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California Fishing Lakes

California is touted with over 400 recreational lakes. That leads to many California fishing lakes, California boating lakes, California camping lakes, and California rock lakes. Or whatever “your boat is floating”.

One of the first things to do on the West Coast is to familiarize yourself with California’s fishing regulations. All 91 pages of it. This is a tremendous source of fishing location information, and the important details of the content can help you avoid problems.

For example, July 4th and September 5th are free fishing days under California’s 2020 fishing regulations. BUT, if you fish for salmon in certain rivers or for steelhead or sturgeon anywhere, even if you are under 16 and / or fish on any of the designated fishing days off, you must purchase and return a “Certificate”.

It is also important to know the rules of each district’s waters, such as trout fishing. Daily trout pocket and ownership limits vary widely during California’s trout season. Some freshwater fishing areas distinguish between hatched trout and wild trout, which is characterized by the presence or absence of an adipose fin. Some places can only be caught and released with lures and barbed hooks. There are even areas where the release of water currents affects fisheries.

Other species are available in California fishing lakes such as Catfish, Crappie, and Bluegill. Clear Lake, known for producing massive largemouth bass, has even created a Bassmaster list of the “100 Best Bass Lakes”. Depending on your freshwater fishing in California, you can fish “trout lakes” that also contain bass (New Melones Reservoir, Los Vaqueros Reservoir) or you can fish “bass lakes” that also contain trout (Shasta Lake, Diamond Valley Lake), Bullard’s Bar reservoir). In any of these crossover fisheries, your tackle box should contain a large trout-like swim bait. Humans aren’t the only ones who love to eat stuffed hatched trout.

Andy Whitcomb

Andy is an outdoor writer (http://www.justkeepreeling.com/) and stressed-out dad has contributed over 380 blogs to takemefishing.org since 2011. Born in Florida but raised on the banks of farm ponds in Oklahoma, he now hunts pike, small bass and steelhead in Pennsylvania. After graduating with a degree in zoology from OSU, he worked in fish hatcheries and as a fisheries research technician at OSU, in the US state of Iowa and the US state of Michigan.

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