Fishing in The Sierra

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%.
Plumas National Forest – Elk Information Sought

Plumas National Forest – Elk Information Sought

Quincy, CA – Plumas National Forest wildlife crewmember Abby Marshall is asking the community for help by sharing their knowledge of local elk populations. This information will assist the Forest in their efforts to restore and improve elk habitat management. Marshall is a graduate student focusing on wildlife management within her Natural Resources Master’s program at OSU. Marshall is a Plumas County native (Cromberg and Portola) and current resident. She is also the reigning Women’s World Champion for the Longboard Races held at Johnsville Ski Hill. “I’m creating a monitoring plan to identify important elk calving areas and habitat on the Plumas National Forest as part of my graduate work at Oregon State University (OSU). I’m hoping to get photographs and locations of elk collected by members of the public that will help us better understand areas important to the elk,” said Marshall. “Photographs that include calves are particularly helpful, as they can help us identify areas to survey and better manage important calving areas.” Marshall is generally focusing on the area north of Highway 70 and west of Frenchman Lake although information from anywhere within the Plumas National Forest is helpful. There is a remarkable size different between deer and elk. But elk also tend to have a dark brown head and neck, medium-to-light brown body, and large white/cream colored rump. The white rump for elk extends up their back above the start of their tail and the tail itself is also white. Deer are more uniformly light brown but they have white rumps that start below the tail. Within recent history, elk on the Plumas National Forest have...

Plumas NF – Frenchman Campgrounds & Boat Launch Temporary Closures – hazardous fuels reduction activities

Plumas NF – Frenchman Campgrounds & Boat Launch Temporary Closures – hazardous fuels reduction activities

Sierra Rec Magazine - November 5, 2019 - Quincy, CA – Portions of Frenchman Lake Recreation Area will be closed temporarily to protect the public during active removal of hazardous trees and other woody fuels. All National Forest System roads and other highways at the perimeter of Frenchman Lake will remain open as willLunker Point Boat Launch.The 24-hours a day closure areas, including a 50’ buffer zone around each area, include: Big Cove, Spring Creek, Frenchman and Cottonwood Spring campgrounds, Frenchman Campground Boat Launch and adjacent treatment areas. The closure is in effect until January 31, 2020. Some people are exempt from this closure including those with permits or contracts allowing them in the area, in addition to any federal, state, or local officer, or member of an organized rescue or firefighting force in the performance of official duty.Questions about nearby camping opportunities and the temporary closure may be directed to the Beckwourth Ranger District at (530) 836-2575. A copy of Forest Order No. 05-11-01-19-14, may be found under “Alerts and Notices” on the Forest webpage at: .For other information about the Plumas National Forest visit the Forest webpage and...

Celebrating 50 Years of Preservation, Recreation and Education In Desolation Wilderness

Celebrating 50 Years of Preservation, Recreation and Education In Desolation Wilderness

Once Known Simply As The "Devils Valley" Desolation Wilderness Turns 50! Sierra Rec Magazine, October 2019 - In 1969, the Lake Tahoe Region became home to Americas newest Wilderness Area, Desolation Wilderness. A 64,000 acre plot of land once called the "Devils Valley" inhabited only by the Washoe and set aside as the Desolation Valley Primitive Area in 1931. Desolation Wilderness in 50 years has become one of the most visited wilderness areas in the United States. With the proximity to Lake Tahoe and the easy of access provided by numerous trailheads from every side of the wilderness boundary, let alone the famed PCT which crosses the full length of the wilderness region, hundreds of thousands visit the granite basin, clear blue lakes and towering peaks that make up the Desolation Wilderness each year. "It only takes a few miles of hiking to make you feel completely transported into another world when hiking in Desolation Wilderness"Charlie Pankey - Publisher Sierra Rec Magazine Susie Lake How Did Desolation Wilderness Develop Although it is commonly believed that Lake Tahoe was formed by the collapse of a volcanic crater, the Basin was actually formed by the rise and fall of the landscape due to faulting. About 24 million years ago the Sierra Nevada block was formed by tremendous uplifting.  Two principal faults evolved: the eastern margin created the Carson Range, while the Sierra Nevada developed on the western side.  From the "up thrown" fault blocks, the highest peaks in the region originated while the "down thrown" block sank creating a large valley. Lava flowing from Mt. Pluto on the north shore, then...

Lahontan Cutthroat Trout Release In Lake Tahoe Draws Crowd

Lahontan Cutthroat Trout Release In Lake Tahoe Draws Crowd

Sierra Rec Magazine ~ Kiva Beach, Lake Tahoe Ca - October 5, 2019 - On a day that thousands gathered on the West shores of Lake Tahoe for annual Fish Festival and Camp rich Oktoberfest. A historic release of the Lahontan Cutthroat Trout back into its native waters of Lake Tahoe took place in front of hundreds of on visitors. The Lahontan Cutthroat are being reintroduced into Lake Tahoe from a partnership with the California and Nevada Department of Fish and Wildlife, US fish and Wildlife Service - Lahonton National fish hatchery complex, USDA forest Service - Lake Tahoe Basin management Unit, The Tahoe Regional planning agency and the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California. Introducing once again the primary predator fish back into its native waters. Today marked the beginning of a long process which will see the lake stocked with 5000 Lahontan Cutthroat this week then additional releases planned in 2020 and 2021. The goal s to release over 200,000 Cutthroat over the next several years as the lake establishes its nature order and balance with the cutthroat back in its ecosystem. As visitors converged on the shoreline just south of Kiva beach in South Lake Tahoe, anglers were already in the water waiting with excitement for one of the regions most prized fishing trophy's to enter lake. Guests young and old rang out in applause and giggles as they watched the trout dart around in the shallow waters of the shoreline. Several photographers standing in the water for the shots could feel the fish bumping into their legs as the trout swam into their new home....

5000 Lahontan cutthroat trout will be placed in in Lake Tahoe

5000 Lahontan cutthroat trout will be placed in in Lake Tahoe

5,000 fish will be placed in the lake over the course of three days in California and Nevada. Lahontan Cutthroat Trout Stocking event during the Fall Fish Festival at Taylor Creek Visitor Center The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Lahontan National Fish Hatchery Complex, for the first time ever, will stock several thousand large (12-14”) Pilot Peak Lahontan cutthroat trout into their home waters of Lake Tahoe, in conjunction with the Taylor Creek Visitor Center Fall Fish Festival. The hatchery will host two interpretive stocking events at the Fall Fish Festival, Oct. 5 at 12 p.m. and Oct. 6 at 12 p.m.On Oct. 7, 2019, with Nevada Department of Wildlife, the hatchery will stock fish on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe. Over the three days, some 5,000 fish will be released, all adipose fin clipped, to help identify stocked fish. The fish released in Nevada will also receive a floy tag to assist Nevada Department of Wildlife in tracking their movements in the lake after release. Where: Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit’s Taylor Creek Visitor Center and Kiva Beach, located on Highway 89, approximately three miles northwest of the City of South Lake Tahoe, Calif. (This event will beginwith an interpretive talk, followed by a short walk to the stocking site). Nevada Fish and Wildlife Office [Public domain] Stocking will enhance angling opportunities in Lake Tahoe and improve the visibility of this important native trout in local communities and for those recreating in the area. The Lahontan cutthroat trout is the largest inland cutthroat trout in the world and the only trout native to the Tahoe Basin. The...

Paiute Cutthroat Trout Reintroduced to Native Habitat in High Sierra Wilderness

Paiute Cutthroat Trout Reintroduced to Native Habitat in High Sierra Wilderness

Carson Iceberg Wilderness Once Again Home to Native Paiute Cutthroat Trout Sierra Rec Magazine -Alpine County Ca- September 2019 - California’s native Paiute cutthroat trout, the rarest trout in North America, swims once again in its high Sierra home waters for the first time in more than 100 years. California Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot, California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Charlton H. Bonham and representatives from the USDA Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Golden Gate Chapter of Trout Unlimited and Little Antelope Pack Station joined biologists to release 30 Paiute cutthroat trout of varying sizes into Silver King Creek in Alpine County, Calif., Sept. 18, 2019. “You’ve got to celebrate good times. That’s what we’re doing here today,” said CDFW’s Bonham from the banks of Silver King Creek within the remote Carson-Iceberg Wilderness area of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. “If you forget to celebrate, you’re overlooking a remarkable success story – bringing these fish back home and celebrating a better California.” Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest Fish Biologist Jim Harvey (retired) and Rachel Van Horne take their turn to release one of the Paiute cutthroat Trout into the Silver King Creek.Silver King Creek in the Carson-Iceberg Wilderness Not since the early 1900s have genetically pure Paiute cutthroat trout occupied the 11- mile stretch of Silver King Creek between Llewellyn Falls and Snodgrass Creek that represents almost the entirety of the fish’s historic range. “This is a lifetime achievement for those working to recover the rarest trout in North America,” said Lee Ann Carranza, acting field supervisor for the USFWS Reno office. “This remarkable partnership has...

Keep Tahoe Bears Wild!

Keep Tahoe Bears Wild!

Agencies launch collaborative website to remind public to practice proper food storage and trash disposal in bear countryLake Tahoe, Calif./Nev. – The Tahoe Basin is bear country and natural resource and law enforcement agencies are working diligently to remind residents and visitors to practice proper food storage and trash disposal when living in or visiting bear country. To help spread our message, we’ve launched a new website,, where residents and visitors can go to learn everything they need to know about living, visiting and playing responsibly in bear country. The website was made possible through a generous donation by the Sierra State Park Foundation and features an online reporting tool the public can use to report bear sightings. Collecting information about bear sightings will assist agencies in gathering better data to help Keep Tahoe Bears Wild. Submissions are anonymous and data gathered will not be used to track individual bears. This form is not to be used for emergencies. If you need immediate assistance, please contact 911.  Intentional or unintentional feeding of bears can result in unwanted bear behaviors, increased human-bear conflicts, and public safety issues, as well as fines and possible jail time for violators. Each year law enforcement and state wildlife officers respond to hundreds of calls in which bears may pose a public safety threat or are damaging property. In some cases, the bear is euthanized. Once bears gain access to human food or trash, they will continue to seek it out. They become less cautious of people and may display unusually bold behavior when trying to get to human or pet food. Bears that have become...

Trout Unlimited Sponsors Free Junior Fishing Derby at Graeagle June 9th

Trout Unlimited Sponsors Free Junior Fishing Derby at Graeagle June 9th

Grab your fishing pole for the Graeagle Junior Fishing Derby happening Saturday, June 9th at the Graeagle Mill Pond. Cast off at 7:00 am for this free event. For kids 16 and under, there’s no fishing license required. Bait and tackle are limited, so come early.   This event is sponsored by Trout Unlimited.   Camping In And Around Graeagle Graeagle Area Plumas Eureka State Park (530) 836-2380   Cromberg Area Cromberg Group Campground is a private, non-profit campground and retreat center located in beautiful Plumas County. Open Spring through Autumn, the facility features 40+ camp sites, cabins, several RV sites, piped water, hot showers, industrial kitchen, meeting and recreation areas. Open to sporting, church, youth, family and private group camps of any size or length, we are an affordable option for your next group camp, retreat, family gathering or event. Please visit our website at or call us at 877-926-4199 to reserve your place for the 2013 camping season!   USFS Lake Davis Area (530) 836-2575 Grasshopper Flat Grizzly Lighting Tree   USFS North Lakes Basin Area (530) 836-2575 Lakes Basin (near Gold Lake) Lakes basin Group...

Crystal Basin recreation improvements underway, alternative destinations recommended in 2018

Crystal Basin recreation improvements underway, alternative destinations recommended in 2018

Campsites and Roadways Getting Needed Updates In The Crystal Basin Sierra Rec Magazine - May 17, 2018 - The popular Crystal Basin Recreation Area in the Eldorado National Forest is undergoing major upgrades which will greatly enhance the visitor experience in the future, but may make other destinations a better choice this year. Sunset Campground is closed for the 2018 season. Although Sunset Campground will be closed, the Sunset Boat Launch and Fashoda Campground / Day Use Area will be open Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend, providing opportunities for water recreation on Union Valley Reservoir. Azalea Cove Campground will be closed over Memorial Day weekend, but may reopen by the July 4 weekend if work goes according to schedule. Temporary closures will occur at other sites throughout the season. Check SMUD’s website for the current construction schedule before visiting the Crystal Basin. Already completed in 2017 are the Loon Lake Boat Launch, new composting toilet facilities at Pleasant Campground, and trail improvements between Loon Lake, Buck Island Reservoir and Rubicon Reservoir. The multi-year comprehensive plan to improve more than 20 campgrounds, as well as multiple day use areas, boat launches, roads, hiking and biking trails, and potable water systems in the Crystal Basin is part of an agreement between Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) and the USDA Forest Service, in which SMUD will invest up to $150 million in the Crystal Basin Recreation Area over the next 50 years. An outdoor amphitheater able to seat up to 200 people at Fashoda Campground is also included in the plan. This agreement was established in 2014 when SMUD’s License...

Tahoe National Forest Announces Sugar Pine Lake Boat Ramp Closure

Tahoe National Forest Announces Sugar Pine Lake Boat Ramp Closure

Sugar Pine Boat Ramp Closure Area(s): Sugar Pine Boat Ramp Date(s): Apr 3, 2018 - May 20, 2018 The Sugar Pine Boat Ramp will be closed April 9-14 for the Sugar Pine Hazard Tree Removal Project. This will include portions of the Josh Hart Trail. The Sugar Pine Hazard Tree Project is removing beetle killed and drought affected trees from campgrounds, trails, and recreation sites around Sugar Pine Reservoir from 2/12/18 to 5/20/18. Please call the American River Ranger District front desk for up to date closures...

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


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