Fishing at Lake Clementine: Unlocking the Tranquil Beauty of Sierra Nevada’s Hidden Gem

Clementine Lake, tucked away amidst the tranquil foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, emerges as a haven for fishing enthusiasts craving an escape into nature’s bounty. Spanning 350 acres, this serene reservoir boasts a rich diversity of fish species, promising anglers a rewarding experience year-round. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just dipping your toes into the angling world, Clementine Lake invites you to embark on an adventure brimming with possibilities.

From the vibrant dance of rainbow trout to the elusive charm of brown trout lurking in the depths, Clementine Lake offers a playground for anglers of all stripes. With regular stocking ensuring a steady supply of fish, every cast holds the promise of excitement and anticipation. And let’s not forget the bass—whether you’re targeting largemouth or smallmouth, these feisty fighters are sure to put your skills to the test.

But the allure of Clementine Lake extends beyond its aquatic inhabitants. Steeped in history and nestled within the Auburn State Recreation Area, this picturesque lake beckons adventurers to explore its brushy shoreline and hidden coves. With a boat as your trusty companion, you’ll have the freedom to navigate the waters and discover bass-rich hotspots concealed amidst the rugged terrain.

For first-time anglers, mastering the art of fishing at Clementine Lake is as much about strategy as it is about technique. From utilizing live bait for bass to experimenting with trolling techniques for trout, there’s no shortage of tactics to try. And with our top tips to guide you—from timing your fishing expeditions to exploring hidden coves—you’ll be well-equipped to reel in the catch of a lifetime.

As you gear up for your adventure at Clementine Lake, make sure to arm yourself with the right equipment. From lightweight spinning rods for trout to sturdy gear for nighttime catfish expeditions, our Gearlist has you covered. With precise recommendations tailored to the unique fishing landscape of Clementine Lake, you’ll be ready to tackle whatever the waters may throw your way.

So, what are you waiting for? Dive into the beauty of Clementine Lake and let the thrill of the chase ignite your passion for fishing. Whether you’re seeking solitude amidst nature’s embrace or forging lasting memories with friends and family, Clementine Lake promises an experience that’s as unforgettable as it is rewarding. Explore our Gearlist, pack your tackle box, and set sail for an angling adventure you won’t soon forget.

Types of Fish to Expect:

  1. Rainbow Trout: Abundant and averaging 10-12 inches, they readily take PowerBait, spinners, and small flies. Regular stocking throughout the year ensures consistent opportunities for anglers.
  2. Brown Trout: Less common but larger, averaging 15-18 inches. Target them with nymphs, streamers, and small crankbaits during fall and winter.
  3. Largemouth Bass: Thriving in the diverse habitat, averaging 2-3 pounds. They readily take crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and plastic worms during spring and fall.
  4. Smallmouth Bass: Less common but offering an exciting fight. Jigs and crayfish imitations are effective, especially around rocky shorelines and drop-offs during summer and fall.
  5. Carp: Providing a unique challenge, especially for fly anglers. Surface baits and dough baits are effective methods during spring and summer.
  6. Catfish: Primarily channel catfish, offering a fun night fishing experience. Cut bait and stink baits are effective during summer and fall.


Lake Clementine, a dammed-up gorge on the North Fork American River, is part of the Auburn State Recreation Area, sitting at an elevation of 1,200 feet. Known for its brushy shoreline, it’s a lake best explored by boat, providing anglers with the advantage of reaching bass-rich areas near the brush.

Top 5 Tips for First-Time Anglers:

  • Boat Advantage: Due to the brushy shoreline, a boat is essential for effective fishing. Boaters can strategically cast along the brush, targeting the often-hanging bass.
  • Spring and Summer Fishing: Focus your angling efforts during late spring and throughout the summer. Early mornings are ideal to avoid the lake’s increased daytime activity.
  • Live Bait for Bass: Utilize live crawdads, crickets, or nightcrawlers for optimal smallmouth bass action. Crawdad crankbaits and plastic worms also prove effective.
  • Trout Fishing Upstream: Head upstream in spring for cooler waters, anchoring your boat and using nightcrawlers for the modest population of trout.
  • Experimentation Pays Off: While the lake isn’t stocked by the DFG, savvy anglers can experiment with trolling techniques, particularly from dam buoys up to Robber’s Roost.

Top 5 Strategies and Tactics:

  • Seasonal Adjustments: Tailor your fishing tactics based on the season. Spring and fall are peak times for rainbow, brown trout, and largemouth bass.
  • Night Fishing for Catfish: Enhance your summer and fall experience with nighttime catfish fishing, using cut bait and stink baits.
  • Boat Tactics: Make the most of your boat by trolling near the dam outlet for rainbow trout and kokanee salmon. Explore deeper sections for a variety of species.
  • Target Rocky Shorelines: Smallmouth bass thrive near rocky shorelines and drop-offs. Use jigs and crayfish imitations for an exciting battle.
  • Explore Hidden Cove: Venture to the east side of the lake to Hidden Valley Cove for excellent brown trout fishing, particularly during fall and winter.

Top 5 Recommendations for Fishing Gear:

  • Trout Gear: Light to medium-weight spinning or baitcasting gear is suitable. Experiment with PowerBait, spinners, and small flies.
  • Bass Tackle: For largemouth and smallmouth bass, use crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and plastic worms with light to medium-weight spinning or baitcasting gear.
  • Catfish Equipment: Sturdy gear is recommended for nighttime channel catfish fishing. Equip yourself with cut bait or stink baits for the best results.
  • Carp Challenge: Target carp with light to medium-weight spinning or baitcasting gear, using surface baits and dough baits for a unique challenge.
  • Explore Our Gearlist: Visit our Gearlist account for precise recommendations on specific fishing gear to optimize your angling experience at Lake Clementine.

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.

Clementine Lake, a serene sanctuary nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, leaves an indelible mark on all who venture into its tranquil waters. As the sun dips below the horizon, painting the sky in hues of orange and pink, anglers depart with hearts full of memories and reels full of fish. Yet, their journey at Clementine Lake is far from over.

Reflecting on the day’s adventures, it becomes clear that Clementine Lake is more than just a fishing destination—it’s a place of solace and connection, where nature’s beauty serves as a backdrop for moments of camaraderie and discovery. Whether it’s swapping stories with fellow anglers or witnessing the thrill of a child’s first catch, every experience at Clementine Lake is a testament to the power of the outdoors to unite and inspire.

But beyond the thrill of the chase and the satisfaction of a well-earned catch lies a deeper appreciation for the delicate balance of ecosystems and the importance of conservation. As stewards of these waters, anglers play a vital role in ensuring that future generations can continue to enjoy the wonders of Clementine Lake for years to come.

As the seasons change and the landscape evolves, so too does the allure of Clementine Lake. Each visit offers a new opportunity to explore its hidden coves, test out new fishing techniques, and forge lasting memories with loved ones. Whether you’re casting a line from the shore or gliding across the water in a boat, the magic of Clementine Lake never fails to captivate and inspire.

As the stars twinkle overhead and the night envelops the lake in a blanket of darkness, anglers can’t help but feel a sense of gratitude for the experiences shared and the memories made. And as they pack up their gear and bid Clementine Lake farewell for the day, they carry with them a renewed sense of purpose and appreciation for the natural world.

So, as you reflect on your time at Clementine Lake, remember that the journey is far from over. Whether you’re planning your next fishing expedition or simply reminiscing about the moments that made your visit special, Clementine Lake will always hold a special place in your heart.