Best Fishing Lakes in Southern California

By Alycia Downs

Dec 16, 2020

Best fishing lakes in southern California. Explore California’s freshwater lakes and get inspired to plan your own California fishing adventure.

Over 7,000 square miles of water makes southern California an attractive fishing destination for anglers of all interests and skill levels. While saltwater enthusiasts eagerly migrate to the abundant coastlines, charter boats, and popular fishing piers, there’s an enchanting allure to the best fishing lakes in southern California. Perhaps it’s the towering forests, astounding mountains, or the unbridled sense of adventure around every curve, but one thing is certain; you will love freshwater fishing in southern California. Period.

If your interest is piqued to investigate further, let’s talk about the best fishing lakes in southern California.

Diverse and many, the extensive selection of fishing grounds and species give you the freedom to build your own adventure. This list of best fishing lakes in southern California will give you a starting point, but it’s always a good idea to do some research of your own before you go. You’ll especially want to review local license requirements and other regulations.

  • Castaic Lake. With 29 miles of shoreline, Castaic Lake is the state’s largest water project reservoir and a hotspot for trout, bass, and catfish, even boasting a few world record catches. Take a break to explore the 11,000 acres of parkland and open space habitat.
  • Lake Gregory. Located within the San Bernardino Mountains, Lake Gregory is a fantastic weekend destination for fishing in southern California. Stellar brown and rainbow trout fishing awaits along with quaint onsite cabin rentals or hiking trails for a change of scenery.
  • Lake Cuyamaca. Every year, this 110-acre lake is stocked with thousands of pounds of trout, but you can also enjoy catching crappie, sturgeon, bass, catfish, and bluegill. Fishing classes and equipment rentals are offered onsite and lodging is available in the form of cottages and cabins.

Discover more great places to fish in California using our interactive map. Your great California fishing adventure awaits!

Alycia Downs
Alycia Downs
Alycia Downs is a freelance content creator and avid sportsman who contributes to numerous publications promoting tourism, fishing, and outdoors. Alycia is a member of the Florida Outdoor Writers Association and is actively involved with conservation and fishing non-profit organizations. Visit her personal blog at or on Instagram @tideandtale.