Are you ready to take the bait?
Between the year-round epic weather and a wide variety of locations, fishing in Oceanside offers a unique way to connect with the great outdoors. Family first-timers and experienced sports fishermen alike have great options, from bobbing for bluegill in an inland pond to hopping aboard a charter and heading for deep water. Get your gear together—don’t forget a fishing license! (unless you’re fishing at the O’side pier and the small harbor fishing pier)—and get out there.
Shielded from the open ocean, the calm waters of Oceanside Harbor are a safe haven for fish species like smelt, croakers, perch, and bass, making it a great choice for newbies dropping a line. Try the Small Craft Harbor Fishing Pier, known locally as the best spot in the harbor for getting a nibble. You can fish here without a license, and the village has snacks, sunscreen, rental gear, and plenty of shady seating.
Jutting 1,942 feet into the open ocean, Oceanside’s iconic pier gives fishermen access to a range of aquatic environments and doesn’t require a fishing license. Drop by the Oceanside Pier Bait Shop at mid-pier to pick up rods, tackle, and bait (beware of the marauding seagulls), then find your spot. At the end of the pier, you’re most likely to hook bonito and mackeral; at mid-pier, stingrays and halibut; and closer to shore, it’s croakers and guitarfish.
Short day trips and extended multi-day charters chug out of Oceanside Harbor daily, destined for the open ocean. Boating excursions from the Oceanside SEA Center and Helgren’s Sportfishing are ready to steward our amazing ocean ecosystem while helping you land, clean, and pack your catch. A fishing license is required but gear and tackle are provided. In deep water, depending on the season, you can catch everything from sea bass, bonito, mahi-mahi, and halibut, to barracuda and even shark.
Unless you’re heading out on a sportfishing boat, you’ll need your own gear and tackle to fish in O’side. You can buy or rent plus pick up bait and other supplies at the Oceanside Pier Bait Store located midway down the iconic pier, or head to the village at Oceanside Harbor where there’s a handful of bait and tackle shops.
You need a California fishing license to fish at all locations in Oceanside (including on sportfishing boats) except for Oceanside Pier and the small harbor fishing pier. Children under the age of 16 may fish without a license at all locations. To learn more about and purchase a California fishing license, visit the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Among the beautiful hiking trails, campgrounds, and parks of this tranquil inland sanctuary, two ponds attract migratory birds—your competitors for the bass, bluegill and channel catfish lurking below the surface. Enjoy the scenic shore fishing during regular park hours.
This freshwater lagoon on the southern edge of Oceanside was California’s first ecological reserve and offers fishing for crayfish, carp, and bass directly from shoreline access points. Spend some time walking the trails admiring native plants and the lagoon’s vibrant bird life.