California, also referred to as the golden state, is famous for many things; Disneyland, the over 200 national parks present in the state, its place in the Hollywood scene, San Francisco, wine, and many other things. But rarely does California come up in a conversation about fishing.
The large state has over 840 miles of Pacific coastline, more than 3000 lakes, over a hundred rivers, mild weather all year round, and shorelines lined with dense vegetation that allows the fish population to prosper. These features make California a dream destination for anglers from all over the United States and beyond the country’s borders.
If you’re planning to go largemouth bass fishing in California and aren’t sure where to start, the following fishing spots will make an ideal spot for your fishing expedition.
1. Clear Lake
Located in Northern California, approximately two hours north of San Francisco, covering about 43,663 acres of water and a surface area of 68 square miles, Clear Lake is the largest inland and natural freshwater lake in California. The lake is one of the oldest lakes in the country.
Clear Lake has a high largemouth bass population, and the bass makes approximately two-thirds of the fish caught. Voted the third-best bass lake in the United States in 2016 and commonly known as the ‘bass capital of the west, Clear Lake frequently comes up when the best bass lakes in the world are mentioned.
The western shore of the Clear Lake makes the best fishing spot, and the narrow part of the lake off Shag Rocks is an eternal favorite. For lures, locals recommend casting a Rapala near the weed beds and cutting through it quickly.
2. The California Delta
Also referred to as the Delta or the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the California Delta is a go-to fishing spot for anglers searching for a big catch. The largemouth bass is the most common species, inhabiting the weedy stream throughout the Delta.
If you’re visiting the Delta for the first time, Brannan Island is an ideal place to start. There is a state recreation center with a campground and a ten-lane boat ramp with miles of fishing water.
In the Delta, the largemouth bass has various forage to choose from, ranging from crawfish, shad, bluegill, and smelt. All these can be used to lure the bass effectively. Texas-rigged soft plastics and wacky worms also tend to work.
3. Castaic Lake
The Castaic Lake is a reservoir formed from the Castaic Creek and the Castaic Dam. It is located in the Sierra Pelona Mountains, Northwest of Los Angeles County. The Castaic Lake boasts of a collection of largemouth bass records, one of which is a few ounces shy of the world record for largemouth.
At Castaic Lake, locals recommend using Texas and drop shot rigs around 25 feet deep and near shorelines as lures for largemouth bass. Plastic worms can also be used as bait.
4. Lake Isabella
Lake Isabella is located in Southern Sierra Nevada, Kern County. The lake boasts of a lot of bass fish. The amount of thick cover in the lake provides the bass with enough protection, fostering the species’ growth.
Anglers usually don’t catch bass because they have a hard time fishing it. Ironically, this is attributed to the enormous amount of thick cover and low hanging brush that make it difficult to access the bass.
If you like a challenge, Lake Isabella is a great fishing spot. For lures, use a swimbait or a weedless rig like the Texas rigged and cast it into the thick cover.
5. Casitas Lake
Built by the United States Bureau of Reclamation and completed in 1959, Casitas Lake is a reservoir located in Ventura County. The lake boasts of giant bass since they feed on seasonally stocked rainbow trout.
The absence of fishing and their protein-rich diet allows the bass to grow beyond normal levels. For lures, mimic what they eat by using the rainbow trout.
6. Lake Camanche
An artificial lake located in the San Joaquin Valley spanning 7700 acres, Lake Camanche offers a prime fishing spot for largemouth bass and trout. A drought a few years back stimulated vegetation growth under the water and across the shoreline, drawing a massive bass population to its waters.
The largemouth bass feeds on the smaller trout and uses the reefs, rock piles, and brush as their hunting ground. For lures, locals recommend using spinnerbaits with willow leaf blades.
7. Bullards Bar
The Bullards Bar is a large artificial reservoir located in the Tahoe National Forest in Yuba County. Bullards Bar has broken its record for spotted bass severally, and the current record is 10.8lbs worth of bass.
If you plan to go fishing at Bullards Bar, locals highly recommend using a bass fish finder since there isn’t much vegetation in the reservoir.
8. Lake Murray
At approximately 171.1 acres, 650 miles of shoreline, and a maximum depth of 95 feet, Lake Murray is located on the Mission Trails Regional Park. The San Diego Public Utilities Department operates the lake.
Although Lake Murray boasts of a substantial population of chunky largemouths, locating them is a challenge. Since the lake doesn’t have a lot of vegetation, anglers must cover a lot of water to find fish.
For lures, locals recommend rolling swimbaits and dragging jigs to imitate rainbow trout. Lake Murray offers boat launch facilities and unlimited shore access, making it one of California’s prime fish spots. If you’re planning to go fishing in Lake Murray, springtime is the best time.
9. Folsom Lake
Folsom Lake is an 11,400-acre lake located near Sacramento County. The lake has 75 miles of shoreline and is famous for bass, catfish, and trout fishing. Folsom lake has a reputation of being a reliable fishing spot to get 5-pounds of largemouths with a chance of getting a 10-pounder in spring.
The ideal part of the lake for largemouth bass is the South Fork. However, this part of the lake is usually filled with bass boats. If you’re looking for somewhere more secluded, the North Fork is best.
The lake doesn’t have a lot of vegetation, so anglers need to either use electronics or cover a lot of water with loud lures to find fish. For lures, rip baits, creature baits, and soft plastic lizards are recommended.
10. Lake Berryessa
Lake Berryessa is the largest lake in Napa County. The lake has an abundance of smallmouth, largemouth, and spotted bass, with the largemouth’s biggest bunch. Lake Berryessa has a lake record of a 17-pound largemouth.
The lake doesn’t have a lot of vegetation, making it easy for casual anglers to spot fish. Springtime is the ideal time to fish at Lake Berryessa. Locals recommend fishing towards dusk, around rocks, any coves, or docks.
11. Bass Lake
Bass Lake has various fish, including catfish, trout, salmon, crappie, bass, and many more species. Locals recommend fishing on portions of the lake where it diminishes. This means you can walk up to the shore and catch fish from the rocks. For lures, you can use crankbaits.
12. Lake Havasu
Lake Havasu, located between Arizona and California, is an excellent fishing spot for largemouth bass. The lake boasts of a 25-mile-long shoreline and free public access, making it possible for anglers to cast from the shore at any point of the lake. The lake offers various fish, including striped bass, catfish, sunfish, smallmouth bass, rainbow trout, carp, and largemouth bass.
Summary On Fishing Largemouth Bass in California
Although California is famous for many other things, the state offers anglers from all over the country a fantastic fishing experience.
Contrary to most deep and cold reservoirs, Clear Lake is warm and somewhat shallow, being only 59 feet at its deepest point. This makes the largemouth bass easily accessible, at only 10 feet or less of the water. The lake’s shoreline also boasts of nutrient-rich waters and an abundance of tules, in which the bass shelter, making it easier for anglers to land a record-setting largemouth bass catch.
There is a lot of history on bass fishing in California. Did you know that 20 out of 25 of the biggest bass ever caught have been captured in California? The Northern largemouth bass began to thrive in Southern California immediately after the species was introduced in the late 1800s. Florida’s largemouth bass introduced to California in the late 1950s grow faster and larger than their northern counterparts, usually breaking the ten-pound mark and occasionally exceeding twenty pounds. The Florida largemouth’s arrival completely changed California’s fishing game, making the state the ideal destination for largemouth bass fishing.
If you’re planning to visit any of the listed fishing spots; it’s essential to carry out extensive research on the accessibility, entrance fee, fishing regulations, and license requirements of these spots before visiting the site. Prior research and preparation are essential to having a smooth and undisrupted fishing experience.
If you haven’t fished in California, it’s time to give the golden state a shot.