Shore Bets for Fishing Without a Boat

By kncitom on May 15, 2023
You don’t need a boat to go fishing in Northern California (Photo: Tom Mailey)

Yes, you can easily spend $50,000 -or more- on a new boat with the best electronics and accessories to target your fish species of choice. It’s incredibly easy to do. If you have $50,000 or more to spend.

And that’s just it. A lot of people don’t. 

But that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy all of the peaceful bliss fishing can offer. In fact, you’re probably in for more bliss because you didn’t spent $50,000.

Shore fishing in northern California is a great way to catch something for dinner, and it’s not written about enough. All you need is a good rod, a good casting reel, and some appropriate gear. 

I won’t get into gear specifics but if you need a basic rod/reel set up, go to a shop like Fisherman’s Warehouse, Auburn Marine, Gone Fishin‘ in Dixon, or Sacramento Pro Tackle and ask. The staff at locally-owned places like those all fish regionally, and will be happy to get you set up with the basics. At reasonable prices, too.

But, where to go. Well, for starters, the Department of Fish and Wildlife have a pond stocking program called Fishing in the City. Area parks are stocked with small game fish like trout or crappie, and it’s an easy way to give your child a chance the chance to fight a fish on their own. Find out more, here

Two reservoirs in our region provide good opportunities for fisher folks young and old alike. Lake Camanche itself can be fished from shore, but there is also “South Pond”, which is separate from the lake but still part of the resort. It’s got docks and good shore access and is stocked with rainbow trout regularly. 

Collins lake is another vendor-operated resort about 20 minutes northeast of Yuba City. It’s got a beautiful campground with enough amenities for a week for fun, but the shore fishing there can be quite good too: there are bass, and the lake is stocked regularly with trout that can get quite big (bonus points if you catch a “lightning trout” a beautiful golden-colored hybrid fish that is absolutely stunning to look at). Plus, maybe best of all, the camp store at Collins offers ice cream cones that can get quite big too. 

Both Collins and Camanche require guests to pay entry fees, but they’re affordable – check their websites for the most current prices.

And, one more suggestion. If you don’t mind a drive into the Sierra, the entire north side of Donner lake has publicly accessible piers, including one that is ADA approved. There are no fees to use these piers and they are first-come, first-served. But Donner is a beautiful lake, with a nice mix of mackinaw (lake trout), kokanee (landlocked sockeye salmon), brown trout and rainbow trout. 

There are many, many more lakes and ponds with public access in our region, far too many to go into here. Which is another good reason to stop at one of the aforementioned tackle/marine stores- tell their staff what you would like to fish for, and they’ll point you in the right direction. 

As always, make sure you know the regulations for the body of water you choose to fish, and are up to date with your fishing license (anyone 16 or over needs one). And, make sure little ones are properly supervised and wearing a life jacket – even if it’s just along a shallow shoreline!! 

So go get yourself some gear and some knowledge, then go get yourself (and your family) some fish! 

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