Coyote Lake-Harvey Bear Ranch County Park
10840 Coyote Lake Rd.
Gilroy, CA 95020
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.
Loch Lomond Recreation Area
100 Loch Lomond Way
Felton, CA 95018
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
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
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
21 Municipal Wharf
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
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.
Randy Yagi is a freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. His work can be found on Examiner.com.