San Diego Kayak Fishing Spot

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San Diego is reputable for interesting fishing activities. Many spots in San Diego have fish of different species that make for great catches. Kayak fishing is enjoyable if you have ample information on where to fish. 

If you are a kayak angler looking to discover several locations to make great catches, this article is for you.

We will discuss the best kayak fishing spots in San Diego, the best time to set out and offer some tips to make your San Diego kayak fishing worthwhile.

san diego kayak fishing
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Best Kayak Fishing Spots in San Diego

San Diego is rich in fish of different species. And fishing is a major water activity here. Anglers have interesting game catches to take home every day.

There are many spots where you can catch different species depending on the season. You can catch bluefin, Mahi Mahi, albacore, yellowfin, and yellowtail offshore. But also, you can have an inshore catch which includes rockfish, croaker, white sea bass, sheepshead, halibut, and calico bass.

So bring your bass fishing gear. Here are some of the best fishing spots in San Diego:

1. Mission Bay

Kayak fishing in Mission Bay is like a piece of cake. The water is always calm and serene, making it the perfect place to reel in catfish, bass, and trout. What’s more, the picturesque scenery makes for a pleasant fishing experience. There’s nothing quite like kayaking in the beautiful San Diego sun.

2. La Jolla Cove

This is one of the busiest fishing spots in San Diego and one of the most beautiful. The clear blue water and rocky cliffs make for a stunning backdrop to your fishing adventure.

With its breathtaking sunsets and majestic sea lions, La Jolla Cove is a must-visit for any kayak fisherman. You can catch various fish here, including California sheepshead, kelp bass, and yellowtail amberjack.

3. Sunset Cliffs

Sunset cliffs give you a perfect opportunity to witness one of San Diego’s most beautiful natural phenomena – the sunset. As the sun sets over the horizon, the cliffs turn a beautiful shade of orange, which is breathtaking. But Sunset Cliffs is more than just a pretty face – it’s also an excellent place to catch fish. You can reel in various fish when the tide is high, including flounder, halibut, and sand bass.

4. Lake Miramar

Lake Miramar, located in Scripps Ranch, is a man-made reservoir that is popular among kayak anglers. The lake is stocked with various fish, including largemouth bass, rainbow trout, and channel catfish.

You can also find crappie, bluegill, and sunfish in the lake. With its peaceful surroundings and scenic views, Lake Miramar is the perfect place to relax and enjoy a day of kayak fishing.

5. Coronado Island

Coronado Island has sparkling wide sand beaches and gentle waves, making it a popular spot for swimming and surfing. But the island is also a great place to go kayak fishing. You can catch various fish near the shore, including flounder, croaker, and yellowtail.

If you venture out into the deeper waters, you can reel in bigger fish, such as bluefin tuna and mahi-mahi. If you’re looking for a challenging fishing experience, Coronado Island is the place for you.

6. San Diego River Delta

Being the largest river in Southern California, the San Diego River is a great place to go kayak fishing. The river is home to various fish, including largemouth bass, catfish, and bluegill. You can also find shad, salmon, and crappie in the river. With its beautiful scenery and abundance of fish, the San Diego River is a kayak fisherman’s paradise.

7. Lake Jennings

Lake Jennings, known for its clear water and scenic views, is a popular spot for swimming, hiking, and picnicking. But the lake is also an excellent place to go kayak fishing. You can catch various fish in the lake, including largemouth bass, bluegill, and catfish.

This is a great place to take the family for a day of fishing and fun. Lake Jennings is a must-visit for any kayak fisherman with its beautiful surroundings and abundance of fish.

8. Cabrillo National Monument Pier

Cabrillo National Monument Pier is one of the best fishing spots in San Diego. The pier is located in the Cabrillo National Monument, a beautiful area with lush vegetation and stunning views of the ocean.

You can catch mackerel, halibut, and white croaker. This is a great place to go fishing if you want to experience the beauty of the San Diego coastline.

9. Del Mar

Del Mar, located in North County, San Diego, is a beautiful beach town with a laid-back vibe. The town is home to various shops, restaurants, and attractions. But the real attraction of Del Mar is its fishing.

You can catch various fish from the pier, including yellowfin, brook trout, and yellowtail. This is a great place to go fishing if you want to experience the laid-back lifestyle of Del Mar.

Best Lakes to Kayak in San Diego

San Diego has many lakes where you can catch fish. Some of these lakes may demand additional permits, especially if you will be fishing for longer than a day.

At some of these lakes, you must tender licenses before you can fish. Kayak anglers have many spots to launch from in these lakes. The top choices for kayakers are:

1. Lake Wohlford 

Lake Wohlford is located in Escondido and is an artificial reservoir. It is a great place to fish for bass, catfish, crappie, bluegill, and trout. The scenery is beautiful, with mountains in the distance. Lake Wohlford is also an excellent place to take the family for a picnic or swimming.

2. San Vicente Reservoir 

San Vicente Reservoir is a great location for fishing from a kayak because there are many coves and inlets to explore. The reservoir is located just northeast of the city of San Diego and is a popular spot for both locals and visitors alike.

There are two boat ramps at the reservoir, making it easy to launch your kayak. A variety of fish can be caught at the reservoir, including redear sunfish, channel catfish, blue catfish, largemouth bass, and bluegill.

3. Lake Cuyamaca State Park 

Lake Cuyamaca State Park is one of the best fishing spots in San Diego for kayak anglers. It is located just east of the city and is home to various fish species, including channel catfish, crappie, and bluegill.

The lake is also stocked with rainbow trout during the winter months. There are two launch areas at Lake Cuyamaca State Park, one at the north end of the lake and one at the south end. Both launch areas provide access to a variety of different fishing spots.

Anglers can also find several good fishing spots along the shoreline. Several rocky outcroppings provide good habitat for fish.

4. Lake Morena County Park

If you’re looking for a kayak fishing spot in San Diego that’s away from the hustle and bustle of the city, look no further than Lake Morena County Park. Located just east of the city in the Cleveland National Forest, Lake Morena is a hidden gem that offers excellent fishing for largemouth bass, carp, bluegill, and rainbow trout.

The park also has plenty of camping and picnicking facilities, making it the perfect spot for a weekend getaway. And with its close proximity to the Pacific Crest Trail, you can also enjoy some saltwater fishing when you’re done kayak fishing on the lake.

5. Henshaw Lake Recreation Area 

Henshaw Lake Recreation Area is the home to catfish, trout, crappie, and bluegill. This is a great place to take the family for a day of fishing and enjoying the outdoors. The recreation area also has a playground, picnic tables, and BBQ grills.

If you want to do kayak fishing, the north side of the lake has a launch ramp and plenty of shorelines to explore.

Best Time for Kayak Fishing in San Diego

Fishing requires skills. You need to study the best time to lunch for successful outings. Some fishes are in seasons, while some are available year-round. 

Some places are available for anglers all day, while some are restricted at certain times. To have a great fishing experience, you should know the best time to set out.


The tides have a significant impact on fishing. The ocean’s waves are more powerful during high tides, while they are calmer during low tides. The water level also changes with the tides. The best time to fish is during the incoming tide when the water rises.

This is because the fish are drawn to the shore by the baitfish, looking for food. The outgoing tide is also a good time to fish, but you need to be careful of the waves and the strong currents.


When Kayak fishing in San Diego, the weather is also a factor to consider. The best time to fish is when the weather is calm and sunny.

The water is usually clearer during these conditions, making it easier for the fish to see the bait.

Tips for Kayak Fishing in San Diego

1. Get a Fishing License 

All anglers 16 years of age or older must have a valid California fishing license in their possession while fishing. You can purchase a license online or at any sporting goods store.

2. Dress for Success

When kayak fishing, it’s essential to dress for the occasion. Wear clothing that will protect you from the sun and the elements. A hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses are a must.

3. Bring the Right Gear

In addition to your fishing tackle, you’ll need a few other kayak fishing items. A life jacket is required by law, and a throwable flotation device is also recommended. A landing net and a fishing kayak are also essential.

4. Be Prepared for the Elements 

Always check the weather forecast before heading out on your kayak fishing adventure. And be sure to bring plenty of water and snacks, just in case you get stranded.

5. Know Your Limits 

Kayak fishing can be challenging, so knowing your limits is important. If you’re new to the sport, it’s good to start with some smaller fish. And always be sure to fish with a partner, just in case you run into trouble.


San Diego is a kayak angler’s paradise, with something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a challenging fishing experience or a leisurely paddle, you’ll find it here. With its mild climate and abundance of fish, San Diego is the perfect place to enjoy kayak fishing. So get out there and give it a try!

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.
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