Best Fishing Spot in California – Top Selection by Expert Anglers

You could call California one of the best states for fishing, but that doesn’t mean that all spots are ideal. There are some spots surrounded by rich forests, while others give you a chance to see mesmerizing waters. There’s one thing for sure though, and it’s the vast number of amazing spots that you can go fishing. Whether you prefer dock, kayak or shore fishing, freshwater or saltwater fishing, there’s a great place just waiting for you to visit, no matter if you want to catch striped bass, catfish or panfish. California is home to a number of lakes, rivers, bays, and valleys where you can go fishing; you just need to know where you should go for the best fishing experience.

Santa Monica Pier

This place is popular among tourists for its beautiful beaches and views. However, the Southern California-based Santa Monica Pier is a great place for anglers. At the pier, you can grab a spot and sit with the other anglers. Different species of fish such as mackerel, calico bass, and herring swim in the water below. Hence, you can wait, in a peaceful setting, before you cast live bait. However, you will need to be cautious about your timing. There is no guarantee that you will find a space. Hence, for the most enjoyable experience, expert anglers suggest that you go during nighttime.

At night, the crowd is low and there will be plenty of fish to catch. You don’t need a permit to go fishing on the Santa Monica Pier but you should be careful about which types of fish you eat out of your catch. Certain contaminants such as mercury make some species of fish unsafe to eat; there’s an entire list of fish that you shouldn’t eat when you catch them at the Santa Monica Bay. This includes black croaker, barracuda, white croaker and barred sand bass. Since the black sea bass is endangered, you’re less likely to catch one but in case you do, it’s best to throw it back in the ocean or donate it to a preserve aquarium.

McCloud River

This river is best known for being the perfect spot if you want to go fly-fishing. It’s also where you can find the historic and unique McCloud fish species, the Rainbow trout. Although there are other places where you can find rainbow trout, the river is the only place where you’ll find a majority of the McCloud strain. Anglers come from everywhere to fish in McCloud waters because it gives them a place to test their expertise and skills as they try to catch a large trophy brown trout or a redside rainbow native fish. Congress designated the fishery to be a scenic river because of the wilderness that surrounds it.

The waters are fed from the fresh springs on Mount Shasta. They allow visitors to gaze upon the different pools, boulders, and riffles, as a thick forest laden with oak and pine trees surrounds them. However, despite its natural beauty, many anglers come to McCloud River to catch just one of the waters’ native species. Here, you can practice a mix of nymph and dry fly fishing but the experience calls for all kinds of techniques. You can book a trip to the McCloud River with a local guide, and then enjoy the peaceful environment while taking in the view.

The Russian River

This river flows through the hills of Northern California and it makes a great place to go kayak fishing. During the summer months, it can get very hot in the area but at least you’ll still get a chance to catch some smallmouth bass. Of course, there are other peak times when you’ll get a hold of some great catch. For instance, making a trip to the Russian River as fall begins will let you catch Steelhead trout near the bank. Once Thanksgiving season approaches, bigger ones will be all over the lake. Although the river offers a great opportunity for kayak fishing, you can also fish at the shore from one of the nearby beaches. In case you live out of state, you can rent a kayak or canoe at one of the nearby rental services.

The river serves as a fishery all year round. Throughout April and June, you can catch Shad, just as you can catch different types in the summer and before fall. You should remember that the river is a barbless-hook area. Hence, you should be careful as to which fishing equipment you take with you. There are certain regulations and guidelines you should follow, such as those about techniques and limits. If you need some help with picking a spot or the regulations governing the area, various local shops offer booklets and maps.

Lake Cuyamaca

This breathtakingly scenic lake is located in San Diego County between the Cuyamaca Mountains that reach over 4000 feet above sea level. Throughout the year, the lake is open to visitors and fishing enthusiasts. From sunrise until sunset, you can breathe in the fresh air, waiting for a rainbow trout to bite. Similar to McCloud River, this lake also houses a large number of rainbow trout. You should definitely visit this place if you want to catch wild fish. You don’t need to worry about the temperatures in the area.

Since the weather in San Diego is pretty constant, then you can catch trout whether you go fishing in July or in December. If you’re looking to add oversized bass to your collection of fish, you should know that there are plenty of bass swimming in Lake Cuyamaca and they’re over 7 pounds. Moreover, the population is low pressured, which is beneficial since it allows you to catch bass using various lures. The California Department of Fishing has a few laws that you have to comply with. The laws address how you should fish in these areas. Thus, familiarize yourself with the laws before picking your equipment. However, you do need a permit for fishing with a kayak.