Fishing at Collins Lake: A Family-Friendly Paradise

Collins Lake, situated amidst the scenic Sierra Nevada foothills, beckons anglers far and wide with its promise of abundant fish and serene waters. As you cast your line into the tranquil depths of this 120-acre lake, you’ll find yourself immersed in a world of opportunity, where every tug on the line holds the potential for an unforgettable catch.

Latest Fish Plants

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How To Read Fish Plant Graphs

To interpret fish plant graphs effectively, consider the following key elements:

  1. Blue Vertical Bars and Numbers:
    • Representation: The blue vertical bars on the graph represent individual fish plants.
    • Weight Measurement: The associated numbers indicate the total weight of the plants in pounds (lbs.) that occurred during a specific week.
    • Significance: Monitoring these bars helps identify weeks with higher planting activity, aiding anglers in selecting optimal times for fishing near recent plantings.
  2. Orange Trend Line:
    • Purpose: The orange trend line represents the moving average of all fish plant activities at the specified location.
    • Indicator of Activity: A rising trend line suggests a consistent increase in planting activity over the designated period. This indicates the potential for more catch opportunities and signifies a growing fish population over the weeks.
  3. Interpreting the Moving Average:
    • Upward Trend: A rising moving average implies an upward trajectory in planting activity, indicating an increasing number of fish being introduced into the area. This suggests a positive outlook for anglers, as it implies a larger and potentially more accessible fish population.
    • Downward Trend (Not Specified): The description does not provide information on the interpretation of a decreasing trend in the moving average. It might be beneficial to include information on what a decreasing trend could signify in terms of fishing prospects.
  4. No Data Present:
    • Possible Explanations: If no data is visible on the graph, it may indicate that the location had no fish plants in the last three months. Alternatively, the absence of data could be due to non-disclosure of fish plants for that location.
    • Natural Population: Some fishing areas in California rely on the natural growth of fish populations, and graphs may not show plants if this is the case.
  5. Graph Disclaimer:
    • Data Source: The graphs reflect a combination of publicly disclosed data and estimates. Some locations may disclose fish plants without specifying exact amounts.
    • Not Universal: Not all fishing areas have fish plants, and the natural growth of fish populations plays a significant role in many California fishing locations.

Understanding these elements will empower anglers to make informed decisions about when and where to fish based on historical fish plant data.

Note: If no data is present in the graph above, this location may not have had any plants the last 3 months, or may not have publicly disclosed plants. Graphs reflect both publicly disclosed data and estimates, as some locations disclose plants, but not exact amount.

Map & Fishing Location

Trout, largemouth bass, catfish, bluegill, redear sunfish, and crappie are just a few of the species awaiting your bait at Collins Lake. Whether you’re an avid angler seeking the thrill of reeling in a trophy-sized bass or a family looking to create lasting memories while fishing for panfish, this lake caters to all skill levels and interests.

With its strategic location and diverse fishery, Collins Lake has earned a reputation as a premier fishing destination in Northern California. From the shimmering surface of the water to the depths below, every inch of this reservoir teems with life, offering anglers a chance to connect with nature and experience the thrill of the catch.

As you embark on your fishing adventure at Collins Lake, take a moment to appreciate the evolution of this reservoir and the efforts that have gone into making it a thriving habitat for fish. With over 50,000 trout planted annually and a variety of bass species thriving in its waters, Collins Lake stands as a testament to successful fishery management and conservation efforts.

So pack your gear, gather your friends and family, and head to Collins Lake for a fishing experience like no other. Whether you prefer trolling for trout along its expansive shoreline or casting for bass in its brushy coves, this reservoir offers endless opportunities for anglers to explore, relax, and reel in the catch of a lifetime. With its serene beauty, abundant fish, and convenient amenities, Collins Lake truly is a paradise for anglers seeking adventure and excitement on the water.

Types of Fish to Expect:

  1. Trout: The most popular species at Collins Lake, with both rainbow and brown trout stocked regularly. They average 10-14 inches and readily take dry flies, nymphs, PowerBait, and small lures.
  2. Largemouth Bass: Thriving in the lake’s warm waters, averaging 1-3 pounds and readily taking crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and plastic worms.
  3. Catfish: Abundant catfish, including channel and bullhead varieties, offer a fun challenge. Night fishing with cut bait or stink bait is most effective.
  4. Bluegill and Redear Sunfish: Smaller panfish offering great light-tackle action, perfect for kids to catch. They readily take worms and small jigs.
  5. Crappie: Present in smaller numbers but provide a fun alternative to other fish. Minnows and small jigs are their preferred baits.

Every reservoir goes through a unique evolution, and Collins Lake seems to be peaking in productivity. This is one of the few lakes where both bass and trout thrive. Trout fishing is excellent in the spring, when the cool, pure flows of Dry Creek and Willow Glen Creek fill the lake. Then in early summer, when the surface temperatures warm significantly, the largemouth bass come to life. More than 50,000 trout are planted here every spring; thousands of these are 3–8 pounds.

Set at 1,200 feet in the foothill country of Yuba County, this is a pretty spot that’s ideal for the angler who wants to camp and has a boat. I prefer fishing here in April or early May, and then again from mid-September through October, when the lake is quiet, the surface temperatures are cool, and the fishing is best. During the hot summer months in between, the trout are deep (though good results are possible using deep-water trolling techniques), bass fishing is a dawn/dusk affair, and you can run into water-skier traffic.

Before the water warms in summer, Collins provides outstanding prospects for trout. From shore, Power Bait and nightcrawlers are the preferred entreaties. There are about 12 miles of shoreline, and you can explore most of it in a weekend while trolling for trout. That is how most of the trout here are caught, by people using standard trolling techniques. Depth is always the key factor. The trout are found in shallow water during the cool months, then they go deeper and deeper month after month into summer. By late July, it is common to fish for trout 40–45 feet deep.

The reward is rainbow trout that average 14–16 inches, plus a few similar-sized brown trout and, once in a while, a huge brown that will make you think you’ve hooked Moby Trout. As part of the largest private stocking program north of Sacramento, trout 1–10 pounds are planted here.

Collins is also an outstanding bass lake, with smallmouth, largemouth, and spotted bass. The lake record for spotted bass is over 8 pounds, while large bass of over 10 pounds are occasionally caught. Smallmouth bass exceeding three pounds are also taken. The brushy shoreline and river arm are ideal bass habitat, and other areas of rocky shoreline are perfect for smallmouth. If you’re careful in the willows and weeds, you can cast crankbaits for some of the bigger fish. Since snags seem inevitable, most prefer plastics. A 10-inch Power Worm fished at night here has enticed some huge bass. In the late winter and early spring, the small, soft, hand-poured worms in both four- and six-inch sizes (in translucent colors) can work well with all three bass species.

Waterskiing is permitted in only the lower half of the lake in the summer, saving the upper half of the lake for anglers and those seeking solitude. In the fall, winter, and spring months, no waterskiing is allowed at all.

This is a good fishing lake. If you are one of those poor anglers who believe they are afflicted with a terrible jinx, show up here during late April or early May and get the cure.

Lake records: 15-pound, 4-ounce largemouth bass; 8-pound, 9-ounce spotted bass; 13-pound, 4-ounce rainbow trout; 9-pound brown trout; 21-pound, 2-ounce catfish; 2-pound, 13-ounce crappie.

Facilities, fees: Campgrounds, a full-service marina, a boat ramp and rentals, and supplies are at the lake. Restrooms, drinking water, flush toilets, an RV dump station, coin-operated showers, sandy swimming beach, volleyball, grocery store, coin laundry, wood, ice, and propane gas are also available. A per-vehicle day-use fee is charged, as well as a daily boat-launch fee.

Directions: From Marysville, drive east on Highway 20 about 12 miles to Marysville Road. Turn north and drive approximately eight miles to the recreation area entrance road, on the right. Turn right, drive a mile to the entrance station, and then continue to the campground, on the left side of the road.

Top 5 Tips for Anglers Fishing Here for the First Time:

  • Know the Season: Different species thrive during specific seasons. Plan your visit accordingly.
  • Explore Shorelines: With 12 miles of shoreline, explore different areas while trolling for trout.
  • Optimal Depths: Understand the depth preferences of trout, especially during the warmer months.
  • Dawn/Dusk Bass Fishing: Largemouth bass fishing is most productive during dawn and dusk.
  • Avoid Summer Crowds: To enjoy a quiet fishing experience, visit in April or early May and from mid-September through October.

Top 5 Strategies and Tactics to Maximize Fishing Experience:

  • Trolling Techniques: Utilize standard trolling techniques to catch most of the trout in the lake.
  • Deep-Water Techniques: Experiment with deep-water trolling techniques during the summer for trout.
  • Bass Habitat Exploration: Explore brushy shorelines and river arms for ideal bass habitat.
  • Crankbaits for Bass: Use crankbaits for larger bass, especially in willows and weeds.
  • Night Fishing for Bass: Try night fishing with a 10-inch Power Worm for some huge bass.

Top 5 Recommendations for Fishing Gear:

  • Trout Gear: Light to medium-weight spinning or baitcasting gear. Experiment with dry flies, nymphs, and small lures.
  • Bass Gear: Medium-weight spinning or baitcasting gear for bass. Crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and plastic worms work well.
  • Catfish Gear: Medium to heavy-weight gear for catfish. Opt for cut bait or stink bait for effective night fishing.
  • Panfish Gear: Light tackle for bluegill and redear sunfish. Use worms and small jigs for a great light-tackle experience.
  • Check Gearlist: Explore our Gearlist account for specific gear recommendations to maximize your fishing experience.

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.

Collins Lake, a haven for anglers seeking tranquility and excitement amidst the Sierra Nevada foothills, stands as a testament to the enduring allure of fishing. As you reflect on your time spent casting lines and reeling in catches at this picturesque reservoir, you’ll find yourself immersed in memories of thrilling battles with trophy-sized bass, peaceful moments by the water’s edge, and the camaraderie shared with fellow anglers.

Throughout the seasons, Collins Lake offers a diverse array of fishing experiences, from the exhilarating pursuit of rainbow trout in the spring to the laid-back atmosphere of summer evenings spent trolling for bass. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a novice seeking adventure, this reservoir holds something special for everyone, drawing anglers back time and time again to its inviting shores.

As you bid farewell to Collins Lake, take with you not only the memories of your fishing exploits but also a deeper appreciation for the natural world and the importance of conservation efforts in preserving our cherished waterways. From the diligent stocking of trout to the careful management of bass populations, the ongoing stewardship of Collins Lake ensures that future generations of anglers will continue to enjoy its bountiful waters for years to come.

So as you pack up your gear and prepare to depart, remember the moments of excitement, camaraderie, and serenity that you’ve experienced at Collins Lake. Whether you return to its tranquil shores in the coming months or venture to new fishing destinations, carry with you the spirit of adventure and the love of the outdoors that defines the angler’s journey.

As the sun sets on another day of fishing at Collins Lake, take a moment to reflect on the memories made, the fish caught, and the bonds forged with friends and family. Though your time here may come to an end, the spirit of Collins Lake will linger in your heart, beckoning you back to its shores whenever the call of the wild becomes too strong to resist.