bridge in September and October.


Although most salmon are taken outside the Golden Gate, migrating chinook salmon are sometimes caught deep trolling in the area from the Golden Gate to Raccoon Strait and off the Tiburon Peninsula north to the Richmond Bridge during late summer. The area off the eastern side of the Tiburon Peninsula is heavily fished when the salmon are running.


CA Salmon Fishing Report

California Salmon Fishing


California Salmon fishing in waters throughout the State is continuing to improve after a few years of closure. California Lakes, Reservoirs, Rivers, and Streams all have growing populations of record size Salmon ready to be caught. There are also trophy catches available for both King(Chinook)Salmon and Silver(Coho) Salmon in the California ocean waters. The Salmon in California saltwater were spawned naturally in tributaries of coastal rivers like the Klamath, Trinity, and Sacramento. About 60% of California ocean-caught Salmon originate in the Sacramento River system including the Feather and American Rivers. There are four primary techniques for catching Salmon in saltwater: Trolling with a diving plane, Trolling with a cannonball sinker, Trolling with a downrigger, and Drift fishing with bait. Only barbless hooks are allowed on California waters, and all Silver Salmon caught must be released except those in Lake Oroville.


Top California Salmon Fishing Waters


San Francisco Bay

Monterey Bay

Sacramento River

Klamath River

Lake Almanor

Lake Tahoe

Lake Oroville

Don Pedro Lake

Bullards Bar Reservoir


CA Lingcod Fishing

California Lingcod Fishing


Lingcod are part of the Rockfish family but they are much larger and tougher than other rockfish. Lingcod can reach upwards of 5 feet and weigh up to 70 pounds in California waters. Lingcod can be caught at any time of the year and many are caught by rock cod fishermen while fishing in very deep water (200-400 feet). Dedicated Lingcod pursuers choose to fish in the fall and winter with the best months typically December-February. During this period Lingcod are more active and move to shallower water to spawn. Lingcod fishing is bottom, drift fishing and is done over rocks or reefs. Once the rig has been lowered to the bottom, it should be jigged up and down. Lingcod like to congregate on high rock pinnacles and along the irregular edges of reefs that drop off rapidly to deeper water. Then position the boat to drift over likely holding spots. The Northern California coast from Monterey to the Oregon border has many Lingcod rich reefs. Off the Golden Gate, the Farallon Island chain, Fanny Shoals and Cordell Beach are the most likely producers of big Lingcod.


CA Albacore Fishing

California Albacore Fishing


Albacore migrate across the California coast every year and following their arrival, good fishing may last for as little as two weeks, or may extend for several months. Albacore typically arrive with the warm currents that swing within 50-100 miles off the California coast from summer through early fall. The first big numbers of Albacore arrive in the San Diego area in early summer, by mid-summer they have usually arrived up the coast along Los Angeles and Santa Barbara. Then by August they enter the Monterey Bay and San Francisco Bay area. Trolling is the most popular technique for taking Albacore and most experts look for them in the 60-66 degree F range.




California Trout Fishing


California is so well-endowed with trout lakes that the angler's main problem is merely to pick the right lake at the right time of year. Most of the lakes in California are open to year-round fishing, except a few on the eastern side of the Sierra in the southern half. The bulk of all California lake fishing takes place during the summer vacation months. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day peak utilization is reached. Probably the period between early July and mid-September is more important to trout fishermen than any other time of year. More than any other single element water temperature controls trout habits. It can be stated as simply as: find the right temperature for trout and you'll get good fishing during the warm weather months.


Consistent success in summer lake fishing for trout is a matter of attention to detail. The key to good results during the hot weather months is systematic elimination of those sections that do not contain an appreciable number of trout. Most California lakes are deep. Just about any lake that is over 70 feet deep will stratify during warm summer weather. There will be a layer of upper water with warm water, which can be perhaps 75 degrees at the surface, generally extending down 10-20 feet with a temperature of about 65 degrees at the bottom. Under this layer of water is the thermocline, a relatively thin band of water, where the temperature drops about a half a degree per foot. Below this is the hypolimnion, a cold water area of around 40 degrees that extends to the bottom of the lake. Trout will move into the upper section of the lake only for brief periods when a lake is stratified. They will usually move up to feed early or late in the day, then return to more comfortable water in either the thermocline or just under it. Usually there is a lack of oxygen in the very deepest parts of a lake and trout stay away from these areas.


California Saltwater Fishing

CA Saltwater Fishing


The California Coast is an immense and varied fishery that provides outstanding saltwater fishing throughout the year. Unlike, for example, bass and trout fishing where the same techniques apply up and down the state, saltwater fishing in California is more regionally diverse. In terms of angling opportunities, the Central and Northern regions off the California Coast can sustain large populations of cold water species that are not migratory. On the other hand, Southern California anglers are somewhat more dependent on optimal movements of warm, bait-laden currents for game fish such as bonito, barracuda, or yellowtail.


San Diego to Santa Barbara


Starting in the Southland, migratory species move up from Baja California when water temperatures approach the 65 to 70 degree mark. Extensive summertime action on bonito, barracuda, and yellowtail occurs under the right warm water conditions. The Coronado Islands just below San Diego are a perennial prime fishing ground. Species that can be caught on an all-year basis from San Diego to Santa Barbara include calico and sand bass, white sea bass, halibut, sharks, rays, tomcod, green mackerel, and spanish mackerel. Sometimes these game fish are caught just a few hundred yards offshore. Other times, fishing charters will venture to the outer banks and fish the waters around Catalina and San Clemente Islands to the west and south or the Channel Islands above Los Angeles to the north. Southern California's piers, harbors, and bays hold similar varieties of marine game fish. These piers provide sanctuary for perch, halibut, mackerel, tomcod, and more. Major boat harbors such as San Diego, Mission, Dana, Newport, and Huntington have thriving populations of spotted bay bass, halibut and turbot, croakers, sharks, rays, sargo, and occasional invasions of small bonito and barracuda.


Santa Barbara to Monterey Bay


Heading above Santa Barbara the complexion of the fishing changes dramatically. Point Conception is regarded as an ecological dividing line for saltwater fish, especially for the dominant pelagic species. Kelp beds can be very thick from Santa Barbara up to Monterey. Calico bass can often be found in considerable numbers at times in the Santa Barbara area. Lingcod, rockfish, halibut, and mackerel comprise the bulk of offshore catches as you move up the Central California Coast.


San Francisco Bay Area


Once into the San Francisco Bay area, striped bass, salmon, and shark are the mainstays for anglers interested in larger gamefish. Boaters and shore anglers can take advantage of stripers from inside the bay, from the piers, or along the surfline at Pacifica. Salmon, shark, lingcod, and larger rockfish species inhabit the area's deeper waters. The offshore Farallon Islands similarly offer some phenomenal opportunities for the "rock cod" angler. Late summer runs of albacore also frequently occur in these deeper offshore waters.




Saltwater Fishing Bait Tips


There is a great variety of baits that can be used for Saltwater Fishing Trips in California. Keep in mind a few helpful pointers: (1) Try to always use fresh bait when possible - either "fresh live" or "fresh dead". Examine packages closely for freezer burn and deterioration when purchasing frozen bait; (2) Change bait regularly. Always try to make the best presentation possible. Hide the hooks and replace tattered or "picked at" baits with fresh offerings; and (3) be experimental! Try different baits and fish combination offerings. Try different strip and cut configurations. Move the bait more often when still fishing.





California Surf Fishing


CA Fishing Report


Surf fishing along the California Coast can be an amazing adventure and can often produce some great catches. There is a lot to be said about the beauty and solitude of fishing from the beach. But always keep in mind that the ocean can be a very fickle friend. Marine weather and tidal conditions can dramatically change in a short period of time. Always be on the lookout for danger and potential hazards, particularly when wading out into the surf.


Take your time in playing out surf fish. Maintain constant pressure and a tight line but remember you have the surge and undertow working against you. Many novice surf casters lose that prize trophy by trying to "horse" the fish in while fighting the surf. Learn to time your retrieve with the waves. As the wave breaks, let the fish glide in toward shore. Quickly wind the slack and allow the fish to fight the drag when the waves recede back out. Learn to monitor the tides. Key in on the incoming and outgoing tides. This is when an exchange of water is greatest, with increased food being washed through the waves, generating increased feeding activity. Also, keep a log as to which tidal conditions produce the best result for certain species of surf fish.