Top 5 West Coast Fishing Destinations


If you’re headed to the west coast for an unforgettable fishing experience, you’re in luck because there’s no shortage of hotspots worth checking out along the coastline, from southern California to the salt and freshwaters of Seattle. Here are five of the best fishing destinations on the West Coast to visit.

San Diego

You can go sportfishing nearly anywhere along the coasts of San Diego, with the ability to catch anything from white seabass to giant tuna. San Diego serves as the homeport for long-range fleets running from the Mexican coastline.

There is a long list of fish species you’ll be able to find in this area, including:

Cow yellowfin






Calico and sand bass



White seabass



If you’re prone to seasickness, you can also enjoy the San Diego or Mission bays and catch plenty of sand bass, halibut, and spotted bay bass. Bay anglers also often catch bonito, barracuda, seabass, and occasionally even bonefish. All in all, these areas are great for west coast bass fishing in San Diego.

For freshwater anglers, there’s Lake Dixon, Miramar, Hodges, and others where you’ll find a plethora of largemouth bass, as the best fishing lakes in San Diego. Lakes Poway and Cuyamaca also offer the chance to catch trout. These are some of the best places to fish in San Diego among the many other spots found in this city.

San Francisco

You’re likely to find every type of angling opportunity imaginable in this big city. By the Golden Gate bridge, you’ll find rockfish of all colors and sizes, albacore, chinook, and lings abound. Within the San Francisco Bay, there’s also a variety of striped bass, California halibut, and sturgeon.

Ocean beaches here also carry various striped bass and perch, while the freshwater lakes offer opportunities to catch trout, bass, catfish, and panfish.

Inland you’ll find the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta that houses sturgeon and stripers, along with jumbo largemouth bass and smaller fish. Catfish are also found here, from small bullheads to large channels and blues weighing as much as 50 pounds or more.


Los Angeles

Similar to San Diego, the salt waters throughout this city offer a variety of fishing opportunities. Near the shoreline, you can catch various sand bass, calico, bonito, mackerel, halibut, barracuda, white seabass, lings, rockfish, culpin, and sheepshead. In the blue waters you can catch several other species such as bluefin and yellowfin tuna, billfish, albacore, and dorado.

Newport Harbor is an active location for anglers looking for a location that feels more like a bass lake. Beneath boat docks and near pilings, you’ll be able to catch halibut, croaker, and sand bass. The beaches near the Santa Monica Pier are also excellent fishing spots in July when crabs are thriving.

Looking for a coldwater spot for fishing in Los Angeles? Irvine Lake and Santa River Lake are two locations worth visiting, with big bass found in these waters. Largemouth bass as large as 21 pounds have been found in Lake Castaic as well.


Seattle is perfect for all types of fishing because of its proximity to both fresh and saltwater. Off the western edge, you’ll be able to catch coho, pink, chum, and king salmon, along with lings, rockfish, halibut, and crab throughout the Puget Sound and Elliot Bay.

On the east side, Lake Washington is a golden opportunity for fishing, with a good variety of rainbow and cutthroat trout, yellow perch, and smallmouth bass. Up in the Ballard Locks you can also find sockeye salmon as they migrate toward the lake.

Along the rivers of Snoqualmie, Tolt, Skykomish, Wallace, Sultan, and Snohomish, you can fish for steelhead and salmon.



While not quite on the coast, Portland offers some excellent fishing along the Willamette and Columbia rivers, with a wide variety of chinook salmon and sturgeon. Smaller tributaries such as the Sandy and Clackamas rivers harbor steelies and springers in the winter and summer, along with coho and chinook salmon in the fall.

Out east you’ll be able to fish the Columbia River Gorge for steelhead, sturgeon, and salmon, as well as walleye and smallmouth bass. On the other hand, out west in the Tillamook Bay, you can get access to some great salmon and steelhead fishing.

Bonus: #6 Sacramento

As the smallest city on this list, Sacramento is still among the best places to fish on the west coast. The American and Sacramento rivers alone offer some great runs of chinook salmon, along with other species.

Every spring in the Sacramento and Feather rivers the striped bass thrive in large numbers, while size takes priority over quantity in the American River. Looking for good winter fishing? Visit the American during those colder months to find steelhead weighing 15 pounds or more, or head over to the Sacramento River to catch some large sturgeon.

The southwest region of this city is home to the aforementioned Delta system, while the Folsom Lake is ideal for catching king salmon, trout, and bass. Also, check out other places in any direction for excellent fishing, including Camanche Reservoir, Sly Park, Lake Pardee, Lake Amador, Lake Berryessa, and Union Valley Reservoir.

Regardless of where you do your fishing in the west coast, there’s something for everyone to enjoy!

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