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Best Places To Go Fishing Near South Bay

The South Bay isn't just known as the high-tech capital of the world, it's also known for its sports, from world-class hockey to some of the best fishing in California. Local fishermen typically know where the best spots are for fishing, but for newcomers to the sport, it's helpful to know where to go for the best chance of catching a prize for the day. Because most county lakes in the South Bay are of the catch-and-release variety and anglers are advised to limit their consumption of local lake fish, a drive to the coast or mountains is worth the effort. The following are five of the best places to go fishing in and around the South Bay, all within an hour's drive of San Jose.
Coyote Lake

Coyote Lake-Harvey Bear Ranch County Park
10840 Coyote Lake Rd.
Gilroy, CA  95020
(408) 842-7800

Coyote Lake is one of the most popular fishing lakes in the South Bay, although Anderson Reservoir, Lake Almaden, Lake Cunningham, Lake Vasona and Uvas Reservoir all deserve mention. Coyote Lake is the second largest in the South Bay and its water quality is typically superior to the others. The lake, just east of Gilroy, is currently open to boat or shoreline fishing. Black bass, bluegill and rainbow trout are among the most popular varieties of fish caught here. Visitors who wish to stay overnight can make reservations online for the park's Lakeview Campground.

Related: Hit the Water in the Southern Part of the Bay

Loch Lomand

Loch Lomond Recreation Area
100 Loch Lomond Way
Felton, CA  95018
(831) 335-7424

It's in a rather remote area but many local fishermen consider Loch Lomond Reservoir the best for fishing in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Located off Highway 9, near Lompico, many varieties of bass can be found here including largemouth, smallmouth, white and striped. Rainbow trout, catfish and walleyes can also be found in this idyllic reservoir. The recreation area is open daily through Labor Day and on weekends through October 13.


Pillar Point Harbor
1 Johnson Pier
Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
(650) 726-4382

Although Half Moon Bay isn't generally considered part of the South Bay, Pillar Point is home to the best commercial and sport fishing in the region. There are several sport fishing charters operating at Johnson Pier and salmon season normally runs into September. Businesses also sell bait and fishing tackle, allowing visitors to fish right off Johnson Pier without having to purchase a fishing license, since all pier fishing in California is free. For people who simply wish to purchase fresh fish, commercial fishermen sell their catch of the day right off their boats.


Santa Cruz Harbor
500 Brommer St.
Santa Cruz, CA  95062
(831) 475-3279

For fishing enthusiasts who desire another location for ocean fishing, Santa Cruz is the place to go. The Santa Cruz Harbor is just one of many excellent spots in the Monterey Bay area and harbor businesses offer fishing equipment for purchase or rental, and chartered fishing trips. Two recommended businesses for fishing charters at the city's harbor are Captain Jimmy Charters and Reel Sport Fishing. First-time visitors should make note that the Brommer address is located in the north harbor section, but most services and businesses are located in the south harbor along Lake Avenue near 7th Avenue.

Santa Cruz Wharf and Boardwalk
Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf and Boardwalk (Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Santa Cruz Wharf
21 Municipal Wharf

Santa Cruz, CA 95060
(831) 420-6025

Stagnaro is a family name long associated with the history of Santa Cruz and its chartered fishing trips depart from the popular Santa Cruz Wharf, next to the world famous Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Among the popular ocean fish caught from wharf fishing trips in Santa Cruz are salmon, albacore and cod. In addition to fishing trips, fishing off the municipal wharf and local piers at Capitola Beach and Seacliff State Beach require no fishing license. Visitors to Santa Cruz must be wary of traffic from San Jose via Highway 17 to Santa Cruz, particularly during summer weekends and holidays. But fishermen tend to start early, making a trip "over the hill" much easier than later in the day.

Related: Explore the Charming Beach Town of Capitola

Randy Yagi is a freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. His work can be found on

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