20 Best Fishing Spots Near Alturas and Modoc County

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Modoc County sits in the upper northeast corner of California, one of the most remote and least populated places in the entire state.

But it’s absolutely loaded with fishing spots that you’ve probably never heard up but nevertheless are full of trout.

The county’s small population is located in Alturas, California Pines, Cedarville, Newell, Canby, Adin, and other areas.

The county is home to the Modoc National Forest, South Warner Wilderness and Lava Beds National Monument.

What follows are many of the noteworthy fishing spots in Modoc County.

After that, check out the “Fishing in Neighboring Counties” section, which will provide you with even more ideas of where to cast in Northern California.

Annie Lake

This 49-acre lake at over 5,000 feet in elevation in the Modoc National Forest offers good seasonal fishing for trout.

Located southwest of Fort Bidwell, Annie Lake has been stocked with a mix of both catchable Eagle Lake trout and fingerling trout, often around May and June.

Ash Creek, Lower

Lower Ash Creek Lower is stocked with catchable rainbow trout around the Ash Creek State Wildlife Area near Adin, offering great fishing opportunities for anglers.

The creek is most often stocked around June.

Ballard Reservoir

This 102-acre reservoir southeast of Canby provides good season fishing for stocked trout.

The reservoir has been stocked with catchable rainbow trout (including Eagle Lake trout) heading into the nicer months, most commonly in the mid- to late spring.

Bayley Reservoir

Bayley Reservoir is a 328-acre reservoir with trout fishing, located on county roads about 20 minutes west of Likely.

The reservoir is stocked with a mix of catchable rainbow trout and fingerlings during the spring.

Bayley Reservoir is located just past Delta Reservoir, also listed in this article.

Briles Reservoir

Briles Reservoir is a small (17.5 acres) reservoir near the community of Davis Creek, in a forested area southeast of Goose Lake.

The reservoir is stocked with both catchable rainbow trout and fingerlings, usually in mid- to late spring.

The road can be rough, so a 4-wheel drive is recommended.

Browns Pond

This pond at 5,241 feet in elevation northeast of Manzanita Mountain is stocked with catchable rainbow trout in late spring to early summer.

Cave Lake

This small lake at 6,637 feet elevation north of Yellow Mountain is stocked with catchable rainbow trout in the late spring or early summer.

The lake also offers campgrounds and other activities such as picnicking and scenic driving on the Modoc Backcountry Discovery Trail runs past the Cave Lake Campground.

The lake is about 25 miles east of Highway 395 at the community of New Pine Creek, using County Road 2.

It’s close neighbors with another fishing spot, Lily Lake, which also is listed in this article.

For more detailed information, see this Modoc National Forest website.

Clear Lake

This 48-acre lake on the west side of the South Warner Mountains has brown, rainbow and brook trout.

Watch for catch-and-release rules at this wilderness lake. It’s been stocked in the past but doesn’t appear to have been planted in the last several years.

There’s shore access, but you’ll likely do better from a float tube or kayak.

Mill Creek above and below the lake also has good trout fishing.

There are primitive campsites and toilets available.

Delta Reservoir

This 504-acre lake is neighbors with Bayley Reservoir, mentioned above.

The reservoir is stocked with catchable trout (often Eagle Lake trout) during the late spring or early summer.

Duncan Reservoir

This 353-acre Modoc National Forest reservoir is open all year, but it’s shallow and often weedy in late summer or freezes in the winter with poor access, so most people fish it in the prime spring and early summer season.

That’s also when the reservoir is likely to be freshly stocked with catchable trout (likely Eagle Lake strain).

Duncan Reservoir has a gravel and dirt boat launch suitable for cartop and smaller power boats.

Primitive campsites with toilets are available.

It’s located northwest of Canby in a setting mixed with pine and sagebrush.

Fee Reservoir

Fee Reservoir can offer good late spring and early summer trout fishing in up to 493 acres … if there’s water in it. During drought years, it has been running dry and fishless.

If water conditions allow, it’s likely to be stocked with trout, most likely in the late spring. The trout may be Eagle Lake trout.

Fee Reservoir is east of Fort Bidwell near the Nevada line.

There is a small campground with basic amenities and a boat launch.

For more detailed information, visit the BLM website.

Lily Lake

This small lake at 6000 feet in elevation near Modoc Backcountry Discovery Trail offers scenic landscapes and good fishing opportunities.

Lily Lake is stocked with a mix of catchable rainbow trout and fingerlings, often in late spring or early summer.

The lake also offers boating and picnic sites. A kayak or canoe is recommended because motors of any kind are prohibited and the launch is gravel. 

Lily Lake is close to Cave Lake, which also offers camping if you want to spend a few days. See the Cave Lake listing above for more information.

Pine Creek Reservoir

This 19-acre lake located about 10 miles southeast of Alturas is stocked with catchable trout, often a couple times during spring.

Fishing will be best before the hottest weather arrives in this barren high-elevation location.

Pine Creek Reservoir is open to year-round fishing but may freeze over in winter.

Pit River, South Fork

A 3-mile section of this river north of West Valley Reservoir is stocked seasonally with catchable rainbow trout, typically in May or June.

Anglers can also reportedly catch catfish along with the hatchery trout.

The South Fork Pit River also offers a boat ramp for non-motorized boats. The river may freeze during the winter season, so this is largely a fair-weather fishery..

Rainbow Pond

This small pond located above 6,000 feet in elevation west of Manzanita Mountain provides seasonal fishing opportunities for catchable trout, which are likely to be stocked in late spring or early summer.

It’s located west of Bayley and Delta reservoirs (see separate listings).

Reservoir C

This 160-acre reservoir in the Williams Valley area provides anglers with a good fishing opportunity when it’s freshly stocked with trout.

Reservoir C is likely to be stocked with catchable Eagle Lake trout around April or May.

The trout fishing is likely to fade as water temperatures rise, but there are numerous if modest-sized bass in the reservoir that will keep biting in warmer weather.

There is a boat launch and primitive camping available.

Visit the Modoc National Forest’s Reservoir C page for more detailed information.

Reservoir F

This fairly good-sized reservoir in the Modoc National Forest is stocked with both catchable and fingerling rainbow trout in the spring, which is the best time to fish this location.

Reservoir “F” also has some wild trout.

The reservoir offers spacious campgrounds that are shaded by tall pines. Outdoor recreational activities such as wildlife viewing, picnicking, scenic drives and boating are also available.

The boat ramp is hard-packed gravel and can accommodate motorized and non-motorized boats. Water levels may drop significantly during the season.

Reservoir F has no boat dock, marina, or mooring. Visit the National Forest’s location website for more detailed information.

Snake Lake

This small lake off Surprise Valley Road in the eastern county has at times been stocked with fingerling trout.

Water supply may be an issue here.

Stough Reservoir

This small high-elevation reservoir near Cedar Pass on Highway 299 has a campground and a good opportunity to catch trout, which are stocked as catchables in the late spring or early summer.

Besides a campground, the lake also offers picnicking, bird watching, and boating.

Canoes, kayaks, car top boats, and inflatable boats are recommended.  The reservoir is small and does not have a launch ramp.

For more detailed information, visit the website.

West Valley Reservoir

This 970-acre high-desert reservoir just east of Likely is stocked with catchable Eagle Lake trout, often several times during spring into early summer.

That’s when trout fishing will be best, before the heat of summer arrives.

The reservoir’s warm-water fish including catfish and panfish are likely to continue biting through the summer.

It’s open for fishing year-round but may freeze in winter.

The reservoir provides a primitive campground and also offers activities such as kayaking, camping, picnicking, and hiking along with fishing.

Fishing in Neighboring Counties 

Lassen County: To the south, Susanville and the rest of Lassen County is home to the famous Eagle Lake as well as numerous lesser-known lakes and streams with good trout fishing.

Shasta County: To the southwest, the broader Redding area is home to famous fisheries including Shasta Lake, Whiskeytown Lake and the upper Sacramento River, among many other great angling spots.

Siskiyou County: To the west, the Yreka area has some great fishing in the upper Sacramento River, upper Klamath River, McCloud River, and lots of other spots for fly and gear anglers alike.