Trout Treasures at Lily Lake: A Fishing Odyssey in Northern California

Lily Lake, with its serene waters and abundant fish species, beckons anglers to embark on an unforgettable fishing adventure in the heart of Lassen and Modoc Counties, California. As you prepare to cast your line into Lily Lake’s crystal-clear depths, this comprehensive fishing guide aims to equip you with the knowledge and insights needed to make the most of your angling experience.

Dive into the rich aquatic ecosystem of Lily Lake, teeming with a diverse array of fish species waiting to be discovered. From the spirited rainbow trout to the elusive brook trout, each encounter promises excitement and challenge for anglers of all skill levels.

Steeped in history and surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty, Lily Lake offers more than just a fishing destination—it’s a sanctuary for the soul. Nestled amidst towering conifers and scenic vistas, the lake provides a picturesque backdrop for anglers seeking solitude and rejuvenation amidst nature’s tranquility.

Facilities at Lily Lake cater to the needs of anglers and outdoor enthusiasts alike, with day-use amenities ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable fishing experience. Motorized boats may be prohibited, but the lake’s calm waters offer the perfect setting for a peaceful angling adventure.

As you prepare to embark on your fishing journey at Lily Lake, armed with expert tips and strategies, we invite you to embrace the beauty of nature and savor the simple joys of casting your line amidst the serene surroundings. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or embarking on your very first fishing expedition, Lily Lake promises a rewarding and memorable experience for all who venture to its shores. So pack your gear, gather your friends and family, and get ready to create lasting memories in this enchanting oasis of calm.

Types of Fish at Lily Lake

Delve into the aquatic wonders of Lily Lake, renowned for its vibrant fish community:

  • Rainbow Trout: Lily Lake is a haven for rainbow trout, regularly stocked by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Anglers can anticipate catching both catchable-sized trout (12 inches or longer) and fingerlings (under 12 inches).
  • Brown Trout: Coexisting with rainbow trout, Lily Lake is home to a small population of brown trout, adding diversity to the fishing experience.
  • Brook Trout: Enhancing the variety, brook trout grace the lake’s depths, offering anglers an opportunity to engage with different trout species.

A Glimpse into Lily Lake’s History

Nestled in the heart of no-man’s-land, Lily Lake stands as one of Northern California’s premier car-accessible fishing destinations. A haven for campers seeking solitude and rejuvenation, Lily Lake’s allure is heightened by the scenic conifers dotting its perimeter. The lake, stocked with catchable trout, provides a picturesque backdrop for weary visitors to recharge amidst nature’s serenity.

Facilities at Lily Lake include day-use amenities such as picnic tables, a vault toilet, and a gravel boat ramp. Motorized boats are prohibited, ensuring a tranquil fishing environment. Supplies can be procured in Davis Creek and Fort Bidwell, and fishing access remains free. For directions, traverse 146 miles east on Highway 299 from Redding to Alturas and U.S. 395. Head north on U.S. 395 for 40 miles to Forest Road 2, then turn right onto Forest Road 2, a steep dirt road (trailers not recommended), leading six miles to the Lily Lake picnic area.

Top 5 Tips for First-Time Anglers at Lily Lake

  • Seasonal Advantage: Plan your fishing escapade during the cooler spring and early summer when the water temperature is conducive to heightened fish activity.
  • Trolling Techniques: Utilize trolling as a primary fishing method, particularly in the lake’s open areas, enhancing your chances of encountering rainbow and brook trout.
  • Baitcasting Mastery: Hone your baitcasting skills, as it proves to be an effective method for enticing the diverse trout species inhabiting Lily Lake.
  • Fly Fishing Expertise: Explore the art of fly fishing, especially in areas with strategic structures like weed beds and rock formations, providing a dynamic angling experience.
  • Bait Variety: Experiment with a range of baits, including minnows, nightcrawlers, and artificial lures like spinners and crankbaits, to appeal to Lily Lake’s eclectic fish population.

Top 5 Strategies and Tactics for Optimal Fishing at Lily Lake

  • Seasonal Timing: Capitalize on the spring and early summer seasons when the water is cooler, ensuring the fish are more active, resulting in a more fruitful angling experience.
  • Strategic Shore Selection: Concentrate your fishing efforts on the more productive north shore, which hosts a public boat launch and various excellent spots for shore fishing.
  • Mastering Trolling Techniques: Embrace trolling as a strategic fishing tactic, covering more extensive areas of the lake and increasing your chances of encountering rainbow and brook trout.
  • Adapting with Baitcasting and Fly Fishing: Diversify your angling methods with both baitcasting and fly fishing, adapting to Lily Lake’s diverse conditions and structures.
  • Bait Variety: Tailor your bait selection to the preferences of the trout species, experimenting with minnows, nightcrawlers, and artificial lures for a dynamic fishing experience.

Top 5 Recommendations for Fishing Gear at Lily Lake

  • Fly Fishing Gear: Opt for a 4 to 6-weight fly rod to maximize your fly-fishing experience in Lily Lake’s clear waters.
  • Non-Motorized Boat: Choose a small, non-motorized boat to comply with the lake’s regulations, offering a peaceful angling experience.
  • Trolling Setup: Equip yourself with trolling setups featuring minnow imitations or small spoons for strategic trolling, enhancing your chances of a successful catch.
  • Baitcasting and Fly Gear: Carry both baitcasting and fly fishing gear to adapt to different conditions and structures in Lily Lake.
  • Explore Our Gearlist: Visit our Gearlist account for precise gear recommendations tailored to Lily Lake, ensuring an optimized angling experience with the exact equipment we endorse.

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.


Lily Lake, with its tranquil waters and vibrant fish population, stands as a testament to the beauty and bounty of nature in Lassen and Modoc Counties, California. As your angling adventure at Lily Lake draws to a close, reflect on the moments of serenity and excitement that have filled your time on its shores.

Throughout your fishing expedition, Lily Lake has provided more than just a fishing spot—it has been a sanctuary, a refuge from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The gentle lapping of the waves, the chorus of birdsong, and the whisper of the wind through the trees have all contributed to an atmosphere of peace and tranquility.

While your time at Lily Lake may be coming to an end, the memories you’ve made and the experiences you’ve shared will linger long after you’ve packed up your gear. Whether it’s the thrill of landing your first rainbow trout or the quiet moments spent gazing out across the lake, each memory is a testament to the beauty and wonder of this natural oasis.

As you prepare to leave Lily Lake behind, take a moment to express gratitude for the opportunity to connect with nature and immerse yourself in its beauty. Remember to tread lightly, leaving only footprints behind, and to carry with you the lessons learned and the experiences gained during your time in this idyllic corner of the world.

And so, as you bid farewell to Lily Lake and set off on your journey homeward, may you carry with you the peace and tranquility of this special place. Until next time, may your heart be filled with the echoes of laughter, the joy of adventure, and the promise of new horizons.