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Fishing in the Mother Lode

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The Mother Lode is surrounded by dozens of pristine lakes and reservoirs with relaxing fishing opportunities. Recreational fishing in the Mother Lode is fun for beginners and professionals alike.

With such an abundance and variety of fishing experiences awaiting you in Mother Lode California, we highly recommend contacting one of the many local fly shops or guide services.


Phil Johnson Memorial Derby Held at Lake Don Pedro near the Blue Oak Campground at the end of May. The chairperson is Randy Bergquist, contact 916-833-1722

New Melones Kokanee Derby The chairperson is Al Millan, contact 415-279-7875

Fishing Regulations

A valid California state fishing license is needed if you are 16 or older to fish in California. Licenses are sold at sporting good outlets in many department and other retail stores. See the California Department of Fish and Game for more information.

There are only a few inland waters inCalifornia where spearfishing is allowed and none are in the Mother Lode. The species that can be taken by spearfishing is also limited. Information on location and species can be found in CDFW’s California Freshwater Sport Fishing Regulations booklet.

Fishing here is a big draw, Amador Lake especially, contains giant Donaldson-strain cutbow salmonids. Fish 24 hours a day 7 days a week, all year round.

Lake Camanche sits in the rolling foothills of the Sierra Nevada and is located in the heart of the Motherlode.

Lake Don Pedro is a Big Fish Lake and has a variety of fish.

Pardee Lake is located on the Mokelumne River. Most of the anglers that visit Lake Pardee fish for Rainbow Trout, both from shore and from boats. Rainbow Trout are stocked here regularly through a unique program with the Department of Fish and Game.

Loaded with big fish, here you will find Largemouth Bass over ten pounds, and some Smallmouth Bass over four pounds. Tulloch is a tail water fishery that benefits from cold water releases from the much larger New Melones Lake. Bass can be found throughout the lake Rainbow trout maybe near the dam, or on the Stanislaus River inlet. During the late Winter and early Spring start Crappie fishing.

More than a Museum Railtown it is an experience. While riding the train is lovely in the summer the guided tour of the Park’s working railroad roundhouse is enriching.

The best fishing is usually in the protected coves around the lake and rocky areas. Striped Bass are the dominant species in New Hogan Reservoir. You can see schools of striped bass boiling all over the lake. Most Stripers average four pounds, but there are much larger fish available.

Camping is one of the most popular recreation activities in the Stanislaus National Forest.

Salt Springs Reservoir is located in Copperopolis and is a beautiful small lake where the current lake record for Largemouth Bass is 12.60 lbs by Deacon Fernandes. Many local Bass Clubs fish club tournaments at Salt Springs. When you locate the fish, you’ll be in for a great time!

Can be accessed from Groveland on steep, narrow, dirt roads by way of Lumsden or Cherry Lake Road. The River is not highly developed for recreation due to rugged terrain and few access points. Lower Tuolumne is great for whitewater rafting.

Fishing in Yosemite can be relaxing and exhilarating. The park has 58 permanent streams with a combined length of 770 miles. The Merced offers enjoyable fishing all summer and into the winter. Anglers hook excellent rainbow and brown trout on the Tuolomne River, especially on the stretch above Hetch Hetchy.

If you want to stay in the Mother Lode take a look our list of places to stay.

Planning a wedding, conference or other event? Take a look our list of places to host your event.

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