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5 Places to Go Fishing in Southern California
Explore the California coast at these popular fishing destinations

The coast of Southern California is known for its beautiful weather and breathtaking shorelines. With access to a variety of lakes and the Pacific Ocean, Southern California is an ideal fishing destination for beginners and experienced anglers alike. Next time you’re in the area, consider casting a line at one of these local waterfronts.

Laguna Niguel Regional Park

Inside Laguna Niguel Regional Park is a 44-acre lake known for its appeal to anglers. The park is open year-round, with varying hours depending on the season. In the lake you’ll find bass and catfish all year long. If you decide to visit during the winter months, you will also have the opportunity to catch trout. The lake is regularly stocked, so there are plenty of opportunities to haul in a massive catch. You’ll also have a place to slip away to find some shade on hot spring and summer days in the park’s 227 acres of foliage.

Santa Margarita River

Approximately 10 miles north of Fallbrook you’ll find public access to the Santa Margarita River. While most of the land surrounding the river is privately owned, this public access point gives anglers a chance to fish for steelhead as well as brown trout. The river used to be regularly stocked with rainbow trout, but the Department of Fish and Wildlife stopped doing so upon the discovery of steelhead in the river. If you’re lucky, however, you might still come across some wild rainbow trout in the waters.

Santa Monica Pier

Famous for marking the end of Route 66, the Santa Monica Pier is not just a major tourist attraction, but also a great fishing spot. According to TripSavvy, you don’t need a license to fish on the Santa Monica Pier. There are several fishing decks on the pier; upper levels are for more skilled anglers and lower levels are designed for those just starting out. The surrounding waters are full of everything from mackerel and white sea bass to tiger sharks and sting rays. You can rent equipment on the pier or bring your own.

San Bernardino National Forest

Inside San Bernardino National Forest sits Jenks Lake, which provides relaxing freshwater fishing and beautiful mountain views to all of its visitors. Anglers are permitted to fish from both the pier and fishing pads available on the shoreline. You can take small hand-launch boats out on the lake, as well. The lake itself is regularly stocked with rainbow trout, which makes it an idyllic spot to try and hook a new personal best.

Lake Gregory

Also found in San Bernardino National Forest is Lake Gregory. Lake Gregory is a popular destination for all types of recreation, from swimming and fishing to boating and a 13,755-square-foot inflatable water-play structure. There is an $8 fee for adults to fish on the lake, but it is well worth paying if you are able to land a catch. The lake is regularly stocked with brown and rainbow trout, but you can find other species like catfish and carp as well.

Having access to freshwater and saltwater fish in one place is a huge perk if you are an avid (or even an amateur) angler. Thankfully the Southern California coast offers its fair share of both, making it one of the most desirable fishing destinations in the country. If you’re an angler from the area or visiting from out of town, make it a point to visit one of SoCal’s rich fishing spots.  

This article is presented by New Century BMW in Alhambra, California.


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