King salmon caught with a fishing guide on Folsom Lake, California

Folsom Lake, California Fishing Guide

Written by Luke Campbell
August 9, 2023

Last Updated on October 2, 2023 by Boatsetter Team

Picture yourself catching a beautiful bass or trout on a lake in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas. Our guide to fishing Folsom Lake will help you make that image a reality, with everything from fishing tips to recommended bait and tackle shops and boat rentals. Plus, we’ll fill you in on boat ramps to access the lake, where to dock and dine, and other activities to enjoy while visiting this scenic gem northeast of Sacramento, California.

Hilltop view of Folsom Lake, California

Licensing & regulations

Fish species

Folsom Lake is home to a variety of fish to give you options to target throughout the year, even including salmon which are a rare opportunity when it comes to lake fishing.

  • Rainbow trout are stocked in Folsom Lake by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), and you can even check their Folsom Lake fish planting (aka stocking) schedule.
  • Largemouth Bass: Folsom Lake has a healthy population of largemouth bass, producing catches over 10 lbs.
  • Smallmouth Bass: Though not as abundant as largemouth bass, Folsom Lake is still one of the best lakes in California to target smallmouth bass.
  • Spotted Bass: Their population’s been growing here, so if your eyes are keen, you may spot some of these too, especially around rocks.
  • Catfish: Folsom Lake is home to several catfish species, including channel catfish and bullhead catfish. If they’re not biting, don’t be bullheaded and channel your energy towards another species.
  • Bluegill and Sunfish: Panfish, such as bluegill and other sunfish species, are common and are a fun option for beginner anglers or anyone looking for a relaxed fishing experience.
  • Striped Bass: Striped bass migrate through Folsom Lake, but the timing of their migration depends on factors such as water levels and temperature. They are very fun to target when migrating upstream through Folsom Lake.
  • King (Chinook) Salmon are also stocked intermittently in Folsom Lake by CDFW when available among the state’s overall stocking pool, making Folsom Lake one of the rare landlocked lakes where you can catch a salmon.

King salmon caught with a fishing guide on Folsom Lake, California

When to fish

The best answer is whenever you can, but here’s some info to help decide.

  • Seasons: During the summer, you can enjoy plenty of fishing action as well as cool off and beat the heat in the lake. When temperatures are cooler in the spring and fall, rainbow trout are more active and a popular target. The winter still offers good fishing opportunity with much less boat traffic from non-anglers.
  • Time of Day: In addition to fish typically being more active in the morning, heading out early is recommended since Folsom Lake can get crowded with other boats and jet skis, particularly on weekends.
  • Fishing Reports: Check an app like Fishbrain for recent catches logged on Folsom Lake, intel from local tackle shops like Sportsman’s Warehouse’s Folsom Lake fishing report, or even social media groups like Folsom Lake Fishing Report on Facebook.

Bass boat and a wakeboard boat on Folsom Lake, California

Bait & tackle near Folsom Lake

With always-changing conditions, it’s often best to get recommendations from local tackle suppliers based on what they’ve seen is working or what their customers have been catching fish with recently.

  • (20 mins from Folsom Lake) Bass Pro Shops in Rocklin provides all your big box needs, just northeast of the lake.
  • (35 mins from Folsom Lake) If you’ll be targeting fish on the fly, Fly Fishing Specialties can satisfy your fly fishing needs and provide local knowledge ahead of your trip.
  • (30 mins from Folsom Lake) Fisherman’s Warehouse has been serving northern California anglers for over 35 years, with a location in Sacramento.

Boat launch access

If trailering a boat to Folsom Lake, you have 4 options spanning the west, east, north and south sides of the lake.

  • West: Granite Bay Boat Ramp
  • East: Browns Ravine Boat Ramp
  • North: Rattlesnake Bar Boat Launch… Don’t let the name confuse you… Rattlesnake Bar is not a local drinking hole but rather the name of the road the launch is located on. This is just your typical boat ramp.
  • South: Folsom Point Boat Ramp

Dock ‘n’ dine

  • Anchored Eats offers both a floating food boat near Granite Beach and a concession stand, ‘The Shack’ on the shores of Folsom Lake’s Granite Bay.

Boat rental & guided fishing options

The fleet of Folsom Lake boat rentals on Boatsetter is always evolving! Here are some of our recommended fishing boat options:

Pontoon boat for renting on Folsom Lake, California

Enjoy your day on Folsom Lake, and share your catches with us on social media — tag #BSCatchoftheWeek for a chance to be featured by Boatsetter Fishing.

About Boatsetter Fishing

Boatsetter offers over 50,000 boats to rent or charter – for anglers, that means you can rent everything from bass boats or pontoons to fish freshwater to center consoles or skiffs to fish saltwater from inshore to offshore. Your next personal best or bucket list catch is here!

Make a trophy catch on one of our fishing boat rentals

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