Fishing the High Sierra

The Sierra Mountains are home to some great western fishing. It does not matter if you prefer Fly or Spincasting, or if you prefer river or lake fishing. You will not have to look far for some fantastic results and a peaceful setting.

In The Sierra Mountains there are 24 Watershed areas which feed over 20 major rivers in the Sierra Mountains:  The Pit, Sacramento, Feather, Yuba, Bear, American, Cosumnes, Truckee, Carson, Walker, Owens, Mokelumne, Stanislaus,Tuolumne, Merced, Fresno, San Joaquin, Kings, Kaweah,Tule and Kern.






Discover a Great Sierra Fishing Location

interesting facts

The Sierra Mountains are also home to world class fishing lakes with over 1400 lakes and approximately 60% of them filled with lake trout.

Here are a few facts we found at

Some interesting facts about fishing and the Sierra:

  • There are 20 major Rivers, 14 on the West Side and 6 on the East Side. These are within over 24 watershed areas.
  • Historically, there were no trout in the Sierra above 6000 feet. Except for Goldens in the Upper Kern and Lahontan Cutthroats within the Carson, Walker, and Truckee River Drainage.
  • Starting in the mid 1800’s, trout have been stocked into 85% of all the lakes in the Sierra over 2 acres in size.
  • There are 649 lakes in Inyo, Sierra, and Toiyabe National Forests of at least 25 acres between 10660′ and 11,480′ elevation. 85% of these lakes contain trout: (Christenson 1977)
    • 60% Brooks
    • 36% Rainbows
    • 32% Goldens
    • 5% Browns
  • There are 1,404 lakes above 7,900′ elevation within the Sierras. Of these lakes, trout are in 63%, the rest fishless: (Jenkins 1994)
    • Goldens are in 36% of all lakes
    • Rainbows are in 33% of all lakes
    • Brookies are in 16% of all lakes
    • Browns are in 8% of all lakes
    • Lahontan Cutthroats are in 1/2% of all lakes
  • Fish Planting ended within most of the Sierran National Parks beginning in 1970. Today, Sierra National Forests have 85% of their lakes with fish and the National Parks have 40%.

Top Fishing Lakes in Northern Sierra


  • Lake Almanor
  • Eagle Lake
  • Lake Davis
  • Butt Valley Reservoir
  • Bucks Lake
  • Antelope Lake
  • Frenchmans Reservoir
  • Gold Lake
  • Bowman Lake
  • Fuller Lake
  • Manzanita Lake
  • Independence Lake
  • Jackson Meadows
  • Bullards Bar reservoir
  • Little Grass Valley reservoir

Top Fishing Lakes in Central Sierra


  • Blue Lakes (Upper and Lower)
  • Lake Tahoe
  • Donner Lake
  • Caples Lake
  • Bear Valley
  • Topaz Lake
  • Indian creek reservoir
  • Kinney Reservoir
  • Red Lake
  • Silver Lake
  • Highland Lakes
  • Lake Alpina
  • Spicer reservoir
  • Donnell Lake

Top Fishing Lakes in the Southern Sierra

inyoNF Johnmuir trail

East Side of the Sierra

Kirman lake

Lundy Lake

Convict Lake

Mammoth Lake Loop

  • Twin Lakes (Upper and Lower)
  • George
  • Mamie
  • Mary

June Lake Loop

  • Grant
  • Gull
  • June
  • Silver


Virginia Lakes

  • Big Virginia
  • Blue
  • Cooney
  • Frog
  • Little Virginia
  • Moat
  • Trumbull
  • Red

An Epic Adventure Awaits in The 20 Lakes Basin Of The Hoover Wilderness

Crystal Clear Waters Combined With High Alpine Peaks That Will Stop You In Your Tracks Sierra Rec Magazine Adventure Review - September 2017 -  Visiting and Exploring 20 Lakes Basin was so much more than I had expected. Have you ever heard a review of a location...

Sonora Pass: The Ultimate Day Trip Fishing Experience by Braden Hudnall

Braden Hudnall Shares His Latest Adventure In the Sierra - Sonora Pass Sierra Rec Magazine~ Guest Post ~ July 2017 - The Sierra lifestyle is such a complex and interesting story to tell, meet any person who has a passion for the outdoors and enjoys the same regions...

Loon Lake Campgrounds And Recreational Area Set To Open On Friday June 16.

A FAMILY FAVORITE FOR FISHING AND EXPLORING THE RUBICON OR DESOLATION WILDERNESS FINALLY OPENS FOR SEASON Sierra Rec Magazine - Eldorado National Forest, Loon Lake June 15, 2017 - We just got off the phone with the crew at Pacific Ranger District, and they are on...

Lunker Point Boat Ramp Re-Opens at Frenchman Lake

Rising Lake Levels Have Given Greater Access To Frenchman Lake QUINCY, CA – The Lunker Point boat ramp on the west shore of Frenchman Lake in eastern Plumas National Forest is now open. The facility has been closed for the past three years due to drought related, low...

On The Eve Of “FISHMAS” In The Sierra, An Update From INYO National Forest On Access

Access to Favorite Fishing Locations Could Be Challenging For Opener Saturday Sierra Rec Magazine, April 28, 2017 - There are a lot of efforts to get areas open for Fishing Opener this weekend by Inyo County, Mono County, and US Forest Service staff. In an effort to...

Saturday July 2 is Free Fishing Day in California

July 2 is Free Fishing Day in California JUNE 29, 2016 - California,  - Have you ever felt the excitement of catching a fish? This summer, angling novices can experience the thrill for free. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) invites all...

Summer Recreation has arrived on the Eldorado National Forest

Eldorado National Forest Releases New Interactive Map to Help Plan Your Recreation Adventures For the Summer Summer has arrived on the Eldorado National Forest. Crews have been busy getting the forest ready for the rush of  visitors expected this summer. Visitors are...

Sierra Fishing Derbies and Tournaments Summer 2016

Plan your Summer Fishing Derbies in In The Sierra for 2016 Memorial Day Weekend is upon us, which as we know is the official start to summer. Vacations, outdoor adventures, family campouts etc.. In the Sierra another season is just hitting its stride after a fast and...

Stanislaus National Forest Announces Pinecrest Lake Campgrounds Are Open

Pinecrest Lake Campgrounds Open for the First Weekend of Fishing Season. Great news! #PinecrestLake #campgrounds on #HWY108 is scheduled to open April 28 — StanislausForest (@Stanislaus_NF) April 22, 2016 Pinecrest...

Lake Almanor North Boat Launch Open for Day Use

CHESTER, Calif., March 30, 2016 – In preparation for the seasonal opening, Lassen National Forest’s Almanor Ranger District has returned the Almanor North boat ramp to the water. However, recreation staff emphasize that all other facilities at this site and throughout...