- Approximately 130 freshwater fish species inhabit California's waters including bass, wild and hatchery trout, catfish, salmon, shad, carp, sturgeon and panfish. California bass are found all around the state in warm shallow waters. Trout prefer cooler waters and are predominantly found in northern California. Channel and Blue catfish inhabit streams and reservoirs throughout the state and range in size from 10 to 55 inches depending on their age and habitats. Salmon are found in greatest numbers in western California close to the coast, and shad, carp and Sturgeon are most abundant in the rivers and streams of the Sacramento Valley. Panfish or "sunfish" prefer warmer, shallow waters and can be found throughout the state.
Fresh Water Stocking
- Twenty-one state hatcheries produce salmon, trout and catfish which are used by the California Department of Fish and Game to stock hundreds of freshwater lakes and rivers on a regular basis. The purpose of stocking is to improve recreational fishing, and regional stocking schedules are available for fishermen to view online.
- Freshwater fishing lakes, estuaries, rivers and streams are available all over California. In the south, Lake Isabella is a two hour drive from Los Angeles and offers a wide diversity of fish. Castaic Lake is also close to Los Angeles and is well populated with bass. In the north, Lake Berryessa features 165 miles of shoreline and offers a wide variety of fish; it is located between Sacramento and Santa Rosa. Clear Lake is the largest natural lake in California and is located in the Sacramento area.
- Tackle shops are available throughout California and they are almost always available in close proximity to popular fresh water fishing locations. Large tackle shops in southern California as of 2010 include Fish First, New Port Landing, Glen's Tackle Shop in Orange County, Fisherman's Landing in San Diego and Bob's Sporting Goods in western Los Angeles. Larger tackle stores in northern California include Charkbait and Strictly Fishin.
Fees and Regulations
- A sport fishing license is required to fish in California's fresh waters. In 2010, the license cost $41.50 for residents and $111.85 for non-residents. One day fishing permits cost $13.50, two days cost $20.75 and 10 days $41.50.