Wildlife Near Bass Lake, California

Bass Lake, located in central California near Yosemite National Park and Sierra National Forest, is home to a wide range of wildlife species. When camping near Bass Lake, CA, the many sights and sounds of the natural environment create perfect teaching moments for inquisitive minds. Keep reading to learn more about the wildlife you’ll encounter while camping in Bass Lake, California!

Common Birds – Bass Lake, CA

Surrounded by dense forest, Bass Lake is a bird paradise! Bird watching can be a fun and exciting way to engage in active learning. While camping near Yosemite National Park, you’ll observe native species and other birds passing through on their way to Alaska or South America.

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Bass Lake bird sightings may include herons, osprey, and eagles. Locals commonly refer to osprey as “fish hawks” or “seahawks” due to the bird’s healthy appetite for fish. As osprey are not picky eaters, they’ll swoop down and snatch almost any kind of fish. Osprey are small compared to other Bass Lake birds. The average osprey weighs a mere 3 to 4 pounds, compared to the typical 6 to 14-pound eagle.

Bass Lake is also home to a variety of eagles. Eagles are known to have larger and heavier beaks to help them rip up larger prey. Lastly, herons live around freshwater and the coast but are known to adapt to almost any environment. Herons love to dive into Bass Lake for a tasty meal of fish, reptiles, insects, and more.

View the full Bird Watching Checklist.

Water Birds: great blue heron, California gull, sandpiper, golden eagle, osprey, American dipper, mallard, Canadian goose

Forest/Meadow Birds: Red-tailed hawk, woodpecker, chickadee, hummingbird, great horned owl, dark-eyed junco, American robin, mountain quail, blue jay, flicker, raven, blackbird

Bears and Other Mammals – Bass Lake, California

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The American black bear is the most common bear species observed while camping near Yosemite National Park. If you happen to see a bear near Bass Lake, it’s best to give them space and walk away. Bears do not often confront humans, but if they have cubs around or feel threatened, they can be dangerous.

Mule deer, coyotes, and bobcats are also common sightings in Bass Lake, California. Although bobcats and coyotes may seem intimidating to guests, they are very shy and tend to avoid humans. If you leave them alone, they’ll leave you alone. To avoid accidental encounters, avoid leaving trash or food out overnight. You may discover that mule deer commonly approach humans looking for food. However, remember, “a fed deer is a dead deer.” Not only is human food unhealthy for deer, but feeding a wild animal causes them to lose their natural fear of humans, thus putting their lives at risk.

Common Fish – Bass Lake, CA Fishing


During spring, summer, and fall, Outdoorsy Yosemite attracts anglers from all around. If you’re after a fish dinner, you might cast your line for the bass that gave the lake its name ( a fourteen-pound lunker was caught here), or catfish, crappie, rainbow trout or kokanee salmon. The list of fish found in Bass Lake is nearly endless. A few of the countless species stocked in the lake each year include trout, crappie, salmon, bluegill, and of course bass. Salmon are known to be caught more often during the summer months, as they are higher in numbers when the temperature is in the high 70s.

Rare Animal Sightings – Camping near Yosemite

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Sierra Nevada Bighorn sheep are a rare sighting when camping near Yosemite. Although on the endangered species list, they are occasionally spotted at the highest peaks of the mountains. Since the terrain is very difficult to hike, Sierra Nevada Bighorn sheep are rarely seen.


Camping in Bass Lake, California, is a fantastic way to decompress and discover nature. Hopefully, this guide has opened your eyes to Bass Lake wildlife and given you much to look forward to.

Ready to start planning your trip? Outdoorsy Yosemite offers cabin rentals, tent camping, and RV campsites near Yosemite in Bass Lake, California. Our wonderful resort amenities provide the perfect balance of nature and comfort. Come see for yourself!