San Diego Area Fly Fishing Guide

Fly Fishing hook up on San Diego Bay by Coronado Bridge

San Diego is well known for its history of giant largemouth bass catches and its long range conventional sportfishing fleet. However local flyfishing opportunities are not widely known outside of Southern California. San Diego’s mild climate is conducive to fly angling throughout the year. We may not have much in the way of trout streams but anglers looking for freshwater and saltwater fly fishing adventures will find more than 30 species of fish that will take the fly within 50 miles of downtown San Diego ranging from bluegill, crappie, carp, and largemouth bass in freshwater to many saltwater bass species as well as pelagic species like bonito, yellowtail, sharks, and tunas.


San Diego County has 19 lakes open to fishing along with a few ponds to be searched out on publicly accessible lands. Some of these get trout stocks during late fall through spring.  Lake Cuyamaca sometimes gets trout stocks during the summer if the water is cool enough.  Fly fishing San Diego area lakes has been popular for many decades. 


San Diego Bay and Mission Bay provide year-round saltwater fly fishing for multiple species, most of which can be taken with gear commonly though of as trout fly fishing setups. 


There are miles of beaches that also produce every month of the year for the San Diego surf fly fisher.


Outside the bays, San Diego ocean inshore fly fishing can be good any month, weather permitting, but most years is best from May through early October.    San Diego ocean offshore fly fishing action (including nearby Mexican waters) usually starts heating up in June and peaks in August-September.


Visitors to the coastal areas can often wet a line in the bays or surf within walking distance of their accommodations. A few of the lakes and all regions of the bays and beaches have cell phone service available and can be reached via Uber, Lyft, and other ride hailing services, though a rental vehicle would be preferable to ensure the ability to secure a ride back from the lake destinations.

San Diego fly fishing hotspots