Fishing in Hat Lake in Lassen, California

by Karen Smith
Your family will enjoy the tranquility of Hat Lake.

Your family will enjoy the tranquility of Hat Lake.

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Hat Lake is one of several lakes in Lassen Volcanic National Park in Shasta County, California. This region is known as "The Crossroads" as it is a meeting point for the granite of the Sierra Nevada, the lava of the Cascades and the Great Basin. It offers beautiful, uncrowded setting in which you'll find healthy fish -- mostly trophy trout -- to catch.


Like many of the lakes in Lassen Volcanic National Park, Hat Lake formed as a result of volcanic action. An eruption on May 19, 1915 cased a mudflow that created a dam in Hat Creek that caused the lake to form. Since then, Hat Lake has been slowly filling with sediments from Hat Creek. Today, fish can be found in both Hat Lake and Hat Creek.


To fish anywhere in Lassen Volcanic Park, a valid California fishing license is required. Visitors are limited to catching no more than five fish per day and to keeping no more than ten fish at a time. Lakes are open for year-round fishing between one hour before sunrise and one hour after sunset. Bait fish, amphibians and nonpreserved fish eggs may not be used as bait. Watercraft are not permitted on Hat Lake.

Parking and Trail

Hat Lake as a designated parking area located 9 miles from the northwest entrance of the park and 19 miles from the southwest entrance on the main park road. From the parking lot, cross the street to find a marked trailhead on the east side of the lake. Follow the trail and you will see many small side trails leading to the lake's edge. Continue on and you'll reach a series of waterfalls followed by Paradise Meadows, a grassy area covered in clover and wildflowers.

Additional Lakes in Lassen Volcanic National Park

Although Hat Lake has fish, more fish can be found in Manzanita Lake, Butte Lake and Horseshoe Lake. Manzanita Lake is popular for fly-fishing and known for its large rainbow and brown trout, although all fishing there is catch-and-release only. If you prefer a good view to a dense lake, try Summit Lake. Located high on a plateau east of Lassen Peak, Summit Lake is popular for its views and easy accessibility from the main park highway.

About the Author

Karen Smith has been writing professionally since 2008. Her articles are published in the "Encyclopedia of Muslim-American History" and the upcoming "Dictionary of African Biography," as well as on and in volumes of "Anthropology News," "Contemporary Islam," "Islamic Africa" and "American Ethnologist." She has a Doctor of Philosophy in anthropology.

Photo Credits

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