Fishing in Sonoma County


Looking for a place to go fishing in Sonoma County?

If you want to go fishing in Sonoma County you’ve come to the right place.

If you’re looking to plan a family fishing trip, teach your son or daughter how to fish for the first time, or want to find a close place to go fishing after work or school — Kyle Kazak has the taken the time to assemble a comprehensive list of places to fish throughout Sonoma County, California.

The Fishing in Sonoma County list includes lakes, ponds, rivers and streams along with details about each location such as surface area, elevation, Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) ID and the fish species present.

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Fountaingrove Lake Freshwater

Fountaingrove Lake - Sonoma County, CA

  • Type: Reservoir (Fountaingrove Dam)
  • City: Santa Rosa, CA
  • GNIS ID: 1799345
  • Area: 33 acres (13 ha)
  • Surface elevation: 495′ (151 m)
  • Fish: Bluegill, Brown bullhead, Largemouth bass

Lake Ralphine Freshwater

Lake Ralphine - Sonoma County, CA

  • Type: Reservoir
  • City: Santa Rosa, CA
  • GNIS ID: 231194
  • Area: 19 acres (7.7 ha)
  • Surface elevation: 256′ (78 m)
  • Fish: Bluegill, Brown bullhead, Carp, Channel catfish, Largemouth bass, Rainbow trout

Lake Sonoma Freshwater

Lake Sonoma - Sonoma County, CA

  • Type: Reservoir (Warm Springs Dam)
  • City: Healdsburg, CA
  • GNIS ID: 234892
  • Area: 3,600 acres (1,500 ha)
  • Surface elevation: 200′ (61 m)
  • Fish: Largemouth bass, Bluegill, Channel catfish, Brown bullhead, Redear sunfish

Lucchesi Park Pond Freshwater

Lucchesi Park Pond - Sonoma County, CA

  • Type: Reservoir
  • City: Petaluma, CA
  • GNIS ID: n/a
  • Area: 4.5 acres (1.8 ha)
  • Surface elevation: 36′ (11 m)
  • Fish: Black crappie, Brown bullhead, Channel catfish, Common carp, Bluegill, Largemouth bass, Koi carp, Smallmouth bass

Petaluma River Brackish

Petaluma River - Sonoma County, CA

  • Type: Stream
  • City: Petaluma, CA
  • GNIS ID: 253749
  • Area: 5,000 acres (2,023 ha)
  • Length: 18 miles (29 km)
  • Surface elevation: 332′ (101 m)
  • Fish: Black bullhead, Bluegill, Central Coast coho salmon, Common carp, Golden shiner, Green sturgeon, Green sunfish, Heardhead, Inland threespine stickleback, Pacific lamprey, Redear sunfish, River lamprey, Sacramento hitch, Sacramento pikeminnow, Sacramento splittail, Sacramento sucker, Striped bass, Western brook lamprey, Western mosquitofish, White sturgeon

Roberts Lake Freshwater

Roberts Lake - Sonoma County, CA

  • Type: Reservoir (Roberts Lake Dam)
  • City: Rohnert Park, CA
  • GNIS ID: 1799646
  • Area: 5 acres (2.0 ha)
  • Surface elevation: 98′ (30 m)
  • Fish: Black crappie, Bluegill, Brown bullhead, Channel catfish, Common carp, Green sunfish, Koi carp, Largemouth bass, Rainbow trout

Salmon Creek Freshwater

Salmon Creek - Sonoma County, CA

Salmon Creek is an 18.3-mile-long (29.5 km) stream in western Sonoma County, California that springs from coastal hills west of the town of Occidental and empties into the Pacific Ocean north of Bodega Head. Salmon Creek is home to Steelhead Trout and the nearly extirpated Coho Salmon.

  • Type: Stream
  • City: Occidental, Freestone, Bodega & Salmon Creek
  • GNIS ID: 232281
  • Source: 2 mi (3 km) west of Occidental, CA
  • Inflow: Nolan Creek, Tannery Creek, Fay Creek, Coleman Valley Creek, Finley Creek
  • Outflow: Pacific Ocean
  • Length: 18.3 miles (29.5 km)
  • Surface elevation: 0′ (0 m)
  • Fish: California Roach, Coastrange Sculpin, Coho salmon, Pacific Lamprey, Pacific Staghorn Sculpin, Prickly Sculpin, Steelhead/steelhead trout, Riffle Sculpin, River Lamprey, Sacramento Sucker, Shiner Perch, Starry Flounder, Surf Smelt, Threespine Stickleback, Tidewater Goby, Topsmelt, Western Brook Lamprey
  • Additional resources: Salmon Creek Estuary Study

Spring Lake Freshwater

Spring Lake - Sonoma County, CA

  • Also known as: Santa Rosa Creek Reservoir
  • Type: Reservoir (Santa Rosa Creek Dam)
  • City: Santa Rosa, CA
  • GNIS ID: 232564
  • Area: 154 acres (62 ha)
  • Surface elevation: 292′ (89 m)
  • Fish: Black crappie, Brown bullhead, Channel catfish, Common carp, Bluegill, Largemouth bass, Smallmouth bass, White crappie
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18 comments on “Fishing in Sonoma County

  1. In my opinion the fishing in Santa Rosa is terrible. I don’t Bass fish anymore unless I am really bored. Apparently there are Bass in these waters but I’ve never seen them or seen anyone catch one. Many years ago Spring Lake produced a record largemouth, but those days are long gone now I’m afraid. I am mainly after catfish, trout and edible-size sunfish. I have fished Lakes Ralphine and Spring a half dozen times in 2020 and only caught one fish – the smallest bluegill I have ever caught. I have never even had bites that would suggest that these waters contain adult fish – lots of minnows though!. I have fished Fountaingrove Reservoir a few times and never got a single bite. Fish and Game should focus their stocking efforts to channel catfish in Sonoma County and put less emphasis on trout. It’s too hot up here and the fisheries are too shallow, warm and full of weeds. Perfect for catfish!!! Reservoirs experience heavy fishing pressure and the fish have nowhere to go. People also tend to pollute the area with all their trash.

    Many many years ago I did a fair amount of fishing on the Russian River in the Guerneville area. The fishing isn’t great on the Russian but there is much more variety and opportunities throughout the year as fish make their runs. The river is the only place I would expect to get any action or catch anything edible here in Sonoma County – unless you enjoy catching and releasing the ever present and somewhat redundant under sized Bass.

    Lately I have been going out to Bodega Bay in search of surf perch. I haven’t had much luck. I used to catch a lot of perch In Humboldt County, but the ocean was a lot calmer up there. Around Bodega Bay the tides surge and the waves are big enough to surf which means my measly fishing tackle cant reach the 100 yards that I need to in order to get passed the breakers. I guess I need a bigger pole and larger weights. I also don’t pay enough attention to the tide charts.

    I have not yet fished Lake Sonoma or Petaluma River. I will try Petaluma River soon, it has what it takes to produce fish. I read that Lake Sonoma has poor shore-fishing access which seems stupid. Why hasn’t/doesn’t government agencies or a nonprofit clear a place for people to access and enjoy the Lake? I guess they don’t want people’s business/recreation there.

    Fishing is Santa Rosa isn’t what I’ve heard stories about from 20 years ago . I haven’t even got a single good bite! It is fine for kids or as an excuse to get out of the house, but Santa Rosa is known for good vineyards, not good fisheries.

  2. Hi Vincent,

    In Sonoma County, I’d recommend going to fish at Robert Lake in Rohnert Park. There are lots of panfish like bluegill and green sunfish and they’re pretty easy to catch using very small hooks with cheese or bread. I like using the Kraft Singles because it’s really malleable and you can roll it into a small ball around the hook. Bread works really well too but it’s harder to mold onto the hook and you run the risk of catching a carp when fishing at Roberts Lake using bread. I’d also recommend using a bobber when fishing for sunfish.

    Please let me know if you have any additional questions.

    Good luck.


    Kyle Kazak

  3. Carolyn,

    In Sonoma County, your best bet is to go to one of the lakes where the California Department of Fish and Wildlife regularly plants catchable rainbow trout. As of right now, Lake Ralphine is your best bet.

    I would keep your eye on the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Fish Planting Schedule for Sonoma County. As of right now, it doesn’t look like they’ve planted rainbow trout in Lake Ralphine since the middle of March (03/08/2020 – 03/14/2020). The trout plants can happen anytime so it’s best to check that link daily.

    There still could be some holdover trout lingering around and your best bet to catch them from the shore would be right in front of the dam. The dam at Lake Ralphine is along the same shoreline as the little boat launch. You can’t miss the large earthen dam. The trout like to sit out maybe 50 feet or so in the deeper, cooler water.

    Let me know if you have any other questions and good luck!


    Kyle Kazak

  4. Kyle, I’ve been taking my 6 year old grandson fishing to many lakes in Sonoma County during this COVID-19 summer. Thanks to your website we found Lake Nagasawa. He’s happy catching bluegill and sunfish and has caught several large bass on private property ponds so he knows how to fish. He really wants to catch a trout that he can eat. It looks like our only option is Lake Ralphine. We have been there a few times so far. Is it possible to catch a legal size trout from the bank? If it is do you have a recommendation of where that would be? Or is there another location for trout?
    Thank you, Carolyn

  5. Taylor,

    I have not been to Robert Lake in about 18 months or so.

    The largemouth bass population seems that it has always been scarce but there is plenty of small panfish (bluegill, green sunfish and hybrids) and the occasional white crappie. Roberts Lake is also home to a thriving population of common and koi carp. I’d recommend using small baits like jigs or rooster tails along the side closest to the dog park.

    If you’re bottom fishing with worms be careful since I’ve accidentally caught 2 turtles using that method.

    Hope that answers your question.

    Good luck.

    Kyle Kazak

  6. Have you caught anything in roberts lake recently? like within the past 6 months to a year? I have been there multiple times and no bites. Anything I have seen online either says they stopped stocking the lake or are videos of people catching fish but over three years ago. Thank you.

  7. Scott,

    I don’t have too much experience fishing in saltwater from the beach but I like the beaches in and around Bodega Bay. They have plenty of parking and usually don’t have as many swimmers.

    As far as catfishing I recommend either Lake Ralphine in Santa Rosa or Stafford Lake in Novato. Both of those lakes I can confirm both have lots of channel catfish but the ones coming out of Stafford Lake are definitely larger fish on average.

    I hope that helps.

    Good luck.


    Kyle Kazak

  8. Hi Kyle, great website. I have a walking disability and have a couple of questions. I would like to know which beaches are best for fishing and where would you recommend for catfishing?
    Thanks, Scott

  9. Best spots to go catfishing at night? Going up to sonoma county to visit my bestfriend that I havent seen in a couple of years and we want to go catfishing.

  10. Derek,

    The best places to fly fish for trout in Sonoma County would be Lake Ralphine/Ralphine Lake in Santa Rosa. I’d back that recommendation because Lake Ralphine is the only Sonoma County lake that the California Department of Fish & Wildlife regularly plant with catchable Rainbow Trout.

    As far as fishing Sonoma County rivers I’d have to say the Russian River would have some trout but less reliable targeting.

    According to “Fishing in the City“:

    Walker Creek: Both steelhead and salmon are found in this stream, which is open to fishing only below Highway 1 and with limitations (see current regulations). Coho are stocked by the Coho Recovery program and cannot be targeted. Other streams in the county are generally closed to the public. There is public fishing access near the mouth, at Keys Creek along Highway One, south of the town of Tomales.

    I hope this helps and good luck!

    — Kyle Kazak

  11. Hey Kyle,

    Where’s the closest and/or best places to fly fish for trout around Sonoma County, lake or stream?


  12. Any good spot for crappie or blue Gil fishing? New to this whole fishing thing and would like to get my son started on a good hobby and start off with some smaller fish.

  13. Howarth Park also good for Fishing of the bank. They stock the lake with fish every 3 weeks I believe. I go with my baby in her stroller and fish with her next to me.

  14. Like to know where I can fish for large mouth bass from shore because I’m in a wheelchair?
    Any access to any lakes for wheelchair user would be appreciated .

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