Skip to Content

Big Bear Lake Fishing: Species, Best Spots, and More.

Big Bear Lake Fishing: Species, Best Spots, and More.

Big Bear Lake is great for fishing Rainbow Trout, Bass, and Sun Fish. The lake is seven miles long and fish-filled. Snow-fed lakes are great for fishing because the water is clean and clear. The lake is a great place to go fishing. It’s not too hard to find the fish, either. They like staying around rocks, trees, and plants that are in the water.

Fish Species at Big Bear Lake

Rainbow Trout

Rainbow trout are a popular target species for anglers at Big Bear Lake. These fish can be found in a variety of habitats throughout the lake. Rainbow trout are typically found in deeper, calmer waters. They may also be found near structures, such as logs or rocks, or in the mouths of creeks and streams. Rainbow trout are opportunistic feeders and will readily take a wide variety of artificial lures, live bait, and natural baits.

Best bait: Rainbow trout will readily take a wide variety of artificial lures, live bait, and natural bait. Artificial lures that mimic the appearance of small fish are most effective for catching rainbow trout. Various crankbaits, spinners, and spoons can effectively catch rainbow trout.

Best time to fish: Rainbow trout are most active at dawn and dusk.

Best locations: Rainbow trout can be found throughout the lake, but they prefer deeper water in the central basin of Big Bear Lake.

Raw trout silver fish on a kitchen table. Gray background. Top view

Channel Catfish

The channel catfish is Big Bear Lake’s most popular type of fish. It lives in deeper waters and feeds on small freshwater crustaceans, aquatic insects, other fish larvae, and other small invertebrates. They are easy to identify because they have a pointed snout, pectoral fins, and two barbels on their chin.

When fishing for channel catfish, it is best to use various methods, including fly fishing and baitcasting. When using bait, it is essential to remember that the bait’s size and type will determine the catch’s success. Some standard baits can be used for worms, crickets, and worms wrapped in liver or cheese.

Best bait:  worms

Best time to fish: at night and early in the morning

Tips: use live bait, cast into deep holes, and have patience. The channel catfish is a large fish (up to 50 pounds and 4 feet long) that can be difficult to reel in, so it is important to have a strong fishing line.

Channel Catfish

Small and Largemouth Bass

The largemouth bass is the most common species of fish found in Big Bear Lake. The largemouth bass is a large, dark-colored fish that can reach up to two feet long. The average size caught during fishing trips is between 12 and 15 inches. The largemouth bass is a carnivore fish that feeds on other fish, frogs, and insects.

The smallmouth bass is another popular game fish species in Big Bear Lake. Smallmouth bass is smaller than largemouth bass and has a lighter coloration. The average size caught during fishing trips is between 10 and 12 inches long. Smallmouth bass feed on other fish and are not as aggressive as largemouth bass.

Best bait: Worms, night crawlers, and crickets.

Best time to fish: Early morning and late evening.

Best spots: Anywhere around the lake. Fish in shallow water near the shoreline and deep waters offshore.

 Largemouth Bass


Crappie fishing is also one of the most popular types of fishing at Big Bear Lake. Crappies are easy to catch and can be found in many different spots on the lake, but they are usually most abundant in the shallow, clear water near boat ramps and docks.

Crappie is a fish that can be found in lakes all over California. They are usually found around docks and submerged cover. You can catch them by dipping mealworms or wax worms in the water. Crappie can also be found in schools, so be prepared to reel in a lot of fish!

Best bait: Wax Worms

Best time to fish: Early morning, late afternoon, and early evening.

Best spots: The best spots to fish for crappie are near docks, boat ramps, and submerged objects.



The Bluegill fish is a small freshwater fish found in lakes and ponds. Bluegill fish are located in the lake and can be caught with the same technique as dock fishing. They are usually fished with a nightcrawler and bubble on the hook to attract them. Casting out 10-15 feet from shore is generally adequate for bluegill fishing. The lake contains a variety of panfish species, and the majority of them will be present alongside the bluegill, so you won’t need to drastically change your strategy to capture any of them.

Best bait: Nightcrawlers and bubble

Best time: Late evening to early morning.

Best Location: The south side of the lake


Best Fishing Spots at Big Bear Lake

Fishing is a great way to spend a day in the mountains, and all of these spots are easily accessible from Big Bear Boulevard or North Shore Drive. The East end of Big Bear Lake at Stanfield Cutoff is an excellent place to start fishing and then work your way West to Windy Point. The Bear Valley Dam, located West of Big Bear Lake, is also a good spot for fishing.

For trolling, the Rainbow Trout Triangle from Eagle Point to Lagonita Point to the Solar Observatory or Metcalf Bay across the lake to the North Shore are good areas to try. Some other good spots around the lake include East Ramp, Juniper Point, Windy Point, Meadow Park, and Trout Triangle. There are several places to dock your boat, including along the Alpine Pedal Path and Big Bear Marina.

Big Bear Lake fishing Regulations

To fish in Big Bear Lake, you will need a fishing license which can be bought at any sporting goods store or online through the California Department of Fish and Wildlife website. The fishing season runs from the first Saturday in September through the last Sunday in January, during which time you can fish for largemouth and smallmouth bass, trout, salmon, and sturgeon but not catfish, perch, white bass, or striped bass. You cannot possess more than a half-ounce of fresh or saltwater fish, six salmon eggs, or 24 trout eggs.

Does Big Bear Lake have good fishing?

Big Bear Lake is a great place to fish, with various fish species in the waters. Carp fishing can be enjoyable, and bow fishing tournaments are held yearly to help thin the carp population. However, it’s important to remember that there are more than just carp in Big Bear Lake – so don’t limit yourself to just one type of fish!

What’s the best bait for Big Bear Lake?

Big Bear Lake is a popular fishing destination for people in the Southern California area. It is known for its large, healthy fish populations. Jigs and weedless worms are the best baits for fishing in Big Bear Lake because they are not as likely to get caught on tree branches or other underwater obstructions.