Home » Bass Lake » Get Paid to Fish (Maybe) at Bass Lake Fishing Derby
Here's your chance to win $10,000 and spend quality time at Bass Lake

Get Paid to Fish (Maybe) at Bass Lake Fishing Derby

BASS LAKE—Organizers throw a total of 1,000 tagged fish into the lake in preparation for the annual Bass Lake Fishing Derby, so you’ve got a good chance of catching one. Up to $55,000 in prize money is available to lucky fisher folks. Register for the 43rd Annual Bass Lake Fishing Derby to be eligible to win prizes ranging from the two $10,000 finned swimmers on down to 847 fish tagged at $20 each. 

Throw your line in the Bass Lake water for a chance to land a $10,000 fish

That’s what happens the first weekend of May every year at Bass Lake. The dates this year are Saturday, May 4 and Sunday, May 5.

Entry Fees and Registration 

Signups take place exclusively online for 2024. Go to www.basslakechamber.com to register before 9 am on Saturday, May 4. You will receive an email confirmation which serves as your proof of entry. Retain this email in case you catch a tagged fish. You may be required to provide proof to receive your prize.

Adults pay an entry fee of $25 per person. Children 16 and under pay $15 each. Children you register must be your immediate family. Anyone 16 and over must also have a valid California fishing license, which is available online and at some local stores. 

Where Can You Fish?

Throw your line in the water either from the Bass Lake shore, or launch boats from the free launch on the south shore by the dam or at the Pines Marina ($20 FEE IN & $20 OUT) on the north shore.

Madera County offers a waiver during Derby weekend, so boats don’t require stickers on May 4 and 5.

What Time Can Fishing Start?

Drop your lines in the water on Derby weekend from 7 am to 8 pm on Saturday and Sunday. If you catch a fish outside of those hours, it cannot be turned in for a prize and must be thrown back into the lake.

If you can fish one day of the Derby, you can still participate.  You’re eligible for prizes for any fish caught during fishing hours that day, as long as you register by 9 am Saturday.

What Are the Rules?

Fish must be caught alive using a standard hook and line. Follow guidelines of the California Fishing Regulations; no netting, chumming, shocking, live minnows or explosives allowed.  California Freshwater Sport Fishing Regulations are available here.

Turn your tagged live fish to:

Derby headquarters posts winning fish numbers and their value at Derby headquarters locations on Saturday morning, May 4. Registered participants may turn in up to three tagged fish on each day of the derby. The Bass Lake Fishing Derby operates rain, snow or sunshine.

What If a Tagged Fish Is Caught After May 5?

If any of the top three prize fish (two at $10,000 and one at $5,000 on derby weekend) remain uncaught on Saturday or Sunday, they will be worth $500 each up through June 30, 2024. No other tags are worth prizes after Sunday, May 5. To win the prize for a late catch, you must have registered for the 2024 derby and be able to provide confirmation of your entry.

Anyone wishing to fish at Bass Lake but not register for the derby can do so. If you catch a tagged fish, you don’t earn a prize; return the live fish to the water.

Derby Hats

Bass Lake Fishing Derby hats were offered to early registrants; however, they may be available for late registrations as long as quantities last. 

Contact for Further Information

If you have any further questions, contact the Bass Lake Chamber of Commerce at chamber@basslakechamber.com or by phone at Miller’s Landing Resort, (559) 642-3633.

Photos courtesy of Bass Lake Fishing Derby, Visit Yosemite|Madera County and Sierra News Online archives.

Leave a Reply

Sierra News Online

Sierra News Online