Fishing in Lake Balboa, All You Need to Know, Full Guide

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means I earn a commission for purchases through these links. is a participant of Amazon LLC associates program. Read our affiliate disclosure here.

The park of lake balboa has several great fish resources like Los Angeles river. Each of these spots individually provides good angling opportunities. The despite the great salmon the Los Angeles river provides, it is still clear that the reservoir provide outstanding opportunities. The lake is situated in the in Sepulveda park and recreation area in Los Angeles along with LA river. Fishing in lake balboa is one of the most enjoyable fun activities in the park.

The Sepulveda basin park and recreation are is in the south of the balboa neighborhood in northern Los Angeles city. Sepulveda is one of the largest parks and recreational areas in the county of LA. It has been listed seventh largest recreational area by LA times among 181 parks in Los Angeles. The Sepulveda holds quite an important place for freshwater species in the county. It has two famous spots of the state including balboa lake.

Anglers fishing in lake balboa have access to 27 acres reservoir where they can catch common carp, catfish, largemouth bass, tilapia and suckermouth catfish. For those older than 16 a valid California fishing license is mandatory, the best time to cast line is from early spring to end of summer.

There are two types of tilapia, Nile and blue tilapia. Also the catfish are having multiple species such as suckermouth  and the ordinary channel catfish. Spotted bass and smallmouth bass also have a small populations in the reservoir. In short fishing lake balboa is much fun than one can imagine about a small park reservoir.

Here is your further guide of fishing lake balboa in northern Los Angeles, California. We will share all the information about angling in lake balboa including all the species and the best spots where you can cast your line.

Fish species in lake balboa

As we have talked about lake balboa has a pretty large variety fish species living in the water. Many of them are available all year round to catch during any season of the year. But It does not mean you will have the same opportunities all the time. Weather season and water temperature highly impact the availability of fish in any waterbody. For example in summer and spring you will see most of people heading to over to their spots to catch some.

Its all because in summer you have way better opportunities to catch fish than winter. So lets discuss about all the types of fish that are in balboa lake and the best season to target them. In a small reservoir like the lake balboa, the spot is not that big matter but still we will also discuss the potential best spots for each type.

Largemouth bass

In California it is pretty common for almost each spot to have its major population the largemouth. Living in the state you should know the importance of bass as a major interest of anglers. The same is the case with lake balboa, largemouth populations are loaded in the 27 acres of area. Here are some great tips to find largemouth bass in a lake.

Each single place in the water or a potential spot for an angler is full of largemouth. Not only the population is big but the fish size is also quite decent, almost each weighing 3-5 pounds easily. In general largemouth don’t go deeper, they usually stay around in shallow water and keep near cover of something. But if you want to go after them in winter when the water temperature is lower than usual. You will probably find them deeper to be in warmer temperature.

Targeting the covered areas like grass or bushes are always great to target. But keep in mind some of the areas hiving grass are prohibited for fishing.

Small underspin lures are quite helpful catch you plenty of average size fish.

Common carp fishing in lake balboa

As their name they are so common on the lake with a giant size and bent lips. They are normally weighing up to 3 pounds but a 4 pound catch is also not strange. Lake balboa is famous for its fine size and quality carp production. Many anglers of the area visit the park to fish carp in lake balboa.

Now here are two things to keep in mind, the first is that carp is year round species. You can fish it all the year in any season no matter how cold it gets. It will get a little deeper in colder water but they can be caught all the time. But the best time to target them is during spring while they gather in groups for spawning.

The second thing is if you are targeting it to keep and than eat. Then spring is probably not the best time for to keep them, its the best time for catch and release. During spawning period the taste of carp usually gets very different and most of people don’t enjoy it.

These like to be super hidden in vegetation places or places that are highly covered. Here are some more tips to locate carp easily.


There are two types of tilapia in the reservoir, Nile tilapia is the most common catch in most cases while there is also blue tilapia in some parts. These mostly like the moderate water temperatures and appear in the months of spring and fall. But you can go fishing it throughout the year in lake balboa.

This fish is very shy of lures and all the things that attract them towards a hook. Extreme patience is needed while casting your line for tilapia no matter how large populations are in the waterbody. They are even line shy, if they see your fishing line then they aren’t going to bite on your hook.

In this case you need to be very patient and wait until the bite happens. Your line should be stationary and not moving around after casting it into the water. There are plenty of fish in balboa, if you decide to chase them then have patience you will have great catches. Keeping your line stationary is the key to shorten the waiting duration.

Catfish fishing in lake balboa

This one also has a good trend of fishing in the reservoir, especially the suckermouth catfish. The rare sub species of catfish which has good presence in the reservoir. It is the reason of tour for many anglers, its much easier to target and catch. However the population might not be sustainable when there are crowds chasing it.

Here are some incredible catfish lakes near balboa.

But the best part is that this fish is not good as a food and many people are just releasing them after a catch. You can learn how to find and catch catfish here.

Final words

This amazing park reservoir has is an amazing place to go fishing. It has a great location inside city area of Los Angeles and there are also many more fun activities you can do. A reservoir with maximum depth of 10 feet is always considered a lot easier to fish. Its a great place to take a short brake from your work during weekends or even on weekdays after work.