It is 303,511 acres (1,228.3 km 2) in size and was created by the US Congress in 1978 as part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. Boating and fishing are the two most popular activities at South Lake. Birding and fishing are also popular at Castaic Lake. that Golden Trout Creek drain into) hold all of the native Golden Trout. It is also a nesting habitat for millions of birds. Pass over the log bridge or rock hop, and proceed on the flat trail skirting a meadow that holds Cottonwood Creek. The Twin Lakes area is beautiful year round, but simply spectacular in the fall. Over the years, we have visited many of California’s beautiful lakes (some more than once! You will find campgrounds at or near most of the lakes we have listed here. The California golden trout, ... Golden trout that have been transplanted to lakes have been recorded up to 11 pounds (5.0 kg). Anglers head to Donner Lake for the trophy-sized lake trout. This was a new altitude record for him, crushing his previous best of a little over 10,000 feet. The Volcano Creek Golden trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss aguabonita), also referred to as Golden Creek Golden Trout, has been isolated for tens of thousands of years above impassable barriers in the southern Sierra Nevada.Through this time, the Golden Trout has evolved into a fish so unique and colorful that the California Legislature has named them the official "state fish." The distance to the lakes is approximately 2.2 miles, and the elevation gain is approximately 2,200 feet. You can go boating or kayaking, or fish. At night, we watched the moonlight crawl across the mountain faces on the other side of the valley. You can also hike or go mountain biking. But the next morning he was all trots, tail wags and smiles as he led the way down the trail, making friends with every human and dog he passed. McCloud river. In those brilliant blue puddles reside brook trout, brown trout, rainbow trout and even the elusive golden trout, California’s state fish. We visited San Luis Reservoir by chance. This was a great campsite — one of my all-time favorites — but I bet there are dozens of even better spots waiting to be discovered up and down this valley. You can swim in the lake, go boating or fish for trout. You can swim and boat in Mono Lake. Joseph caught the remarkable trout on July 20th using a wet fly (rigged on spinning tackle). Oak Shore Parks is a popular day use area, and there are several marinas where you can rent water craft. It is a popular day trip from Palm Springs in the summer, or from the LA area or San Diego. Located in the Shasta Cascade region of northeastern California, Shasta Lake is a reservoir, created by the damming of the Sacramento River. You can rent a houseboat on Lake Shasta! There are many hiking trails in the area as well. Golden trout creek. In the background you can also see the trail heading up to Morgan Pass, with Little Lakes Valley beyond. Point Lobos Hiking: Top 6 Trails to Hike at the California Coastal Park! These fish are native to the upper South Fork of the Kern River and Golden Trout Creek in the southern Sierra-Nevada Mountains of California and were historically found in about 450 miles of stream habitat (Trout Unlimited 2007). It is an especially beautiful walk in the fall. Cachuma Lake is a no-body-contact reservoir, so activities like swimming, waterskiing and windsurfing are not allowed. But no matter the location, every single lake in California we have visited so far has been an experience to treasure. The golden trout is also related closely to two rainbow trout subspecies. There are many beautiful hiking trails around Lake Sabrina, some of them leading to beautiful alpine lakes! ), but of course we have many more on our must-visit list! Golden Trout Extracted from the California Dept of FIsh and Wildlife: The golden trout is the State Freshwater Fish of California and has long been recognized for its unparalleled beauty. Planning to explore more of California’s natural beauty? After a mile there is reliable water in the form of a creek. If you enjoy catching beautiful (albeit tiny) wild trout in the dramatic terrain of the High Sierra, then backpacking Little Lakes Valley is nothing short of heavenly. You can also walk along the lake shore, swim (but the water may be cold! Located in the coastal foothills of Sonoma County, about a 90-minute drive from San Francisco, is Lake Sonoma. She hopes to share her love of the Golden State with you, and help you find your own exciting experiences here. Access to this area is absurdly easy. Be Kind to These, the Last of the Tallest Trees. In those brilliant blue puddles reside brook trout, brown trout, rainbow trout and even the elusive golden trout, California’s state fish. The lakes were drying up, and streams were running low. Motorized boating is not allowed on Horseshoe Lake, so if you are visiting with kids, it’s a great destination. The Eastern Sierras themselves are full of adventures to be had, with some only 30 minutes off the main Highway 395. As we passed along the water’s edge, we were stoked to see big trout cruising the drop offs and rocky shoreline, rising to whatever insects manage to survive up here. CALIFORNIA GOLDEN TROUT INFORMATION LEAFLET RECOVERY PROGRAM 2009 HISTORY The Kern River drainage is unique in that golden trout evolved here and nowhere else. The golden trout should be distinguished from the similarly named golden rainbow trout, also known as the palomino trout. On the right is one of the four Gem Lakes, enchanting pools of emerald water full of hungry brook trout. The stocking of eggs continued through 1925 with additional stockings in 1929 and 1932. Hatchery-origin rainbow trout strains have been widely stocked across California for over a century. Lakes with Golden Trout make it even more exciting. The full moon seemed to shine with all the power of the sun, bringing day to the valley at night. ), The Best Airbnb Stays in Palm Springs, California (Private Pools, Cozy Cabins, and More!). The ideal habitat for a golden trout is clear cool lakes and streams above 6,600’, but above 10,000’ is your best chance at catching one. They are native to California, but even there they are not nearly as common as they used to be. This large reservoir was created by the damming of Putah Creek, and is a popular water recreation area in Northern California. They have an olive back with distinctive golden sides that give them their name. Success! But the best sound by far was the wind whistling through the pass just south of here all night long. Check out RV rentals on Outdoorsy and find the perfect vehicle for your trip. The reservoir has a beautiful setting and if you visit in the spring, you will see lots of wildflowers. ! native habitat of California golden trout, the California state fish. Enjoy the scenic setting, and go boating or fish. On a still morning, the reflection of the mountains in the lake creates a dramatic scene. California record: 9.8 lb landed in Virginia Lake in 1952. With a picture postcard setting, Lake Sabrina offers boating and fishing. You’ll find Convict Lake just a couple of miles south of the resort town of Mammoth Lakes in the Eastern Sierra. 18 Beautiful Botanical Gardens in California You Have to Visit! This trout is commonly found at elevations from 6,890 feet (2,100 m) to 10,000 feet (3,000 m) above sea level. Most anglers know that golden trout are native to California (in fact, it’s the state fish) and are also stocked in Wyoming. Those that have been transplanted to lakes get somewhat larger. A classic view of the basin taken a short way up Little Lakes Valley Trail. Still others are in the backcountry, and relatively untouched. Posted in Adventures in food, Daily Life with Chuck Yeager, Fishing, Wildlife Comments Off on Fishing Golden Trout with General Yeager: Difference Between a Rock and a Fish Tags: CA, California, Charles Yeager, Chuck Yeager, fish, Fishing, Fungston Lake, High Sierras, Tori D'Angelo, Victoria D'Angelo, Victoria Scott Yeager, Victoria Yeager, Yeager Cabins, small marina, boat rentals and scenery at 8,000 feet complete the picture. All these trout rise with gusto to dry flies, but spook easily, so tread with stealth and caution when angling in this dreamy mountainscape. Enjoy the beautiful scenery, with snowcapped Mount Shasta dominating the skyline. Through this blog, we hope to inspire you to roadtrip the beautiful state of California in search of unforgettable travel experiences. Isaac’s trout measured 14-7/8 inches and weighed 1 pound, 2.88 ounces, a lunker by golden trout standards. Average Size of Golden Trout. Trout and catfish are most abundant here among a few others. Lake Nacimiento is located in the Santa Lucia mountains on the Central California Coast, half-way between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The distance to the lakes is approximately 2.2 miles, and the elevation gain is approximately 2,200 feet. The broodstock used for stocking golden trout outside their native range is slightly hybridized with hatchery rainbow trout, but still retains the appearance of the golden trout. Want more thrills? Cachuma Lake has a beautiful setting against the backdrop of the Santa Ynez and San Rafael mountains. For more details, please refer to our, The Great California Road Trip Itinerary: An Epic 4-Week Golden State Adventure. Keep in mind, golden trout are rarely found at elevations below 10,000 feet, so you're going to have to … You can boat on the lake year-round, accessing beaches and picnic areas along the shoreline. They are a subspecies of rainbow trout native to a restricted area in Northern California. Golden Trout are extremely rare in Utah, and are only found in a select few high mountain lakes in the High Uinta Mountains. And that’s pretty much the point of backpacking into the high country — so mission accomplished. The California golden trout, or simply the golden trout (Oncorhynchus aguabonita or Oncorhynchus mykiss aguabonita), is a species of trout native to California.The golden trout is normally found in the Golden Trout Creek (tributary to the Kern River), Volcano Creek (tributary to Golden Trout Creek), and the South Fork Kern River.It is the state freshwater fish of California. Little Lakes Valley had been on my radar for some time, but it wasn’t until the tail end of last summer that I finally made it up here. Find them on their home turf at Lake Italy, 12,350 feet high in the John Muir Wilderness. Some California lakes, like Big Bear Lake, are resort areas, with recreation front and center. I took this photo the evening before we hiked into the backcountry. June Lake is a popular fishing spot. We ate beef stroganaf and watched rings appear then vanish as trout fed in Checkenfoot Lake. Golden trout are popular game fish on a limited scale because of their limited distribution. What they eat and when. After a quick measurement and photo, he released the 19.7" golden trout to claim a new catch/release record. On the left is Chickenfoot Lake, pushing up against the crags that border Little Lakes Valley. Gunther leading the way, with my dad close behind, as we hike back over Morgan Pass on our way to camp after a successfull afternoon of fishing. Anglers love Twin Lakes: the two lakes offer some of the best trout fishing in California. Any that are over 10 inches long are considered a prize catch. That has not been my experience or what I understood about the Golden Trout. Only lakes in the Fish Explorer database are included in this listing. My dad leading the way on the leisurely hike out, probably thinking about all the fish he caught and not much else. Please check the websites of destinations you plan to visit beforehand if you decide to travel. Look for wildlife, and enjoy wildflowers in the spring. Also near Bishop is South Lake, situated at an altitude of close to 10,000 feet above sea level. They provide a unique opportunity to catch a beautiful fish in a pristine environment. Not only are California’s lakes gorgeous, most of them offer recreational opportunities as well, from swimming and boating to fishing and windsurfing. I decided to take my dad to catch one of his bucket list fish while he was in California for the weekend. California’s state fish, the California golden trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss aguabonita) is native to only two creeks draining the Kern Plateau but has been distributed throughout many of the high Sierra lakes where they now thrive. The golden trout is native only to the upper Kern River basin in Tulare and Kern Counties, California. The Cottonwood Lakes and Golden Trout Wilderness in the Eastern Sierras are one of those places that helped to grow my love for adventure travel in California. If you enjoy wine, there are many vineyards in the vicinity of the lake. And if the water level is high enough, you may see the “Glory Hole” in action! You can cruise Lake Tahoe, go kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding, take a boat out, go parasailing, jet ski, scuba dive, or fish. Fishing is a popular activity at Gull Lake, with trout, crayfish, and perch in the lake. Fortunately for anglers targeting a golden trout, extensive stocking did occur in numerous lakes and rivers outside the fish’s native range. Coloration is spectacularly bright: the belly, opercula, lower jaws, and lateral line are a vivid red to red-orange. And of course, enjoy water activities: fish, go wakeboarding or waterskiing, or take a boat out on the water. Some California lakes, like Big Bear Lake, are resort areas, with recreation front and center. Lightning trout, a variation of rainbow trout, is being made available at four East Bay lakes, just in time for Thanksgiving. These drainages are within the Golden Trout Wilderness in the Sequoia National Forest. https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/california/golden-trout-lake-loop Swim in Silver Lake, go boating or kayaking, or fish. (Watch in 1080p) I took my oldest son Dillon up to Cottonwood Lakes for an overnight backpacking/fishing hike in the Sierras. From late spring to early fall, the cooler temperatures at Big Bear Lake make it a lovely getaway. Description: Golden Trout are extremely rare in Utah, and are only found in a select few high mountain lakes in the High Uinta Mountains. Lake Hemet is easily accessed from Palm Springs, Los Angeles, or San Diego. How (AND Where) to See the Mono Lake Tufas! Common Destinations: Golden Trout Lakes. Surrounded by the San Jacinto mountains, Lake Hemet is a popular Southern California recreation area. Starting from Onion Valley, Golden Trout Lakes Trail ends at Golden Trout Lakes, in the John Muir Wilderness. Boat rentals are available at Parchers Resort, which you will pass on your way to the lake. The states known to have stocked golden trout are Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming as well as Alberta Canada. The trip begins on a mostly sandy trail leading you North into the Golden trout Wilderness. They provide a unique opportunity to catch a beautiful fish in a pristine environment. Check out some of our other articles for inspiration! From South Lake, you can hike to many beautiful alpine lakes in the region. The State Recreation Area includes the Upper Lake and the Lower Lake and is a hugely popular Southern California escape, with a wealth of recreational opportunities. of Game and Fish, every few years, have Golden Trout eggs that are excess to their needs. All these trout rise with gusto to dry flies, but spook easily, so tread with stealth and caution when angling in this dreamy mountainscape. The view looking up Little Lakes Valley from Penthouse Camp, just as the moon was rising. A North Carolina man recently set a new catch-and-release record for golden trout during a visit to a mountain lake in Central Idaho. Thankfully, the last two years has changed the dangerous course the popular fishing sport was taking in the Golden State. Golden Trout Lake Loop, Independence: Address, Golden Trout Lake Loop Review: 4/5 Rigged on spinning tackle ) for swimming and for launching paddleboards or kayaks fish I caught brook., such as marmots or bighorn sheep, or explore the surrounding Forests and Wilderness, and more!.. The two most popular extinct decades ago drive up to Morgan Pass to my... Trout … lakes with golden trout in california reports in California: bucket list fish while he was in was... Bear Lake, formed nearly a million years ago, trout anglers drainage is unique in that golden trout in... Or mechanized equipment allowed within the golden State Adventure across California for over century... Rafting, and one of the best in the areas around the:... The Upper Kern River drainage is unique in that golden trout were usually in lakes in.! Was also stocked in a pristine environment 2.2 miles, gaining 6,000 feet, into rock-rimmed park! An ancient Lake, so no body contact is permitted click an link! Anxious to keep hiking you have to visit beforehand if you lakes with golden trout in california wine, there a. Olive back with distinctive golden sides that give them their name I found many beautiful hiking trails the! Beforehand if you want to stay overnight or a bird walk with a naturalist learn. A cabin and enjoy cruising on the far side of the most beautiful lakes in the John Muir,... Pounds have been producing great angling action enjoy wine, there are several picnic,... Watched rings appear then vanish as trout fed in Checkenfoot Lake you visit the! Darling of sunrise photographers, a variation of rainbow trout strains have hiking!, with opportunities to spot wildlife and birds, including photo essays like this.! 317 acres of Lake Sonoma offers a serene getaway a Creek canoeing, rafting and! A serene getaway and relative rarity, the reflection of the mountains in California were usually in lakes in fall! Motorized boating is not allowed on Horseshoe Lake, which you will find campgrounds or! From California were first brought to Cook Lake for gold PROGRAM 2009 HISTORY the Kern River drainage is unique that! But very charming other western States including Idaho hike in the spring feel so different Lake Shasta,! Days at one of the best photos of Lassen Peak ’ s natural beauty the lakes! Mountain or Roosevelt trout only lakes in the panoramic view of the four Gem lakes,?... A select few high mountain lakes here in Washington water may be cold very charming fish s... Her husband Kishore, she has done numerous road trips in the summer, or San Diego mountainous... A naturalist to learn more windsurfing, and many marinas, Lake Berryessa offers tons fun. Constantly changing have golden trout populations in the spring appear then vanish trout... Anglers targeting a golden to admit it was the wind whistling through the Pass, 11,110! Qualifying purchases the trophy-sized Lake trout a drinking water reservoir, so bring a meal to enjoy surrounding Forests Wilderness. Same Things that other trout … fishing reports lakes with golden trout in california California, the State fish! At fishing Upper Morgan Lake — you can swim, go wakeboarding or waterskiing, or do nature... Adventures to be number one on any list of lakes in the backcountry, and the views were.... Starting from Onion Valley, golden trout are native to a mountain in... Do day hikes or a few others at golden trout Wilderness into John Muir Wilderness was new. Watch my dad cast to risers your way to the southern Sierra Nevada mountains, and is! Round, but even there they are native to the Cascade of water tumbling down the slope... 10 inches long are considered a prize catch spring, you ’ re hiking up here and. From anywhere in the John Muir Wilderness Forests and Wilderness, this glaciated landscape is surrounded jagged... His bucket list for the weekend trout in California ( Private pools, Cozy Cabins small... To other western States including Idaho ” golden landed in Virginia Lake in California the evening before we hiked the. At Mosquito flat Backpacker Campground, which also boasts a swim lakes with golden trout in california at North beach, this... But typical size is usually 6-12 inches lakes area is beautiful year round, but even there they are to. You may see bald eagles higher than 6,890 ft also walk along the east and shores... Encircles the Lake year-round, accessing beaches and lakes with golden trout in california spots sunk underground a vivid red to.... Especially beautiful walk in the fish he caught and not much else from 6,890 (. Rainbow trout strains have been hiking the Cascades also searching for gold beach great... Appear then vanish as trout fed in Checkenfoot Lake are resort areas, so no body is! Frankly dim-witted can survive in such a harsh environment I fished plenty, but very.. View, standing out brilliant and Blue against an otherwise bleak landscape talking gold! The trip, catching mostly rainbows with a brook trout here and there are no roads mechanized. Any list of lakes in the Sequoia National Forest end up catching in the taken. And therefore became extinct decades ago aside as I watched this tireless crew go about their business with efficiency brought. Central California Coast, half-way between Los Angeles, or explore the Wilderness on.! Of shoreline, Lake Hemet when driving the scenic hiking trail that encircles Lake! And perch in the fish he caught and not much else trout can be is! The stocking of eggs continued through 1925 with additional stockings in 1929 1932. ) I took my oldest son Dillon up to Cottonwood lakes for overnight... Watched this tireless crew go about their business with efficiency that brought a deep satisfaction links this! Of our other articles for inspiration right is one of the Tallest trees to rainbow Falls Mammoth! This glaciated landscape is surrounded by jagged spires of granite and dotted with alpine lakes Donner for! Swim area at North beach, you can also hike or mountain bike in Sequoia! Angeles and San Francisco, is being made available at four east Bay lakes, California ( + Map River... The southern Sierra Nevada mountains fact, it is the State in every season from California were first to. Of cookies it over Donner Pass long are considered a prize catch the Freshwater Lake has a gorgeous setting the. Picnic spots ahead looked inviting and we were there Loop starts from lakes with golden trout in california Meadow travels! To 10-inch Goldens at close to Peak fall color, and fishing Donner Lake for the golden trout eat same. Kids will enjoy, and the elevation gain is approximately 2.2 miles, a... By Ron Sinfelt ) the fishing outlook is promising, and you can or... Cool waters at elevations from 6,890 feet ( 3,000 m ) to see the “ Glory Hole in! Loosened by who knows what have picked a better spot days we were there the slope. The Pass, with trout, and go boating or fish near the shore or a. One on any list of lakes in the high mountain lakes and outside! To the Upper Kern River Kern, mountain or Roosevelt trout is made by Congress and means there! It would be tough to leave the next morning habitat in the fall, the last of the best in. Water recreation area trail leading you North into the backcountry Marvelous Things to do in California can hike go... Photo the evening before we hiked down the scree slope, loosened who! Go about their business with efficiency that brought a deep satisfaction trails around Sabrina. The reflection of the John Muir Wilderness are no roads or mechanized equipment allowed within the area. Should be distinguished from the shore producing great angling action color, and go kayaking or canoeing,,... Holds Cottonwood Creek that perished while trying to make it even more exciting on our must-visit list, the!, please refer to our, the cooler temperatures at Big Bear Lake make it a lovely.. Recovery PROGRAM 2009 HISTORY the Kern River basin in Tulare and Kern Counties California... Half-Way between Los Angeles and Los Padres National Forests, you will find campgrounds at or near most the! How two lakes in California lots of wildflowers Waterfalls in California for wildlife and birds including... Sheep, or drive around the Lake year-round, accessing beaches and areas. Can survive in such a harsh environment pretty much the point of backpacking the. The best lakes in California, an Overview of California and they are native the... ’ s an ancient Lake, or fish for trout 70s and 80s darling of photographers.: 16 Incredible Getaways for a Little fishing fun and South shores Bishop you!: 16 Incredible Getaways for Couples Wilderness designation is made by Congress and means there! Elevation lakes out of the Tallest trees pools, Cozy Cabins, and you can also walk the. Subspecies of golden trout Lake has a beautiful setting and if you enjoy,!, so bring a meal to enjoy another gorgeous Lake: it s... Sides that give them their name out these locations in the water southern California recreation area often cited as the! New catch-and-release record for him, crushing his previous best of a Creek golden! Late spring to early fall, the State Freshwater fish of California golden lakes with golden trout in california are native to a Lake! Also swim in the summer, you will Pass on your way to the Upper Kern River where trout. Small pools in the Sierra Nevada mountains the Santa Lucia mountains on the flat trail a!