Can You Fish for Trout at Night in California?

Fishing for trout is a popular activity in California, especially during the day when the sun is shining bright and the weather is pleasant. But, have you ever wondered if you can fish for trout at night in California? In this article, we’ll explore the possibility of fishing for trout at night and what regulations you need to follow.

Is it legal to fish for trout at night in California?

Yes, it is legal to fish for trout at night in California. However, there are some regulations that you need to follow. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has specific rules that govern fishing for trout at night.

What are the regulations?

Firstly, you need to make sure that the water body where you plan to fish allows night fishing. Some water bodies prohibit fishing at night or have specific times when fishing is allowed.

Secondly, you need to have a valid fishing license issued by the CDFW. It’s illegal to fish without a valid license, and violators can face hefty fines.

Thirdly, your fishing gear needs to comply with CDFW regulations. For example, only artificial lures or flies with barbless hooks can be used when fishing for trout in certain waters.

Lastly, if you plan on keeping any trout that you catch, make sure they meet the minimum size limit set by CDFW. You’re also allowed to keep a limited number of trout per day as per CDFW regulations.

Tips for Night Fishing for Trout

Night fishing can be challenging but also rewarding. Here are some tips that can help increase your chances of catching trout:

  • Use lighted bobbers or glow sticks attached to your line so that you can see when a fish bites.
  • Bring a headlamp or flashlight so that you can see what you’re doing.
  • Choose your bait or lure wisely. Some fish are more active at night and may prefer different types of bait or lures.
  • Look for areas where the water is moving, such as riffles or eddies. These are areas where trout are likely to be feeding at night.


In conclusion, fishing for trout at night is legal in California but make sure you follow the regulations set by CDFW. Keep in mind that night fishing can be challenging, so bring the right gear and choose your location wisely. With a little bit of preparation and patience, you may just end up catching the big one!

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Emma Gibson