Best Bass Lakes in Central California

Here is a list of some of the best places to bass fish in the Central Valley.


By: Damian Thoa and the Pelican International Team

Here is a list of some of the best places to bass fish in the Central Valley.

We all know what comes to mind when you hear about places to fish in California. Big bass, Clear Lake, and the California Delta. With all the attention drawn to these 2 popular places, many lakes and rivers are left unspoken of. Here is a list of some of the best places to fish in the Central Valley.

Eastman Lake - Madera, CA

Eastman Lake has been designated as California's first Trophy Bass Fishery by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Anglers may keep only one bass with a minimum length of 22 inches. This lake is by far the most popular fishery in the Central Valley for both kayakers and boaters. Many quality fish with the average fish in the 2-4 lb. range. This past year, there have been countless reports of Double Digit Bass being landed along with a few fish in the TEENS.

Hensley Lake - Madera, CA

A zero or hero kind of lake. You either have an epic day of fishing or you are searching all day for a nibble. This lake has some of the best offshore structures with many island tops and ledges where large schools of giant bass hold. Once you find the right school you can have an easy and quick 5-fish limit of 25-30 lbs.

Lake Success - Porterville, CA

A small lake that holds big bass. You can catch them shallow or deep with many techniques. This lake has great offshore fishing with many island tops and ledges. There is a ton of timber as well for the shallow fisherman on 2 separate parts of the lake. You can flip, pitch, shallow crank, or throw topwater around the timber. A lake where you can fish to your strengths.

Lake Kaweah - Lemon Cove, CA

This lake is tough at times due to heavy tournament pressure but the quantity and quality of the fish can surprise you at times. This lake is home to some giant bass with a report of a 17 lb. 2 oz. bass being landed in 2017. The release of water in the fall to winter makes this lake great for kayak anglers.

San Joaquin River - Fresno, CA

Two parks along the San Joaquin River allow access to the river and ponds such as Sycamore Island and Camp Pashayan. Similar to the California Delta this river system is best with shallow water techniques. You can catch giants tossing topwater frogs, buzz baits, square bill crankbaits, spinnerbaits, flipping, and pitching. This river is shallow and makes it hard for large boats to access but makes it a paradise for kayak fishermen.

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