Saltwater Fishing in San Diego

saltwater fishing san diego featured image

San Diego, known as “America’s Finest City,” boasts over 70 miles of coastline to explore! Are you a piscator? Or, in other words, do you like saltwater fishing? Do you prefer to fish from piers or jetties? From shore or out in the ocean? San Diego’s peak fishing season begins in April and until November. Would you like to learn more about saltwater fishing in San Diego?

–>The Beaches of San Diego County<–

What makes San Diego extraordinary is that the coastline is so varied. There are miles of sandstone bluffs in North County San Diego (San Onofre, Carlsbad, Encinitas, Del Mar). While down in South County San Diego, sandy beaches rule (Pacific Beach, Mission Beach, Ocean Beach, Coronado, Imperial Beach.) San Diego has it all, whether you prefer to fish from the beach, jetty, pier, boat, or by a chartered vessel!

piscator definition mackerel fishing pole

A Piscator Page, You Say?

I thought it would be good to have a specific page on my website with all of the San Diego saltwater fishing information in one place. A piscator page!

So down below, I have compiled complete lists of all San Diego saltwater fishing piers, saltwater sportfishing (half-day/full-day) party and charter boats, boat launch ramps, lobster fishing spots, the 2022 grunion run schedule, a few fish lists, as well as several prominent shore fishing locations.

As a bonus, I have included all harbor and bay cruises offered out of Oceanside Harbor, Mission Bay, and San Diego Bay for those who have no desire to fish but still yearn to be on the water.

To experience San Diego to the fullest, you must get on the ocean, breathe in all the negative ions, and let the salt water spray on your face. Believe me; you will thank me later. Also, don’t forget to pack a sweatshirt, as it can get chilly out on the water.

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2021 Grunion Run Schedule

grunion out water sandy beach sea foam

It is that time of year again! The grunion is here! If you recall, in 2020,  Californians could not witness the grunion of March and April, as we were not allowed anywhere near the water. Well, this year is different, and I, for one, am heading down this month to check them out in person. Below, I present the 2021 grunion and the updated 2022 grunion run schedule for Southern California.

Important- New Grunion Fishing Regulation 2022 Update!

The California Department of Fish and Game Commission has officially adopted new grunion fishing regulations!
Starting on June 1, 2022, the grunion closure/observation rule has been extended for one more month. No grunion may be taken from April 1 to June 31. Because of a decrease in numbers, a new bag limit of 30 fish will be enacted when the season opens again on July 1.

What is a Grunion, and How Do They Run?

marcro grunion fish head close up
credit-Nathan Rupert-(Flickr)

The grunion (Leuresthes tenuis) are small silvery fish between 5 to 7 inches long that live about 3 to 4 years. Each year, the grunion comes onto Southern California’s beaches between March and September to spawn during the Full and New Moons.

The female grunion catches a wave, digs a hole, and waits for males to touch her. Once touched, she will release her eggs, and the males cast their milt (sperm) on her body, which then flows down onto the eggs.

The process happens rather quickly, and up to eight males may fertilize each female. Interestingly, the female grunion may be out of the water for over five minutes! Once the male is done, he will catch a wave back into the ocean.

Each grunion run lasts four consecutive days when the tide is at its highest and longest. The eggs are buried in the sand for two weeks until the next high tide arrives. When the larvae become agitated by the waves, they hatch and are taken back into the ocean by the tide.

April and May are peak spawning months, so only observation is allowed.

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