July 19, 2019

Southern California Fishing Guide

Few pastimes are as relaxing as fishing. Spending a day by the water enjoying nature and waiting for a bite on that line is a great way to slow down and de-stress from everyday life.

Whether you're an experienced angler or giving fishing a try for the first time, there are plenty of great places to fish in Southern California! Take a look at our guide and find the perfect spot for your next trip!


Santa Ana River Lakes
Where: Anaheim
What you'll catch: Trout, catfish, tilapia, bass, crappie, bluegill, sturgeon, carp
Suitable for: all ages and skill levels

Details: Whatever kind of fishing trip you want to plan, the trio of lakes at Santa Ana River Lakes is a great option. This fishing spot is easy to get to and located in the heart of Orange County so it will fit in easily to any itinerary. Santa Ana River Lakes offers daytime and nighttime fishing sessions, boat rentals, and even overnight sessions with camping included. No fishing licences are required and there are even family camping packages available!

For an even easier experience for kids, visit Santa Ana River Lake's Huckleberry Pond . Huckleberry Pond has staff on hand to help kids fish and has a less rugged setting, with picnic tables and no muddy shoreline. It's a great way to introduce kids to fishing for the first time!

Laguna Niguel Regional Park
Where: Laguna Niguel
What you'll catch: catfish, bass, trout (winter only)
Suitable for: Licensed fishermen, younger anglers

Details: This 227 acre park is a a beautiful place to relax for a long day of a fishing. With lots of shade trees, picnic areas, horseshoe pits and volleyball and tennis courts, as well as a jogging trail, Laguna Niguel Regional Park is a great option if your group wants to spread out and enjoy other activities without having to pay the fishing fees you'll encounter at Santa Ana River Lakes. At Laguna Niguel Regional Park you'll only be paying to park your vehicle.

The 44 acre lake at Laguna Niguel is stocked with catfish and bass and, during the winter months, trout. The fish stocking at regional parks may not be as regular as the stocking at Santa Ana River Lakes, so make sure to check the OC Parks website for information about fish stocking schedules.

Note that anyone over 16 needs a fishing license to fish at Laguna Niguel Regional Park and other regional parks. Visit the OC Parks website for more information and to plan your visit!


Pier Fishing:
Orange County has the largest number of piers in Southern California, and most of these piers are great for fishing! If you're looking for a low-key local fishing day, we recommend looking up the rules and regulations of the closest pier. Here are just a few of our favorites:
  • Belmont Veteran's Memorial Pier : Belmont Pier in Long Beach is a public pier, and as such fishing licenses are not required. The pier has it's own restaurant and even has a "cook your catch" program, making it easier to enjoy the fruits of your day of fishing! More information here.
  • Huntington Beach Pier: Another public pier, Huntington Beach Pier is one of the longest piers on the West Coast. Fish early or late and spend the rest of the day exploring Surf City, surfing, or relaxing on the beach. More information here. If you're visiting from out of town and didn't bring your fishing gear you can always rent a rod and pick up some bait at Let's Go Fishing .
  • San Clemente Pier: San Clemente is our hometown so we're partial to the San Clemente Pier! Visit our Spanish Village by the Sea and enjoy fishing off of this free public pier. More information here.
  • Oceanside Pier: With 1,942 feet of pier to choose from, you can catch a variety of fish at the Oceanside Pier, from guitarfish to halibut to kelp bass. The pier area in Oceanside is home to many local events as well, from concerts to farmer's markets and more, so check the local events calendar to see what other fun you can have while out on your fishing trip! More information here.
Check out the California Department of Fish and Wildlife for FAQs and more information about pier and shore fishing in California.

Deep Sea Fishing:
Booking a sportfishing trip is a great way to try a new adventure when visiting Southern California! Our local sportfishing companies are helpful and supportive and make deep sea fishing fun for beginner and experienced anglers alike. Take a look at each individual option to see what kind of trips, gear, and other amenities are available.

Sportfishing charters DO require a fishing license for anyone over 16, however in most cases these can be easily bought online ahead of time.

Bonus: You will often see dolphins and whales while out on a fishing boat! Many local sportfishing companies run whale watching cruises as well, and the staff are often quite knowledgeable about our local marine mammal population!

Take a look and find a deep sea fishing adventure that is perfect for you:

Where: Dana Point
Offerings: Sportfishing day trips, overnight trips, and charters, diving/spearfishing trips, whale watching, kids' fishing clinics, and more.

Dana Wharf offers a variety of fishing trips from 1/2 trips to overnight adventures to private charters. Fishing trips are offered year round and open to all ages and skill levels. Check the Dana Wharf fishing guide for a month-by-month look at what you could catch! Dana Wharf also is home to the Riviera, the only dive boat in the Dana Point Harbor, giving you an opportunity to scuba dive off of our coast and even try spearfishing if you're up to the challenge!

Make sure to come back another day to book a whale watching cruise or hands on learning at the kids' fishing clinic! More information here.

Davey's Locker
Where: Newport Beach
Offerings: Sportfishing day trips, overnight trips, and charters

Davey's Locker manages the largest selection of fishing boats from Dana Point to Long Beach, so if you're looking for a private charter, Davey's Locker is a great choice! Each boat includes state of the art fish tracking systems, as well as a full kitchen stocked with food and beverage options to complete your perfect day on the water! You can also book half day, full day, and overnight fishing trips with Davey's Locker, as well as whale watching cruises. Learn more here.

H&M; Landing
Where: San Diego
Offerings: Sportfishing day trips and long range trips, whale watching cruises

Looking for a longer sportfishing experience? Check out H&M; Landing! H&M; is the oldest, most experienced sportfishing company on the West Coast and offers not only day trips, but also lengthier cruises with on-board lodging, meals, and fishing gear included. They will also provide a Mexican fishing license when necessary! So if you're ready to see a bit more of the coast and spend a few full days fishing, take a look at the trips currently scheduled with H&M;!

Looking for more ocean adventure?
Take a look at these other activities in and around Orange County:

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