Image: Julie Pendray.

You can get your omega-3s and lean protein by buying seafood at a store or fish mart. But how about catching it yourself? San Diego is known for having some of the most diverse saltwater fishing in the world, as well as more than 20 freshwater lakes, plus river and pier opportunities. The fresh air, relaxation, and camaraderie of other people hoping to reel in the big one can be a tonic. Be careful to follow the rules, though, if you want to actually land that fish on your plate. Find additional resources for licenses, limits, and more information below.

Four healthiest saltwater fish

To learn about the four healthiest fish to catch and eat in San Diego, check out guidelines from Scripps Associated Medical Groups ( These fish are yellowfin tuna, California yellowtail, Pacific rockfish, and California halibut.

Yellowfin tuna, also known as ahi tuna, is common here. It has a mild flavor and firm texture and can be prepared raw (as sashimi) or grilled, seared, or baked. Great toppings include bacon, sprouted greens, or a spicy sauce. If you are dealing with raw fish, it’s important to adhere to health guidelines to prevent illness.

California yellowtail can grow to seven feet long and 90 pounds because they’re so smart they can outwit humans. They won’t take just any bait; if you manage to hook one, get ready for a battle. You’ll need your protein after that. Look forward to 43 grams of it, with only 10 grams of fat per serving, which means it’s a good heart-healthy choice. Yellowtail is a slightly sweet, oily fish, so rather than frying, it’s better to bake, poach, barbecue, broil, or smoke.

Pacific rockfish, also called Pacific snapper, can be one of the easiest fish to prepare and it’s also readily found in West Coast stores. A slightly flaky and sweeter fish, it’s best baked, sautéed, or broiled with a little lemon and butter, plus salt and pepper. It is also a good source of selenium and vitamin D.

California halibut, a groundfish, is mild and can be cooked however you like it. Its firm flesh makes it a good choice to serve in tacos.

Freshwater fishing

An aerial view of Lake Miramar, known by local freshwater anglers for catching largemouth bass. Image: Thomas De Wever.

Bass, trout, catfish, and other species can be found in reservoirs within the City of San Diego. For more information, go to

Fishing Resources

It can be complex to learn how to legally fish at any given time of year. California Department of Fish and Wildlife offers information on seasons, licenses, permits, and limits at

For great photos of catches and a wealth of information including local conditions, fishing derbies, charter boats, bait, tackle, and more, visit

Edible San Diego Issue 66 Summer 2022
Cover Image by Dave Rudie.

Published in the print edition of Edible San Diego's summer 2022 issue.

Read issue 66 online now.

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