Disclosure: Just to be open and honest the buttons and links you click on in the website will in most cases take you to another website where you can purchase the products I am reviewing. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Maybe only depressions with rocks, sand, and dried algae.
California witnessed a soaking winter and luckily, the next trout season in 2017 has all waterways in excellent shape and condition.
It was heavy that despite raising the hopes of fishermen for yet another chance to enjoy the sport, some rivers had brisk flows making it difficult to fish.
Because of this, anglers had to wait until May when the conditions had become better.
The Golden State has an organization-The California Trout– that has over 3000 members and whose sole purpose is to restore the vibrancy of all the freshwater waterways in the state to ensure that trout fishing doesn’t go to extinction.
The organization is affiliated with over 60 gun and rod clubs and fishing clubs across California.
They are doing an excellent job of managing steelhead and wild trout resources in the state.
Fly fishing opportunities in this state are magnificent because of the beautiful scenery and healthy fish species waiting to be caught by any avid angler.
California spans different climates and covers a vast stretch of land. This makes it challenging for anglers to dedicate time to the few he’d like to sample.
The terrain is diverse and appeals to anglers of levels. There are a few watersheds that challenge the pros and others that are favorable for novices and amateurs looking to hone their skills.
Most anglers divide the state into two regions to make exploration easier and to reduce the anxiety of having to fish everywhere.
These are the northern and southern regions. Each region has its uniqueness and offerings and you will not regret going either side.
Nearest Towns:: Murphys, Chinese Camp, East Sonora, Copperopolis, Vallecito, Sonora, Columbia, Angeles City, Jamestown, Tuttletown
Nearest Tackle Shops: Glory Hole Sports, California Reservoir Lures, The Trout Spot, Galvan Fly Reels, Ebbetts Pass Sporting Goods, The Sportsman, High Sierra Rod Co.,
Other Prime Fly Fishing Hotspots in California
Crowley Lake is among the best fishery for holding rainbows, browns, and cutthroat trout in California.
Most anglers land trophies and those who troll are successful with needlefish, Rapala, Tasmanian devils, and Thomas buoyant.
Other fishermen use sting king, apex, or kokanee killer.
The reason why trout are prevalent in the watershed is because of the beautiful chironomid population and the forage that is all-year-round.
Float tubing is a common thing here and when the season peaks, it is crowded.
From New Melones, head westerly to the Los Vaqueros Reservoir which officially opened fishing late in 2001.
The trout plants here are variable and mostly it receives between 12000 and 24000 planter rainbows.
It is a Coldwater fishery and trout planting is possible throughout the year.
If fishing from the shores, target the areas at South Cove especially near the marina, along the wall, off piers, and Oak Point.
Lake Don Pedro is an all-year-round fishery that receives annual stocks of rainbow trout and the Florida-strain black bass.
It also has chinook and kokanees that you can chase.
Central California homes Lake Chabot which is stocked with trout, bass, catfish, bluegill, and crappie.
Have you been to Echo Park Lake?
It is in the heart of Los Angeles and has numerous bluegill, catfish, and crayfish.
Trout anglers can catch the occasionally introduced rainbows.
Bodega Bay is in Doran Regional Park. It has two miles of a beautiful beach that is favorable for shore fishing.
There is a boat launch here that gives access for those who’d love to sport fish for halibut, salmon, and rock cod that lurk in these waters.
Check out Bridge Bay which is at Lake Shasta and is home to a wide variety of fish.
However, most anglers come here for spotted bass. More species that you can nab here are catfish, trout, king salmon, sturgeon, and many more.
The fish population is high throughout the year. Winter fishermen will always enjoy the breathtaking view of the Shasta Mountains.
Fly fishing enthusiasts can entertain themselves at Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
You can choose to float on the bay or fish in the public pier where you don’t need to have a fishing license. Go after striped bass, white sturgeon, rays, and leopard sharks.
Yosemite National Park is lovable because of its gorgeous scenery, wildlife and fishing opportunities for rainbows and the recently introduced bluegill, brown trout, and smallmouth bass.
Find Santa Monica Bay which is at Dockweiler State Beach and enjoy shore fishing. Your possible scores will be perch and halibut.
Northern Califonia has the Clear Lake State Park with the best bass fishing.
It is not surprising that out of the 25 largest ever recorded bass, 19 have been reeled out of the California waters.
You should be sure of good odds when at the largest natural freshwater lake. Novices heading to the Kelsey and Berger Bay always etch out numerous fish that are more than 10 pounds.
In Kernville is the Kern River and its tributaries which harbor three of the Heritage Native trout of California.
These are the golden trout, the Kern River rainbow, and little Kern golden trout. The river is within Sequoia National Forest.
San Diego Saltwater Fly Fishing Charter offers excellent angling opportunities for fly anglers looking to hook Mako Sharks and others residing here.
The regulations here encourage catch and release fishing for the Mako shark.
Siskiyou is home to Shasta Mountains which is a fantastic fly fishing spot. The fish hatcher here stocks trout in the nearby waters to allow for fly fishing in the summer and winter.
The Coronado Ferry Landing Pier is a secret gem where you can fish saltwater fish like bonito, mackerel, spotted bass, and sand bass.
You will appreciate the water clarity and its shallowness. Carry lighter tackle to this place.
The Russian River snakes through the hills in northern California. The temperatures there are higher in summer but anglers easily catch smallies during this time.
Early fall is the best time to hook steelhead while fishing from the bank near Thanksgiving.
Castaic Lake is an hour’s drive from Los Angeles and is a popular fishery for bass in trophy sizes.
Try fishing in Lake Cuyamaca which is stocked with over 45000lbs rainbows.
To take a break from the trout, you can target bass that thrive to over 7lbs. it is a less pressured fishery so having a good time is a sure bet.
Hailing from the Shasta mountains, the McCloud River offers some of the best trout fishing opportunities in the state with anglers catching brookies, bows, and, browns.
San Joaquin Delta should be in your bucket list of areas to fly fish in California if you are a fervent angler. It has numerous catfish, bass, sturgeons, and bass.
East Walker Lake is in the eastern Sierra and is home for healthy trout.
Wild trout fishing is fun in the Middle Fork American Lake. It starts from the Granite Chief Wilderness in Sierra and heads westerly.
It has a high flow in spring. Most anglers frequent this spot in summer and spring.
Though a small stream, the Yellow Creek in Plumas County grows large fish. It has 12 miles with wild trout.
These miles are under management to preserve the population and increase growth. You can fish browns and stray rainbows.
Heenan Lake is a fun place to go fly fishing with kids to learn how to catch the cutthroat that lurk in these waters.
There is an option to fish from the shores or from a boat. Carry wet flies in any color.
Most anglers love to fish in the Manzanita Lake in Lassen Volcanic National Park because it is less frequented.
It is very quiet and beautiful. Rainbows are the commonest species here and they grow in large sizes because of the diversity of forage and insect life.
Truckee River is a wilderness stream that is underrated but will always surprise any patient angler who comes here and spends more time.
It has 12 miles of wild trout waters and for you to have the best out of your time, come here from June to August.
The Owen River has plenty of wild rainbow and brown trout in all its sections. Accessibility isn’t a problem and anyone fishing here will agree that it is among the few scenic rivers to behold.
Wading in the lower section will be difficult because of the depths.
Yuba River boasts healthy rainbow trout populations in the continent. It has a history of mining which almost led to its depletion.
Thanks to law enforcement, it has risen into one of the best fishing spots any angler would love to try out.
You can also catch salmon and steelhead in the Yuba.
More areas that you can check out are;
Red Lake Creek
Tips for Successful Fly Fishing in California
Hatches happen in California waters all-year-round and if you are that angler that loves to do some good matching, you will find it fun collecting and using your flies.
Some of the must-have flies for fly fishing in northern California are mayflies, caddis, green rock worms, stoneflies, and terrestrials.
In the south, march browns, little yellow mays, nymphs, and stoneflies will be the best bets.
The state is diverse in geography and climate with a blend of Mediterranean and subarctic desert climate. Winters are fairly mild though wet.
The summers are always hot and dry. Along the coast, it is often foggy.
As you go further inland, it becomes dryer and warmer in summer.
Still, it isn’t winter is mild even inland. Ensure that you have this in mind as you pack your gear and apparel depending on the season you intend to fish.
If you intend to fish in the larger streams, rivers, and lakes here, pack a 9 to 9 ½ feet fly rod.
Take a shorter rod if you are going to fish smaller waterways. The weights need to match the rod lengths.
FAQ’s – Questions on Fly Fishing in California
Q) What age should anyone who wants to fish in California be in order to get a fishing license? A) Anyone who is 16 years or more should have a valid fly fishing license before accessing any watershed in the state for fishing. This applies to both residents and non-residents.
Q) What is the trout limit per day in California? A) The limit for trout is 5 fish per day per person
Q) Can a fisherman use corn to fish in this state? A) Fishing with corn is allowed in the state as bait for catching carp and other fish species in inland waters where the special regulations allow.
Q) Can I use treble hooks to fish in California? A) You can use treble hooks to fish in the ocean. However, if you intend to fish salmon, you need to use a maximum of two barbless hooks. This means that you can’t use these trebles for salmon fishing.
Q) What is the harvest limit of halibut in this state? A) You can only possess 3 fish per day in the north of the Point Sur Monterey County and 5 in the south. Their size shouldn’t be below 22 inches
Are you lured in just by reading this? We hope so. The Golden State is a beautiful place to explore.
Choosing a region to focus on will be an excellent way to get the best of fly fishing when in this state.
You can adventure in the urban waters or choose to go remote in the wilderness where you can have time alone and more waters to yourself.
You also have a choice to either wet your lines in saltwater or freshwater bodies.
The diversity of waters and opportunities is already overwhelming.
Now that we have done our best to mention and describe a few of the hot spots, you are left with the task of choosing where to start from.
As you make plans to travel and explore these locations, you can have time to check our buyer’s guide to select the best apparel and tackle that will be effective for your choices.
There are options from different manufacturers and of various prices. Identify and order what best suits your needs.
As we love to share with you, so should you.
Let us know the locations in California that you have fished, the tackle you packed, fish you caught, and your overall experience.
Let us also know the areas that deserved a mention but we didn’t include in the article.
We might just create a part 2 post to give more spots that anglers can adventure.