Orange County

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Fishing in Orange County

If you’re on the lookout for some of the most diverse angling in California, Orange County fishing should have your undivided attention. Whether you’re coming to surf on “The Wedge,” enjoy over 40 miles of gorgeous sandy coastline, or fish for your next trophy, coming to OC is a great idea. This county offers both enticing inshore opportunities and superb offshore action that will make it hard to come back to land.
 

Types of Fishing

 
When it comes to fishing adventures in Orange County, whatever your delight, chances are, you can target it here. Whether it’s a wide range of inshore species you’re after, or Tuna, Yellowtail, and even Marlin are your prime suspects, you’ve come to the right place.
 
 

Freshwater Fishing

There are countless fishing holes to explore, and Irvine Lake is by far the most popular one. The reason for this is that more lunker Rainbow Trout are caught here than anywhere else in California. Catfish, Crappie, and Bass are also biting left and right here.
 

Inshore Fishing

Dana Point is one of the most popular fishing spots in the county with Halibut, Calico Bass, White Seabass, Sheepshead, and Sand Bass on your doorstep. You can find all this and much more on the kelp beds of Newport Beach, including Yellowtail, Bonito, and Barracuda (when in season). Basically, whatever inshore fishing spot you choose to visit, you’re in for one heck of a ride.
 

Offshore Fishing

 
Passionate offshore and deep sea fishing anglers have a lot to look forward to when they cast their lines in the abundant waters off the coast of Orange County. San Clemente and Santa Catalina Islands are the favorite fishing grounds to hunt for an abundance of species like Yellowtail, Barracuda, Calico Bass, even Tuna during the summer months.
 
Hit the bluewater some 50 miles from the mainland and test your hand at deep sea fishing – you’ll have Bluefin and Yellowfin Tuna on your to-catch list. This is also the playground of different Shark species (Mako, Blue), Mahi Mahi, and Wahoo. Still not impressed? Then set your sights on Blue and Striped Marlin, which roam these grounds in the summer and are always ravenous.
 

What to Expect

 
Because Orange County offers so many fishing choices, having a knowledgeable charter captain at the helm is a foolproof way to find the best bite of the day. One of the many advantages of going fishing with a professional is that you can specify what kind of fish you want to target, and they’ll make sure it happens.
 
If you’re coming with kids and you want your fishing excursion to be short and sweet, you can book a four-hour trip for about $500–$700. You can even book a Lobster hunt (when it’s in season) and have a decadent Lobster dinner after your trip.
 
For more dedicated anglers who want to explore the full potential of these prolific waters, there are full day trips in the $850–$1,100 price range. On this expedition, Santa Catalina Island is the most frequented destination. Whether it’s Calico Bass, Yellowtail, Sand Bass, or Tuna, you can find them all on these trips.
 
Many captains also run fishing bonanzas that last 12 or more hours, and these are reserved for anglers who mean business. You’ll go more than 50 miles from  shore, to San Clemente Island and beyond to target really big Bluefin, Yellowfin, and Albacore Tuna, as well as Marlin and Mahi Mahi. These whole day adventures are usually in the $2,000–$2,500 ballpark.
 

What to Bring

 
The first thing to pack when you’re getting ready for your Orange County fishing experience is a valid fishing license. Your guide will keep you in the loop about the rules and regulations, and will provide reliable fishing equipment and a comfortable boat. You’ll also need food and drinks for the time you’re on board, as well as sunscreen and appropriate clothes.
 
Want to experience some of the best fishing SoCal has to offer? Then Orange County could easily be your next destination!
 
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Orange County Fishing Seasons

You might want to bring a sweater to your fishing trip and be prepared for the “winter chill” as you go hunting for Yellowtail, various species of Rockfish, Sculpin, and more. Lobster season is in full sway.

More species are becoming active, so you can set your sights on Halibut, White Seabass, Calico Bass, and of course Yellowtail. Want something different? Lobster’s still out there.

There are plenty of fish in the sea in March, and even more Sharks in the Orange County waters, including Thrasher, Blue, and Mako. Fishing for White Seabass, Halibut, Yellowtail, and Calico Bass is excellent.

Spring has come to Orange County and brought an abundance of fish with it. You can hook anything from Sheepshead and Calico Bass to Rockfish and Halibut, just to name a few.

Are you ready for intense fishing action? Because in May, it’s on. Barracuda, Yellowtail, Calico Bass, Rockfish, and many more are all popular catches this month, and high season is here.

Mahi Mahi are slowly coming to the area, as well as Bluefin and Yellowfin Tuna that will be the most sought-after catch in the upcoming months. Fish are biting left and right in June.

With summer in full bloom, you better believe you’ll need sunscreen while you’re on the boat. What can you catch? Just about anything! From Calico Bass to Bonito, from Mahi Mahi to Tuna, the list of catches is endless.

If chasing Striped Marlin is your passion, then August is the time to target them in Orange County. The Tuna bite is still strong, not to mention Mahi Mahi, Yellowtail, Barracuda, and Sharks.
 

As autumn is slowly making its way to California, there’s still time to catch sizeable Yellowfin and occasional Bluefin Tuna, along with hard-fighting Blue and Striped Marlin. The only fishing limit this month is your imagination.

Tuna are leaving the OC waters, but that doesn’t mean that the fishing fun has to stop. Lingcod are very active, along with Calico Bass, Halibut and more. The Lobster season is officially open.

You can go looking for Sharks, or focus on catching massive Lingcod, Halibut, and Rockfish, it’s up to you. Offshore, you can still find a Striped Marlin here and there, if you know where to look.

Maybe the offshore favorites have gone to warmer waters, but fishing for Halibut, Yellowtail, and Rockfish isn’t slowing down. This is one of the best months to hunt for your daily limit of Lobster.

Orange County Fishing Calendar

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Top Fishing Techniques in Orange County

  1. Deep Sea Fishing
  2. Spearfishing
  3. Fly Fishing

Top Targeted Species in Orange County

Yellowtail Amberjack

Yellowtail Amberjack

Tuna (Bluefin)

Tuna (Bluefin)

Tuna (Yellowfin)

Tuna (Yellowfin)

Halibut

Halibut

Dolphin (Mahi Mahi)

Dolphin (Mahi Mahi)

Seabass (White)

Seabass (White)

Rockfish

Rockfish

Calico Bass

Calico Bass