San Diego County, Southern California

El Capitan Reservoir

Fishing at El Capitan Reservoir

El Capitan Reservoir is most popular for largemouth bass. Other fish caught in the lake include carp, channel catfish, blue catfish, green sunfish, bluegill, crappie, and rainbow trout. Minimum size limits for bass is 15 inches and for crappie, 10 inches.

Besides a fishing license (for those 16 and older), anglers at El Capitan must obtain at fishing permit: Adults $8, Youths, $2.50, and Seniors $4.

Fishing is good from shore, but access is limited. Anglers may use waders and float tubes. Float-tube-fishermen must stay within 150 feet of shore, wear chest waders, carry a horn or whistle, and display 144 square inches of international orange 12 inches above the water line. Float tubes with oars or motors require a private boat use permit.

Where to Fish on El Capitan

Certainly the favorite spot for fishing on El Capitan Reservoir is at the north end. Kayak anglers have had good luck trolling for crappie in the northern end of the lake. The shoreline drops off steeply almost everywhere on the lake, but there are spots up the north end and some of the smaller arms where rocks and brush underwater provide good cover for fish.

Much More Below

Best Baits and Lures   Fishing Guide Services
Nearby Fishing Supplies

Fishing Map of El Capitan Reservoir

Bass Tournaments

El Capitan Reservoir is a popular lake for San Diego area bass tournaments. Among the organizations which regularly schedule events here are

El Capitan Reservoir Boat Rentals

El Capitan Marina rents aluminum fishing boats that seat 4. They are equipped with outboard motors. Boating

El Capitan Reservoir Record Fish

Senko Worms

  • Largemouth Bass - 15.31 pounds, July 1975
  • Striped Bass - 11.95 pounds, June 2014
  • Blue Catfish - 48.25 pounds, caught by Cameron Smith, April 2013. Previous record 45.31 pounds, April 1986.
  • Channel Catfish - 20.27 pounds, August 1974
  • Black Crappie - 3.75 pounds, March 1987
  • White Crappie - 2.43 pounds, March 1971
  • Bluegill - 1.56 pounds, June 1992
  • Carp - 18 pounds, April 1977
  • Green Sunfish - 15.31 pounds, July 1975
  • Redear Sunfish - 1.25 pounds, May 1984

Which Baits and Lures Are
Catching Fish at El Capitan Reservoir?

Bass: Spinnerbaits, Topwaters, and jigs, Straight Tail, Brush Hog, Big Worm, 5" - 7" Senkos, Mackerel, Anchovies, Watermelon Lizard, Shad Spoons, Spinnerbaits, Swimbaits, Plastic Worms
Trout: Nightcrawlers, PowerBait, Mini Jigs, Spoons, Kastmasters, Rapalas, Needlefish
Catfish: Cut Bait such as Anchovies, Shrimp, Meal Worms, or Mackerel
Bluegill: Worms, Crickets, Lip Ripperz

El Capitan Reservoir Guide Service

Joe Fish
(619) 715-8538
Joe Marshall has been fishing in the San Diego area his entire life. He specializes bass fishing in San Diego's lakes and reservoirs. He will take you out in his Champion 202 boat loaded with all the electronics. He offers half and full-day trips and provides all the fishing gear.

Tom Lowery Fishing Guide
(858) 922-9933
Website: Tom Lowery
Tom Lowery offers half-day and full-day guided fishing trips to lakes and saltwater destinations in the San Diego area. Among his favorite spots is El Capitan Reservoir. Lowery provides clients with tournament caliber equipment and takes them out in his fully loaded Triton bass boat.

The Fish Icon
(619) 395-0799
Website: The Fish Icon
Captain James Nelson's fishing charter service is known from Mission Bay to El Capitan Reservoir. Their primary rig is a 22-foot Skeeter ZX2200 which can seat up to 4 anglers.

Southern California Fishing Adventures
(858) 254-9215
Website: Southern California Fishing Adventures
Justin Hanold has a passion for tournament fishing. He enjoys taking out everyone from children and beginners to experts. El Capitan reservoir is one of his four favorite lakes for bass fishing in Southern California. You can often catch up with him on weekends at the Bass Pro Shop in Rancho Cucamonga.


Fishing Tackle and Bait Shops

Lakeside Bait & Tackle
12255 Woodside Ave.
Lakeside, CA
(619) 443-3859

East County Bait and Tackle
10137 Maine Ave.
Lakeside, CA
(619) 390-9112

Website: East County Bait and Tackle

Angler's Arsenal
8183 Center St.
La Mesa, CA
(800) 428-8730

Website: Angler's Arsenal
Radio Broadcasts: Owner of Angler's Arsenal John Cassidy hosts Road and Reel Radio Sundays at 5:00 PM -
540 AM

Barnacle Bill's Bait & Tackle
7292 Broadway, Lemon Grove, CA
(619) 461-1214

Stroud Tackle (fly fishing)
1457 Morena Blvd.
San Diego, CA
(619) 276-4822

Website: Stroud Tackle

Bass Pro Shops
7777 Victoria Gardens Lane
Rancho Cucamonga, CA
(909) 922-5500

Website: Bass Pro Shops

Don's Bait & Tackle
6407 Imperial Ave.
San Diego, CA
(619) 263-1435

Turner's Outdoorsman
8199 Clairemont Mesa Blvd.
San Diego, CA
(858) 278-8005

Website: Turner's Outdoorsman