Mission Bay provides anglers an extremely diverse year-round fishery. The bay is generally shallow, with the max depth in most areas of the bay being only 12 feet with slow sloping sand bottoms. Some areas, including the Mission Bay Channel, Mariner's Basin and Quivera Basin have a max-depth of 20 feet. The majority of the shoreline is sand, but there are several areas (along the Mission Bay channel for example) that are lined with rocks. There is roughly 27 miles of shoreline along Mission Bay, with 19 miles of that being comprised of sand.
Fishing is permitted in almost all areas of the bay, with the exclusion of specially marked swimming and sailing areas. Shore-fishing locations are abundant, generally there are parking lots located on every point within the bay.
"This little jewel of a fishery is a shallow water oasis of inshore saltwater bliss," says local fishing guide James Nelson.
Unlike its neighbor to the south, San Diego Bay - Mission Bay welcomes shore fishermen.
Mission Bay is bordered by the San Diego River to the South, Pacific Beach to the North, the 5 freeway to the East, and Mission Beach to the West. Mission Bay Park sprawls out over 4,000 acres, half of which are comprised of fishable water. The park is well mapped out with signs directing you to most areas of the bay.
Mission Bay is a man-made water way, originally developed to provide recreation for tourists to boost the local economy. The area where Mission Bay Park sits upon was originally a marsh, which was fed by the San Diego River outlet. The bay was dredged in the 1940s, developing the park and bay that we have today.
Facilities and Camping Information
Mission Bay is perhaps San Diego's most diverse recreational area. There is an endless list of amenities and recreation opportunities available on the bay. There are six public launch ramps, nine marinas, seven hotels, dozens of well-maintained restrooms, two fuel docks, boat rentals, a campground, fire-pits, playgrounds, protected swimming areas with lifeguards, and much more.
Public Launch Ramps
- Santa Clara Point
- Dana Landing (in Dana Basin)
- Ski Beach (on Vacation Isle - East side)
- South Shores
- Campland on the Bay at Campland Marina
- De Anza Cove
Two fuel docks are located at Dana Landing and Islandia Marina.
Hours, Fees and Boating Info
The bay itself is open 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. Please be advised that some parking lots are closed nightly, generally from 10 pm to 4 am. Check each lot when you drive-in to be sure that you know when/if it closes. and locks.
Generally there are no fees required to use the Mission Bay Park or any of its public launch ramps. A valid fishing license with a saltwater stamp is required for anglers.
The speed limit on Mission Bay is 5 mph unless otherwise specified. There are designated water-ski areas that permit open speeds during day-light hours. Boats are not permitted within certain designated areas, including swimming beaches and coves. Please observe all buoys marking special regulations.
Fishing for spotted bay bass and halibut is very good in Mission Bay. Anglers can also target Bat Rays and Leopard Sharks which strain both angler and equipment. Eel grass lines the shoreline in almost all areas of the bay, and provide cover for bass species. Bay Bass can be targetted with both artificial and live bait presentations. Ghost Shrimp make a very good bait for bass and other smaller species of fish. Squid is the go-to bait for larger Bat Rays and Leopard Sharks.
For more information
Mission Bay Parks - (619)221-8900