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California Trout Fishing

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All about fishing for rainbow, steelhead, cutthroat, brook, brown, golden and lake trout in California lakes and streams.

Trout fishing in California

Trout Fishing Lakes In Northern California

Northern California has clear cold water lakes which the trout adore. You can find trout in Bucks Lake, Copco Lake, Donner Lake, Eagle Lake, Folsom Lake, Lake Almanor, Lake Alpine, Lake Berryessa, Lake Combie, Lake Lewiston, Lake Natoma, Lake Oroville, Lake Pillsbury, Los Vaqueros Reservoir, New Bullards Bar Reservoir, Shasta Lake, Trinity Lake and Whiskeytown Lake. Northern CA lakes with populations of steelhead include Lake Mendocino and Los Vaqueros Reservoir. Feeder streams and waters coming out of the spillways may also provide some exciting trout fishing. Lake Natoma holds the state record for rainbow trout.

Trout Fishing Lakes In Central California

Consider trying your luck for trout at Bass Lake, Beardsley Lake, Cherry Lake, Crowley Lake, Lake Don Pedro, Donnells Lake, Fallen Leaf Lake, Huntington Lake, June Lake, Lake Cachuma, Lake Camanche, Lake Kaweah, Lake McClure, Lake Sonoma, Lake Tulloch, Lake Nacimiento, Lake Tahoe, Mammoth Lakes, Millerton Lake, New Hogan Lake, New Melones Lake, Pine Flat Lake, Pinecrest Lake, San Luis Reservoir, San Pablo Reservoir, Shaver Lake, Silver Lake, Success Lake and Topaz Lake. It's always a good idea to stop by the marina or local bait store and pick up some gossip about where the best stringers of trout are coming from.

Trout Fishing Lakes In Southern California

With generally warmer waters in Southern California, trout fishing opportunities are limited to some larger, deeper impoundments like Big Bear Lake, Canyon Lake, Diamond Valley Lake, El Capitan Reservoir, Laguna Niguel Lake, Lake Cahuilla, Lake Hemet, Castaic Lake, Lake Elsinore, Lake Perris, Lake Piru, Littlerock Reservoir, Pyramid Lake, San Vicente Reservoir, Silverwood Lake and Skinner Reservoir. Lake Sutherland offers steelhead fishing.

Watch trout fishing videos to see trout anglers in action.

Visit the California Department of Fish & Game website for information regarding trout stocking in California.

The 5 primary trouts are the rainbow, brook, brown, cutthroat and lake trout. Browns are considered the most difficult to catch and brookies are the easiest. Pure cold water is key to survival of the trouts.

California Record Trout

Brook trout - Silver Lake
Brown trout - Upper Twin Lake
Bull trout - McCloud Lake
Cutthroat trout - Lake Tahoe
Golden trout - Virginia Lake
Lake trout - Lake Tahoe
Rainbow trout - Lake Natoma
Steelhead - Smith River

Additional trout fishing information

Trout Conservation

Fishing for trout in California

Rainbow Trout

Rainbow trout

World record: 42 lbs 2 oz

CA State Record: 27 lbs 0 oz

Cutthroat Trout

Cutthroat trout

World record: 41 lbs 0 oz

CA State Record: 31 lbs 8 oz

Brook Trout

Brook trout

World record: 14 lbs 8 oz

CA State Record: 9 lbs 12 oz

Brown Trout

Brown trout

World record: 40 lbs 4 oz

CA State Record: 26 lbs 8 oz

Lake Trout

Lake trout

World record: 72 lbs 0 oz

CA State Record: 37 lbs 6 oz

Golden Trout

Golden trout

World record: 11 lbs 4 oz

CA State Record: 9 lbs 8 oz

Fishing for steelhead in California

Steelhead Fishing


World record: 42 lbs 0 oz

CA State Record: 27 lbs 4 oz

By clicking on the images and links above, you will be taken to a page offering more information about the selected species.

Trout fishing waters and information, by state.


Learn the habits of trout

Trout are considered some of the most difficult fish to fool. Once you locate California waters with a population of trout, the challenge becomes identifying trout flies and lures that will trigger strikes. Visit the trout fishing page to learn more about the habitat each of the trouts prefer.

Contribute CA Trout Fishing Knowledge

If you have information, articles or photos relating to trout fishing in California, which you would like to see published here, please submit them for consideration.

Fishing boats and boat rentals

Best trout fishing in California!