Each year, many trout-fishing anglers make a pilgrimage to Lake Cuyamaca, where an annual stocking of 45,000 pounds of rainbow trout makes for some great fishing. This premier trout- fishing area is the only lake within the San Diego area that offers a year-load stocking of trout. This lake also offers anglers the opportunity to catch other game fish, including bass (largemouth, smallmouth, Florida), channel catfish, crappie, sturgeon, and bluegill. The cooler climate here tends to keep the largemouth bass from reaching trophy-size like other lakes.
Lake Cuyamaca is a good spot year-round for trout fishing due to its high elevation and the water’s cool temperature, which keeps the trout available in all seasons. If you’re comfortable with driving up the mountain, higher altitudes mean less-crowded fishing spots. The shallow waters of the lake will affect your catching technique. Professionals recommend small spoons and inline spinners when the fish aren’t being responsive, but much of the time, fly fishing and gouge baits are two popular ways to catch trout.
For bass fishing, this is a great spot. The smallmouths are fighters, so they can be fun to catch! The smallmouth bass must be freed unharmed, but largemouths can be kept, within the season’s guidelines. Cuyamaca is considered one of the best largemouth bass lakes in Southern California. Watch for bass around any structures in the water. Bass lures mimicking other prey species are good for provoking responses from these territorial fish.
Anglers can also enjoy excellent channel catfish catches with chicken liver or stink baits. Light gear and small lures will bring in crappie, though these tend to be the smallest fish in the lake.
Lake Cuyamaca is open from 6:00 AM to sunset all year long. Private boats must be a minimum of ten feet in length. Kayaks and canoes are allowed only in the summertime. All boats must be inspected and washed by the staff before launch. Fishing permits must be purchased for all ages.
Lake Cuyamaca Fish:
Lake Cuyamaca boat ramps:
The following boat ramps provide access to Lake Cuyamaca.