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Orange County Fishing at Ralph Clark Park in Buena Park, California - Lake Fishing Review & Report

Updated on January 26, 2015

Lake Fishing at Clark Park

The lake at Ralph Clark Park Regional Park offers some great local freshwater fishing. The park is well maintained and the lake is clean and clear. The lake houses:

  • Large mouth bass
  • Bluegill
  • Catfish
  • Trout
  • Carp

Bass, bluegill and catfish are available all year. Trout are planted in the winter and spring. I've also seen some other critters in the lake such as freshwater crabs. Bass fishing is catch and release only.

For a small inland city lake, this park houses a ton of fish. The water is clear and you can see them moving around in the grass.

Ralph Clark Regional Park
8800 Rosecrans Ave.
Buena Park, CA 90621.


Lake Fishing Rules at Ralph Clark Park

Daily bag limits are:

  • Trout = 5
  • Catfish = 5
  • Bluegill = unlimited
  • Bass = catch and release only

There is no fee to fish. There is a fee to park inside the park, but there is free street parking along the entrance to the park. The rangers enforce all state fishing laws. Other rules include:

  • State fishing license required
  • Fall & Winter hours: 7am to 6 pm
  • Spring Summer hours: 7am to 9pm

Fishing for Catfish

The lake has a decent catfish population and it seems that most people are able to catch one each evening. We've been out here a few times in the summer months and easily catch at least one. The Department of Fish and Wildlife usually stocks the lake with catfish in the summer, but can't always be relied upon. The park's Ranger in Charge also has catfish planted periodically during the summer months.

There is a limit of 5 catfish per day, but most anglers that we have seen catch and release. We always catch and release in the small city parks with the exception of an occasional taking after a large stocking of fish. The lake is exceptionally clean, so the eating should be pretty good.

The lake is pretty shallow and there is lots of grass. We fly line the bait out with no weight and just let it lay in the grass. I use a #2 hook and my bait of choice is a cut piece of mackerel.

Bass Fishing at Clark Park Lake

The bass are catch and release only. The Ranger in Charge also asks that you use barbless hooks. Because of the large amount of grass in this lake, you may want to use a Texas style rig. It seems that fishing with a popper would be fun in this lake during the warm months.

I only started fishing this lake recently and have mostly targeted catfish, but I've seen a bunch of bass in the water and watched a few other people catch them. They are large and it seems to be some good quality fishing. The park rules coupled with the large number of bluegill probably contribute to their size.

Trout Fishing Tips

Trout is stocked by the State Department of Fish and Wildlife in the winter and spring. It is expected that trout planting starts as early as November. The Ranger in Charge also periodically stocks the lake. At the time of this writing the next trout planting by the Ranger in Charge is scheduled for February 2015 for a fishing derby.

All trout is stocked from hatcheries. Catching trout from hatcheries is usually best in the days that follow the planting. Trout fishing seems to be best two or three days following a fish planting when the stocked trout become acclimated to their new environment.

Fishing For Bluegill

Bluegill are everywhere in this lake, but they are cautious biters. This is mainly because the lake is so clear that they can see us and everything around us. Cane pole fishing is the best style to catch these little guys. They hang out near the lake edges. We use no weight or bobber, just a small hook and bait.

During the day we drop the bait as far away from us along the lake edges so they can't see us. At night it is more simple. We find them with a flashlight. Turn off the light and drop the bait right on them slowly.

Once you get the technique down there is no limit to catching bluegill. My kids catch 15 to 20 an hour and it is a ton of fun.

Review of Ralph Clark Regional Park

This is an exceptional park and the lake offers great fishing. I've visited many of the public lakes in the area and this is one of the best.

The rangers and staff are friendly and helpful. I have previously e-mailed the Ranger in Charge with fishing questions and I received a quick informative response. I've also asked the parking booth staff fishing questions and they seem very well informed and eager to help.

The surrounding park amenities offer something for everyone. I give this park my highest recommendations. Please go out and have a good time, but be respectful of this park, it is a great one!

Fishing Lakes in Orange County

If you like fishing at Ralph Clark Park, then here are a few more lakes for you to try out.


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