Folsom lake fishing adventure in California

By Andy Whitcomb

Jan 23, 2018

Folsom Lake, near Sacramento, California is a popular destination for bass anglers. 

About a half hour east of Sacramento, California anglers can enjoy Folsom Lake fishing. This reservoir was constructed in 1955, creating over 11,000 acres of freshwater fishing and boating opportunities. Folsom fishing is very popular  due to its 75 miles of shoreline for freshwater fishing and other outdoor activities.

Many Folsom Lake fishing reports show that bass are the main targeted species.  Folsom Lake fishing includes not only largemouth bass, but smallmouth and spotted bass. Reports of largemouth bass in the 6-7-pound range are not uncommon, occasionally topping the 10-pound mark. The Folsom lake  fishing record is an astonishing 16 pounds bass. 

Part of the reason for the rapid growth of these bass is due to the introduction of the Florida strain of largemouth bass genetics. Another factor is the ample variety of forage such as crayfish, bluegill, and crappie. Folsom lake fishing is also great since is stocked with rainbow trout which attracts not only trout anglers but giant, hungry bass.  While investigating Folsom Lake fishing, I also learned it contains great bass fishing habitat with boulders, rock piles, and brush piles.

An interesting study  shared by Todd Crocket shows that in  the early ‘90’s, the composition of Folsom fishing for bass was about “60% smallmouth, 30% spotted bass and 10% largemouth.”  Since then, it is believed that the spotted bass population has increased. Spotted bass seem to move around more in the lake and are a little more difficult to identify, even infrequently hybridizing with smallmouth bass.  Generally, it is the smaller of the species, but the fight and spunk is admirable.

A variety of bass fishing techniques work here year-round, such as swim baits, tube jigs, and spinnerbaits.  If fish are spooky, Folsom lake fishing for bass create opportunities for anglers to score by reaching deeper areas with drop shot rigs and spoons.  

Folsom fishing includes other opportunities too. There are kokanee salmon cruising the vast, deep open water for boat anglers.  If bait resting on the bottom is more your style, there are catfish and carp. 

If you want to go fishing in California for bass, Folsom Lake fishing looks like a great place to start.  Oh sure, there are other reasons to visit the Folsom Lake State Recreation Area such as hiking and camping.  But if I’m in the Sacramento area, I’d make sure my fishing license was good to go and then I would try my luck for a double-digit bass or a new personal best spotted bass.  

Andy Whitcomb
Andy Whitcomb
Andy is an outdoor writer ( and stressed-out Dad has contributed over 380 blogs to since 2011. Born in Florida, but raised on banks of Oklahoma farm ponds, he now chases pike, smallmouth bass, and steelhead in Pennsylvania. After earning a B.S. in Zoology from OSU, he worked in fish hatcheries and as a fisheries research technician at OSU, Iowa State, and Michigan State.