Best Lakes for Fishing in San Diego County

San Diego has a rich fishing culture. Although many tourists now associate San Diego with deep-sea fishing in the Atlantic Ocean, San Diego County has a freshwater system of lakes that is ideal for all anglers.

If you are looking for a place where you can spend a nice day on the water, these lakes offer a variety of opportunities to catch all kinds of fish. While trout can be hooked during the right time, largemouth bass is king in San Diego, and no matter what type of fish you want to catch, you don’t have to go far out of town to find them.


Cuyamaca Lake

Address: Lake Cuyamaca, California 92036, USA

San Diego’s only true “mountain lake”.  Lake Cuyamaca is a great destination for viewing scenic sunset alone. Nestled in the Cuyamaca Mountains, this small 110-acre lake places at 4,620 feet above sea level, making it the ideal spot for trout fishing.

Boats are allowed on the lake, but there is good shore fishing too, making this a great destination if you want to fly fish from the shore. Camps are available on-site, so you can even stay overnight if you want to get in a whole day of fishing.

Fish in Lake Cuyamaca

Dixon Lake

Address: Dixon Lake, Escondido, CA 92027, USA

The small waters of Lake Dixon have become a huge fishery for huge bass, due to the planted trout they feed. The camps are close; Private boats and floatation tubes are not allowed. Fish: Largemouth bass, trout, catfish.

Fish in Lake Dixon

Lower Otay of Reservoir

Address: Lower Otay Reservoir, California 91915, USA

This is the lake where hardcore bass anglers launch their shiny boats of bass and fish the waters of this large reservoir, and they will find it rich with quality bass fishing, plus some highly underrated catfish. But generally, the bass rules Lower Otay. Its little brother, Upper Otay Reservoir, is a catch-and-release lake.

Fish in Lower Otay Lake

Lake Jennings

Address:  Jennings Lake, Lakeside, CA 92040, USA

The spot is home to more than average rainbow trout species, with catfish reported to be caught in the range of 12 to 15 pounds each year.

Coastal fishing along Lake Jennings is usually very good, and there is an adjacent campground where you can stay overnight at any time of the year. However, Lake Jennings is only open for fishing and boating on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Jennings Lake Fish

Miramar Lake

Address:  Lake Miramar, San Diego, CA 92131, USA

For urban lakes, Miramar Lake has several heavy city legends. Here, it was found that the 21-pound bass had the weight of lead in the stomach, and fishers once tried to pass the 20-pound dead bass here as a record catch.

Located in the Scripps Ranch area, Lake Miramar is a popular recreational lake surrounded by biking, jogging and skating.

Types of fish

Lake Morena

Lake Morena is probably considered the most remote of San Diego’s fishing lakes as it sits 3,000 feet high in the foothills of the lagoon. But for campers, Lake Morena is paradise, with two excellent campgrounds offering both convenient and primitive camping. Fishing is very good too, with excellent trout fishing in the winter.

Fish in Morena Lake

Lake Murray

Address: Lake Murray, San Diego, CA, USA

The Lake Murray Dam was built to create a source of electricity for the city of Columbia and the factories that needed power. At the time, it was considered the largest earthen dam in the world. The people who settled in the area (descendants of German, Swiss and Dutch immigrants) were relocated to leave the area to the dam.

But while they lived there, the settlers created nine small communities, and today their remains remain hidden under the lake.

Fish in Lake Murray

San Vicente reservoir

Address: San Vicente del Reservoir, California, USA

San Vicente is one of the largest lakes in the country—at nearly 1,100 acres and 14 miles of shoreline—and it’s also known for its record-breaking catches, including a 101-pound blue catfish caught here in 2000.

San Vicente often hosts bass tournaments and is a popular water recreation lake; it is also the only freshwater lake allowing waterskiing, wakeboarding, or towing inflatables. For fishing, this is a lake for bass and catfish, along with some big bluegill and crappie.

San Vicente is one of the largest lakes in the country – at about 1,100 acres and 14 miles offshore – and is also known for its record catches,

It is a popular lake of water recreation; It is also the only freshwater lake that allows inflatable waterskiing, wakeboarding, or towing. For fishing, this is a lake for bass and catfish, along with some great bluegills and crappie.

Fish in San Vicente del reservoir

Chollas Lake

What makes this park unique is that fishing is allowed only for children under 15 years of age. Also, free fishing clinics are held, and children’s day camps are offered here throughout the year.

Shaded by clumps of eucalyptus trees, the park is popular for picnics and walks along the dirt road perimeter. Basketball courts and playing fields are also available, and the resident geese are great entertainment.

Fish in Lake Chollas

Santee Lakes

It has a chain of seven small lakes has been created using reclaimed water. Located in downtown Santee, the lakes have become a popular recreation area, with picnic and camping facilities available on-site.

Unlike all other lakes, a California fishing license is not required (although you do have to pay a daily fee) in order to fish in Santee Lakes. Even though recreation is the main attraction of these lakes, each one has its speciality fishing and is stocked throughout the year with a wide variety of fish.

Fish in Santee Lakes