The best freshwater fishing lures in California must have the ability to catch multiple species of fish and function in small streams, large rivers and stillwaters. California freshwaters have fishing for trout, bass, steelhead, salmon, shad, carp and other less targeted species. Numerous lures can be used, but the selection can be narrowed down to a few lures that have high success rates on all of the species.
The rapala is one of the top lures for catching multiple species in California. Rapalas come in a variety of sizes and colors, and you should stock several styles when fishing in California. The flat rap and jointed rapalas are versatile and can catch everything from small trout to large king salmon. The yellow perch colors are ideal for catching bass, the bleeding blue shad are effective on bass and salmon, and the silver fluorescent chartreuse is a well-rounded lure for all of the California species. The fire tiger is also a good color choice and can be extremely effective, but it is less consistent than blue shad, yellow perch and chartreuse.
Spoons are a well-rounded lure that can be used for multiple species. The spoon creates a reaction strike from salmon, steelhead, trout and bass. Spoons in gold and silver are the common choice but spoons in green and black needlefish patterns are ideal for trout and bass. Large, heavy spoons can be used to run deep lines for salmon and steelhead, and small spoons can be used for trout and pan-fish. Spoons can also be cast long distances and allow you to cover large and small waters.
Spinners can be used to catch all of the major species in California freshwaters. Spinners are not as effective for all of the species as rapalas and spoons, but spinners are especially effective for trout and bass. Gold and silver spinners with marabou tails are ideal for fishing in open water and can be used on rivers and lakes.
Jigs are a top choice for California anglers. Jigs can be used in small streams and large rivers and lakes. Jigs allow the stream angler to cast and retrieve while being mobile, or you can sit on a deep slot and work over a school of fish. Jigs in white, chartreuse and black are versatile and plastic jigs are durable. Marabou jigs have extra motion and are ideal for general fishing purposes.