⚠ Before you head to the water check the latest COVID-19 updates. We encourage you to follow CDC recommendations.
When to Go Trout Fishing in Northern California
With 14 separate species available in state, trout season in most areas is year-round in Northern California, which gives anglers plenty of opportunities to catch this popular species when fishing in California.
Rules for Trout Fishing in Northern California
But before you go, make sure to check the regulations governing your chosen fishing spot. Many places have restricted fishing completely; for instance, Silver King Creek and its tributaries will be closed throughout 2020 to accommodate the state’s restoration of Paiute cutthroat trout. Other locations may only permit trout fishing during limited hours, like from an hour before sunrise to an hour after sunset. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife publishes fishing regulations that govern fishing for trout in the state.
Be sure to also check the limits on trout. These vary based on area, so anglers need to identify limits for the specific body of water being fished. Keep in mind that even in places where the bag limit for trout is zero, you can still fish but must release your catch unharmed.
Finally, some waters are subject to restriction on fishing methods and gear so please review the rules carefully.
Top Spots for Northern California Trout Fishing
Northern California is known throughout the state as a top destination for trout fishing. When searching where to fish for trout for your next trip, here are some spots that should be on any angler’s list for fishing in northern California.
- Lake Almanor: This lake, located in a mountain valley, offers a thrilling and challenging trout fishing experience for even the most seasoned angler. And the hard work pays off: Lake Almanor is home to some huge brown and rainbow trout.
- Lake Tahoe: Partly located in Northern California, the reason this lake offers some of the best trout fishing in California is the plentiful mackinaw trout that average about four pounds. Numerous charter boats in the area make this a popular destination for those looking to fish the deep alpine lake.
- Deer Creek: This 60-mile long stream is a tributary to the Sacramento River and one of the best places in Northern California to fish for rainbow, brown and brook trout for both fly and spin anglers alike. Just be aware that the creek is split into two sections with different restrictions.
- Lake Shasta: Rainbow and brown trout are among the varied and abundant species that can be found in this popular fishing destination. The summer is a particularly good time to head to this spot for big catch rates and big fish thanks to plentiful food sources like shad that are baitfish for trout.
- Los Vaqueros Reservoir: Near San Francisco Bay, this is one of the best places to fish in Northern California for trout, where the species is the most-caught fish. You can rent a boat or take advantage of the three fishing piers along the shore for convenient access.
Trout Fishing License Requirements
Like fishing for any species in Northern California, anglers aged 16 or older must acquire a California fishing license before heading out to the water. This requirement applies to all anglers, whether or not they are residents of the state.