Mendiboure Reservoir Fishing Guide: A Remote Haven for Anglers

Mendiboure Reservoir beckons anglers to embark on a thrilling adventure in the heart of Lassen National Forest, California. As you prepare to cast your line into its tranquil waters, our comprehensive fishing guide stands ready to equip you with the knowledge and tools needed for a successful angling experience. From the diverse fish species awaiting your bait to strategic tips and gear recommendations, we’ve got you covered every step of the way.

At Mendiboure Reservoir, you’ll encounter a vibrant ecosystem teeming with rainbow trout, brown trout, kokanee salmon, and largemouth bass, each presenting a unique challenge and opportunity for excitement. Whether you’re aiming to reel in a trophy-sized trout or seeking the thrill of battling a feisty bass, the reservoir promises an abundance of angling adventures waiting to be discovered.

Steeped in rich history, Mendiboure Reservoir offers more than just exceptional fishing opportunities. Named after a dedicated rancher, the reservoir holds a legacy of resilience and adventure, accessible only to those willing to traverse its rugged terrain. With its unstocked waters and limited access, the reservoir presents a rare chance for anglers to immerse themselves in the solitude and tranquility of the wilderness.

For first-time anglers venturing to Mendiboure Reservoir, our guide offers invaluable tips to ensure a rewarding and memorable experience. From checking access conditions to understanding optimal fishing months and exploring inlet streams, we provide practical advice to enhance your chances of success while respecting the remote environment and preserving its natural beauty.

As you prepare for your angling expedition at Mendiboure Reservoir, consider our top strategies and gear recommendations tailored to maximize your fishing experience. Whether you’re trolling the main body of the reservoir for kokanee salmon or casting your line near the dam for rainbow trout, we’ve curated a selection of fishing gear to suit your needs and preferences.

With its stunning mountain scenery, pristine waters, and abundant fish populations, Mendiboure Reservoir offers an unparalleled angling adventure for enthusiasts of all levels. So pack your gear, purchase your fishing license, and prepare to immerse yourself in the untamed beauty of this remote angler’s paradise. Whether you’re seeking solitude, excitement, or simply a connection with nature, Mendiboure Reservoir welcomes you to experience the thrill of fishing in its pristine wilderness.

Types of Fish You Can Expect to Catch at Mendiboure Reservoir

  1. Rainbow Trout: Abundant and diverse, rainbow trout in Mendiboure Reservoir offer a rewarding angling experience, ranging from 12 to impressive trophy sizes exceeding 20 inches.
  2. Brown Trout: Present in the reservoir, brown trout provide a challenging fight and can reach sizes of 18-24 inches.
  3. Kokanee Salmon: During their fall spawning run, kokanee salmon migrate to the reservoir, offering exciting fishing opportunities.
  4. Largemouth Bass: While not as abundant as trout, largemouth bass add variety to the fishing experience, especially for those seeking topwater action.

A Glimpse into the History of Mendiboure Reservoir

Mendiboure Reservoir, situated in the heart of Lassen National Forest, was built to supply water to local ranchlands. Named after a dedicated rancher, the lake is both a challenge and an adventure, accessible only to those equipped with a four-wheel-drive and a spirit for the remote. Unstocked and with limited prospects, the reservoir presents an opportunity for ambitious anglers with kayaks or inflatables to enjoy a solitary fishing experience amidst the unspoiled wilderness.

Top 5 Tips for First-Time Anglers at Mendiboure Reservoir

  • Check Access Conditions: Given the challenging road conditions, ensure your vehicle has high clearance and four-wheel-drive. Understand the access challenges before planning your trip.
  • Optimal Fishing Months: The prime months for fishing are from April through June, offering better chances of success for those seeking a variety of species.
  • Explore Inlet Streams: Take advantage of the streams flowing into the reservoir, especially during spring and fall, for excellent fly fishing opportunities.
  • Weather Preparedness: Be aware of rapidly changing mountain weather conditions; dress in layers, including waterproof gear, and pack essentials for varying temperatures.
  • Respect the Remote Environment: With no on-site facilities, be self-sufficient and leave no trace behind. Respect the remote and unspoiled environment.

Top 5 Strategies and Tactics for Optimal Fishing Experience

  • Seasonal Targeting: Focus on rainbow trout near the dam and inlet streams during spring and early summer. Shift to kokanee salmon in the fall, and target largemouth bass year-round.
  • Trolling Techniques: Use effective trolling methods with lures and bait to enhance your chances of success, especially for rainbow trout and kokanee salmon.
  • Fly Fishing Expertise: Hone your fly fishing skills with nymphs and dries, particularly during the early morning and evening hours, for a successful trout catch.
  • Strategic Shore Fishing: While a boat is beneficial, explore shore fishing opportunities near the dam and public launch ramp for convenient angling.
  • Lure Selection for Bass: Opt for spin fishing with a variety of lures and baits to target largemouth bass in different areas of the reservoir.

Top 5 Recommendations for Fishing Gear at Mendiboure Reservoir

  • Medium-Weight Spinning Rods: Choose a 6 to 10-pound test spinning rod for versatility in handling rainbow and brown trout.
  • Quality Spinning Reels: Invest in a spinning reel with a smooth drag system, crucial for managing the fight of larger trout.
  • Assorted Lures and Baits: Pack a variety of lures and baits suitable for rainbow trout, kokanee salmon, and largemouth bass to adapt to changing conditions.
  • Waders and Boots: Given the rocky terrain, ensure your waders and boots are sturdy for comfortable and safe wading.
  • Explore Our Gearlist: Visit our Gearlist account for specific recommendations on fishing gear used to optimize your Mendiboure Reservoir angling experience.

Exploring Specific Fishing Locations at Mendiboure Reservoir

  1. Dam Area: Attracts large trout due to water flow and the presence of baitfish.
  2. Inlet Streams: Excellent opportunities for fly fishing for trout, especially during spring and fall.
  3. Shallow Coves: Good for targeting rainbow trout and kokanee salmon near the west shore and the public launch ramp.
  4. Main Body: Trolling the main body of the reservoir is productive for kokanee salmon and larger rainbow trout.
  5. South Shore: Offers good fishing for largemouth bass, especially near weed beds and rocky structures.

Additional Tips for a Successful Fishing Experience

  • Purchase a California Fishing License: Ensure you have the necessary license before embarking on your fishing trip.
  • Weather Awareness: Be mindful of changing weather conditions in the mountains and dress accordingly in layers.
  • Environmental Respect: Follow regulations, practice responsible fishing techniques, and leave the environment as you found it.
  • Pack Essentials: Bring plenty of food and water for your day trip, given the remote location.
  • Enjoy the Serenity: Embrace the unspoiled environment, take in the stunning scenery, and appreciate the peace of Mendiboure 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.


Mendiboure Reservoir, with its tranquil waters and rugged terrain, offers anglers a glimpse into the untouched beauty of California’s wilderness. As you conclude your angling adventure at this remote oasis, reflect on the memories made, the challenges overcome, and the serenity found amidst nature’s embrace.

Throughout your time at Mendiboure Reservoir, you’ve had the opportunity to connect with the natural world in a profound way. Whether you were casting your line into the pristine waters, exploring hidden coves, or simply taking in the breathtaking scenery, each moment spent here has been a testament to the power and beauty of the great outdoors.

As you bid farewell to Mendiboure Reservoir, remember to leave behind nothing but footprints and take with you memories that will last a lifetime. The remote beauty of this reservoir serves as a reminder of the importance of preserving and protecting our natural landscapes for future generations to enjoy.

While your time at Mendiboure Reservoir may have come to an end, the spirit of adventure and exploration ignited here will continue to inspire your future travels. Whether you’re seeking new fishing grounds or simply yearning for a moment of solitude in nature, let the memories of Mendiboure Reservoir guide you on your journey.

As you venture back into the hustle and bustle of everyday life, carry with you the lessons learned and the experiences gained during your time at Mendiboure Reservoir. Cherish the moments of tranquility, the thrill of the catch, and the camaraderie shared with fellow anglers, knowing that the spirit of adventure will always beckon you back to the wilderness.