Martis Creek Reservoir Fishing Guide: Unveiling the Tranquil Waters of Trophy Trout

Martis Creek Reservoir invites anglers to embark on an idyllic fishing escapade, nestled amidst the picturesque landscapes of California. In this guide, we unravel the wonders of Martis Creek Reservoir’s wild trout fishery, providing insights into the diverse fish species inhabiting its serene waters and unveiling the strategies and locales essential for an unforgettable angling experience.

Home to a vibrant array of fish species, Martis Creek Reservoir promises thrilling encounters with its prized inhabitants. Rainbow trout reign supreme here, renowned for their striking colors, spirited fights, and delectable flavor, ensuring anglers a rewarding experience throughout the year. Additionally, the reservoir hosts brown trout, exhibiting strength and resilience, particularly active during the summer and fall seasons.

A glance into Martis Creek Reservoir’s history reveals a sanctuary for fly fishers, marked by a commitment to catch-and-release practices to safeguard the ecosystem’s sustainability. Successful anglers demonstrate patience and skill, employing long leaders with small flies to outwit the reservoir’s intelligent trout population, nurtured by seasoned fly fishers practicing catch-and-release.

For first-time anglers venturing into Martis Creek Reservoir’s tranquil waters, patience and adaptability are key virtues. Understanding the sporadic bite patterns and mastering the art of catch-and-release techniques are crucial for maximizing fishing success. Whether it’s utilizing small flies or exploring various fly fishing techniques, adapting to the reservoir’s unique conditions enhances the angling experience.

To equip yourself for a successful fishing excursion at Martis Creek Reservoir, investing in the right gear is essential. A 5 to 6 weight fly rod paired with small flies and floating lines is recommended for targeting rainbow trout. Additionally, float tubes or prams provide optimal access to fishing spots, ensuring an immersive and enjoyable angling adventure.

Immerse yourself in the tranquility of Martis Creek Reservoir’s pristine waters, where the pursuit of trophy trout becomes an art form. With a focus on responsible angling practices, breathtaking scenery, and challenging fishing conditions, this reservoir offers a sanctuary for anglers seeking a memorable fishing experience. Secure your California fishing license, respect local regulations, and embark on a journey to unlock the secrets of Martis Creek Reservoir’s captivating wild trout fishery.

Types of Fish You Can Expect to Catch Here

  1. Rainbow Trout: Renowned for their vibrant colors, spirited fights, and delicate flavor, rainbow trout dominate the waters of Martis Creek Reservoir. Their activity peaks in spring and fall, offering year-round opportunities for anglers.
  2. Brown Trout: Exhibiting strength and resilience, brown trout are another sought-after species in Martis Creek Reservoir. Most active in the summer and fall, they thrive in cooler water temperatures.
  3. Cutthroat Trout: The reservoir is home to Lahontan cutthroat trout, a native species prized for its delicate flavor and striking coloration.
  4. Mottled Sculpin: While not typically targeted, mottled sculpins are a common sight and serve as a food source for larger fish.
  5. Crayfish: Abundant in the reservoir, crayfish are a primary food source for many fish species, providing anglers with additional opportunities for a varied catch.

A Glimpse into History

Martis Creek Reservoir stands as a landmark victory for fly fishers, offering a unique sanctuary for wild trout. Catch-and-release fishing is mandated to ensure the sustainability of the ecosystem, with occasional stockings of fingerling Eagle Lake trout and cutthroat trout fingerlings. Successful anglers at Martis Creek Reservoir display patience, persistence, and employ long leaders with small flies due to the trout’s intelligence, honed by skilled fly fishers practicing catch-and-release.

Top 5 Tips for First-Time Anglers

  • Patience is Key: Successful fishing at Martis Creek Reservoir often involves patience and persistence, with bites occurring in one-hour periods during a hatch.
  • Use Long Leaders: Employ very long leaders on your fly lines, paired with small flies, even as small as size 22 dry flies and size 18 nymphs.
  • Understand the Bite Patterns: Recognize that trout bites are sporadic, and understanding the hatch patterns is crucial for successful angling.
  • Adapt to Catch-and-Release Techniques: Familiarize yourself with catch-and-release techniques, as they are integral to the fishing experience at Martis Creek Reservoir.
  • Opt for Early and Late Hours: Fish are most active during the early morning and evening, so plan your fishing trips accordingly.

Top 5 Strategies and Tactics for Optimal Fishing

  • Utilize Small Flies: Employ very small flies, such as size 22 dry flies and size 18 nymphs, to entice the intelligent trout.
  • Experiment with Fly Fishing Techniques: Vary your fly fishing techniques, including dry fly fishing, nymph fishing, and streamer fishing, to adapt to changing conditions.
  • Focus on Catch-and-Release Practices: Understand and adhere to catch-and-release regulations, including the use of single, barbless hooks and artificial baits.
  • Use Floating Lines with Sinking Patterns: Fly fishers often arrive with float tubes or prams, utilizing sinking lines with leech or woolly-worm patterns and a strip retrieve.
  • Respect Motor Restrictions: Note that motors are prohibited on the water, and fly fishers commonly use float tubes or prams for optimal access.

Top 5 Recommendations for Fishing Gear

  • 5-6 Weight Fly Rod: For those targeting rainbow trout, a 5 to 6 weight fly rod with a matching reel and floating line is recommended.
  • Small Flies: Equip yourself with small flies, including size 22 dry flies and size 18 nymphs, to match the hatch patterns.
  • Float Tubes or Prams: Due to motor restrictions, anglers often use float tubes or prams for optimal access to fishing spots.
  • Check Our Gearlist: Explore our Gearlist account for exact gear recommendations, including rods, reels, and other essentials for maximizing your fishing experience.
  • Explore Gearlist for Detailed Gear Recommendations: Visit our Gearlist for specific recommendations on rods, reels, lures, and more, tailored for optimizing your angling adventure at Martis Creek Reservoir.

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.


Martis Creek Reservoir, a sanctuary for anglers seeking the thrill of wild trout fishing, stands as a testament to the beauty and serenity of California’s natural landscapes. As anglers conclude their fishing expeditions on its tranquil waters, they carry with them cherished memories and the satisfaction of connecting with nature in its purest form.

Throughout the fishing season, Martis Creek Reservoir offers a haven for both seasoned anglers and newcomers alike, each visitor leaving with a deeper appreciation for the art of angling and the delicate balance of the ecosystem. The catch-and-release practices upheld by anglers ensure the preservation of the reservoir’s diverse fish population, paving the way for future generations to enjoy its bounty.

Reflecting on the history and legacy of Martis Creek Reservoir, one can’t help but marvel at the resilience of its trout and the dedication of those who have safeguarded its pristine waters. From the early days of its establishment to the present, the reservoir has remained a cherished destination for anglers seeking solace and adventure amidst nature’s splendor.

As anglers bid farewell to Martis Creek Reservoir, they carry with them more than just the fish they’ve caught; they carry stories of camaraderie, moments of triumph, and a deep-seated respect for the environment. Each cast of the line becomes a tribute to the reservoir’s rich heritage and a testament to the timeless allure of the angler’s craft.

In the heart of California’s wilderness, Martis Creek Reservoir stands as a symbol of tranquility and resilience, beckoning anglers to immerse themselves in its waters and forge memories that will last a lifetime. As the sun sets on another day of fishing, anglers depart with hearts full of gratitude and anticipation, already dreaming of their next angling adventure in this cherished reservoir.