Where Can I Catch Golden Trout in California?

California is home to some of the most beautiful and diverse landscapes in the world, and it’s no surprise that it offers excellent opportunities for trout fishing. One of the most coveted species among anglers is the Golden Trout.

Known for its vibrant colors and elusive nature, catching a Golden Trout is a dream come true for many fishermen. In this article, we will explore some of the best places in California to catch these prized fish.

1. Golden Trout Wilderness

If you’re serious about catching Golden Trout, there’s no better place to start than the aptly named Golden Trout Wilderness.

Located in the southern Sierra Nevada Mountains, this area is known for its stunning alpine lakes and crystal-clear streams teeming with fish.

Whether you prefer fly fishing or spin casting, you’ll find plenty of opportunities here. The Kern River, South Fork Kern River, and Cottonwood Creek are just a few of the water bodies that hold healthy populations of Golden Trout.

2. South Fork Kern River

The South Fork Kern River deserves special mention due to its exceptional fishing opportunities.

Designated as a Wild Trout Water by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, this river offers both quantity and quality when it comes to Golden Trout.

Anglers can access the South Fork Kern River from various trailheads along Highway 395. Be prepared for a challenging hike as some of the best fishing spots are located deep within the wilderness.

2.1 Little Kern River

If you’re up for an adventure, head to the nearby Little Kern River. This remote river is accessible via a strenuous hike but rewards anglers with incredible scenery and excellent fishing opportunities.

The Little Kern River is managed as a Wild Trout Water and provides habitat for both native and stocked Golden Trout. The best time to visit is during the summer months when the water levels are at their peak.

3. Golden Trout Creek

As the name suggests, Golden Trout Creek is a prime location for catching these beautiful fish.

Located in the eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains, this creek offers anglers a chance to reel in some trophy-sized Golden Trout.

Access to Golden Trout Creek can be challenging, but the effort is well worth it. The creek flows through breathtaking meadows and narrow canyons, creating a picturesque backdrop for your fishing adventure.

3.1 Volcano Creek

If you’re looking for an off-the-beaten-path fishing experience, make your way to Volcano Creek. This tributary of Golden Trout Creek is renowned for its large population of Golden Trout.

The rugged terrain surrounding Volcano Creek may deter some anglers, but those who venture here are rewarded with solitude and excellent fishing opportunities. Just be prepared for a long hike and come equipped with sturdy boots and plenty of supplies.

4. Sequoia National Park

No list of top fishing spots in California would be complete without mentioning Sequoia National Park.

This iconic park not only boasts towering sequoia trees but also pristine lakes and rivers that are home to Golden Trout.

Lakes such as Lower Monarch Lake and Twin Lakes are known for their healthy populations of these coveted fish. Whether you prefer camping by the lakeside or embarking on a day hike, there’s no shortage of opportunities to catch Golden Trout in this stunning national park.

4.1 Rock Creek

If you’re willing to explore deeper into Sequoia National Park, make sure to check out Rock Creek. This remote location offers anglers a chance to catch Golden Trout in a peaceful and secluded setting.

Rock Creek is accessible via a moderately strenuous hike, but the solitude and breathtaking scenery make it well worth the effort. Cast your line into the crystal-clear waters and enjoy the serenity of this hidden gem.

Remember, whether you’re a seasoned angler or new to fishing, it’s important to check local regulations and obtain any necessary permits before heading out. Always practice catch-and-release to preserve these beautiful fish for future generations. With its stunning landscapes and abundant fishing opportunities, California truly is a Golden Trout angler’s paradise!

Photo of author

Daniel Bennet