Big Bear Lake boasts the best freshwater fishing in Southern California. Known for its prime rainbow trout game, Big Bear Lake is also a hub for catching bass, catfish, carp bowhunting, and more.

Fishing tournaments are hosted throughout the summer season bringing avid anglers from across the nation to claim major monetary and high end gear prizes.

Fishing charters help new fisher folks learn the ropes and build a passion for the sport. Expert anglers at local tackle shop are always open to sharing their secrets to reeling in the fish. Welcome to Big Bear, drop a line sometime!

Your Big Bear Fishing Checklist

Buy Fishing License

All anglers fishing at Big Bear Lake must hold a valid California Fishing License when fishing from the water or the shoreline. Each angler must hold their own license unless under the age of 15.

Purchase License

Get Geared Up

You can't fish with no bait. Get all the tackle you need locally at Big Bear tackle shops:

Rent or Launch a Boat

Fishing and pontoon boat rentals are available at most Big Bear Lake marinas. Search marinas and book your boat.

Already own a boat? Read info on public boat launch ramps.

Know What's to Catch

What's in Big Bear Lake?

Rainbow Trout

The most popular fish in Big Bear Lake is rainbow trout. Big Bear Lake serves as a first-rate trout habitat because its depths allow for the cold temps the fish need to thrive, even in the heat of summer.


There are a variety of panfish in Big Bear Lake such as bluegill, pumpkinseed, and crappie found around the south shore and marina docks.

Channel Catfish

Channel catfish are fished throughout the summer. These fish inhale stink baits, mackerel, shrimp or chicken livers, and are on the prowl for a good meal both day and night, so fishing is good all day long. Catfish are primarily found on the east end of the lake near Stanfield cutoff and the East Boat Public Launch Ramp.

Small & Largemouth Bass

Summer is prime time for fishing bass. The aggressive northern bass species get hungry after their mid-summer spawn and will attack just about anything thrown their way. Crank baits such as Rapala Husky Jerks, Luhr Jensen Mini Speed Traps, and plastics fished Carolina or Texas style near docks, rocks and weed beds yield good results.

Read Fishing Report

The Big Bear Municipal Water District manages lake conditions, fish plants, public launch ramps, and produces a seasonal fishing report.

Read latest Fishing Report

Know the Rules

Fishing limits are in place to maintain a healthy ecosystem of fish. Please abide by bag and size limits. See infographic below.

Big Bear Lake Fishing Limits infographic showing info about fishing limits for different species

Fishing Charters & Tackle Shops