Dodge Reservoir Angler’s Guide: Serenity in the Sagebrush Wilderness

Dodge Reservoir beckons anglers to embrace the thrill of the catch in the pristine waters of the Modoc Plateau in Lassen and Modoc Counties, California. As you embark on your fishing expedition to this hidden gem, our comprehensive guide serves as your compass, navigating you through the secrets of this tranquil reservoir. From the diverse fish species lurking beneath the surface to the rich history of the location, we’ve got you covered with essential tips, strategic tactics, gear recommendations, and specific fishing locations.

At Dodge Reservoir, anglers can expect to encounter a variety of fish species, each offering its own unique challenge and reward. From the renowned rainbow trout to the elusive brown trout and the rare Lahontan cutthroat trout, there’s no shortage of excitement awaiting you in these waters. And let’s not forget about the smallmouth bass, adding another dimension to your fishing experience with their spirited fight and cunning nature.

Delving into the history of Dodge Reservoir reveals a tale of conservation and dedication. With the California Department of Fish and Game’s innovative approach of introducing Eagle Lake trout fingerlings, the reservoir has become a thriving ecosystem teeming with life. Despite its remote location and challenging access, Dodge Reservoir stands as a testament to the enduring spirit of anglers who seek solace and adventure in the great outdoors.

For first-time anglers, Dodge Reservoir offers a wealth of opportunities to hone your skills and make unforgettable memories. From seasonal considerations to strategic shore fishing and trolling techniques, our top tips ensure that you’re well-prepared for a successful fishing expedition. And with the convenience of the BLM Dodge Reservoir Campground, camping under the stars has never been easier, allowing you to extend your angling adventure into a multi-day retreat.

As you prepare to cast your line into the tranquil waters of Dodge Reservoir, remember to pack the essentials and respect the environment. With our recommended gear and fishing strategies in hand, you’re ready to embrace the challenge and beauty of this remote angler’s haven. Explore our Gearlist for specific recommendations tailored to maximize your fishing experience at Dodge Reservoir, and embark on an adventure filled with excitement, camaraderie, and the thrill of the catch.

Types of Fish You Can Expect to Catch at Dodge Reservoir

  1. Rainbow Trout: Dodge Reservoir is renowned for its abundant rainbow trout, ranging in size from standard catches to impressive specimens.
  2. Brown Trout: While less common, brown trout present a thrilling challenge for anglers seeking a larger, more elusive catch.
  3. Lahontan Cutthroat Trout: This once-threatened species has been successfully reintroduced, providing a rare opportunity for anglers looking for a unique and rewarding fishing experience.
  4. Smallmouth Bass: Present throughout the reservoir, smallmouth bass offer year-round fishing opportunities and can be caught using various lures and baits.

A Glimpse into the History of Dodge Reservoir

Dodge Reservoir, one of the larger reservoirs in the Modoc Plateau, stands as a testament to Fish and Game’s distinctive approach. The California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) introduces Eagle Lake trout fingerlings, anticipating a natural feeding environment that allows them to grow into adult sizes. The lake’s size and elevation of 5,735 feet provide stability, resulting in more favorable fishing conditions, especially during the summer months. The remote location ensures a serene atmosphere, with the last mile of road challenging those seeking this angler’s haven.

Top 5 Tips for First-Time Anglers at Dodge Reservoir

  • Seasonal Considerations: Plan your visit during spring and early summer for optimal rainbow trout fishing near inlet streams and rocky shoals. Fall is ideal for targeting brown trout and smallmouth bass.
  • Shore Fishing Opportunities: While a boat is beneficial, explore shore fishing near the boat launch and dam. This allows access to productive areas without the need for additional equipment.
  • Trolling Techniques: Utilize effective trolling methods with lures and bait, especially for trout and smallmouth bass, to enhance your chances of success.
  • Weather Preparedness: Be mindful of the wind, which can significantly impact fishing conditions. Dress in layers and pack essentials for varying weather.
  • Camping Convenience: Take advantage of the BLM Dodge Reservoir Campground for an affordable and convenient overnight stay, facilitating multi-day fishing trips.

Top 5 Strategies and Tactics for Optimal Fishing Experience

  • Strategic Shore Fishing: Focus on the dam area, where larger trout and smallmouth bass gather due to the presence of baitfish and water flow.
  • Fly Fishing Expertise: Explore the streams flowing into the reservoir for excellent fly fishing opportunities, particularly during spring and fall.
  • Rocky Shoals Exploration: Target brown trout and smallmouth bass around rocky shoals, especially during the warmer summer months.
  • West Shore Calm Waters: Head to the west shore for calm waters, perfect for fishing rainbow trout and smallmouth bass, especially near the boat launch.
  • South Shore Depths: Explore the south shore for larger trout and smallmouth bass, particularly around deeper areas.

Top 5 Recommendations for Fishing Gear at Dodge Reservoir

  • Medium-Weight Spinning Rods: Opt for a 6 to 10-pound test spinning rod for versatility in handling rainbow and brown trout.
  • Quality Spinning Reels: Invest in a spinning reel with a smooth drag system, crucial for managing the fight of larger trout.
  • Assorted Lures and Baits: Pack a variety of lures and baits suitable for rainbow trout, brown trout, Lahontan cutthroat trout, and smallmouth bass to adapt to changing conditions.
  • Sturdy Waders and Boots: Given the rocky terrain, ensure your waders and boots are sturdy for comfortable and safe wading.
  • Explore Our Gearlist: Visit our Gearlist account for specific recommendations on fishing gear used to optimize your Dodge Reservoir angling experience.

Exploring Specific Fishing Locations at Dodge Reservoir

  1. Dam Area: Attracts larger trout and smallmouth bass due to baitfish presence and water flow.
  2. Inlet Streams: Excellent opportunities for fly fishing for rainbow trout and Lahontan cutthroat trout, particularly in spring and fall.
  3. Rocky Shoals: Provides good habitat for brown trout and smallmouth bass, especially during the summer.
  4. West Shore: Calm waters ideal for fishing rainbow trout and smallmouth bass, especially near the boat launch.
  5. South Shore: A hotspot for larger trout and smallmouth bass, particularly around deeper areas.

Additional Tips for a Successful Fishing Experience

  • California Fishing License: Ensure you have the necessary license before heading out to comply with regulations.
  • Wind Awareness: Be prepared for wind conditions, which can significantly impact fishing. Dress accordingly.
  • Layered Clothing: Dress in layers to adapt to changing weather conditions, including a waterproof jacket for unexpected rain.
  • Sufficient Supplies: Pack plenty of food and water for your day trip and camping if planning an overnight stay.
  • Environmental Respect: Practice responsible fishing techniques, follow regulations, and leave no trace behind.

Check out our Gearlist for the gear we for trips like this

Our Gearlist account lists all of the gear we use. Discover our top picks, where to snag them, and stay informed with our regular updates.


Dodge Reservoir stands as a testament to the enduring spirit of anglers who seek solace and adventure in the great outdoors. As you reflect on your fishing expedition to this hidden gem tucked away in the remote Modoc Plateau of Lassen and Modoc Counties, California, you’ll carry with you the memories of thrilling catches, tranquil moments, and the camaraderie shared with fellow anglers.

Throughout your time at Dodge Reservoir, you’ve had the opportunity to immerse yourself in the rich history of the location, witnessing firsthand the conservation efforts that have transformed it into a thriving ecosystem. From the introduction of Eagle Lake trout fingerlings by the California Department of Fish and Game to the challenges posed by its remote location, Dodge Reservoir has captured the hearts of anglers with its beauty and resilience.

As you packed your gear and prepared for your fishing adventure at Dodge Reservoir, you were met with anticipation and excitement, eager to explore its tranquil waters and test your angling skills. And now, as you reflect on your experiences, you can’t help but feel a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment knowing that you’ve navigated the challenges and reaped the rewards of fishing in this remote angler’s haven.

Whether you spent your days casting lines from the shore, trolling the reservoir in search of trophy catches, or fly fishing in the streams flowing into its waters, Dodge Reservoir offered a wealth of opportunities for anglers of all skill levels. And as you packed up your gear and bid farewell to this tranquil oasis, you couldn’t help but feel a twinge of nostalgia, knowing that you were leaving behind a place that had left an indelible mark on your soul.

But as you drive away from Dodge Reservoir, you carry with you more than just memories of the fish you caught and the moments of serenity you experienced. You carry with you a renewed appreciation for the beauty of the natural world, a deeper connection to the outdoors, and a sense of gratitude for the opportunity to immerse yourself in nature’s splendor.

So, as you continue on your journey, remember the lessons learned and the memories made at Dodge Reservoir. And know that whenever you feel the call of the wild, there will always be a place for you amidst its tranquil waters, where the thrill of the catch awaits.