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Fishing off the Redondo Beach Pier |
 © Parker Knight / Flickr
Fishing off the Redondo Beach Pier | © Parker Knight / Flickr

The Best Places to Go Fishing in Southern California

Picture of Juliet Bennett Rylah
Updated: 20 July 2017
California, pressed against the ocean, offers numerous fishing opportunities. Those who elect to participate in the sport from its public piers don’t even need a license, yet lakes and reservoirs with stocked fish abound as well, should you prefer a more woodsy or mountainous getaway. Here are six of the best places to go fishing in Southern California.

Redondo Beach Pier

Natural Feature
Pier at Redondo Beach, CA
Pier at Redondo Beach, CA | © Amblin new / WikiCommons

Redondo Beach Pier

Fishing is allowed on the horseshoe-shaped Redondo Beach Pier in a marked area, and—like other public piers in the state—a license is not required. According to Pier Fishing, this is one of the best places to catch halibut, but it also yields sardines, Pacific mackerel, bonito, and yellowtail. Plenty of restaurants, bars, shops, and nightlife are in the immediate area.

Redondo Beach Pier, 121 W Torrance Boulevard, Redondo Beach, CA, USA

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Mon - Sun:
6:00 am - 10:00 pm

Accessibility & Audience:

Accessible (Wheelchair), Accessible (Blind), Accessible (Deaf), Dog Friendly, Family Friendly, Kid Friendly

Services & Activities:

Rentals, Free, Gift Shop, Boat Rental, Dancing, Kayaks, Guided Tours


Local, Instagrammable, Photo Opportunity, Scenic, Architectural Landmark, Outdoors

Lake Gregory

Lake Gregory Regional Park sits in the San Bernardino Mountains near Crestline, California. The lake is home to both brown and rainbow trout, which enthusiasts say are best caught in the spring, though fishing is available year-round. It’s a bucolic place to hang out, and you can make a whole weekend of it by renting a cabin and enjoying the tranquil forests that surround the area. Visitors may pay $8 per day, with tickets available at various Fishing Pay Stations. Those who fish often may choose to buy 10-day tickets at once for $70, thereby saving a buck a day, at the Boathouse and Beach Office, located on the North Shore. Each month, one orange tagged fish will be released into the lake, with prize money of up to $1,500 available for the person who catches it.

Lake Gregory Regional Park, 24171 Lake Drive, Crestline, CA, USA, +1 909 338 2233

Santa Monica Pier

The Santa Monica Pier is the western end of Route 66. It’s a lively place, typically full of tourists who visit the shops, restaurants and amusement park while gazing out at the Pacific Ocean. If you’re looking to fish, you won’t need a license. You can swing by Santa Monica Bait & Tackle, found at the end of the pier, to rent a rod. People usually catch perch, mackerel, white sea bass, leopard shark, tiger shark, and stingrays, according to the City of Santa Monica.

Santa Monica Pier, 200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA, USA, +1 310 458 8900

Lake Cuyamaca

Lake Cuyamaca is a 110-acre lake located in San Diego County, about 50 miles northeast of San Diego. Each year, the lake is stocked with 38,000 pounds of trout, and visitors may fish year-round. Bass, bluegill, catfish, crappie, and sturgeon may also be found in the lake. You’ll need a California State Fishing License for every member of your party who is 16 or older, as well as a Lake Cuyamaca permit, which is $8 for adults, $4 for children eight to 15, and free for children seven and younger. You can rent rods or bring your own, and those new to fishing can take a free class on Saturdays at 10 a.m. Visitors can also enjoy hiking, boating or camping in the area. Lodging is available via nearby cabins, cottages, and B&Bs.

Lake Cuyamaca, Julian, CA, USA