8 Best Fishing Spots in San Diego

Photo of author
Last Updated:

Because San Diego is most renowned for its abundant marine life, there’s no better way to spend your time in the city than to go fishing. It might not be easy to choose where to throw your line because there are many different areas to fish in here!

It’s a no-brainer for any angler’s bucket list if you combine its beautiful year-round weather with a mind-boggling volume of fish to catch. When the grunion is rushing around the full moon in the summer, these piers may provide excellent fishing.

Larger species, such as halibut, bass, and other fish, are attracted to the beach-spawning grunion, which means fantastic fishing for inshore anglers.

Therefore, from south to north, here are the best fishing spots in San Diego that will surely give you a one-of-a-kind fishing experience as well as some fishing advice. 

best fishing spots in san diego
Source: Canva Pro

1. San Diego Bay

San Diego Bay is a sight to see, and no one who has seen it can deny its size and magnificence. For anglers from shore or boat, It is a shore fishing heaven. Being located near the Coronado Bridge, there are no unpleasant locations on the 12 kilometers of shoreline.

Any of a wide range of species might comprise the day’s catch. In fact, spotted Bay Bass, Halibut, and Bonefish may be found in places like Embarcadero Park and Marina, as well as the surrounding pier. Shelter Island and the region near Coronado Cays are two excellent places to visit in the north.

2. Coronado Islands

Around the Mexican waters in Coronado Islands, White Seabass are known in this area. In fact, it is actually a Croaker, not a Bass. As a result, they’re related to Redfish, Black Drum, and California Corbina, among others. 

When the White Sea bass begins to feed extensively on nearby islands and around the coast of Southern California, experts in angling in the area know what to expect. In Mexican waters, White Seabass may be found from Santa Barbara’s Point Conception south to San Diego’s border with Mexico and near the Coronado Islands.

In fact, during their spawning cycle, which usually begins in March and lasts until June, these secretive croakers appear to abandon all caution (approx.).

Like other fish species, White Seabass is a popular target for anglers. For this reason, all sportfishing anglers in California must follow the “one-fish-per-angler” regulation set by the California Department of Fish and Game.

3. Mission Bay

At 1,971 feet long, the Ocean Beach Pier is the longest in San Diego County. It’s a great place to fish and view the sights. The Ocean Beach Pier Café serves delicious food and has a well-stocked bait and gear store.

Because of the T-shaped construction, anglers have about a mile of fence to go fishing, so there are plenty of alternatives.

Most people travel to the end of the T to fish for bass, perch, mackerel, and even California spiny lobster in the deeper water (but only in-season, October to March).

There are also additional attractions in Mission Bay, such as the Pier Café, Bait & Tackle Shop, campers, fire pits, playgrounds, and protected swimming areas, to name a few. This location is, without a doubt, ideal for fishing families.

4. Lake Murray

Lake Murray, located at the Mission Trails Regional Park, is a paradise for outdoor activities such as kayaking, hiking, and bird viewing, about a dozen miles east of downtown San Diego.

In fact, it is one of the best places in San Diego to catch largemouth bass, as well as catfish, crappie, bluegill, and even summer trout.

With over three miles of shoreline and a great place for a fishing spot, the 171-acre reservoir offers more than three miles of shoreline, and a boat will increase your chances of capturing more fish. You may either rent one or bring your own.

In Lake Murray, catfish, like largemouth bass, grow enormous. The most common species are channel catfish, which are regularly planted here, but there are also a few blues that can thrive in the lake.

5. Lake Henshaw

Lakes in the San Diego area are best known for bass fishing. Ten of the top 25 largest basses of all time have been found here.

Lake Henshaw, which is situated near the town of Santa Ysabel, has produced some big bass but is best known for its fly fishing for carp—particularly dry-fly action, a rarity in carp fishing. The most popular species caught here are Channel catfish, Largemouth bass, and Common carp.

6. Santee Lakes

Santee Lakes is a good fishing place to go for a day if you’re searching for a quick break. In the 190-acre park, there are seven lakes, all of which are stocked with fish.

According to fish reports, trout are supplied in the fall, but there is still plenty to be caught. In April, the catfish season begins, so be on the lookout for these. Furthermore, there is also a smaller number of bass, with catches typically happening in the early and late parts of the day.

Additionally, it is a perfect place to bring the kids, too, with a giant playground on-site and a water spray area to cool you off on those hot days.

7. Lake Jennings

Lake Jennings is one of the most beautiful parks in San Diego County, and it is located 23 miles northeast of San Diego near Lakeside, California. There are five miles of coastline fishing on Lake Jennings, an 85-acre lake. Additionally, there is a launch ramp with only one lane accessible.

Despite its tiny size, it has a well-managed fishery routinely stocked with catfish and trout and recognized for putting out some huge largemouth bass. Moreover, its pure water has also attracted bluegill, red-ear sunfish, and hybrid striped bass.

Aside from the year-round fishing, Lake Jennings is a lovely site to visit and is conveniently located, making it a fantastic place to spend a day or a weekend with the family. In addition to catching various fish, everyone is likely to enjoy camping, hiking, and playgrounds.

8. Shelter Island Pier

The most active fishing community in San Diego is just a short walk away from the Shelter Island Pier. A short walk on the street will take you to the Marlin Club, the Shelter Island Launch Ramp is to the east of the pier, and the boardwalk will take you along the shore for a lengthy walk.

In fact, it’s just a short drive from the San Diego-based sport fleet, which has four landings that provide a variety of fishing trips in Mexican waters, ranging from half-day to multi-day trips.

There are a variety of great restaurants in the vicinity. Fathom Bistro Bait & Tackle, located right on the pier, has various menu options, including San Diego artisan beers and handmade sausages.

Moreover, anglers can see sports boats and private boats, and even a Navy ship cruise as you relax on the foot of the pier with a T-shaped end. Anglers here fish for calico yellowfin croaker, mackerel, and sand bass, an occasional halibut, in addition to shovelnose sharks and bat rays.

Fishing License

To fish in San Diego, you must have a California fishing license if you are over 16. Inland cays and docks are not included, but any ocean fishing piers are. You’ll still have to adhere to the state’s bag and size restrictions.


Fishing in San Diego is, without a doubt, an opportunity you can’t miss. In fact, this fishery is one-of-a-kind and thrilling, and most importantly, it caters to all types of anglers.  And for that, it’s exactly the reason why you should put it on your bucket list.

Diana Nadim
Fishing Expert
Diana began fishing at the age of seven, as it has been a long-time family tradition. From catching small bullheads to catching strippers on the backwaters of Bighorn, she loves to get out in the wild and have a marvelous day on the water. Her dad was an expert angler, and he taught her fishing along with her two siblings. They used to go to the Bighorn River in Montana and Henry’s fork, Idaho. As a pragmatic person, she is obsessed with creating well-researched and practical guides and reviews of the best fishing methods and gear.
× How can we improve it?
× Thanks for your feedback!

We're always looking to improve our articles to help you become an even better fisherman.

While you're here, why not follow us on Facebook and YouTube? Facebook YouTube