bass fishing california

Best 15 places for Bass fishing in California (updated)

In California, bass fishing is a popular hobby and activity to do with friends and family. Bass Fishing in California can be done all year round, but it’s best during the summer months when you have more hours of light to fish. Bass fishing around Southern California has been a favorite pastime for many people because there are so many places where bass can be found!

This list contains 15 of the best spots for catching bass in Southern California. 

1. Lake Casitas

Lake Casitas bass fishing

Lake Casitas is a reservoir located near Ojai, CA. It is a prime place for bass fishing because of the warm weather and abundance of available food sources. Lake Casitas has been recognized as one of the top bass lakes in California by Bassmaster Magazine.

The lake features an artificial dam that was created to control flooding in surrounding areas. In 1990, it became part of the California State Parks system and now offers over 100 miles of shoreline fishing or hiking. The maximum depth is 70 feet, with average depths at around 15 feet deep; this allows you to fish many different water levels, including shallow areas along the bank. 

2. Lake Oroville

Lake Oroville bass fishing

Lake Oroville is located between Sacramento and Chico, CA. It has been recognized as one of the most productive lakes in California for bass fishing because it contains tons of submerged vegetation. The Lake also offers excellent shoreline access, making it easy to get onto the water quickly.

The Lake offers 14 public access points along with boat launches available for rent. Lake Oroville offers year-round fishing opportunities depending on which part you fish; however, it’s best during the spring months when you can catch spawning bass!  

3. Silverwood Lake

Silverwood Lake is located outside of Los Angeles in San Bernardino County, CA. It is a surface reservoir that was created by building an earth-fill dam across Boulder Creek. There are many places to launch boats, and there is a ramp for launching at each of the three main marinas.

3 Silverwood Lake has been recognized as one of the top bass lakes in California with its plentiful food sources and warmer water temperatures. It’s best during the spring months when you can catch spawning bass along shorelines!

There are over 300 miles of shoreline to explore, along with full-time residents who enjoy fishing on their lake year-round. So if you’re planning a trip to Southern California, be sure to check out Silverwood Lake as your next destination for a fantastic day on the water with family or friends!  

4. Pyramid Lake

This sizeable artificial reservoir was created by damming Putah Creek near Vaughan, CA. Along with fishing, this lake is mainly used for boating and other recreational activities. The lake has been recognized as one of the top bass lakes in California by Bassmaster Magazine. It offers excellent shoreline access, making it easy to get on the water quickly!  

It features over 500 miles of shoreline with an average depth of 40 feet deep; you can fish many different types of depths, including shallow areas close to shore. It’s best during the spring months when you have warmer water temperatures.  

If you’re planning a trip to Southern California, be sure to include Pyramid Lake into your itinerary, along with nearby Putah Creek, where you can find tons of submerged vegetation which is ideal for spawning bass!

5. Lake Merritt

Lake Merritt is a lake located in Oakland, CA! There are many places to launch boats, and it has been recognized as one of the best lakes for bass fishing by Bassmaster Magazine. Lake Merritt is an artificial lake created by damming up various waterways, including Lion Creek and Webster Street Creek. 

If you’re going out on your boat or renting a boat from one of the marinas, check out these locations along with Lakeside Park, which is full of primarily submerged vegetation perfect for spawning bass.

You’ll find a variety of shorelines at Lake Merritt, such as shallow areas around rocks and points where you can cast into deeper water along shorelines. This lake offers excellent opportunities year-round for catching bass!

6. Lake Chabot

Lake Chabot is located in Castro Valley, CA, and is an artificial lake created by damming up San Leandro Creek. According to Bassmaster Magazine, it’s been recognized as one of the top bass lakes in California and offers excellent shoreline access, making it easy to get on the water quickly!  

You’ll find a variety of shorelines at Lake Chabot, such as shallow areas around rocks and points where you can cast into deeper water along shorelines. This lake offers excellent opportunities year-round for catching bass!

7. Pine Flat Reservoir

Pine Flats Reservoir is located near Fresno, CA, and has been recognized by Bassmaster Magazine as one of the top two bass lakes in California. It’s a large artificial lake created by damming up the San Joaquin River, Clovis Creek, and surrounding streams. There are many places to launch boats at this lake, making it easy to get on the water quickly!  

8. Castaic Lake

Castaic Lake is located outside Los Angeles in Southern California and has been recognized for its numerous fish species, including largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, catfish, and sunfish! The reservoir also supports an array of wildlife such as bald eagles and migratory birds!  

9. Pyramid Lake Escalante Campground 

  This campground is located in the Escalante Desert, southwest of Beaver, UT. It is an excellent location for fishing and offers great shoreline access making it easy to get on the water quickly! There are many opportunities at this lake, including shoreline fishing for bass using giant spinning or baitcasting gear with wacky-style lures or live bait!

  I recommend using a 7.5′ to 8′ medium-heavy spinning rod paired with a 40 lb. test braid line spooled up with 20 lb. fluorocarbon leader material. Use this rig to catch largemouth bass throughout the day along with other species that inhabit this reservoir, including smallmouth bass, carp, and kokanee salmon!

10. Cache Creek Reservoir

Cache Creek Reservoir is located in Yolo County, CA, near Clear Lake. It offers excellent shoreline access, making it easy to get on the water quickly! You’ll find a variety of shorelines at this lake, including shallow areas around rocks and points where you can cast into deeper water along shorelines.

11. Santa Ana River

The Santa Ana River is located in Southern California near the Los Angeles area. It offers excellent shoreline access, making it easy to get on the water quickly! You’ll find a variety of shorelines at this river, including shallow areas around rocks and points where you can cast into deeper water along shorelines. This river offers excellent opportunities year-round for catching bass!

 I recommend using 7′ Ugly Stik Bigwater casting rods paired up with Abu Garcia 6500 CTX reels spooled with 30 lb. braid material when fishing for largemouth bass at this river along with living bait.

 12. Lake Mathews

Lake Mathews is located in Riverside County, CA, near Hemet/Murrieta. It offers excellent shoreline access, making it easy to get on the water quickly! You’ll find a variety of shorelines at this lake, including shallow areas around rocks and points where you can cast into deeper water along shorelines. This lake offers excellent opportunities year-round for catching bass!

13. Donner Lake

Donner Lake is located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains near Truckee, CA. It’s not often known as a hot spot for catching bass, but it does offer excellent opportunities for largemouth bass, crappie, and black bullhead catfish! Unfortunately, access to this lake is limited, so you’ll need to hike out on hiking trails or stay at one of the campsites along the shoreline.

Donner Lake offers excellent opportunities year-round for catching bass!

14. Huntington Beach Surf Spots

Huntington Beach is located in Orange County, CA, near Los Angeles. There are many different surf spots within proximity of Huntington Beach, where you can target bass. I’ll go over the ones I’ve fished before to give an idea of what’s possible when targeting largemouth bass using surf fishing techniques.

These are not the only places to catch largemouth bass in Orange County, CA, but these are just some of my favorite spots within proximity of Huntington Beach that offer excellent opportunities year-round for catching local bass!

15. Lake O’Neill

Lake O’Neill is located near Yuba City, CA, and offers excellent shoreline access making it easy to get on the water quickly! You’ll find a variety of shorelines at this lake, including shallow areas around rocks and points where you can cast into deeper water along shorelines. In addition, this lake offers excellent opportunities year-round for catching bass!

Conclusion

In closing, many different kinds of tackle work very well when fishing for largemouth bass. No “1 catch-all” type of rod and reel combo will work for every situation. Test out what works best by practicing your casting methods along with different bait presentations until you find the right balance of rods/reels/lines/lures to achieve success.

Hopefully, this article has shed some light on where I like fishing locally for largemouth bass in Southern California, along with gear recommendations! Good Luck!

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