The 8 Best Places to Catch BIG Fish Near Mt. Shasta

Photo: Wild Waters Fly Fishing

When it comes to fishing, there aren’t many areas in the world like Northern California. The crystal clear waters flowing down from Mount Shasta give big fish the perfect home to thrive in NorCal.

The area surrounding Mount Shasta is full of opportunities to catch BIG fish. From small rivers to big lakes, there is something for anglers of every discipline in Siskiyou County. Here are the 8 best places to catch fish in Siskiyou County:

*Note: Each fishing area requires a California Fishing License and may come with specific regulations. Check regulations with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife before going on your fishing adventure.

Upper Sacramento River

One of the great fisheries of NorCal is the Upper Sacramento River. Large rainbow trout are found on every stretch of the river, with the easiest access found in downtown Dunsmuir. A visit to the Ted Fay Fly Shop in Dunsmuir is a great idea where you can pick up any needed flies or equipment and up-to-date advice as well.

The best time to fish this stretch of the Sacramento River is during the October Caddis hatch. Probably the best area of the river to fish the October Caddis hatch is around Cantara (watch out for falling trains) between Mt. Shasta and Dunsmuir. From Mt. Shasta, drive south on Old Stage Road, which is just West of I-5. Turn right on Cantara Loop Road and park at the end of the road.

Read more about Fishing on the Upper Sacramento River

Kangaroo Lake

Whether you fly fish, baitcast or spin, your chances of getting a bite at Kangaroo Lake are good! The 25-acre lake is 110 feet deep and is full of brook, brown and rainbow trout. The campground is about 14 miles from Weed with 18 sites for visitors to choose from.

Learn more about fishing and camping on Kangaroo Lake

McCloud River

The McCloud is best known for its magnificent trio of waterfalls, but for the fishing community, it’s known for finding famous fish in a special setting. The best access to fishing on the McCloud River is above McCloud Reservoir, which is easier to wade and popular with families and folks who delight in the smell of fresh fish sizzling in pan. There are several popular campgrounds, three gorgeous waterfalls and an abundance of trout regularly stocked through the summer season and families doing all they can to connect with a few.

The upper river is readily accessible from Hwy. 89 about six miles east of the sleepy little town of McCloud. There are stunning views of majestic Mount Shasta from this stretch of highway, and no one will blame you if you miss your turn because you’re gawking at the mountain.

Fish are stocked at Fowler’s Campground and Lower Falls. As far as finding the fish, well, if you can’t actually see them, look for deeper water. Because the upper river is fairly shallow and the water clear, fish do their best to avoid direct sunlight. Any manner of take shy of dynamite (bait, lures or flies) is allowed, and anglers are permitted to keep up to five trout. Though absolutely beautiful, this is hardly wilderness fishing. Restrooms are only a short stroll away from the river.

Learn more about fishing on the McCloud River

Lake Siskiyou

Although it’s never been known as a fishing destination, Lake Siskiyou has always been a place you can fish. More known for it’ family-friendly camping experience, the lake with a beautiful Mount Shasta backdrop is one of Northern California best destinations for outdoor enthusiasts.

But following the successful first year of the Lake Siskiyou trout pens, a program which grows and releases over 1,000 3-5 pound trout into the lake every spring, Lake Siskiyou is now on top of the list of fisheries in the area. Smallmouth bass, lake, brown, rainbow and brook trout can be caught from a boat or on shore, all under the magnificent reflection of Mount Shasta.

Learn more about the new trout pens that have made Lake Siskiyou a fishing destination

Orr Lake

Photo: Klamath National Forest

Orr Lake is a popular fishing area with a beautiful view of Mt Shasta. The lake is the home of trout, bass, and catfish. A scenic trail along the east edge of the lake provides access to several fishing jetties and connects the 4 campsites on the east side of the lake with the 4 double sites on the north end of the lake.

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Nor Cal wandering

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A boat ramp on the east shore and a hand-launch boat ramp on the north end also provide access to the lake. 

Learn more about fishing on Orr Lake

Castle Lake


If you’re looking for something a little more secluded, head to the breathtaking Castle Lake. Formed by glaciers 10,000 years ago, Castle Lake is held by a pine-covered granite bowl. This 47 acre lake is 120 feet deep next to a steep rock wall. Above the lake are the beautiful lofty spires of Castle Crags State Park Wilderness Area.

You’ll find gold shiners, brook and rainbow trout. Best baits are salmon eggs, roe, mini-crawlers, red worms and bright-colored power bait. Ice fishing during the winter is truly rewarding lifetime experience. Break the ice for fishing holes with an auger, axe or shovel. 

Learn more about fishing Castle Lake

Medicine Lake

Off the beaten path east of Siskiyou is Medicine Lake – a great spot for rainbow and trout fishing with gorgeous views. The Medicine Lake Recreation Area is also a popular camping spot among locals and visitors alike. Spend the week camping, boating, fishing and swimming.

See what it’s like to fish on Medicine Lake:

Heart Lake

Photo by Elizabeth Shrier

Although Heart Lake is mostly known for its pristine views, you can also find small brook trout here. If you’re willing to hike your fishing gear for 2 miles to the lake, you’ll most likely be the only person fishing that day.

The short hike to the secluded lake offers spectacular views of Mt. Shasta, Black Butte, Castle Lake, and way north in the distance, Pilot Rock in southern Oregon.

Learn more about a summer adventure to Heart Lake

Need some help? Here is a complete list of guide services in the area:

Wildwater Flyfishing

Jack Trout Flyfishing

Iron Head Guide Services

Lost Coast Fishing Guides

Jefferson Flywater

Active NorCal

Telling the Stories of Northern California


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