Fishing in California

Explore the Map
Loading Water Access Locations
Collapse

With the presence and influence of both the Pacific Ocean and the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, California's massive land area includes an incredible variety of landscapes and climates, each with their own unique fly fishing opportunities. Fly fishing in California has a rich history that dates back to the early days of the Gold Rush, and ever since, anglers have enjoyed fishing in the stunning, wild areas that make California one of the country's most treasured places to cast a line.

Several of the state's premier trout streams are in Northern California, including the Fall River, Hat Creek, and the McCloud River, each with strong populations of rainbow trout and occasional brown trout. Steelheaders will want to head to the Klamath, Russian, and Sacramento rivers, where in addition to the promising runs of steelhead, runs of king salmon and striped bass can be fished depending on the season. In the impressive Sierra Nevada Mountains, anglers will find a bounty of fishing opportunities in high mountain lakes and streams in some of the most picturesque settings imaginable. Stretching from Lake Tahoe down through Stanislaus National Forest, Yosemite National Park, Sierra National Forest, and Kings Canyon National Park, there's enough fishable water and beautiful scenery to keep any angler enthralled for a lifetime. In Southern California, many fly anglers take to the beaches to cast in the surf for species like surfperch and jacksmelt, but just outside San Bernadino, one of the Southern-most wild trout streams in California, Deep Creek, offers anglers a quick escape from the city to fish a challenging stream for wild trout.

With so many quality fisheries spread out over the state of California, fishing can be enjoyed year-round. Most of the state's lakes and reservoirs are open year-round for all species, but many streams and rivers have a more restricted season and are generally open for fishing from April to November. Be sure to check with local authorities for regulations before heading out to explore new water.


CA Department of Fish & Wildlife
1416 9th Street, 12th Floor
Sacremento, CA 95814
P: 916) 445-0411

Popular Water In California

California Fishing Articles

6 Winter Flies to Never Leave Home Without

Posted on February 12, 2017

It’s winter time and if you’re like me then you’re probably daydreaming of warmer weather and being on the river. You’re also probably behind the vice tying up dozens of flies for the months ahead....

Continue reading

Choosing the Proper Fly Rod

Posted on January 21, 2016

Proper fly fishing gear is essential. Along with the reel, flies and line, the most important gear is the fly rod. Fly rods may vary in length from 6 - 12 feet and come in different weights, colors,...

Continue reading

The Scout & Cast Story

Posted on February 10, 2015

My whole life has been filled with various trips to the lakes & rivers in search of fish. As a kid growing up in “Lake Country” Minnesota, it was practically a sin not to be a fisherman. I would...

Continue reading

Guides based in California

Featured Program

California Trout
With over 30, large-scale, on-the-ground conservation projects underway and “boots on-the-ground” in Sacramento, our five regional offices follow our over-arching principle in the way we work....

Learn More

California Water Systems (506)

Water Access Locations in California (676)