Fishing for Goose Lake Redband Trout


Underwater image of Goose Lake redband trout from Lassen Creek
Goose Lake redband trout from Lassen Creek.
Goose Lake redband trout from Lassen Creek
Goose Lake redband trout from Lassen Creek.
  • Similar to other redband trout, but paler with a subtle lemon-yellow body, especially below the lateral line.
  • Spotting pattern is highly variable and ranges from sparse to dense, although typically with fewer spots than Warner Lakes redband trout.
  • Pinkish hues on the lateral line and operculum.
  • With white tips on their fins, but usually less pronounced than other redband trout.
  • Faint purplish parr marks are often retained into adulthood in stream-resident fish.
  • Coloration is most intense in larger stream-resident fish and mature males.
  • Larger-sized adfluvial (lake-dwelling) fish become silver-grey in color, exhibit a subdued pink lateral stripe, and are significantly less spotted.


  • Endemic to Goose Lake and tributaries in northeastern California and southeastern Oregon.
  • In California, the majority of perennial tributaries with Goose Lake redband trout are on the western slopes of the Warner Mountains and flow into Goose Lake on the northeastern shore.
  • In past wetter climatic periods, Goose Lake overflowed south and tributaries to the upper Pit River may also contain redband trout.
Map of Goose Lake redband trout historic watersheds - click to enlarge in new window
(click to enlarge)


creek and grassy embankment running through forest
Lassen Creek.
boy holding small fish
Angler catches his first trout on a fly rod.
  • Most anglers target stream-resident Goose Lake redband trout.
  • In the 1800's when lake levels were high, large lake-form redband trout were abundant enough to support a commercial fishery in Goose Lake.
  • Modern recreational fishing in the lake is minimal as the lake, when full, is very large, shallow and highly turbid, generally preventing boat access and reducing effectiveness of techniques like trolling. The expansive and shallow alkali flats surrounding the lake severely limit shore fishing opportunities. The lake goes dry during periods of drought.
  • Depending on snow-pack, flows may be high and turbid in the streams well into June and tend to start clearing in early July.
  • Special angling regulations apply to most streams in the Goose Lake basin to protect the unique fish fauna.
  • Lassen Creek, the largest tributary to Goose Lake in California, is often targeted for Goose Lake redband trout. The lower portion is on private property; however, upstream of the Lassen Creek Campground is publicly accessible.
  • Lassen Creek includes both higher-gradient forested areas and more technical slow-water meadow habitat. Pools are few and far between, except in some areas where habitat restoration activities have occurred or beaver ponds exist.
  • Overall, stream-resident Goose Lake redband trout achieve a maximum size of approximately 12 inches in length.
  • They are generalists in terms of feeding behavior.
  • Standard dry and nymph flies, as well as small lures, are effective.

Fisheries Branch
1010 Riverside Parkway, West Sacramento, CA 95605 |