Be The Cats’ Meow At Collins Lake This Summer

Photos courtesy of Collins Lake

The following appears in the July issue of California Sportsman:

By Chris Cocoles 

Collins Lake’s spring attraction is its trout fishing prowess, and why not? This popular lake east of Yuba City and Marysville has some of the area’s most liberal trout plants.

And while you can still score one of the many rainbows that have been stocked, the expected rising temperatures means catfish become angler’s summer crush. 

“The trout bite definitely starts to slow down as compared to the spring, but we still see a decent amount of trout activity throughout the hotter summer months,” says Jacob Young of Collins Lake resort (800-286-0576; “They have definitely dropped down deep to 30 feet down, so there has been less activity from the shore and more from anglers trolling with downriggers. PowerBait and Kastmasters are still the popular bait and lure we see anglers using.”

Still, as Young admits, “This is the season for catfish.”

Recent catches at Collins include a 12.2-pounder caught near the dam with sardines and a 5.75-pound cat in the same area. Cut bait and chicken livers are the tickets to filling the stringers. 

“Late summer and early fall are the prime seasons for catfish, specifically throughout August and September when we expect to see the most catfish activity,” Young says. 

Still, July will see plenty of catfish caught. One great option is for anglers to take a short hike on the Hidden Spruce Trail that splices out from the main campground and recreation area on the north side and hits various spots to fish from shore like Elmers Cove, where a 3-pound catfish was recently caught. The lake’s recreation area recently opened the trail to provide some new fishing areas and nature walks.

“This also allows for anglers to get access to new areas of shoreline that used to be harder to access for shore fishing,” Young says.

Collins Lake recently opened a swimming dock to allow campers, day trippers and even anglers a chance to cool off in the lake as summer temperatures regularly approach triple digits. 

“We are currently at the peak of the camping season,” Young says. “The campground is typically sold out on the weekends and still busy on the weekdays with campers, recreational boaters and fishermen.”

Go to for the latest fishing reports. CS