Fishing in Lake Merced California, All You Need to Know

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If you are looking for an amazing place to enjoy a short time just near the city. Lake Merced is probably the best option for all residents of San Francisco and nearby cities such as Daly city. The park around the reservoir is full of beauty and opportunities to enjoy every thing around you. There are many kind of things that a visitor can do and enjoy the visiting time in the park. And the park is very suitable for every kind of sport activity that requires no special permission. Fishing in lake Merced is one of the most popular activity.

In this article is a full fishing guide to lake Merced in San Francisco California. But before focusing on fishing around the spot, let’s know the park and the waterbody more deeply.

Lake Merced is located in the south west of San Francisco city. It is almost inside the city area having a very small distance from the city center area. One can reach to the park from any part of the city in less than 30 minutes. Besides that it is a great place for those living in Daly city, Alameda, Oakland and other places nearby.

Except fishing you can enjoy a ton of other things too. As the area is just beside the pacific coast that is why people also visit the beach as well more often. In the park area there is a beautiful golf club as well.

Most of the visitors will always bring their angling gear with them visiting the park. Usually on the north boat dock there are plenty of anglers casting their lines in the water. Fishermen might not be allowed to fish from shores of the lake while not motorize boats can also stay afloat on the surface.

Fish species

In the early 80’s the lake started showing a fall in water levels and this continued more than a decade. And was seeming to dry off in the 90’s. From around 32 feet depth the waterbody reached to only 15 feet in 1995 and that was the end for water crisis.

Afterwards it the area was becoming more and more famous for its incredible fishing opportunities. Most of the visitors always visit park for fishing in lake Merced. And almost a half of the visitors are having their own gear along them and casting lines at the piers.

A survey shows that around 40% of anglers enjoy the opportunities and keep returning to the spot.

There is a great diversity of species and different populations in the waters which most of the people like. So no body can predict the next catch and the size. But one thing is for sure, everyone is happy for casting their lines here.

The most popular species living in the lake are rainbow trout, largemouth and striped bass. Common carp and crucian carp are also having a good share of fish in the lake. River blackfish and smallmouth bass are rarely caught in the area.

Fishing bass in lake Merced

If you want to follow the most easily available and good size fish. Then largemouth bass is probably the best choice for you. They are large fully grown and amazingly healthy fish in the dark corners near rocks and vegetation. The shallow behavior of the lake is very suitable for largemouth bass. As the deepest point in the area is 30-32 feet deep all the places are shallow. Which makes it the best place for largemouth to live.

The vegetation near the docks and fishing piers are attracting them near the reach of anglers. By providing them plenty of food and shelter from predators.

Largemouth bass fishing is quite famous on the fishing piers in lake Merced. A normal size lure with some bait load can catch the fish easily. Normally anglers don’t have to wait too much for the catch. Try to cast your line as near to the vegetation as possible.

Rainbow trout

This is the fish responsible for the fame of the lake in the region. Its incredible quality and availability is always an attraction for more and more fishermen to the park. The mild weather of San Francisco make it possible to see trout even in winter. While the best season to chase rainbow trout in lake Merced is spring and fall.

General fly fishing techniques would be enough to get some trout stuck in hook. Moreover you might also come up with a giant common carp or even a crucian carp can get stuck in your hook. They have spread their populations in the lake equally as the trout have done. Fly fishing is really worth in the lake as you may catch any of these surface feeders.

Other great fishing lakes in California.

Carps fishing in lake Merced

You might have listened about common carp while you are angling. But what about the crucian carp? Yes there are two different types of carp in the spot. As its name common carp is common every where as it is in this lake. Moreover there are crucian carp as well and they are also surface feeders as trout and common carp. Almost every average size fly will work for them.

But one thing to keep in mind, if you are casting flies in the lake. You should know that you might get hook to any of these 3 surface feeders. So you can not focus on a single species, focusing on one of them is hard. First you will have to develop skills and then you will be able to focus on single species. By choosing the best lures and the best things suitable for one of them.

Other species in lake Merced

Stripers and smallmouth bass are also available. Stripers have good populations and they appear almost everywhere in the water. However the smallmouth bass are just having a presence. Catching them can be challenging but an experienced can definitely figure out where to catch the species.

Lake Merced fishing spots & regulations

There are 5 fishing piers over different parts of the lake. The most busy is the one is the north lake main fishing pier having so many fish around it. While the others are also great places if you want to stay away of the crowd. The lake is equally important from each pier if you cast your line well.

Fishing is not allowed form shores of the lake the only places you can fish are the piers. There is a boat launch in the north lake where people can launch personal boats without a motor. Motorized boats are also not allowed to stay afloat on the water.

California state fishing license is required to for all older than the age limit. Moreover the fish from the lake is not edible and the water has chemicals so be aware of that as well.