With clear Sierra streams flowing through the foothills, reservoirs that stretch for miles and the meandering waters of the Delta nearby, Lodi is an angler’s dream.
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 lake is 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 (doesn’t include entry fee); $4 vehicle fee for Lodi residents, $5 for non-residents; $2 for senior residents, $3 for non-residents.
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.
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, with 60,000 pounds of trout planted this season. Spotted bass, catfish, kokanee, salmon, crappie, bluegill and sunfish are plentiful as well.
New to Camanche this year is a fishing pond for anglers 15 and under.
Lake Camanche is located just 20 miles from Lodi. 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 $5; cars $12.50 per vehicle; $10 boat launch; $16.50 for vehicle and boat. Off season (October to April), $7 for boat launch; $15 for vehicle and boat.
Gates at north and south shore open at 5 a.m. and close at 11 p.m. year-round.
Call: 866-763-5121 or 209-763-5121.
Overview: More a region than a specific location, the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to the west is a meandering maze of rivers, streams and sloughs.
The American and San Joaquin rivers converge on the 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 up 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.
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. The fee is $10 to enter the park and $8 for boat launch.
New Hogan Lake
Overview: East of Lodi and nestled among the Gold Rush towns of the foothills is New Hogan Lake. Striped bass is the main catch.
The best access to the water is the Fiddleneck Day Use Area, where the boat ramp is located.
Fees: There is a $4 entry fee (boat launch included).
New Melones Reservoir
Overview: With more than 100 miles of shoreline, New Melones Reservoir is the largest body of water in the Lodi area.
The lake is a prime fishing spot — rainbow and brown trout, black bass, kokanee salmon, catfish and pan fish such as crappie and bluegill are all abundant in Melones.
Fees: $8 per auto, or $10 per auto/boat (subject to change).
Call: 209-536-9094 or 209-736-4333.
Overview: Located off Highway 88, Lake Amador is stocked with full-finned trout. Bass, bluegill, crappie and catfish can also be found.
There are also two disc golf courses at the lake.
Fees: Anglers $8; vehicles with four people are $10 and each additional person is $1; boat launching is $5.
Overview: The lake has weekly plants of rainbow trout. Kokanee salmon, crappie, bluegill, small and largemouth bass, catfish and various species of sunfish are also found in abundance.
Fees: Daily fishing permits are $5; vehicles are $9; boats are $8.
Lake Don Pedro
Overview: Lake Don Pedro is a man-made reservoir east of Modesto, a 1 1/2-hour drive from Lodi.
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.
Fees: $10 per car; $8 per boat and $1 for each person in groups of more than 8 people.