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

Keep Tahoe Bears Wild!

Agencies launch collaborative website to remind public to practice proper food storage and trash disposal in bear country Lake 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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Time to Play in The Sierra

Sierra Mountains Ca/NV, Let's not make this complicated Today.  It is going to be a beautiful weekend in the Sierra. So be it skiing or hiking, dirt bike riding or just a leisurely car ride to your favorite little town. The Sierra is calling.  Let's PLAY! Hope to See you on the Trail! #goexplore

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 and it just didn't do it for you, so [...]

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 you do in the Sierra and you're [...]

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 schedule to open Loon Lake and the Loon Lake [...]

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 water levels. Water levels are expected to [...]

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 get you the most recent estimates and updates [...]