Countdown To The Trout Opener: Stocks Plenty At Collins Lake


Editor’s note: With this Saturday’s statewide general trout opener attracting anglers to many high Sierra lakes, rivers and creeks, we wanted to share a story each day from our April issue leading into opening day.

Today: Collins Lake’s stocking project bodes well for trout anglers.

By Chris Cocoles

One of the gems of the Sierra foothills is Collins Lake, located just northwest of Grass Valley and about a 35-minute drive from the Yuba City-Marysville area. Collins Lakes Resort ( is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and even without that party, the lake’s aggressive trout stocking program and outstanding bass and catfish prospects make it a destination for Northern California anglers. We caught up with Lincoln Young, the resort’s general manager and member of the family that’s operated it for several generations now, for more on what to expect this season.

Chris Cocoles What are the initial prospects for the spring season at Collins Lake?

Lincoln Young With the continual rains through the winter months, we were full early and the water clarity was very murky. Now that we have started having breaks in the weather, fishing will start picking up. Current lake conditions (as of March 17) have the surface temperature at 57 degrees and about 4 feet of visibility. By the end of March or early April, we should see a big increase in all fish as the temperature rises and water clears. 

CC California got a lot of rain in the winter. What is the lake’s water level looking like?

LY We got to full capacity December 27 and have been spilling ever since. 

CC Anglers are surely excited to see some warmer weather but also some hungry trout biting before the water temperatures get a little too warm. How do you expect the trout bite to go? 

LY With the colder/wetter winter and spring, the spring fishing will start picking up and should be solid through May. As the lake continues to clear and temperatures start to rise, we will start seeing all fish become more active. 

Collins Lake Fishing Derby 2017

CC Collins Lake’s family fishing derby is on May 6. Tell us all the details potential entrants need to know. 

LY This is the second annual Family Trout Fishing Derby. Participants can register through a link on our website ( 

We started the event to create a space for families to come out and have a good time together. All proceeds benefit the Yuba Sutter Young Life, which is a youth organization in our local area. All participants receive a free barbecue lunch and raffle tickets. 

CC What about the bass and catfish prospects for the spring and into summer?

LY April, May and early June should be active months for the bass and crappie, as the temperature starts to rise and they start to become more active. The natural population in the lake has been thriving, and these past two years of being at a full lake level has provided more habitat for them to flourish in. The prime spawning beds are on the east side of the lake and in the coves heading up into the northern channel. 

CC What kind of a stocking schedule do you have planned for trout plants?

LY We will be following a very similar plant schedule for spring 2017. We started our spring plants on Valentine’s Day and will be planting regularly through May for a total of over 36,000 pounds through the spring. This makes Collins Lake California’s largest private trout planting program north of Sacramento. Most plants include a mixture of catchable trout and larger trophy-sized trout (3 to 8 pounds). Check out our updated planting schedule at

CC Are there any other upcoming events or information visitors should know about? 

LY This season marks the 50th anniversary of Collins Lake. It has been owned by the Young family for the past 45 of those 50 years. We will be celebrating this landmark year with various promotions throughout the year. This summer we have live music on our deck, movies on our beach and are introducing Paint N’ Sip events to create activities for the entire family to enjoy while they are camping. CS

Editor’s note: Like Collins Lake at