Best Striped Bass Fishing Spots & Charters in California

The striped bass has taken the fish world by storm. The fish, which can grow as long as seven feet, has some of the most impressive fang and jaw strength in the world. The bass has a very limited diet consisting of mainly blue crabs, shrimp, crabs, and small fish, and it is a game fish. Striped bass are very powerful fish, but they are not aggressive, they won’t fight and they don’t have large teeth. Here are some of the best striped bass fishing spots in California.

One of the most exciting experiences you can have in California is catching a striped bass. They are an under-rated fish, but they are easy to catch and they taste great. The best way to catch them is from a boat on one of the many great salt water fishing locations in California. In order to catch bass you need to know where to go. The information below will help you with the best striped bass fishing locations in California.

Striped bass are a popular fish, and their popularity is fast growing. This small-mouth bass has many traditions and customs, including the tradition of fishing for them by means of a “gig-a-gig” rig and the custom of having a fish fry on both Fourth of July and the Friday after Thanksgiving.. Read more about striped bass fishing spots near me and let us know what you think.

(Image courtesy of 5S River Fishing Guide Service (Sacramento River) & Fishing Booker)

For a variety of reasons, California is an excellent location to capture striped bass. The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is not only the only constant location on the west coast to locate excellent striper populations, but it is also a major inlet for stripers migrating inland to spawn, and it is home to some of the world’s biggest stripers.

There are several excellent lakes and rivers to fish from throughout Central and Southern California, with a diverse variety of options depending on whether you like chartering, shore fishing, or heading off in a private boat or kayak. This article will go through the finest striper fishing locations in the state of California, both saltwater and freshwater.

Three Fantastic Saltwater Striped Bass Fishing Spots

1. The Bay of San Francisco

Overview: The population of saltwater striped bass in San Francisco Bay is well-known. Near the Raccoon strait, where large game is often reported in the months leading up to their entrance into the delta, where they’ll travel upriver to spawn, is some of the finest striper fishing available. As stripers move back into the seas after spawning in the summer months, trolling is best near the coast, with lots of excellent locations for beach shoreline fishing. 

2-50 lbs. caliber

Raccoon strait, the southern tower of the Golden Gate Bridge, and Alcatraz and Treasure Islands are all excellent places to go trolling or casting from the beach. 

Tips and suggested bait include shad, anchovies, and sardines, as well as imitation shad spinnerbaits and black/gold lures. Summer is the greatest time of year to fish in this region, with migration times being crucial for excellent saltwater fishing. 

Striper Guides/Charters in San Francisco Bay to Consider:

2. The Bay of San Pablo

San Pablo Bay is another well-known saltwater fishing spot in northern California, located north of the San Francisco Bay region. San Pablo Bay is a wonderful option to fishing for stripers in the San Francisco Bay, with a variety of beaches, fishing paths, and a number of well-known charters. 

Recommended fishing locations: To avoid mudflat beaches, start out from Berkeley, Richmond, or Emeryville to locate the finest spots to wet a line. Chartering is extremely popular in this region, with some of the best captains setting sail from San Pablo. 

Tips and bait suggestions: The same baits that work well in San Francisco Bay may be utilized here. Stripers begin to move down into the delta in April, making it an ideal month to capture them on the northern side of the bay. Because stripers prefer low-light for foraging, the bay region is best fished at night. 

Suisun Bay is number three on the list.

Suisun Bay is a saltwater fishing location that is less frequented by charters and local fishermen since it is located along the numerous estuaries in northern California where saltwater and freshwater begin to merge. 

The finest saltwater fishing locations in Suisun Bay are around the Suisun Cutoff and Delta regions. On the south side of the bay, there are numerous lengthy lengths of coastline as well as marinas and boat ramps. 

Tips and suggested bait: Live and cut bait, shad imitations, and striper-specific lures all work well here. It’s a wonderful location to set out in a private boat or kayak among the numerous inlets and islands on the northeastern side of the bay since there are fewer charters and it’s less popular than the San Francisco and San Pablo Bays. 

10 Fantastic Striped Bass Fishing Spots in Freshwater 

Sherman Lake is number one (Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta)

The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is one of the most well-known freshwater fishing destinations on the West Coast. The delta, as the country’s biggest freshwater tidal estuary, and the many rivulets that run from it to create the bigger rivers of northern California, provide countless chances for capturing striped bass and a variety of other species migrating inland to spawn. Sherman Lake, located at the point where the delta splits into the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers, offers a number of coves and islands where you may cast for stripers. 

Caliber: 8-12 lbs. is a common range; up to 50 lbs. is possible. 

The West Delta and any of the islands north of Kimball Island provide the greatest fishing opportunities.  

Tips and suggested bait: For cut bait, shad, sardines, and anchovies are excellent options. Because many fish are at their optimum strength in this section of the delta, you’ll need heavier gear to catch them. 

Striper Guide/Charter in the California Delta:

Miller Regional Park is number two on the list (Sacramento River)

Miller Regional Park, located in the heart of Sacramento, provides a variety of banks from which to cast a line into the Sacramento River. The Sacramento River is ideal for striper fishing because it contains a large shad population in late spring, which striped bass feed on, as well as being a major entrance for their spawning season. In the early autumn, when some of the biggest fish migrate across the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and into the smaller streams, many seasoned fisherman hold these banks. 

2-50 lbs. caliber 

Other than near the end of the road, which is close to the marina’s inlet, any location on the west side of Marina View Dr. is preferable for casting off. 

Though cut bait is traditionally used to capture stripers, lures are the best option in locations where striped bass are migrating upriver to spawn.

Striped Guides and Charters on the Sacramento River:

Feather River is number three.

The Feather River, which is the main tributary of the Sacramento River and a major source of striped bass and salmon in late spring and early summer, offers warmer waters upriver than its distributaries. Stripers are eager to eat because to the increasing flow and warmer water in this region, and will be easy to capture in the appropriate season.

2-50 lbs. caliber 

There are many boat ramps into the river, the most accessible of which are located at Airline Rhine Memorial Drive and Wildlife Area Access Road. 

Pile worms, sardines, and anchovies are all excellent bait options that are easily accessible at local bait stores. Because this tributary is shallower, it’s much simpler to hit the bottom, which is excellent striper practice. 

4. Mendocino Lake

Lake Mendocino is a popular destination for fishermen in northern California because striped bass are plentiful and of good size. It’s a 2,000-acre reservoir with around 10 miles of coastline where you may fish. During the spring and summer months, this is an excellent spot for both boaters and shore anglers to capture a variety of warm-water species. 

2 to 25 lbs. caliber 

Setting off from the South Ramp is excellent for fishing since it is closer to the reservoir and away from local campsites and recreational boats. Shoreline fishing is excellent on the northern side of the lake; however, fishing near the boating ramps is prohibited. 

Tips and suggested bait: Cut bait or lures work well here, and boat fishing is the best option. 

5. Lake New Hogan

Overview: New Hogan Lake is a wonderful location to go freshwater fishing in central California, especially in the spring and autumn when stripers are plentiful. Though trout were formerly seeded in the lake, this technique is no longer used, allowing striped bass to thrive. Because this is an artificial lake, the fish tend to be confined and smaller than those found in larger rivers, but given what’s available in the region, it’s still worth checking out. 

2-20 lbs. caliber 

Recommended fishing spots: The best method to fish New Hogan Lake is with high-speed trolling. Around the lake, there are numerous boating ramps and access spots. Many shore anglers claim success around the smaller islands in the north of the lake, casting from Fiddleneck Day. 

Crankbaits and spinnerbaits in shad patterns work well here, since stripers are frequently attracted to the local shad population. 

San Luis Reservoir is number six on the list. 

The San Luis Reservoir is a man-made lake in central California that may be accessed about 12 miles west of Los Banos. At Dinosaur Point and Basalt, there are numerous boat ramps, and local fisherman report catching striped bass all year. Because it is landlocked, stripers will be smaller here, as they are in New Hogan Lake, yet many fisherman claim trophy-size catches in this lake. Due to speed limitations, high-speed trolling is less popular here, although trolling is still a feasible option. 

2-20 lbs. caliber 

San Luis Reservoir offers approximately 14 miles of great shoreline to fish from, and there are many nice places to fish from. For the greatest fishing, stay away from the launch ramps and stick closer to the shallows on the southeast side of the lake. 

Crankbaits and swimbaits, as well as most accessible cuts like anchovies, sardines, and shad, are the ideal baits for this manmade lake. Because there are numerous shallows near the boat ramps on this reservoir, it’s better to boat during the spring months when the water levels are higher. 

striped bass

Castaic Lake is number seven.

Castaic Lake is a popular destination for serious fishermen in Southern California. The 2,200-acre lake is a fantastic location to put your sights on if you’re near Los Angeles, with numerous tales of trophy-sized striped bass. Castaic Lake is a wonderful location for shore fishing, despite the fact that there are fees and it’s a day-use only lake with restricted coastline. 

2-45 lbs. caliber

Fishing is best done by boat or kayak, although there are numerous access sites to the shoreline a short distance from the southern launch ramps, along Fisherman Trail, or from Elderberry Forebay Road. 

Tips and suggested bait: Shad is the most frequently utilized cut bait in this area. Castaic Lake is only open for a few hours each day, so make sure you prepare ahead. 

Lake Havasu is number eight on the list.

Lake Havasu is another southern California lake with a fantastic reputation for capturing stripers, especially during the spring and autumn months when the temperatures are at their optimum and the striped bass are most active. Havasu is a huge 19,300-acre lake near the Arizona border with lower shorelines and many ramps and marinas. The lake provides a well-maintained environment with excellent sustainability and very healthy fish. 

2-30 lbs. caliber 

Boating is popular at Lake Havasu and may be done from any of the launch sites. Lake Havasu also has a lot of accessible shorelines, so it’s a great place to cast a line from one of the numerous banks. 

Topwater lures are better early in the morning because changing temperature influences hunting habits, whereas shad swimbaits or crankbaits are ideal later in the afternoon. During the summer, watch for birds congregating on the water’s surface to find the ideal spots to capture stripers. 

Lake Pyramid No. 9 

While Pyramid Lake is renowned for the diversity of fish it has to offer, striped bass are plentiful, and fishing is permitted from any point on the lake. Pyramid Lake is a day trip destination located along I-5 about 17 miles south of Frazier Park. It is regarded as an out-of-the-way beautiful location. 

Recommended fishing spots: Many shore sites are only accessible by boat, and a few are only open for day usage. However, there are many excellent shore fishing locations around Spanish Point and Bear Trap. 

Tips and recommended bait: As with other southern lakes, topwater lures work best in the morning, while shad imitations work best later in the day. Check ahead of time to see which locations are open throughout the day. 

Silverwood Lake is number ten.

Silverwood Lake is a bass angler’s paradise in southern California, having produced the California State Record striped bass. The lake is supplied by the Mojave River and is stocked with healthy striped bass in the San Bernardino Mountains. It’s simple to get there, about a 20-minute drive from its I-15 exit, but due to its 5 MPH speed restriction in most zones, it’s largely barren of recreational boats. This makes it ideal for both beach fishing and launching a boat into the sea. 

Caliber: 2-30 lbs., including a record of 55 lb. 8 oz. in 1996.

Recommended fishing spots: The ideal time to go shore fishing is early in the morning, particularly around the marina dock. However, since the lake fills up fast, boats will be preferred, with the finest places being around Quiet Cove and Quarry Cove. Crankbaits and jerkbaits are the most effective baits for bass in this region. Avoid visiting during the busy summer months, when there will be fewer fish and much more visitors.

The Best Time to Fish for California Stripers Depends on the Season

Early spring is ideal for fishing at any time of day across the state. As the weather warms, anglers like to fish early in the morning and late at night, when stripers are more active and feed.

Summer: The only good times to fish in the summer are early morning and late at night. Fish like to be near the shore because they prefer cooler water, and they will remain dormant in the late morning and afternoon.

Late morning and afternoon become excellent times to fish for stripers as fish begin to return from the estuaries into the rivers and lakes in the fall. As fish begin to arrive from the sea, you’ll notice that some of the biggest fish are most active during these hours. 

In the winter, it’s best to fish in freshwater and in the late morning or early afternoon. You should search for times of day when the temperature is between 62 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on whether you’re in northern or southern California.

Striped Bass Fishing in Freshwater vs. Saltwater

Both freshwater and saltwater striped bass fishing are popular in California. You may pick either option depending on the season and whether or not you’re landlocked. Striped bass reproduce in freshwater, and some man-made dams have trapped huge numbers of bass in lakes or canals during their spawning season.

During the proper season, this provides many excellent chances for fishing along the Sacramento and Feather Rivers, as well as in many of the dammed lakes for prolonged seasonal freshwater fishing. The striped bass season lasts all year, so there’s always a chance for a big catch in freshwater lakes. 

In terms of saltwater fishing, striped bass fishing is most popular in the San Francisco Bay during the summer and autumn months, and you can catch some nice fish near the southern part of the Golden Gate Bridge, along Raccoon Strait, and in many of the bay’s reefs.

Off the Treasure Islands and Alcatraz, there are also lots of excellent locations. In the San Francisco region, inshore saltwater fishing is always an option. Striper fishing in the saltwater is very rare in Southern California, where a catch is known as a total fluke since the state no longer dumps fish there.

California is famous for its fishing, but the state also offers many other activities for outdoor enthusiasts. For instance, there are numerous campgrounds to choose from, many of which have a hiking trail. These are a great way to get away from the city and enjoy nature. You can also find many outfitters that rent out redwood tree houses, cabins and other rustic lodging.. Read more about best freshwater striper fishing in us and let us know what you think.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the best striped bass fishing?

The best striped bass fishing is in the Chesapeake Bay.

What month is best for striped bass fishing?

The best month for striped bass fishing is September.

Whats the best bait for striped bass?

The best bait for striped bass is a live minnow.

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