UNITED STATES—When it comes to great fishing in the United States, California is one of the best locations for new and experienced anglers alike.
With its regularly warm, temperate climate, fishing in California means you can grab your gear and get out on the water no matter the time of year!
But which lakes, rivers, and bays hold the best fishing spots in all of California? To help you plan your next fishing trip, here’s a list of the 5 best fishing spots in the state of California.
The San Joaquin Delta
As the longest river in Central California, the San Joaquin makes up one half of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The San Joaquin Delta itself is part of a much larger ecosystem that is home to many different species of wildlife, which includes fish, mammals, reptiles, and birds.
This breathtaking river Delta is also a well-known fishing spot for anglers targeting striped bass. This fish species migrate through the San Joaquin Delta twice a year, around May and November. However, it is possible to spot and catch a striped bass year-round.
Other species of fish found in the San Joaquin Delta include crappie, channel catfish, sturgeon, redear, bluegill, smallmouth, largemouth, bullhead catfish, and shad.
So with that said, anglers of any experience level will enjoy a day out on the San Joaquin Delta.
With a 1,200 long shoreline, you can use a wide variety of fishing styles and techniques to catch any number of fish!
Yosemite National Park
Beautiful Yosemite National Park is located in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Known for its sequoia trees and natural waterfalls, this park is also a great spot for fishing. In fact, with nearly 1,200 square miles of untouched natural forest landscape, anglers can find many spectacular locations for fishing including Merced River, Tuolumne River, Hetchy Hetchy Reservoir, and Tenaya Lake.
In Yosemite National Park, you can discover several species of fish, many of which you can serve up for supper, or simply spend your time doing a bit of catch and release! This includes crappie, golden, brook, brown and rainbow trout.
However, due to its size and preserved status, before you arrive at the park, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with its rules and fishing regulations.
For example, when fishing in Yosemite National Park, using live bait of any kind is prohibited and you must use flies or artificial lures with barbless hooks.
Located parallel to the Sacramento River, McCloud River is lined with dense forest that offers anglers stunning views of breathtaking scenery, but more importantly, it offers a rugged and physically demanding fishing experience.
McCloud River is known for its rainbow trout.
In fact, the species of fish found here were once used to stock trout fisheries in foreign countries like New Zealand, Chile, and Argentina.
Because of its healthy trout populations, McCloud River is perfect for nymphing or dry fly-fishing. Streamer fishing is also possible during certain times of the year.
Controlled by dam releases from the nearby McCloud Reservoir, the river maintains consistent water flow, making it a great option for catching river species such as trout.
This large, natural freshwater lake is located in Northern California’s Lake County.
According to the American Lung Association’s State of the Air report, some of the cleanest, freshest air in the US can be found surrounding Clear Lake!
While Clear Lake is an extremely popular location for bass fishing, you’ll also find a few other species of fish including, catfish, crappie, carp, and bluegill.
The most popular types of fishing on Clear Lake is by boat or by hiring a professional charter service.
San Francisco Bay
San Francisco Bay is an estuary in California.
It’s surrounded by the San Francisco Bay Area and drains water from roughly 40% of the state, including the San Joaquin River. But with great weather year-round, fishing on the San Francisco Bay is a daily activity for both tourists and residents alike.
Additionally, the San Francisco Bay is great for both beginners and more experienced anglers thanks to the many different types of fishing you can do, including pier fishing, charter fishing, and surf fishing.
This bay is also home to a wide variety of fish.
Some of these fish include white sturgeon, lingcod, rockfish, halibut, chinook salmon, and striped bass. Fishing regulations for San Francisco Bay state that you can only keep 3 fish with a minimum size length of 36 inches (total length).
Fishing In The Best Spots In California
California is by far, one of the best fishing trip destinations.
With the right tackle and gear, fishing in any one of these top 5 fishing spots in the state is sure to be an experience you’ll never forget.
Need help finding the right tackle for your next fishing trips? We recommend checking out FishingRefined, your go-to resource for everything fishing.