Fishing is a one of the most rewarding outdoor hobbies. It can be relaxing to intense, and it offers a different experience every time. If you haven’t tried it yet, you’re missing out on life.
And if you live in the West, there are great opportunities for you to fish. The West region of the United States may be popular for the Rocky Mountains, Great Plains, Sierra Nevada, Hollywood and the Pacific Coast, but it’s also a home to some of the best fishing lakes in the country. Here are some of them:
1. Clear Lake, California
Clear Lake is the largest natural freshwater lake wholly within the state of California, and it is located in the Lake County, north of Napa County. Known as the “Bass Capital of the West,” this lake is home to large populations of largemouth bass, black crappie, white crappie, channel catfish, white catfish, carp and brown bullhead. Two thirds of the catch in Clear Lake are largemouth bass, with an average of more than 8 pounds per bass. When anglers compete, five-fish limits of 25-30-plus pounds bass were found often. Bassmaster magazine named it the third best bass lake in the US in 2016, and the number one best bass lake on the West Coast.
2. Lake Tahoe, California / Nevada
Lake Tahoe is a serene freshwater lake in the Sierra Nevada, straddling the state line between California and Nevada. It’s the largest alpine lake in North America and the second deepest in the United States. It’s a major tourist attraction for the two bordering states, as you get to enjoy its clear, majestic blue waters and scenic view of the Alps. During the warm months, anglers come to Lake Tahoe to catch some mackinaw (lake trout), which can be found in almost any depths. Other fishes that can be caught here include rainbow trout, brown trout, Kokanee salmon, cutthroat, rainbow trout and silver trout. In the bays and estuaries, you can see some bass, crappie, bluegill, goldfish, crawfish, mountain whitefish and sculpin.
3. Lake Havasu, Arizona
Famous for being a location for houseboat parties and spring break activities, Lake Havasu is also a party destination for anglers as it ranks among the best fishing spots in Arizona. Fishing tournaments are commonly held in the lake, where bass (smallmouth, largemouth and striped) are the main catch. It offers an ideal fishing condition almost all year round, that’s why over thirty fishing tournaments and activities are held here annually. Besides bass, other types of fish in Lake Havasu include bluegill, carp, channel catfish, flathead catfish, crappie and redear sunfish. The lake forms a border between Arizona and California, and you can cast your line from a lot of free public access fishing docks and piers, or launch your boat from one of the many marinas and launch ramps here.
4. Lake Berryessa, California
Fishing at Lake Berryessa can be very successful all year round. This lake is the largest in Napa County, California, and it is home to a lot of warm-water and cold-water fish species. The fish species that you can catch here include channel catfish, sunfish, bluegill, largemouth and smallmouth bass, Chinook and kokanee salmon, brown and rainbow trout, spotted bass and carp. The center of the lake is dominated by water skiers in the summer, but a lot of long side channels here offer great spots for anglers to fish. There are a lot of deep water and high banks where you can draw out big bass. Besides fishes, the lake also provides water and hydroelectricity to the North Bay region of San Francisco.
5. Lake Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
Located in Northern Idaho, the Lake Coeur d’Alene is a glacially-formed lake that is the largest and best bass fishery in the state. It’s a popular tourist spot in the summer, offering great beaches, scenic views and watersports activities. This beautiful lake is home to a variety of sports fisheries, especially Chinook salmon, which you can catch all year long. Largemouth and smallmouth bass also abound during the spring and summer. Other species you can reel in here include trout, northern pike, kokanee salmon, brown trout, bull trout and brown bullhead.
6. California Delta, California
Also known as the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, California Delta is one of the most unique bass fishery in the United States. It’s an estuary made of interconnected canals and lakes known for holding trophy-sized bass. Anglers can cast their lines from piers, river banks and boats and can catch striped bass, sturgeon, salmon, black bass, catfish and steelhead trout. Around two-thirds of the salmon in California pass through the Delta. California Delta also offers some of the best frog fishing in the state. This place is a great spot to visit if you like fishing in solitude, as you can fish for an entire day in the Delta without seeing another boat.
7. Big Bear Lake, California
The Big Bear Lake is another great fishing spot in California famous for its quality rainbow trout and bass. This reservoir is a cool alpine lake found in San Bernardino County. The depths of the lake allows rainbow trout to thrive, even in the heat of the summer. It’s a pleasurable lake to fish in, as its cool temperatures can give you refuge from the heat. Along with rainbow trout and bass, you can also find abundant supply of crappie, catfish, sunfish and bluegill.
8. Saguaro Lake, Arizona
For professional bass fishers, Saguaro Lake is visited for quality more than quantity. Angling at this Salt River impoundment can be tough at times, but when you do catch them, you’ll be glad with how healthy and heavy the fishes are. In here you can reel in largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, rainbow trout, carp, yellow bass, crappie, channel catfish, sunfish, walleye, tilapia and yellow perch. Saguaro Lake can be found halfway between Phoenix, Arizona, and the ghost town of Sunflower.