Outside a couple of pocket ponds and lakes, fresh-water fishing can prove to be something of a challenge in the City of Angels. However, what the city lacks in fresh-water locales it makes up for with a spectacular array of ocean-based angling destinations. So grab your rod, reel, tackle box and a stout pair of waders as we walk you through some of the best surf, deepwater, pier and beachside angling locations in Los Angeles.
Redondo Beach Sport Fishing
233 N. Harbor Drive
Redondo Beach, CA 90277
If deep-sea fishing floats your boat, then climb aboard the “Redondo Special” or “The New Hustler” and enjoy a spot of boat-based angling in the company of salty sea dogs from Redondo Beach Sport Fishing. Located on a private pier adjacent to the City of Redondo Beach salt water lagoon, the family-friendly operation sells fishing licenses and bait and also rents rods and tackle. You can expect to reel in a variety of fish on your voyage; from rockfish, ocean whitefish and California sheepheads to sand bass, red snapper and sculpin. Before you go, check out the current regulations provided by the CA Department of Fish & Wildlife.
Echo Park Lake
751 Echo Park Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90026
Rehabilitating this 150-year-old, 14.1-acre lake in downtown Los Angeles took two years, $65 million and involved the relocation of some 2,000 fish, 90 turtles and 60 waterfowl along with extensive replanting of the lake’s famous lotus beds. All phases of the park’s makeover are due to be completed in May, which will be welcome news for the local angling population. The lake — which is open year round — will offer catch-and-release fishing for catfish and trout. There’s no news yet as to whether other fish species will be reintroduced. California residents ages 16 and up require a sport fishing license to fish the lake.
Manhattan Beach Pier
2 Manhattan Beach Blvd.
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
Not only is the 928-foot-long pier Manhattan Beach Pier a state historical landmark, but it’s also one of the best pier fishing locations in the South Bay. Fishing is permitted year round (with license) so anglers can bring a selection of bait and tackle and take up residence adjacent to the Roundhouse Marine Studies Lab and Aquarium at the end of the pier. With the right bait, you’ll soon be reeling in a variety of fish including Pacific mackerel, sand bass and perch. There are fish-cleaning stations and restrooms on the pier and some great eateries in town, though finding a metered parking spot can sometimes prove challenging.
Related: Best Fishing Spots In Orange County
California Grunion Run
City of Hermosa Beach City Hall
1315 Valley Drive
Hermosa Beach, CA 90254
Grab and bag isn’t exactly fishing, but watching the California grunion spawning along the beach line from as far north as Point Conception to Point Abreojos in Baja, California is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. During the spawning season — which runs from March through September — sightseers, kids and anglers head down to the Los Angeles South Bay in the wee hours and watch as a host of silver-colored fish hurl themselves onto the beach in a spawning frenzy. Capturing these slippery little critters during the open season is a strictly “hands only” affair – no nets allowed. Check the CA Fish and Wildlife website for the spawning schedule.
Dockweiler State Beach
12000 Vista del Mar
Playa del Rey, CA 90293
If you like surf fishing, then Dockweiler State Beach at the western end of Los Angeles International Airport provides some excellent saltwater fly fishing opportunities. A popular venue for local fly fishing clubs, Dockweiler State Beach has also hosted the One Surf Fly Classic on a couple of occasions. Choose the right bug and you could end up with a BSP, halibut, croaker or corbina on the end of your line. You can park for free on Vista del Mar or in one of the beachside parking lots ($3 to $10 depending on the season).
Julian Gothard is an internationally published freelance writer covering all things Los Angeles. You can check out his popular RVing and travel column at Examiner.com.