A man in a beige fishing vest in a boat holds a rounded fishing line. A snow-capped mountain rises above green conifers in the midground.

Whether rod and reel fishing from shore or fly-fishing from a float-tube, Lassen Volcanic National Park has plenty of opportunities to land the big one. Trout have not been stocked in the park since the 1980s, but a healthy population of these feisty fish still remain in many lakes and streams. Manzanita Lake is the most popular fishing destination in the park and is limited to catch and release with a single, barbless hook and artificial lure.


Where to Fish

Manzanita and Butte Lake offer the easiest access to fishing in the park. Most lakes and creeks in the park are host to brush including willow and alder. Fishing by non-motorized boat is a good way to avoid snagging a bush; although most lakes also have at least small sections of open areas that offer space for casting.

Lakes with Trout Species

Butte Lake, Snag Lake, and Horseshoe Lake are all popular fishing destinations in the park with populations of rainbow, brown, and brook trout. Trout populations are also confirmed at Ridge, Terrace, Summit, Snag, and Crystal Lakes. Manzanita Lake holds a fair number of rainbow and brown trout and is rated as a blue ribbon fly fishery by the state of California Department of Fish and Game. Juniper Lake is not a great lake to fish, as it does not contain any game species.

Creeks with Fish

Kings Creek and Grassy Swale Creek both have populations of brook trout. Trout populations are also confirmed in North Fork Bailey, North Arm Rice, Hat, Hot Springs, and Summit Creeks.

Hat Creek

Hat Creek originates from a spring in Lassen Volcanic National Park and flows north to its terminus in Lake Britton. Fishing in the creek within the park is not ideal due to heavy brush and limited road access. Outside of the park, planting occurs at several locations along the creek throughout the season. This includes sites directly north of the park on Highway 89, between Hat Creek and Old Station. View fishing and planting locations on the California Department of Fish and Wildlife's Fishing Guide interactive map.



Please review all fishing regulations prior to fishing in the park. A few key regulations to know:

  • A valid California fishing license is required to fish in the park.
  • Fishing in Manzanita Lake is limited to catch and release with a single, barbless hook. Only lures and flies are permitted; no living or non-living bait may be used.
  • Fishing is not permitted in park boat launch areas (Manzanita, Butte, and Juniper Lake).

Tips and Best Practices:

  • When releasing any fish, wet your hands first. Dry hands can scrape off a fish's protective slippery coating and make the fish vulnerable to deadly bacterial or fungal infections.
  • While catch and release fishing, consider crimping the barb on your hook with a pair of pliers for a quicker release and less injury to the fish. This is required at Manzanita Lake.
  • Release unwanted fish immediately. Never put a fish on a stringer and release it later. This fish will probably not survive.
  • Consider using a rubber net for landing fish as these nets greatly reduce harm to fish. Nylon nets have knots that can remove scales and the protective slime coating on fish.
  • Always dispose of discarded fishing line properly as it may injure or kill birds and animals.

Clean. Drain. Dry.

Aquatic invasive species, such as zebra or quagga mussels, are a serious ecological threat to the Lassen ecosystem. Any activities that come in contact with any body of water have the potential to spread non-native plants, pathogens, and other invasive species among water bodies. Follow these steps every time you come in contact with any body of water:

  1. Remove all visible mud, plants, fish, or other tiny animals from your boats, trailers, and other equipment, including waders, boots, clothing, and nets.
  2. Eliminate water from all equipment before transporting anywhere. Much of the recreational equipment used in water contains spots where water can collect and potentially harbor these aquatic hitchhikers. Drain your boat hull in a safe location (a flat paved, dirt, or gravel area) away from all park surface waters.
  3. Clean and dry everything that comes in contact with water before entering a new body of water. It is best to use high-pressure, hot water (available at car washes outside the park) to clean your boat, trailer, and gear.
  4. Dry Equipment. If possible, allow 5 days of drying time before entering new waters.

Fish Consumption Advisories in National Park Waters

The Environmental Protection Agency, states, territories, and tribes provide advice on fish and shellfish caught in the waters in their jurisdiction to help people make informed decisions about eating fish. Advisories are recommendations to limit your consumption of, or avoid eating entirely, certain species of fish or shellfish from specific bodies of water due to chemical or biological contamination.

Fish is part of a healthy balanced diet, but eating wild fish and shellfish caught in park waters is not risk free. Parks are “islands”, but the much larger “ocean” that surrounds them affects the natural resources inside a park. Other aquatic toxins are the result of natural biological processes. Also, chemical contaminants that originate outside of park boundaries can come into parks.

Mercury is an example of a toxin originating outside a park that can find its way into a park. Mercury exists naturally in some rocks, including coal. When power plants burn coal, mercury can travel in the air long distances before falling to the ground, usually in low concentrations. Once on the ground, microorganisms can change this elemental mercury to methyl mercury. This type of mercury can build up in animal tissues, and it can increase in concentration to harmful levels. This high concentration can occur in large predatory fish - those often pursued and eaten by anglers. Studies have shown that fish in some National Park System waters have mercury levels that may be a concern to people who regularly eat a lot of fish.

To learn more about this topic, the National Park Service maintains information about Fish Consumption Advisories and Mercury and Toxins in Nature.


Fishing Throughout the National Park Service

We invite you to visit the Fish and Fishing website for more information about fish and fishing in the National Park Service. You will learn about conservation, different fish species, and parks that offer fishing.


Stream Water Quality and Aquatic Communities

Streams are significant and productive resources that are influenced by activities both inside and outside parks boundaries. Because healthy streams are vital to park landscapes and ecosystems, the National Park Service samples physical, biological, and chemical parameters. These varied parameters allow us to measure change over time and across the landscape and ultimately detect trends and assess impacts.

Lassen Volcanic National Park and Klamath Network Inventory & Monitoring have been monitoring streams in the park since 2011. The protocol combines monitoring water quality characteristics of streams, such as the chemical and physical conditions, with monitoring the aquatic communities that the stream supports, such as the fish, plants, and macroinvertebrates. The combined protocol is extremely effective as it can provide both snapshots in time of water quality and habitat properties, as well as long term indications of health from the living assemblages. Learn more about monitoring findings and protocols.

Last updated: April 19, 2021

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