This county of roughly 1 million people might just have more than a million fish for you to catch.
With Shaver Lake offering some of the best kokanee salmon fishing in California, and Millerton Lake and other reservoirs and streams offering nice catches of largemouth and striped bass, catfish, panfish and trout, there are plenty of places to hook into excellent fishing in Fresno County.
While Fresno itself is the largest and best-known city, county residents also live in Clovis, Sanger, Reedley, Selma, Parlier, and other communities.
In addition to fishing, recreational opportunities here abound, with Kings Canyon National Park, John Muir Wilderness, Roaring River Falls, Mist Falls, and part of the Sierra National Forest among the draws.
Located in the Central Valley, agriculture is important in the region. Popular brands like Sun-Maid and David Sunflower Seeds are located in the county.
Tourists also see the Fresno Chaffee Zoo, Forestiere Underground Gardens, and China Peak ski resort.
This article includes the top places to fish in Fresno County.
Before you check those out, I’ll mention that at the end of this page, we have a “Fishing in Neighboring Counties” section. We have linked some of the nearby areas in this section that will provide more information about lots of fishing spots just beyond the county boundaries.
Avocado Lake is in Avocado Lake Park near Sanger and Fish Creek.
The lake is modestly stocked with hatchery rainbow trout in late winter and early spring, which is the best time of year to catch these fish.
As the trout fishing fades, you’ll still be able to catch bluegill and bass.
The park is 210 acres with picnic tables, including group picnic sites.
This nearly 1,500-acre reservoir sits at nearly 8,200 feet in elevation, making it primarily a warmer-month getaway.
The lake is stocked with rainbow trout and also has been stocked with German brown trout. Some Eastern brook trout also can be hooked here.
The lake is located in a stunning setting that includes Mt. Goddard and other vistas.
Camping is available and the area is popular with backpackers.
Check out the U.S. Forest Service’s Courtright Reservoir web page for more information.
The stream is home to rainbow, brown and brook trout.
There are several places to camp or picnic.
The Dinkey Lake Wilderness has 16 lakes and several streams to explore.
This is a large lake but takes a bit to reach and can be susceptible to severe dips in water levels.
While the lake (a.k.a. Lake Thomas A Edison) has been stocked with trout, the schedule has appeared inconsistent in recent years.
Still, there’s a marina, camping and other amenities and this is in an area with incredible vistas and wonderful hiking.
It will take nearly three hours to reach the lake from Fresno, passing Shaver and Huntington lakes along the way.
Hard-to-reach Florence Lake is more popular with hikers than anglers.
The state seems to have abandoned its trout-stocking program at the 900-plus-acre lake, so while it’s perhaps worth a few casts if you’re in the area, it’s probably not one we’d enthusiastically recommend.
It’s near Lake Edison, listed above.
This 85-acre lake can be good for both trout and warm water fishing from late spring through summer.
Located at over 5,000 feet in elevation, it provides both a trout fishery (especially when stocked) as well as a resident population of warmwater fish such as largemouth bass, catfish, crappie and bluegill.
Campgrounds are available.
Huntington Lake covers 1,420 acres at full pool and has potential as both a trout and a kokanee fishery.
Rainbows are nicely stocked and are the most common trout catch, but some anglers are lucky or skilled enough to net the occasional big brown trout as well.
Kokanee are planted as fry and can provide a good fishery for those in the know.
A boat will be really handy here, especially for the kokanee.
Located at 7,000 feet in elevation northeast of Clovis, access to the lake can sometimes come a little later than many locations but can be worth the wait.
There is plenty of camping and other amenities.
Kings River forms the famous Kings Canyon high in the Sierra Nevada.
For anglers, it’s a stream with several faces, in some areas stocked with trout and in other areas managed for wild fish.
Down into the agricultural lands in the Reedley area, it changes character again and is home to channel catfish, bass and other warm water species.
The river also forms Pine Flat Reservoir, and there is plenty of camping around the reservoir and in the vicinity.
One of the places the river is regularly stocked is below the reservoir.
Mendota Pool and Slough (Wildlife Area)
The most popular species of fish that you can catch in the sloughs in the Mendota area west of Fresno include largemouth bass, channel catfish, bluegill and striped bass.
This large reservoir (4,900 acres when full) on the San Joaquin River north of Fresno has a varied fishery.
Both black bass and striped bass fishing can be quite good at times here, and there are catfish and various panfish to catch.
Trout aren’t typically stocked, but there might be a few rainbows or browns around, though probably not enough to target.
The reservoir is shared with Madera County.
This remote, high-elevation stream near Lake Thomas A. Edison has regularly been stocked with hatchery trout in the summertime.
Be prepared for steep and brushy banks making access to pools and riffles a bit harder than most fishing spots on this list.
The nearby South Fork of the San Joaquin River is quite frequently stocked with hatchery trout, if Mono Creek isn’t producing for you.
Pine Flat Lake
This large reservoir (21 miles long) has quite a variety of fishing options, including being one of the best spotted bass fishing lakes in California.
Pine Flat also is among the handful of lakes that has been planted with landlocked Chinook salmon and additionally is planted with trout and kokanee and has a variety of warmwater fish to catch.
There is camping and lots of facilities at the reservoir on Kings River.
More: Fishing at Pine Flat Lake
Portal forebay is a 20-acre lake northeast of Huntington Lake that is primarily a fishing spot for rainbow and brook trout.
There is a trail around the lake that offers lots of bank fishing access, and camping is available.
San Joaquin River
San Joaquin River is the second largest river drainage in the state and provides a variety of fishing opportunities but also has struggled in the vast farmland reaches.
In Fresno County, most anglers are interested in the San Joaquin in its upper reaches in the mountains, which is primarily a trout fishery.
The South Fork has very often been stocked. The Jackass Meadow and Mono Hot Springs areas are good bets for stocked trout.
Trout may also be available in the lower river in the Pineville area, where the river slows down in the valley, especially if stocked in the cool season.
Channel catfish begin to be another option in this part of the river.
Shaver Lake is a fantastic fishing reservoir known especially as one of the best kokanee salmon fishing lakes in California.
The popular Sierra National Forest fishing hole also is nicely stocked with rainbow trout and offers a variety of bass and panfish fishing opportunities.
Campgrounds are available in the National Forest.
More: Shaver Lake Fishing
A similar creek in the same vicinity as Mono Creek that also at times might be stocked with hatchery trout. See the Mono Creek entry above.
This small freestone trout stream is an hour and a half east of Fresno off the Generals Highway and then Ten Mile Road to the creek.
The stream has often been stocked with rainbow trout multiple times during the season, but may also have brown and brook trout to catch in spots.
The elevation here is over 5,000 feet.
This is a small, remote but nicely stocked trout lake sitting at about 8,000 feet in the Sierras.
With that kind of elevation and the fact that trout stocking is a warmer-month activity here, plan to visit in the summer.
The lake is fairly rocky and the camping is primitive.
It’s located northwest of Florence Lake and south of the South Fork of the San Joaquin River, the latter of which is also frequently stocked with trout.
The drive from Fresno will take at least two and a half hours.
This 1,000-acre reservoir is primarily fished for trout during the spring and early summer.
By mid-summer, the water levels at Wishon Reservoir can fluctuate widely and the stocking usually stops, making fishing success less likely.
There is a campground on the lake and a nearby RV park. Hiking and horseback riding are other popular activities.
The reservoir is nearly two hours from Fresno and located just south of Courtright Reservoir (see listing above).
Woodward Park Lake
This park lake in Fresno has a surface area of 38 acres and some years has been stocked with rainbow trout.
The lake also is home to some warm water fish including bass.
The park also features a picnic area and trails.
Fishing in Neighboring Counties
Merced County: To the northwest, the area around Los Banos and Merced offers fishing in the Merced and San Joaquin rivers and San Luis Reservoir, among several other spots.
Madera County: To the north, Madera County is well-known for Bass Lake, which has the namesake fish but is most famous for its great kokanee fishing. There are trout, stripers, bass, panfish and other species to catch elsewhere in the county as well, including Millerton Lake.
Tulare and Kings Counties: To the south, Tulare County in particular stretches from the valley floor up into high country in Sequoia National Park, offering plenty of trout fishing in mountain streams like the Kern River and alpine lakes as well as other angling options.