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Here are some of the best places to go fly fishing in California

While most people not familiar with the state might think that California is only hot sandy beaches, deserts, and drought-ridden valleys, California is a massive state with some of the country's best fly fishing.

California has a diverse geography with many rivers and lakes available for fly fishing. The Golden State provides fly anglers a lifetime opportunity to land a trophy fish. The vast majority of fly fishing is located in Northern California which consists of one of the best fly fishing spots in the country. All that snow that collects on top of the Sierra-Nevada mountains eventually melts and runs down stream. These fertile areas can be filled with trout and other fish just waiting for anglers to catch.

The 10 Best Places To Go Fly Fishing In California.

These destinations across California are our picks for the 10 best places to go fly fishing in the Golden State.

McCloud River

The McCloud River not only provides non-stop fly fishing action but has a unique fishing experience. The river is spring-fed, is surrounded by forests and is divided into two stretches: the Upper McCloud known for its feisty trout and Lower McCloud holds plenty of resilient strains of trout called the McCloud River Rainbow.


Upper Sacramento River

This river is 447 miles long with numerous stretches that offer different fly fishing opportunities. Brown and rainbow trout abound in Upper Sacramento, this river with a variety of access points stands out in its high numbers of big trout. The town of Dunsmuir attracts the majority of fly anglers because of its relatively easy access as well as plenty of fly shops.


Hot Creek

This small stream is located in the Eastern Sierra and boasts of all sizes of fish. Hot Creek is fairly pressured, therefore, the fish are wary and can be daunting to catch. It offers challenges for beginner and seasoned anglers, you better come prepared. Fish per mile is 8,000 to 10,000 and the majority of hatches at Hot Creek are midges and mayflies.


Owens River

The Owens River is divided into the upper and lower stretches and the flow of water makes it difficult to catch fish. Trophy rainbow trout (and browns) are found in the river and the river fills in quickly on the weekends but on weekdays you can find privacy. The challenges of the Owens make catching fish rewarding and every fly angler should try their chance here.


Yuba River

This quality fishery in Northern California was once a gold mining river and was nearly ruined though it was in the early 1900s. Thanks to the construction of the Englebright Dam which helped restore aquatic life and improved water quality. The Yuba River is home to steelhead, rainbow trout and salmon.


Mt. Shasta

It is a top spot for fly fishing due to the scores of rivers, lakes and streams in the mountains. Trout from Mt. Shasta Fish Hatchery are regularly planted to allow fly fishing throughout the year. We highly recommend getting a camp spot here and trying trout fishing at night. At certain lakes in the winter ice fishing is practiced and other rivers flow through the beautiful mountains allowing fly fishing.


Pit River

This 207-mile long tributary of the Sacramento River flows through Fall River Mills and the Modoc National Forest. Anglers are spoilt with numerous access points to choose from and wading in this River is a bit challenging. This river is filled with trout and salmon that are best fished from May to November.



Among the most prime spots for fly fishing on the West Coast are Merced Lake and Merced River. Yosemite Fly Fishing Guides offers bucolic spots in Yosemite and the National Park, also it has different fishing seasons and the best fly fishing Yosemite has to offer.


Smith River

This is a must-visit by every California angler and it has a nice population of steelhead, salmon and trout. Your best bet is nymphs, heavy streamers and swinging eggs. For the best fly fishing experience use a drift boat and the best time to fish is around October and January to March.


Trinity River

This is among the best steelhead rivers in the state, it’s 110 miles long and is the biggest tributary to the Klamath River. Steelhead fly fishing occurs from Lewiston Dam downstream to reservoirs, trout fishing occurs in this river and it includes brown and rainbow trout. Wading access on Trinity River is plenty, for walk and wade anglers this river provides the best option. However, a drift boat would be your best bet.


Final Thoughts

Have you enjoyed reading the 10 best places to go fly fishing in California? The above tips will go a long way in ensuring you have fun and have the best fly fishing of your life.

What do you think about these top places to go fly fishing in California? Is the golden state one of the best places to go fly fishing or do you have another destination that you dream of visiting sometime soon?

Written by:
#MenWhoBlog MemberBlogging GuruThought Leader

James' passion for exploration and sense of duty to his community extends beyond himself. This means he is dedicated to providing a positive role model for other men and especially younger guys that need support so that they can thrive and be future positive contributors to society. This includes sharing wisdom, ideas, tips, and advice on subjects that all men should be familiar with, including: family travel, men's health, relationships, DIY advice for home and yard, car care, food, drinks, and technology. Additionally, he's a travel advisor and a leading men's travel influencer who has been featured in media ranging from New York Times to the Chicago Tribune, and LA Times. He's also been cited by LA Weekly "Top Travel Bloggers To Watch 2023" and featured by Muck Rack: "Top 10 Outdoor Journalists for 2022".

He and his wife Heather live in St Joseph, Michigan - across the lake from Chicago.