Lower Bear River Reservoir Fishing Guide: Unlocking the Secrets of a Mountain Gem

Nestled amidst the towering peaks and lush greenery of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Lower Bear River Reservoir offers a serene and rewarding fishing experience for anglers of all skill levels. Located just 11 miles west of Placerville, California, this reservoir is renowned for its healthy populations of rainbow trout, brown trout, and kokanee salmon.

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

Types of Fish You Can Expect to Catch at Bear River Reservoir

  1. Rainbow Trout: The most abundant fish species in the reservoir, rainbow trout are known for their vibrant coloration and fighting spirit. They typically range from 10 to 15 inches in length and are found throughout the reservoir, both in shallow and deeper waters.
  2. Brown Trout: Also prevalent in the reservoir, brown trout are valued for their elusive nature and robust size. These fish commonly range from 12 to 20 inches in length, with some specimens reaching even larger sizes. They prefer deeper waters and rocky areas.
  3. Kokanee Salmon: Prized for their delicate flavor and firm texture, kokanee salmon make their annual migration to Bear River Reservoir during the spring and summer months. These fish typically range from 12 to 16 inches in length and are found in the cooler, deeper waters of the reservoir.

A Glimpse into Bear River Reservoir’s Rich History

As you rise out of the San Joaquin Valley on Highway 88 and venture east into the mountains, Bear River Reservoir is the first of three quality mountain lakes you come to. With a lower elevation (at 5,800 feet), Bear River Reservoir has one advantage over the others. The ice here melts off sooner than at Silver and Caples Lakes. Correspondingly, the spring stocks and fishing get going earlier, too.

Another edge is that the Department of Fish and Game and the private resort here (Bear River Resort) each stock the lake. The DFG stocks the lower reservoir with rainbows, browns, and brookies, all in the 10- to 12-inch class. On top of that, the resort dumps in thousands more trout, including some in the trophy-size range. These plants join a small resident population of large brown trout.

You get the picture: lots of fish. Almost every week someone catches a trout in the 5- to 10-pound class. The people at the resort do a good job of providing detailed fish reports.

This is a deep, decent-sized lake, at 725 acres. During the summer, most trollers use leadcore trolling line to get the desired depth—and catch the majority of the fish. People shore-fishing at the campgrounds on either side of the boat ramp on the western end of the lake do only fair.

The upper lake has primarily small rainbow trout (dinkers galore), but it does provide a decent short hike.

On summer weekends, campground reservations are essential.

Top 5 Tips for First-Time Anglers at Bear River Reservoir

  • Know the Seasons: Plan your fishing trip during the spring and summer months for the best chances of catching rainbow trout, brown trout, and kokanee salmon. Different techniques may be required during different seasons.
  • Explore Various Fishing Spots: Bear River Reservoir offers a variety of fishing spots, from tranquil coves to rocky shorelines. Consider trying different locations like the upper reservoir, middle reservoir, lower reservoir, Bear River inlet, and the dam area for diverse fishing experiences.
  • Be Weather Prepared: Given the varying mountain weather, pack accordingly. Bring sunscreen, a hat, plenty of water, and layers of clothing to adapt to changing conditions.
  • Respect the Environment: Bear River Reservoir is part of the Eldorado National Forest, a protected natural area. Practice Leave No Trace principles, respect wildlife, and minimize your impact on the environment.
  • Plan for Crowds: Bear River Reservoir is a popular destination, especially on weekends and holidays. Make campground reservations in advance and plan your trip considering potential crowds.

Top 5 Strategies and Tactics for Optimal Fishing

  • Seasonal Planning: Tailor your visit based on the season. Spring and summer are ideal, but different months may offer better fishing opportunities. Seek local insights or consider hiring a guide for a more informed experience.
  • Early Morning and Dusk: Plan your fishing trips during the early morning and dusk. These times often see increased trout activity, providing a higher chance of successful catches.
  • Trolling Techniques: Utilize trolling as an effective method for catching trout in Bear River Reservoir. Experiment with leadcore trolling line and various lures to find the most successful trolling techniques.
  • Kokanee Salmon Migration: During the spring and summer, focus on the Bear River inlet, where the kokanee salmon migrate. This area can provide excellent opportunities to catch these prized fish.
  • Adapt to Changing Depths: Fish in different depths to target varying trout species. The dam area offers good fishing opportunities, especially in the early morning or late afternoon hours.

Top 5 Recommendations for Fishing Gear

  • Rod and Reel Combo: Invest in a quality rod and reel combo suitable for trout and salmon fishing. A medium-action spinning rod paired with a reliable reel is a versatile choice for Bear River Reservoir.
  • Lures for Brown Trout: Choose lures that mimic the natural prey of brown trout, such as crankbaits, swimbaits, and soft plastics. Vary your approach to find the most enticing presentation.
  • Lures for Rainbow Trout: Carry an assortment of lures for rainbow trout, including spinners, spoons, and minnow imitations. Rainbow trout in Bear River Reservoir are known for their voracious appetite, making these lures effective.
  • Kokanee Salmon Gear: If targeting kokanee salmon, equip yourself with downriggers and dodgers. Use lures like hoochies and spinners at varying depths to attract these salmon during their migration.
  • Explore Our Gearlist: Visit our Gearlist account for detailed recommendations on specific fishing gear we use to optimize your angling experience at Bear River Reservoir.

Explore Our Gearlist for a Tailored Fishing Experience

Visit our Gearlist account to discover the exact fishing gear we use to maximize your angling experience at Bear River Reservoir. From rods and reels to specific lures, our recommendations are designed to enhance your chances of a successful and enjoyable fishing adventure.

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.

As you embark on your fishing expedition at Bear River Reservoir, armed with knowledge and quality gear, savor the tranquility of this mountain haven. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a first-time visitor, Bear River Reservoir promises a unique and rewarding fishing experience amidst the breathtaking beauty of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.