Best Kids Fishing Destinations in California

By Sean Ward of

Headed to California for your next vacation? Whether you’re a native of the Golden State or you’re a first-time visitor to the area, what you need to know is that California offers some of the best fishing opportunities. 

You don’t have to be an expert angler to enjoy these fishing spots, either – in fact, you don’t even have to be of a certain age! There are plenty of spots for kids to enjoy fishing here, too. 

Here are some of the best kids’ fishing destinations in California – and tips on how to make the most of your time while you’re there. 

1. Big Bear Lake 

If you’re headed to the Los Angeles area, you won’t find a better fishing spot for kids than Big Bear Lake. This destination blends serene mountain scenery with phenomenal fishing. 

The lake has more than 22 miles of shoreline where you’ll find all kinds of fish, including crappies, largemouth bass, rainbow trout, and bluegills. 

This is one of the most heavily-stocked trout lakes in the state, with rainbow trout regularly weighing in at 5 pounds or more. 

You’re practically guaranteed to catch something, a must-have when you’re fishing with easily-bored little ones! 

2. Castaic Lake 

Castaic Lake, located in Castaic, CA is operated by the LA County Parks and Rec Department. There are two main areas for kids, including an upper lake along with a lagoon/lower lake. 

There’s a fishing pier along with spots for swimming, camping, picnicking, water skiing, wakeboarding, and jet skiing.

Not only that, but the lake hosts numerous Moonlight Fishing nights each summer along with Fishing and Fun for Kids days. 

Boat rentals are available, too, in case you’d rather not have to fish from shore. 

3. June Lakes 

The June Lakes are tucked along the edge of the Eastern Sierra, just south of Yosemite. The June Lake Loop offers gorgeous scenery (which, admittedly, will probably be more for you than for kids). 

However, the kids will love reeling in large rainbow trout, which are stocked in these five separate lakes. 

You’ll find trophy trout of ten pounds or more here! Plus, there are plenty of campsites nearby in case you decide to spend the night. 

4. Don Knabe Regional County Park 

At Don Knabe Regional County Park, you’ll find Cerritos Park Lake. This lake is stocked with catfish and rainbow trout along with all the bass and panfish you could ever possibly hope to catch.

It’s a good spot for kids for this very reason – but there’s also a park with a skate park, tennis courts, and playgrounds nearby.

5. Intermountain Area

The Intermountain Area is located halfway between Mt. Shasta and Mt. Lassan. Although there are multiple places to fish here, one of the best kids fishing destinations is Upper Hat Creek. 

Here, you’ll find cold waters fed by deep aquifers amidst thick pine forest growth. 

It’s a great spot to set up camp and spend a weekend fishing. You’ll find large brook and rainbow trout, along with plenty of opportunities nearby for activities like swimming, wakeboarding, and after skiing. 

This area is also close to other family-friendly tourist destinations like the Crystal Lake Hatchery, McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park, and Lassen Volcanic National Park. 

6. El Dorado East Regional Park 

El Dorado East Regional Park can be found in Long Beach and is home to two fully-stocked fishing lakes. 

The northern lake is larger and home to a boat launch, but both lakes are packed with carp, panfish, bass, sunfish, and catfish. 

It’s one of the best spots to fish for bass and there’s a free kids’ fishing derby here each November, too.

7. Huckleberry Kids Pond 

Fishing at Huckleberry Kids Pond probably won’t be like any other fishing experience you’ve ever had, but your kids are sure to love it. 

You can rent a rod for just $5 (with bait included) or bring your own rod and reel. 

Not sure what kind of reel to get for your little one? Be sure to check out this list of tips on finding a good quality spinning reel for a beginner 

Once you get there, you’ll find a pond that’s heavily stocked with trout and catfish. The staff are there to help answer questions, provide fishing tips, and even assist with fish cleaning. 

There’s no catch and release here, so be prepared to haul your catch home – what’s for dinner!

8. Carson River Forks

Carson River Forks is found in the background along the Sierra Nevada Crest. Both the East and West Forks of the Carson River offer excellent fishing for cutthroat and rainbow trout.

Along the way, be sure to stop by the Leviathan Mine Site or the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. Campgrounds and other fun kid-friendly destinations abound here!  

9. Dana Wharf Kids’ Fishing

Dana Wharf is another fishing destination that’s tailor-made for little anglers. Here, you can sign up for a half-day fishing excursion that’s customized just for the little ones. 

It’s a great way to introduce kids to ocean fishing and trips depart daily. 

10. Little Lakes Valley 

Little Lakes Valley consists of two upper feeder lakes and offers just about everything you could want when it comes to a diversity of fishing opportunities for young and old anglers alike. 

There are low-impact lakes you can walk right up to as well as those that require a bit more of a hike. Either way, you’re sure to find tons of rainbow trout along with ample amounts of brown and brook trout, too. 

There are plenty of campgrounds and opportunities for horseback riding near here. You’re sure to find something for every member of the family to enjoy.

Tips for Fishing With Kids in California

Are your bags packed yet? With so many excellent kids fishing destinations in California, you’re sure to find one that will fit the bill quite nicely. 

Ultimately, your goal when fishing with kids in any location should be to have fun. Keep things simple and focus on the kids – do whatever you can to help them enjoy the day.