Kayak Fishing: 7 Best Kayak Fishing Spots in California

Share this article:


If you’re a nature love, adventure seeker, or a fishing enthusiast, then California may just be your ultimate sanctuary. California is home to many beautiful beaches, rivers, and lakes, making it one of the best kayak fishing destinations in America. Whether you’re planning to visit in the summer, throughout spring or fall, and yes - even during the winter season, there’s always an adventure waiting for you in The Golden State! Keep in mind that a valid fishing license is required for all anglers 16 years and above. Here are some of the best kayak fishing spots in California:

1. Clear Lake, California

Considered the largest natural freshwater lake in California, Clear Lake is ideal for kayak fishing because of its structure and sheltered shorelines. This lake is known to be a bass haven and is billed as the “Bass Capital of the West”, and considered by many as the ultimate fishing spot for lunkers. In this lake dwells a large number of fish, including catfish, bluegill, crappie, carp, and a healthy population of largemouth bass. Fall, Winter and Spring, are the best fishing times, so it’s best to schedule your trip during these seasons. But be on the lookout for invasive species in the lake, including the Mystery Snail, Freshwater Jellyfish and European Marsh Thistle. For bass boats, it is also important to note that although outboard boat motors are allowed, they should not exceed 90 horsepower...so don’t forget to bring your  trolling motor!

2. Lewiston Lake, Northern California

Lewiston Lake is the place to be if you want to experience a one-of-a-kind California fishing adventure and definitely a paddling paradise for Kayak anglers. With boundless fishing prospects all year round from sunrise to sunset, this lake promises an abundance of big rainbow trout, and guarantees the best time discovering numerous other fish like silver, king, and steelhead salmon, largemouth and smallmouth bass, as well as brook and brown trout. Lewiston Lake is best for quiet boats and kayaks, while small motor boats are allowed at 10-mph speed limit only. To prevent the spread of invasive aquatic plants like Eurasian milfoil, boaters are urged to clean, drain and dry all boats before entering and exiting the lake. Bring along your kayak trolling motor to make good use of your time and access the lakes fishing spots without scaring away the fish.

3. Stockton Delta, Central Valley

Stockton Delta is a prime kayak fishing destination, where the primary target species are largemouthbass and striped bass. During Spring and Fall, you can also catch a great deal of bluegill, redear sunfish, American Shad, Black Bass, Carp, Catfish, Salmon, Sturgeon, and the striped bass, making these two seasons the best time of the year to fish in Stockton Delta. Many invasive species like the Water Hyacinth, Brazilian Waterweed, Sponge Plant, Giant Reed and Yellow Starthistle are all causing ecological and environmental damage to the area, depriving native organisms of sunlight and nutrients. To experience the thrills of kayak fishing in these waters we recommend that you also bring along a kayak trolling motor that makes it easier for you to explore the area. But take special care to deep clean your boat, motor, trailer, and gear after this outing, the Stockton Delta is home to more damaging invasive species than we can cover in this article, and it is up to anglers to help stop their spread.

4. Shelter Cove, Lost Coast, California

Shelter Cove, the gateway to the “Lost Coast” in California, is one of the best Kayak Fishing spots in the state because of its relatively undeveloped and undisturbed coastline. In this hidden gem along the California coast, you can find the best variety of fish like salmon, trout, steelhead, halibut, rockcod, lingcod, rockfish, abalone, crab and a lot more. However, Kayak fishing in the Lost Coast is very challenging, and you have to be well-trained, equipped, and prepared for long offshore paddles. We recommend using a  kayak trolling motor for these offshore excursions, but always bring your paddle! This area is best between late July to September.

5. Monterey Bay, California

Monterey Bay is also considered as one of the best places to kayak in California, and a perfect spot for kayak fishing. Depending on the season, you can catch a variety of fish that includes rockfish, lingcod, cabezon, and the striped bass, white sea bass and halibut. With a flourishing marine wildlife, predators like leopard and blacktip reef shark, as well as bottlenose dolphins, squid, harbor seals, and sea otters can be spotted in this area. Make use of a kayak trolling motor to effectively explore Monterey Bay with ease, giving you more time to enjoy kayak fishing.

The lichen-like Watersipora is a tropical invasive species attached to rocks that could disrupt the colorful and diverse ecosystem.

6. Lake Gregory (Electric Motors Only)

Lake Gregory is one of the best kayak angling spots in the San Bernardino Mountains, especially for fly fisherman looking for brown or rainbow trout. This artificial lake is stocked regularly with rainbow trout, so make sure to schedule your visit during this time of the month. A home to a thriving population of native fish species include largemouth bass, channel catfish, bullhead, black crappie and bluegill. Privately owned boats, and outboard boats are not allowed on Lake Gregory, although boat renters are allowed to attached their own electric trolling motors to boats and with that. For this task we would suggest that you make use of a kayak trolling motor for full efficiency and activity.

7. Irvine Lake, Southern California

Irvine Lake is regarded by many as a kayak fishing paradise in Southern California. This man-made freshwater lake offers rustic scenery, beautiful mountains, and makes an excellent fishing destination, where numerous fishing tournaments and events are also held. This lake is best known for its trout fishery, but was also popular for its largemouth bass. Unfortunately, Irvin Lake is currently closed to all water activities, including fishing, due to disagreements between government agencies. Here’s hoping that it will open again soon!

Leave a comment