7 Best Trout Fishing Lakes in Northern California

If fishing is your catch of the day, trout fishing lakes in Northern California have the best options. After all, this fishing zone is a haven for anglers that also want to get all kinds of fishes. You can also do offshore fishing if you do not feel like going around with your boat.

For more fishing spots, give Northern California a major inspection. You’ll be surprised to find out this place is a massive ground for anglers. Not only will you bask in the beautiful scenery, but you also enjoy the plentiful fish in the sea!

Get to know seven of the best trout fishing lakes in Northern California below to get you on board. You may check Northern California fishing reports via the website.

1. Trout Fishing at Lake Almanor

Lake Almanor is located in Plumas County. This is an enormous reservoir covering 24,000 acres and 55 miles of shoreline. It is an attractive trout fishing spot for anglers that want to be in less crowded places. In the spring season, the Western part has the biggest accumulation of trout. While in summer, trout move on the Eastern. 

If you want to get the best trout fishing place, look at the most right time of the year. Even if the lake is open all year round, there is a limit to what you intend to catch. For instance, you are only allowed five trout and salmon a day and bass with a minimum of 12 inches. Fall might be the best season. Because you can avoid the crowd, plus the trout tend to become hungrily aggressive.

As for where you can fish in Lake Almanor, anglers would prefer any side around the Big Springs Cove. Another spot you should try is nearby the Forest Service boat ramp on the West shore, close to the pier. The Hamilton Branch, the powerhouse, the wharf at Prattville, and other rivers or streams are also good places for lake fishing. 

Here is a list of the trophy fish you can find at Lake Almanor:

  • Rainbow Trout – 10 lbs., 4 oz.
  • Brown Trout – 16 lbs., 1988
  • King Salmon – 11 lbs., 13 oz., 1991

2. New Melones Reservoir Trout Fishing

It is called the “Glory Hole” of competitions and recreational fishing by bass anglers. New Melones is a favorite among those that fish the largemouth and smallmouth basses. But, you can still find many trout in this reservoir. You should do trout fishing in the lake by trolling the cold waters. If you feel like joining the fishing tournaments held every summer, you need to get a special permit.

Other species present in the lake are bluegills, crappies, and catfishes. So you do not need to worry about variety. You can also go within the trout fishing lakes shore as some people can catch rainbow and brown ones from there. Since the lake is also open at night, boaters and anglers spend their summer evenings catching more with their nightcrawlers. 

You can certainly see trout just hanging out in the lakes with a bunch of catfish as well. An excellent fishing spot in New Melones is its creeks and inlets, so give those a chance. There are also great catches you might make on the boat ramp near Angels Creek. You should also troll near the dam, from Parrotts Ferry Bridge to Horseshoe Bend, to experience more fish catching.

Here is a list of the different fishes at New Melones Reservoir. Along with their weight records from the tournament:

  • Brown Trout – 13.1 lbs.
  • Rainbow Trout – 10+ lbs.
  • Kokanee Salmon – 3+ lbs.
  • Black Bass – 18.11 lbs.
  • Spotted Bass – 7.97 lbs.
  • Catfish – 36 lbs.

3. Lake Camanche Trout Fishing

A well-known spot for trout and bass fishing, Lake Camanche is also a front-runner for many anglers. Aside from the plentiful fish in the area, you are also sure to enjoy the amazing view it has. Both the North and South parts provide shoreline access for anglers and enthusiasts. Additionally, the lake is filled with basses, so you can definitely take one home with you.

The location of the artificial lake is at the central state part of Amador, Calaveras, in San Joaquin County. Its 7,000-acre water reservoir boasts great amounts of trout, sunfish, and salmon. You may notice that the place has islands and boulders spread out, making it a good cover for fish predators. To have fishing access, you need to pay $7.25 because the payment is for fishery improvements.

Trolling is great here because the waters are clear, making it also easier to fish. Most anglers stay close to the dam or between Big Hat Island and Little Hat Island. But, nearby boat ramps, creek inlets, and abreast spillways can also give you great catches. Good trout fishing lakes like this are along the narrows. 

Here is a list of the primary fish species you can find in Lake Camanche:

  • Spotted Bass
  • Channel Catfish
  • White Catfish
  • Black Crappie
  • White Crappie
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Brown Trout
  • Bluegill
  • Green Sunfish
  • Redear Sunfish
  • Kokanee Salmon

4. French Meadows Reservoir Trout Fishing

The anglers will delight in these trout fishing lakes. It’s particularly known as the bait and lure anglers. If your goal is to catch trout only, then this is the spot you should go to. You can also enjoy various outdoor activities around the area like camping, boating, and trail. Shore fishing for Rainbow and Brown trout is easier here. Because of the cool water temperature. These two fishes are dominant in the lake.

French Meadows Reservoir, at 5,300 feet elevation, is just 19.7 miles from Foresthill at Placer County. It has a campground for visitors that want to camp overnight or so. More so, it provides a good starting point for going to the upper Middle Fork of the American River. If you get tired of fishing, always have fun with picnics, horseback riding, and hiking.

To help you catch those trout, use sinking lines equipped with streamers, like Leech Patterns in brown or dark colors. A good location for catching fish is around areas of cut trees and snags. It would be better to bring a boat because there are a few good spots away from shore to fish. 

Here is a list of the most popular trout caught in French Meadows Reservoir:

  • Brown Trout
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Lake Trout
  • Cutthroat Trout

5. Lake Davis Trout Fishing

In Plumas County, this artificial lake is famous for outdoor recreational activities. You can go boating, swimming, skiing, and hunting in Lake Davis. But, it is more of a spot for anglers that intend to catch trout. Thanks to the rich aquatic beds subsisting in the lake, trout are plump and elated. Also, there are several campgrounds around the place for you to set up if you plan to stay longer.

Fall, spring, and early summer are your best seasons to go fishing in the lake. Despite the inadequate capacity for natural reproduction, the lake is still upholding trout growth. In general, the production of other kinds of fish into the lake had little success. That is why the place is a “high-yield, low-cost trout fishery.”

If you only want to catch simple trout or try your luck, this is a good starting point. You are only allowed five trout per day with 10 possessions. 12 fishing access sites are available in Lake Davis. It is almost 3 miles from Big Grizzly Creek. Besides, it is open to fishing for day use on a public access strip. Ice fishing is also a popular activity here. Go here if you want to go fishing in the winter.

Here variety list you can find in Lake Davis:

  • Rainbow Trout
  • Brown Trout
  • Eagle Lake Trout
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Brown Bullhead

6. Los Vaqueros Reservoir Trout Fishing

You definitely need to drop by at Los Vaqueros Reservoir for one of your fishing trips. Trout is the most common fish caught in the lake, which means you will never run out of catching one. Also, the place hosts fishing clinics to promote responsibility for marine life. If you want to do things aside from fishing, this is the perfect place because of its many outdoor activities.

Thousands of pounds of fish are cultivated every year in the lake, with trout being the main fish stock. You can also find salmon, but it is rare as there are only a few around. Although you can only fish from the shorelines, it is still a worthy trout-catching venture. Since the park wants to keep the waters clean and pure, private personal boats are not allowed.

Boat rentals in Lake Marina are the only exception to the rule. There are three jetties along the shore of the reservoir where you can fish. For now, a few docks are available in some trout fishing lakes. Since the management is still making major improvements to the park. It is better to know the rules and regulations at Los Vaqueros Reservoir before heading there.

Here is a list of fish species found in Los Vaqueros Reservoir:

  • Striped Bass
  • Channel Catfish
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Common Carp
  • Green Sunfish
  • Redear Sunfish

7. Lake Shasta Trout Fishing

Shasta Lake is a two-story impoundment habitat for both warm water and cold water fishes. But, nesting for the former is limited because of water level fluctuations and steep banks. But, the place still has an abundance of fish resources such as trout, bass, salmon, crappier, and more. Again, trout and bases are the most popular catch for anglers. 

This place is one of the best fishing lakes because of its massive size. Fishes here are thriving. For catching trout, you may snag yourself 3 to 5 lbs. on the lake harbors. Your only challenge is finding fish since the lake is vast. But, once you find where they concentrate, fishing will be fun and easy. Many prefer to fish in late winters, right before the water temperature begins to warm as many trout move up.

Shoreline fishing is available in some areas of Jones Valley and Silverhorn. Additionally, you can reach it via Bear Mountain Road or Dry Creek Road. If you want a spot with less crowd, there are sections along the Clikapudi trail for peaceful fishing. Shasta dam also provides some good shoreline access. You may find good results in other parts of the lake: Bridge Bay, Ski Island, and Toupee Island.

Here is a list of various fishes you can catch on Lake Shasta:

  • Largemouth Bass
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Spotted Bass
  • Brown Trout
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Chinook Salmon
  • Crappie
  • Bluegill
  • White Sturgeon

Final Thoughts

Northern California has a broad range of trout fishing lakes. But above are some of the best locations for anglers. Lake Almanor, French Meadows, and Lake Shasta will be ideal for fishing if the goal is to catch trout. Los Vaqueros provides a good amount of fishing access from its shores for beautiful scenery and outdoor activities. 

Likewise, their fishing lakes let you enjoy the recreational bustle. It is important to check the guidelines and requirements for each place to avoid inconvenience. All these fishing spots have plenty of trout and other types of fish. Yet, your advantage will depend on what season you plan to go fishing for trout.

Late Spring is a well-known good time to fish, or you can just go when trout season comes. Also, temperature and time can be factors to your fishing success. It is always important to do planning and extensive research before heading out. Fishing is fun, but preparation is still key to catching trout. 

There are fishing points available around Northern California that can cater to your needs. If you are going with your family, you can choose an area with a park or campground. Doing it this way ensures you spend quality time with them. While enjoying your fishing session.