Fishing at Englebright Lake: A Haven for Bass and Trout

Englebright Lake, situated amidst the breathtaking Yuba River canyon, beckons anglers with its promise of thrilling fishing adventures. Spanning 1,200 acres, this picturesque reservoir is teeming with a diverse array of fish species, making it a haven for fishing enthusiasts yearning to reel in their next big catch. With its tranquil waters and stunning natural beauty, Englebright Lake offers an idyllic setting for anglers of all ages and skill levels to immerse themselves in the joys of fishing.

Largemouth bass, rainbow trout, and kokanee salmon are just a few of the prized catches awaiting anglers at Englebright Lake. Whether you’re angling for the hefty largemouth bass that inhabit its depths or trolling for the elusive kokanee salmon at sunrise, there’s no shortage of excitement to be found on these serene waters. With each cast of your line, you’ll find yourself drawn deeper into the thrill of the chase, eagerly anticipating the moment when you’ll feel the telltale tug of a fish on the other end.

Despite its remote location and limited shore access, Englebright Lake remains a favorite destination for anglers seeking a respite from the hustle and bustle of city life. From the tranquil solitude of its boat-in campsites to the exhilarating rush of adrenaline as you battle with a trophy-sized bass, every moment spent at Englebright Lake is filled with the promise of adventure and discovery. So pack your gear, grab your fishing rod, and prepare to embark on an unforgettable fishing journey at Englebright Lake.

As you navigate the winding shoreline of Englebright Lake, you’ll find yourself captivated by the sheer beauty of the surrounding landscape. From the rugged cliffs that line the Yuba River canyon to the lush greenery that blankets its shores, Englebright Lake offers a breathtaking backdrop for your fishing escapades. Take a moment to savor the tranquility of your surroundings, to bask in the warmth of the sun on your skin, and to appreciate the simple pleasures of life on the water.

With its abundant fish populations, stunning scenery, and year-round fishing opportunities, Englebright Lake is a treasure trove waiting to be discovered by anglers from near and far. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a novice looking to cast your first line, there’s no better place to experience the thrill of fishing than Englebright Lake. So come, join us as we embark on an unforgettable fishing adventure at one of California’s most beloved fishing destinations.

Types of Fish to Expect:

  1. Largemouth Bass: The most sought-after species, averaging 2-4 pounds with the potential for larger specimens exceeding 8 pounds. They readily take crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and plastic worms.
  2. Rainbow Trout: Stocked regularly throughout the year, providing excellent opportunities for both beginners and experienced anglers. They readily take PowerBait, spinners, and small flies.
  3. Kokanee Salmon: These smaller salmon average 10-12 inches and are best caught trolling small spoons or spinners near the surface in the early morning or late evening.
  4. Other Species: Occasionally, anglers might encounter catfish, crappie, bluegill, and even the occasional striped bass.

Remember this place—providing, that is, you have a boat. Englebright always seems to have plenty of water, waterskiing is prohibited on the upper end, and in the spring it’s as if the lake is waging a trout war with Collins Lake to the north to determine which can provide the best fishing. Best of all, it has some of the nicest boat-in campsites anywhere. One little problem: There’s almost zero access for shore fishing.

The reservoir is in the foothills of Yuba and Nevada Counties at an elevation of about 500 feet. It has an unusual shape. With 24 miles of shoreline, it looks something like a water snake winding its way through the Yuba River Canyon, called “The Narrows” by locals.

Anglers are better off visiting in the spring, when the water is cool, the skiers few, and the trout near the surface. That is also when the water starts getting stocked. Plants continue at frequent intervals for a total of 18,000 rainbow trout. Although most of the rainbows planted in Englebright range in size 10–12 inches, they seem to add inches to their bodies in a relatively short time. During the spring, trollers dragging flasher/night crawler rigs nab 16- and 17-inchers pretty regularly. Every once in a while somebody will hang a big brown.

If you can get away during a weekday in March, you may be surprised by bass up to 2.5 pounds. My best suggestion here is to work the drop-offs along the shore with a four- or six-inch plastic worm (with a chartreuse tail). By summer, the catch rates fall off.

The weather gets hot here in the summer, and water-skiers really like this place, because narrow channels provide calmer water for waterskiing than a wide-open lake.

If you visit during the peak summer months, you can escape all of the water-skiers by heading upstream. Waterskiing is not permitted upstream of a line of demarcation called Upper Boston. The trolling is often quite good near the point where the South Fork Yuba enters the lake, especially in the fall.

Facilities, fees: There are 100 boat-in sites. Vault toilets are provided, as are two paved ramps—one just east of the dam, adjacent to the picnic area, and one at the marina, at Skipper’s Cove. There are signs for each on the entrance road. Drinking water is at each boat launch and at the marina. Boat rentals (including houseboats), mooring, fuel dock, and groceries are available. There is a boat-launching fee and day-use fee; however, fishing access is free.

Directions: From Auburn, take Highway 49 north to Grass Valley and the junction with Highway 20. Turn west on Highway 20 and drive to Mooney Flat Road (if you reach Smartville, you have gone a mile too far). Turn right on Mooney Flat and drive 2.5 miles to the park entrance on the left. Turn left at the fork and drive a mile to park headquarters and the boat ramp, just east of the dam.

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

  • Boat Access is Key: Englebright Lake is best explored with a boat due to limited shore access.
  • Spring Fishing: Visit in the spring for optimal conditions, cool water, and abundant trout near the surface.
  • Trout War in Spring: Springtime sees a lively competition between Englebright and Collins Lake for the best trout fishing.
  • Weekday Bass Surprise: Weekday visits in March may yield surprising bass catches, especially along drop-offs.
  • Avoid Summer Crowds: To escape water-skiers, head upstream in the peak summer months.

Top 5 Strategies and Tactics to Maximize Fishing Experience:

  • Trolling Techniques: Utilize flasher/night crawler rigs for effective trolling, especially for rainbow trout.
  • Springtime Bass Fishing: Work drop-offs along the shore with plastic worms during March for potential bass catches.
  • Avoid Summer Heat: In hot summer months, escape water-skiers by heading upstream for calmer waters.
  • Fall Trolling Hotspots: Explore trolling near the point where the South Fork Yuba enters the lake for productive fall fishing.
  • Optimal Trout Size: Experiment with trolling techniques to catch larger trout, with 16- and 17-inchers common in the spring.

Top 5 Recommendations for Fishing Gear:

  • Bass Gear: Four- or six-inch plastic worms with chartreuse tails for bass along drop-offs.
  • Trout Gear: Light to medium-weight spinning or baitcasting gear. Flasher/night crawler rigs work well for trolling.
  • Kokanee Salmon Gear: Small spoons or spinners for trolling near the surface during early morning or late evening.
  • General Gear: Light to medium-weight spinning or baitcasting gear suitable for various species.
  • 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.

Englebright Lake, with its tranquil waters and bountiful fish populations, stands as a testament to the allure of fishing in the great outdoors. As anglers, we’ve had the privilege of experiencing the thrill of reeling in a prized catch against the backdrop of the stunning Yuba River canyon. Each cast of our lines has been a moment of connection with nature, a chance to immerse ourselves in the beauty and serenity of this remarkable lake.

Throughout our fishing adventures at Englebright Lake, we’ve been treated to a diverse array of fishing experiences, from battling with largemouth bass along its winding shoreline to trolling for rainbow trout beneath the warm glow of the morning sun. We’ve cast our lines into its clear waters, eager to see what treasures lie beneath the surface, and we’ve been rewarded time and time again with the exhilarating rush of landing a fish worthy of bragging rights.

But Englebright Lake is more than just a fishing destination; it’s a sanctuary, a place where we can escape the stresses of everyday life and reconnect with the natural world. Here, amidst the rugged cliffs and verdant forests, we’ve found solace in the simplicity of life on the water, in the gentle lapping of the waves against the shore and the soft rustle of leaves in the breeze.

As we reflect on our time spent at Englebright Lake, we’re filled with a sense of gratitude for the memories we’ve made and the experiences we’ve shared. Whether we’ve spent our days casting lines with friends and family or embarked on solo fishing expeditions in search of solitude, each moment has been a precious gift, a reminder of the beauty and wonder that surround us.

So as we prepare to depart from this beloved fishing paradise, let us carry with us the spirit of Englebright Lake – a spirit of adventure, of camaraderie, and of appreciation for the natural world. Let us cherish the memories we’ve made and look forward to the next opportunity to cast our lines into its clear blue waters. And above all, let us remember that no matter where life may take us, the magic of Englebright Lake will always hold a special place in our hearts.