Largemouth Bass

San Diego is famous for trophy sized largemouth bass. In fact, San Diego widely regarded as one of the few places on earth capable of producing a new world record largemouth bass.

There is good reason for that – 11 of the top 25 largemouth bass ever caught have come out of San Diego County reservoirs. The largest documented bass of all-time came from Escondido’s Dixon Lake and weighed 25 pounds! That fish did not qualify as the world record, despite being almost 3 pounds heavier, because it was foul hooked and not submitted for consideration.

  • Content Ad
  • The largemouth bass is the most popular gamefish in the United States, and San Diego is no exception. Part of what makes them so popular to anglers is that they can be found in nearly every single fresh body of water in the country, and that holds true in San Diego as well. However, they are not native to San Diego, or even California.

    Largemouth bass were first stocked in California in 1891 and were from the northern-strain of largemouth bass. But in San Diego, you’ll find mostly the larger, but more finicky Florida-strain version of largemouth bass.

    In 1957, Ray Boone, a Major League Baseball player and native San Diegan told Orville P (OP) Ball – a fisheries biologist who was Superintendent of the San Diego City Lakes Program – about how big the bass were in Florida, where he attended Spring Training. That planted a seed in Ball’s mind, and in 1960 OP Ball brought in roughly 20,000 Florida-strain largemouth bass fingerlings and stocked them in Upper Otay.

    Drawing from Upper Otay, Ball distributed those fish to most of the other San Diego City Lakes, and the population of Florida-strain bass boomed. By 1970 San Diego was gaining worldwide acclaim for the trophy bass being caught, and the rest is history.

    Lake Records

    Chollas15.5 1976Kevin Crutcher
    Cuyamaca14.1875March1996Jeff Phillips
    Diamond Valley14.85November2003John Krumsiek
    Dixon21.7May2003Jed Dickerson
    El Capitan15.31July1975Mark Torbet
    Hodges20.25May1985Gene Dupras
    Jennings16.58March1986Jim Baker 
    Lower Otay18.75March1980Bob Eberly
    Miramar20.93June1973Dave Zimmerleee
    Morena19.19February1987Arden Hanline
    Murray18.55December2000Roger Horton
    Poway17.5 1984Mike Lanza
    San Vicente18.75February1981James Steurgeon
    Santee Lakes13.5   
    Skinner16.125March2015Ryan Block
    Sutherland16.125April1989Mary Delaney
    Vail17.75February1986Jack Tarrant
    Wohlford19.1875February1986Steve Beasley

    There are several lakes in San Diego which honor lake records that were claimed without witnesses or reasonable proof. Such catches, that lack proof of the fish’s existence or size are not included in our list.