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Ultimate Fishing Guide to Big Bear Lake

HomeUltimate Fishing Guide to Big Bear LakeUltimate Fishing Guide to Big Bear Lake

Take a much-needed break to a four-seasons locale full of fresh mountain air, lake calm, and small-town charm. If you’re an angler, you’ll want to pack your fishing gear and point your compass to Big Bear and enjoy it all. When these are the major features of your vacation destination, you’ll want to soak up all the outdoor fun you can while you’re here.

There are plenty of outdoor activities, including fishing, that will keep everyone busy and having fun at the lake. Make sure your fishing gear makes the packing list, but if it can’t the marinas and other fishing shops around the lake can outfit you with bait, tackle, and even a boat rental. Also, make sure you have the appropriate California fishing license, check the fishing report before you depart, and know your size and quantity restrictions before casting a line.

Types of Fish

The lake is an angler’s paradise, with a variety of species that could end up on your hook. Be prepared to hook rainbow trout, channel catfish, small and large mouth bass, crappie, and bluegill. Each species has a time and place where it’s most active, and local anglers know best, so make sure to ask for the inside scoop.

Boat Rentals & Gear

Big Bear Marina has all of the fishing essentials for your next trip. While you can charter a trip for you and your friends, you can also rent a vessel, from fishing boats to pontoons. Certain fish, like rainbow trout, favor the lake’s deeper central basin, meaning you’ll want a boat if you want to increase your chances of a catch. Visit the tackle shop for all your bait and tackle needs. When you need to verify your catch’s weight before starting to tell your latest fish story, there’s an official weigh station.

Fishing License

All anglers over the age of 15 must have a valid California fishing license to fish the waters of Big Bear Lake. The license applies too shoreline fishing as well as fishing from a boat. You can purchase a license on the California Department of Fish and Wildlife website.

Gear Up

If your gear didn’t make the packing list, don’t worry. You can get geared up at Pleasure Point Marina, Holloways Marina, Pine Knot Marina, or Big Bear Sporting Goods in town. They have all the bait, tackle, and other gear you’ll need for a productive day on the water.


If you’re going to be fishing off of a vessel, you’ll want to bring yours with you or secure a rental before you arrive. Tap places like Holloway’s Marina & RV Park, Pleasure Point Marina, Big Bear Marina, or Captain John’s Fawn Harbor & Marina. Many of these places can help you secure other craft, including jet skis, kayaks, paddleboards, and more.

Boat Launches

If you brought your own boat, you’ll have to get it into the water. There are some public boat launch ramps that are open for all vessels, both motorized and non-motorized. The East Ramp is close to Stanfield Cutoff and the Discovery Center, and West Ramp is closer to Big Bear Dam. If you need more information about launching and day use permits, contact the Big Bear Municipal Water District.

Boulder Bay Park

There are a number of outdoor activities that can keep you at Boulder Bay Park all day, and a big one is fishing. The park boasts a peaceful and scenic spot for casting a line. There’s easy access to the lake and it is great for anglers hoping to hook rainbow trout, as well as some of the other species found in the lake. Stand out on the shoreline or sit back in your camp chair for an easygoing time at the park. Take a break and enjoy the park’s other amenities, including a bandstand, restrooms, and other water activities like swimming, kayaking, or canoeing.

Grout Bay Picnic Area

The spot located on the north shore of the lake is great for Big Bear fishing and other activities, too. Trout, bass, and catfish frequent the area. You can spend all day in the area, as it has picnic tables, vault toilets, drinking water available, and other amenities.

An Adventure Pass or other interagency pass is required for entry. Keep in mind the area may be closed during eagle season (December 1-March 31) and other times to protect eagle habitats.

East Ramp

Launch your fishing vessel but stay close to the area. The ramp at the east end of the lake is also a great fishing spot. Fish from the shoreline or the nearby beach, then head out into the deeper waters of the lake on your boat.
The ramp is open for launching 6 a.m. – 6 p.m. daily.

Big Bear Fishing at Juniper Point

Located west of Stanfield Cutoff on the north side of the lake, the area is perfect for fishing, picnicking, and more. This is a day use only area. Stay all day, and enjoy access to restrooms, picnic tables, and even the Alpine Pedal Path while you fish. The small park area is where you’ll get your lake access for fishing and other lake activities. Fish from the shoreline while surrounded by beautiful trees and landscaping.

Near Your Rental

If you booked a lake front or lake view rental, good Big Bear fishing isn’t far away. Just pack up your gear and walk down the access trail nearby and you’re ready to cast a line. Many of these rentals offer private boat docks, along with some water toys when you need a break. Kayaks have also become a mode of transportation for anglers, and the unique experience combines the serenity of the paddle sport with the relaxation of fishing.

Stanfield Cutoff

The “cutoff” connects the north and south shores. It’s accessible from land off of Big Bear Boulevard and hosts shallow waters with rocky and weedy substrates. The setting offers a diverse fishing environment with good fishing from the shore as well as boats.

Windy Point

The well-known spot on the eastern shore of the lake features the breezy conditions of its name for a unique fishing experience. Anglers who visit the area often target bass, trout, catfish, and bluegill. Aside from the elusive fish, the windy nature of the area can blow your line around and make casting a challenge.

Trout Alley

An area with such a name is populated most with, of course, trout. It’s one of the hottest of hot spots for trout in the lake. Find it on the north shore, and cast a line for rainbow, grown, and cutthroat trout. The crystal-clear waters and rocky bottom of the area are the perfect habitat for the trout that live there, and anglers can enjoy bait or fly fishing.

Eagle Point

The point is a breathtaking cape alone the shoreline of the lake. Not only are there panoramic views, but there’s also an abundant fish population. You can cast a line and hope to reel in bass, trout, catfish, and crappie. Fish the area by shore or by boat, no matter the method, the picturesque views are unforgettable.

Fisherman’s Cove

You’ll have to ask the locals about it, or you might just miss out. The hidden gem is a tucked away and secluded cove offering tranquility as well as excellent fishing. The calmer waters of the cove are the perfect home for bass, trout, catfish, and crappie. You can fish from boat or shore for a fishing experience like no other on the lake.

Garstin Island

Yes, Big Bear Lake has islands! The island in the western part of the lake is accessible by boat and offers a seclusion you can’t get anywhere on the mainland. Cast a line from its shores or from your vessel in search of bass, bluegill, catfish, and trout.

Bear Valley Dam

Big Bear Lake is actually a reservoir. The lake waters are controlled by the Bear Valley Dam, which is also a great spot for fishing. Make your way up near the dam and cast a line in search of trout. Some tips including arriving early before the crow and be mindful of the swift currents near the outflow.

Carp Roundup Event

The tournament aims to control Big Bear Lake’s invasive carp population. The Big Bear Municipal Water District hosts the event that brings hundreds of hunters and anglers from across the country to the shores and waters of Big Bear. Aside from the prize of a healthier lake, there are prizes in several classes.

First-Third place is ranked for shoreline bowfishing teams, boat bowfishing teams, and fishing only hunters. There are also prizes for Biggest Goldfish, Biggest Carp – by weight, and Smallest Carp – by weight, as well as Biggest Catfish by weight. Hunters and anglers can also enter an optional 50/50 Biggest Carp Side Pool for extra prizes.

The event takes place every June.

West Ramp

The other public boat launch in Big Bear is on the west side of the lake, near Windy Point. Windy Point itself is a good fishing spot, as well as the areas around it like the ramp.

Fishin’ for 50K Trout Tournament

The tournament takes place every June in search of the lake’s trout. There are 30 tagged trout in the lake, but five of them are tagged for $10,000 each! Should an angler be lucky enough to hook all five, that’s $50,000.

The tournament has weight class prizes for adult and child age groups, as well as raffle prizes that include adult’s and children’s fishing gear. There are prizes for categories like heaviest trout, girls and boys 15 and under, and men and women 16 and older. Daily weigh-ins are conducted for each group.

Big Bear Lake WON TroutFesT

Mark your calendars to cast a line in Big Bear Lake this fall. Western Outdoor News (WON) hosts an annual tournament for anglers in search of the biggest rainbow trout in the lake. There are adult and junior categories for prizes like heaviest trout, as well as raffles and other drawings.

WON stocks the lake with thousands oof trout with the help of the Big Bear Municipal Water District. Awards ceremonies and registration is available at the Municipal Water District or the Big Bear Marina parking lot before the event. The 2024 event takes place October 5-6.

Pine Knot Landing

The area near Big Bear Marina is a convenient way to access the lake and its variety of fish species. Cast a line in search of bass, trout, catfish, and bluegill in the area. Nearby amenities include boat rentals, fishing supplies, and other services of the marina for a productive fishing excursion.

Gilner Point

According to the locals, the point is one of the best places in the summer when you’re hoping to reel in a few trout. You’ll find other species there, too, but if you’re focusing on the trout in the lake, you’ll want to make sure to cast a line in the area.

Fishing in Big Bear

You came to the area on the ultimate fishing adventure of a lifetime you hope to be full of fun and excitement, too. Start making your plans for a Big Bear Lake fishing excursion by booking a vacation rental with Big Bear Vacations. After your day’s adventures, bring your catch back and cook it in the unit’s fully equipped kitchen. Sit back with the meal at a cozy dining space, then pop some popcorn in anticipation of a favorite a movie or stretch out and warm up next to the fire in an open living space.

Choose a cozy one-bedroom cabin for a solo fishing journey or for you and your best fishing buddy, all the way up to a sprawling seven-bedroom home for a fishing adventure with all your favorite fishing pals. For extra special fishing gathering of multiple families or a large group, ask about renting multiple cabins or homes near one another – combine cabins to create accommodations that include 19 bedrooms!

Contact us to plan your ultimate fishing vacation to Big Bear today!