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San Diego Lake Fishing in East County

Freshwater lakes that are ideal for all anglers

Inland freshwater fishing for trout, catfish or bluegill at one of San Diego East County's many lakes is another refreshing way to whistle away the day. Water sports and recreational boating have also become popular pastimes on East County’s Lake Murray, Lake Cuyamaca and El Capitan Lake.

Lake Murray

Located within Mission Trails Regional Park, scenic Lake Murray's fishing season runs December through September. Guests can hook a Florida-strain largemouth bass, bluegill, channel catfish, black crappie, and trout (trout is stocked in the lake from November through May). The minimum size for bass is 12 inches; catch limits are five for trout, bass and catfish, and 25 for crappie and/or bluegill. Rowboats, motorboats, pedal boats, and canoes are available for rent hourly or daily for fishing and recreational boating; float tubes are allowed within 150 ft. or less from the shore. Private boaters can enjoy a new 2-lane launch ramp and dock; however, personal watercraft (jetskis) are not allowed on Lake Murray.

Lake Cuyamaca

At an elevation of 4,600 ft., Lake Cuyamaca is an active freshwater and fly fishing lake, and the only San Diego lake able to stock trout throughout the year. Located within Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, 44,000 pounds of fish stock the lake, including Florida-strain largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, channel catfish, crappie, bluegill, sturgeon, and trout. Guests can also take advantage of Lake Cuyamaca's GPS fishing guide to find the best spots on the lake. Private boats, over 10 ft. in length, may be launched from the lake's private launch. Canoes and kayaks are allowed during summer months only.

El Capitan Reservoir

El Capitan Reservoir, located on the San Diego River outside of Lakeside, is known for bass and crappie, which are regularly caught at the north end of the lake. The lake also has bluegill, channel catfish, blue catfish, green sunfish, and carp. The minimum size for bass is 15 inches and 10 inches for crappie. Fish limits are five bass, five catfish, 25 crappie and/or bluegill, and no limit on others. Guests should plan to fish from onboard a boat; there is only approximately 4 miles of shoreline accessible without one. El Capitan allows waterskiing, wakeboarding and use of personal watercraft like jetskis on open days from sunrise to sunset, May through October only. El Capitan also allows 3-person personal watercraft to tow skiers in the water ski zone. There is a limit of 40 boats and/or personal watercrafts in the water ski zone at one time.


Ready to begin planning your San Diego fishing trip? Visit our Plan Your Trip section for information on getting here as well as getting around and visitor information services.

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