CaliforniaFishingWhere to Fish in California

Trout Fishing Southern California

Trout Fishing Southern California

Ready to go fishing in Southern California for rainbow trout or brown trout? If you want to learn about where to fish for trout, this section will give you all you need to know before you go.

Tips for Trout Fishing Southern California

While Southern California generally has warmer temperatures and waters than most trout destinations, both rainbow trout and brown trout are often stocked in larger, deeper impoundments and reservoirs.

Keep these two tips in mind when fishing Southern California for trout:

  • Most reservoir lakes have inlets or outlets that connect to rivers or streams. These types of areas introduce fresh sources of cooler water and can be productive during the spring or fall months. In the summer, you will want to fish deeper and farther from shore.
  • You can use live bait with a slip bobber and a split-shot during the cooler months of year when trout are feeding in the upper portions of the water column, but switch to a bottom rig when water temperatures rise during the warmest months of the year.

Now that you have a couple of trout fishing tips, you will want to have some idea on where to go.

Family Trout Fishing Southern California

Before planning a family trip to go trout fishing in Southern California, be sure to purchase a California fishing license, check the trout regulations, and take a look at a few local fishing reports.

These Southern California trout fishing spots are stocked annually and local boat ramps provide easy access:

  • Castaic Lake: Located within Castaic Lake State Recreation Area, this is one of the largest state water reservoirs in California. The lake is stocked with rainbow trout seasonally, from autumn to spring.
  • Diamond Valley Lake: Diamond Valley Lake is about 85 miles northeast of downtown San Diego and is Southern California's largest reservoir at 4,500 surface acres. The lake has a maximum depth of 260 feet, which makes it one of the few lakes in the region where trout can survive the entire year.
  • Lake Piru: Lake Piru is a reservoir located 4 miles from Piru, in Ventura County. Rainbow trout are stocked from early fall through early summer by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
  • Littlerock Reservoir: Little Rock Reservoir is located near the city of Palmdale is a small 150-acre lake that is stocked with rainbow trout during the spring and summer months.
  • San Vicente Reservoir: This 1,069-acre reservoir is located 25 miles northeast of San Diego, and is stocked with rainbow trout regularly during the winter months.
  • Skinner Reservoir: Skinner Reservoir, also known as Lake Skinner, is located about 70 miles north of downtown San Diego. Rainbow trout are stocked in the winter by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

If you are up for a more adventurous experience, there are also rugged mountain lakes and streams in Southern California.

Trout Fishing San Bernardino Mountains

The San Bernardino Mountains offer some of the best trout fishing in California mountain lakes and streams for trout. Located primarily within the San Bernardino National Forest, this rugged mountain range is home to lakes that hold both wild and stocked fish.

These mountain lakes and streams are known for being a few of the best places to fish in Southern California for trout:

  • Big Bear Lake is a top California trout fishery because its deep waters allow the fish thrive through the heat of summer. One of the best ways to target rainbow trout on Big Bear is by down rigging in deeper waters and trolling leadcore lines.
  • Green Valley Lake: Trout are regularly stocked in this small 9-acre lake from May through September. No motorized boats are permitted on the lake.
  • Silverwood Lake: Located on the located on the West Fork of the Mojave River, Silverwood Lake covers 980 acres and is stocked with both rainbow trout and brown trout.
  • Deep Creek: Deep Creek is one of the few wild trout streams in Southern California, but access can be challenging. A considerable amount of hiking is required to reach some of the best rainbow trout and brown trout spots, including the lower reaches of the stream and the waters above the confluence with Holcomb Creek.

In addition to these spots, you may want to learn about fishing in California for trout closer to the mid and northern regions of the state. Use the places to fish and boat map to find other family trout fishing spots in California.