Hitch the boat, grab your rod and don’t forget the bait.
With clear Sierra streams flowing through the foothills, man-made reservoirs that stretch for miles and the meandering waters of the Delta nearby, Lodi is an angler’s dream.
From Lake Don Pedro in the south to Folsom Lake in the north, a leisurely drive in virtually any direction will bring you to some of California’s premier fishing destinations. Most spots can be reached in 45 minutes or less.
All of these fishing locations require a sport-fishing license from the California Department of Fish and Game. Many lakes and rivers require additional stamps or permits, and be sure to abide by minimum weight, size and limit requirements before bringing home your catch.
Fees are subject to change.
Overview: Situated along the Mokelumne River, Lodi Lake is the closest option for water entertainment. The man-made lake at the city’s northwest corner draws more than 200,000 visitors a year. It’s easy to find along the north side of Turner Road east of Lower Sacramento Road.
Catfish are the main attraction, but you have a chance of hooking largemouth and smallmouth bass, crappie and trout as well.
Fees: $5 per boat, $2 per vehicle for Lodi residents on weekdays, $4 on weekends; $3 for non-residents on weekdays and $5 on weekends and holidays; $1 for seniors on weekdays, $2 on weekends and $3 for non-resident seniors.
Overview: This river snakes its way through the foothills and winds up running right through town. Trout, salmon and steelhead are plentiful along the main waterway and many smaller sloughs branch off for prime striper feeding grounds. Use Zara Spooks, Rat’l’Traps and other stick and propeller lures to attract schooling striper.
Fees: Free; however, there are few access points. The best spots are the recreation area at the Mokelumne River Fish Hatchery at 25800 N. McIntire Road and Stillman Magee Park in Clements. From mid-October to late December, visitors to the EBMUD-run fish hatchery at the base of Camanche Dam can see hundreds of Chinook salmon in the river ready to spawn. There are restrictions during certain times of the year. For regulations, visit the Department of Fish and Game website at www.dfg.ca.gov.
Overview: Lake Camanche is known as a hot spot for trout fishing. Each year between October and June, the reservoir is stocked with 80,000 pounds of trout. Spotted bass, catfish, kokanee salmon, crappie, bluegill and sunfish are plentiful as well.
A mere 20 miles away, Lake Camanche is the closest large lake you’ll find in the Lodi vicinity. There are two shoreline access points for fishing on opposite sides of the lake.
Fees: During the peak season (May 1 to Sept. 30), fishing access runs $4; cars $11 per vehicle; $8.50 boat launch; $16.50 for vehicle and boat. Off season, $6.50 for boat launch; $13.50 for vehicle and boat; $7 per car.
Electronic gates at north and south shore open at 5 a.m. and close at 11 p.m. year-round.
Contact: 866-763-5121 or 209-763-5121.
Overview: More a region than a specific location, the Sacramento River Delta to the west is a tangled web of rivers, streams and sloughs.
The American and San Joaquin rivers converge on the mighty Sacramento as it feeds into the San Francisco Bay, combining a wide variety of fish species. Slow-moving creeks are home to record-setting bass, catfish and delectable crawdads, while deeper waters hold perch, bullhead, bluegill and sturgeon. You can drop your lure from the banks of several little-traveled levee roads. But for a true adventure, hitch your trusty fishing boat and explore the 1,100 miles of waterways.
Start looking for fishing spots west of Tower Park Marina on Highway 12. Boat launches and docks are available at a number of harbors on the Delta Loop. Check out Franks Tract State Recreation Area which is only accessible by boat. Call 925-684-2141.
Fees: Free if fishing from the river banks. Brannan State Recreation Area is located at the southwestern end of the Delta via Highway 160 and serves as a good home base. Day use $5; parking and boat launch $10.
New Hogan Lake
Overview: East of Lodi and nestled among the Gold Rush towns of the foothills is New Hogan Lake. Record-breaking black crappie and striped bass have been landed in this reservoir. June through August are the peak months for fishing here.
South of Valley Springs, the Acorn Recreation Area juts into the lake for prime angling real estate.
There is a $4 boat launch fee at New Hogan.
New Melones Reservoir
Overview: With more than 100 miles of shoreline and holding seven hundred billion gallons of water, New Melones Reservoir is the largest lake in the Lodi area. In the heart of gold country, the lake is fed by the Stanislaus River flowing from the mountains.
Rainbow and brown trout are common and there is an abundance of bluegill. Use fish jigs and worms to hook black bass in submerged bushes.
Fees: $8 for boat launching; $6 to fish from the banks.
Overview: This exceptionally clear body of water offers weekly plants of 1 1/2- to 5-pound rainbow trout. Kokanee salmon, small and largemouth bass, catfish and various species of sunfish are also found in abundance.
Fees: Daily fishing permits are $4; vehicles are $8; boats are $7.
Overview: Lake Amador’s less than oceanic stature belies the girth of the fish that dwell within its waters. The record for the biggest bass ever landed here stands at 17.1 pounds.
Located off Highway 88, Lake Amador is home to a popular competitive fishing derby each year. Massive improvements to holding tanks have allowed Lake Amador to be stocked with full-finned trout. Bluegill, crappie and catfish can also be found.
Fees: Anglers $8; vehicles with four people are $9 and each additional person is $1; boat launching is $7.
Lake Don Pedro
Overview: Sitting among gently rolling hills and California’s golden grasses, Lake Don Pedro is a man-made reservoir east of Modesto. A 1 1/2-hour drive from Lodi, this is the furthest destination to go for angling opportunities.
Here you’ll find plenty of Kokanee salmon, king salmon, black bass and crappie. Rainbow and brook trout fishing is best in spring and winter near Moccasin Point, and be sure to bring plenty of crawlers.
Fees: $8 per car; $7 per boat and $1 for each person in groups of more than 8 people.