Fishing Vacations 

Top 10 Fishing Destinations in California


Clear Lake

Lake Shasta

McCloud River

Bodega Bay

California Delta

Santa Monica Pier

Eastern Sierra

Castaic Lake

San Diego

Top 10 Fishing Destinations in California

Lots of Options Up for Grabs

Fishing in California is diverse and quite exciting. A variety of freshwater and saltwater fish species found in California are: Rainbow trout, Brown trout, Cutthroat trout, Brook Trout, Golden Trout, Sacramento Perch, Smallmouth Bass, Barracuda, Bluefin, Bonito, Rockfish, Yellowfin, Yellowtail, and Halibut.
If chasing ocean occupants is mostly your interest, then launch a boat and go into deeper waters with your favorite fishing gear in quest of barracuda, ling cod, and salmon during the season.

With a landscape comprised of mountains, streams, lakes, rivers, a desert, and a Pacific coastline, California possesses great richness in resources for visitors of every kind.
From the cliffs to hiking, to the mountains to climb and the waters to fish, California brings entertainment for all sorts of travelers. If you are fishing in California, you must know that there are plenty of lively coastal cities and beach resorts to discover as well, including: Malibu, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego.

Did you know that golden trout was designated as the official State fish of California in 1947? These fish are somewhat elusive and are only found in high country locations.

Looking at the richness in resources and variety of fish present in this state, it becomes a must visit for pro-anglers and also for amateurs who want to explore the beautiful sport of fishing.

Types of Catch Available

chinook salmon

Chinook Salmon

sockeye salmon

Sockey​​​​e Salmon

coho salmon

Coho Salmon

pink salmon

Pink Salmon

raindbow trout

Rainbow Trout

cutthroat trout

Cutthroat Trout

steelhead trout

Steelhead Trout

brook trout

Brook Trout

brown trout

Brown Trout

yellow perch

Yellow Perch

pacific cod

Pacific Cod



northern pike


Largemouth Bass

Largemouth Bass

smallmouth bass

Smallmouth Bass



Pumpkinseed Sunfish


Atlantic Salmon




Skipjack Tuna


Yellowtail Amberjack



Giant Trevally



Mahi Mahi

Bluefin Tuna

Yellowfin Tuna

Blue Marlin


spotted bass

Spotted Bass



bullhead catfish

Bullhead Catfish

White Bass

White Bass

Striped Bass



State Fishing Records


Top 10 Fishing Spots Across California

Since California is thriving with numerous fishing destinations, we have compiled a simple California fishing guide for your convenience so you can decide which spots to hit right away. All these fishing spots are well-known for the sport they offer the recreational angler, including good access points, amenities, and of course - abundant fish!


When it comes to natural beauty coupled with the sport of fishing, Yosemite might be the only one to stand right beside with Eastern Sierra. Mountains, Waterfalls, and wildlife make anglers and other visitors visit this destination from across the country. Visitors flock here to enjoy hiking and river rafting as well.

Rainbow, brook, and brown trout, Crappie, sunfish, and black bass are common for the higher lakes at Yosemite, while Sacramento sucker, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, Chinook salmon, Pacific lamprey and striped bass can be found in the lower central valley portion .

Lake Shasta

Clear crystal blue lakes, scenic waterfalls, and beautiful landscapes make Lake Shasta a year-round fishing destination, but spring and fall are the ideal time to land on these waters. It is one of the most coveted lakes as it offers a two-story-tall impoundment that is home to warm-water and cold-water fish. A wide variety of species include: Rainbow trout, Brown trout, Largemouth bass, Chinook salmon, Bluegill, Smallmouth bass, White Sturgeon, Brown bullhead, Spotted bass, Green sunfish, Golden shiner, Threadfin shad, White bullhead, and Sacramento pikeminnow. What could be more attractive to anglers than finding such a large variety of fish species only in one spot?
Before the temperatures warm up, rainbow trout, Chinook salmon and brown trout can be caught on the banks. As temperatures rise, the trout move into deeper waters. Summertime is ideal for catfish, especially after sunset when channel catfish, white catfish, and bullheads can all be found in good numbers.

Bodega Bay

If you want to talk about one of the most premium fishing destinations, it has to be Bodega Bay. Fishing spots, fishing species, and clear waters make it one of the finest destinations for fishing across the globe. Bodega Bay is the place where Alfred Hitchcock filmed “The Birds”. Many people remember this destination because of that film.

Salmon, Halibut, Cod, Dungeness, Chinook Salmon, California roach, Coho Salmon, Pacific lamprey, Prickly sculpin, and Rainbow trout are some of the best catches at Bodega Bay. Low tide in winter times pops up Gooey mud which becomes perfect for clamming. So, if you cast a line during high tide from the shore, Flounder and Perch can be held onto.

Bodega Bay is a town and census-designated place in Sonoma County. The town, located along State Route 1, is on the eastern side of Bodega Harbor, an inlet of Bodega Bay on the Pacific coast

Santa Monica Pier

It is one of the most popular piers in the world as it is surrounded by mountains to the east, and beaches to the west. Serene beaches, aquariums, and museums are some of Southern California`s most famous landmarks. At some spots on this pier, anglers can be as close as 10 - 12 feet away from the surface.

Species that are plentiful include: Halibut, Croaker, Sardines, Surfperch, Kelp, White seabass, Mackerel, leopard shark, Tiger shark, and Stingrays.

Castaic Lake

Castaic Lake is one of the best trophy hunting lakes. The big bass swimming wall to wall at this destination makes it a wonderful place to fish in California. Rainbow trout, Largemouth bass, Striped bass, Bluegill, and Channel catfish are some of the bountiful species found here.

Castaic Lake is a reservoir formed by Castaic Dam on Castaic Creek, in the Sierra Pelona Mountains of Northwestern Los Angeles County, near the town of Castaic. Apart from fishing, you can hop on the 7 mile long trails to watch spectacular overlooks of upper Castaic Lake.

Clear Lake

Clear Lake is the state’s largest natural freshwater lake, which runs entirely within California, covering 68 square miles of surface area. The expansive, warm water of Clear Lake makes an excellent place to fish, enjoy nature, and relax. Clear Lake is good for yearlong fishing. Planning a visit for spring and fall? Clear Lake comes across as a top destination for anglers. Largemouth bass, Channel catfish, Brown bullhead, White bullhead, and Hitch are some species found here.

McCloud River

The McCloud River is a 77.1-mile-long river which flows east of, and parallel to, the upper Sacramento River, in Siskiyou and Shasta counties in northern California. This destination is renowned for being situated amongst three of the most beautiful waterfalls in Northern California. The McCloud River is one of the best trout fisheries in the entire country. Running off the famous Mount Shasta, you will find nearby Hat creek, and Burney falls as tributaries of the McCloud River where native brown trout, bow fish, and brook trout all flourish. Rainbow trout, Brown trout, Brook trout and Steelhead are some of the prized catches at this venue.

California Delta

Explore the scenic highways while getting to California Delta, which is just a hop away from the San Francisco Bay, Sacramento, and Stockton areas. Undoubtedly, the California Delta is a fisher’s paradise. Striped bass is among the most sought after fish in the California Delta. They can be found from over two pounds, to over 50 pounds. But an eight- to 20-pounder is more usual. Not only is it home to some of the largest varieties of fish, but the California Delta is also a dream destination for boaters, bird lovers, and outdoor enthusiasts. Apart from its beautiful fishing spots, National wildlife refuge, more than 200 bird species, waterways for water-skiing, and boating in summer, the delta has some of the best- known fish species can be found here. Black bass tournaments are also something that is associated with California Delta. Bluegill, Largemouth bass, Smallmouth bass, Striped bass, Crappies, Blue catfish and Channel catfish is the inventory that you get at the delta for fishing. The spectacular scenery of the California Delta, including snow capped mountain vistas, recreational waterways and excellent fishing, make it an awesome destination.

Eastern Sierra

Get ready to witness world-class outdoor scenery. And if you want to indulge in some good fishing with the views to match, this is the location to be at for all anglers. Some great trophy catches can be found in the Eastern Sierra, and they can be found year-round.
The Eastern Sierra is a region in California comprising the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada, which includes Mono and Inyo Counties. The main thoroughfare is U.S. Route 395, which passes through Bridgeport, Lee Vining, Bishop, Big Pine, Independence, Lone Pine, and Olancha - with Bishop being the largest city in the area.
Brook Trout, Eastern Brook Trout (or simply Brookie), Brown Trout, Cutbow and Bowcutt Trout, Golden Trout., Kokanee Salmon, Lahontan Cutthroat Trout, Lake Trout (aka Mackinaw) and Mountain Whitefish are some of the rich fish species found in this area. 

San Diego

Surrounding a good portion of the city's most outstanding attractions is San Diego's 59-mile scenic drive, which is a beautiful way to spend a day. Another main reason why tourists head to San Diego is that it’s one of the top fishing destinations in America, with world-class lodging, dining, and other attractions which make it a haven for travelers. With Saltwater fishing (Yellowfin, Bluefin, Marlin, Calico bass, Halibut, and Croaker), Freshwater fishing (Trout, Bluegill, Catfish, Carp, and Crappie) and Pier fishing (variety of Bass, Leopard sharks, Halibut, Barracuda and Bonito), San Diego comes across as one of the top destinations for fishing.








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