San Luis Obispo County, Central California

Santa Margarita Lake Fishing

Fishing at Santa Margarita Lake


Santa Margarita Lake has striped bass, largemouth bass, a scant few smallmouth bass, redear sunfish, rainbow trout, carp, bluegill, crappie, and catfish. Dirt access roads circle the lake, giving anglers plenty of access to various points along the shore. Plenty of structures in the lake provide good habitat for fish. Weeds along the shore can be troublesome for shore fishermen. Float tubes are allowed if you wear waders.

Where to Fish on Santa Margarita Lake


Bass fishing is best in the spring. Many anglers like to work the tulles. Bass are found all around the lake wherever there are structures or rocky points. Some of the favorite places to fish are White Oak Bay, Salsipuedes Bay, and down by the dam. Other good locations are Jackass and Cold Canyons.

Crappie hang out in shallow water near the tulles. Also look for them around the marina docks and up in the narrows at the upper end of the lake. Catfish are found in the narrows too and in Murphy and Blinn Bays. Bluegill fishing is excellent in the inlets around Vaca Flat.

Much More Below

Lake Records   Best Lures  
Guide Services   Fishing Supplies









Fishing Map of Santa Margarita Lake

Lake Water Level

For current wanter levels in Santa Margarita Lake, see the City of San Luis Obispo's website:
Santa Margarita Lake Water Level

Santa Margarita Lake Record Fish


  • Largemouth Bass - 14.33 pounds, caught by Joe Alanis, March 2011
  • Smallmouth Bass - 5 pounds, 8 ounces
  • Striped Bass - 32 pounds
  • Rainbow Trout - 7 pounds, 7 ounces
  • Crappie - 3 pounds, 14 ounces
  • Catfish - 23 pounds, 8 ounces

Which Baits and Lures Are Catching Fish at
Santa Margarita Lake?


Bass: Crankbaits, Weedless Frogs like Panther Martin's Pro Frogs, Bobby's Perfect or Ish's Phat Frog, Swim Baits like Huddleston or Rago, M. S. Slammer
Stripers: AC Plugs, Storm Chug Bug, Luhr Jensen Crippled Herring, Roosertails, Rebel Pop-Rs, Zara Puppies
Catfish: Nightcrawlers, Shad, Minnows, Cut Mackerel, Chicken Livers, Anchovies
Crappie: Minnows, Chartreuse Curly-tail Grub
Bluegill: Meal Worms, Nightcrawlers, Red Worms, Mackerel


Santa Margarita Lake Fishing Guide Services


Central Coast Bass Fishing
4625 San Vicente, Atascadero, CA
(866) 606-2223
Website: Central Coast Bass Fishing
Will Hesch has been guiding anglers on the central coast lakes for 20 years. He will take you out in his fully equipped 20-foot Triton X-Boat.

Fishing at Nearby Beaches

Within easy driving distance of Lake Santa Margarita are all the great fishing opportunies along the San Luis Obispo Coast:
Pismo Beach, Morro Bay, Avila Beach, Cayucos Beach, Hearst Beach, and many more. Find them all at California's Best Beaches

Santa Margarita Lake Area
Fishing Tackle and Bait


Oldfield Rod & Reel
3450 Sacramento, Suite A
San Luis Obispo, CA
(559) 746-0313

Website: Oldfield Rod and Reel
Fly fishing

Jim's Pro Bass Tackle
1034 17th Street
Paso Robles, CA
(805) 237-0549

Website: Jim's Pro Bass Tackle

Baima's Tackle Sales and Service
Las Tablas Road
Templeton, CA
(805) 434-1945


Been There, Caught That Fishing Supply
1010 W. Betteravia Rd., Suites C & D
Santa Maria, CA
(805) 348-3400

Website: Been There, Caught That Saltwater Fishing Gear

Hollister Bait and Tackle
139 4th Street, Hollister, CA
(831) 638-9383








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