Lake Murray

Little Lake Murray (171 surface acres) has a reputation for producing big fish – particularly largemouth bass. This deep, clearwater reservoir sits basically right in the middle of San Diego County, about 12 miles east of downtown San Diego.

  • Content Ad
  • Lake Murray is relatively featureless – rocky slopes leading to the lake give way to a mostly gravel lake bottom with areas of aquatic grass providing most of the bass habitat. There are a few isolated rockpiles, and some man-made fish structures like sunken trees and piles of concrete.

    Rainbow trout are stocked by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife in the winter months. Recent fish plants are shown on the bottom of this page.

    Lake Murray also has some big blue catfish, bluegill, channel catfish, redear sunfish, and a small population of black crappie.

    Shoreline accessibility is good, and there is a trail that leads from the parking lot all the way to restricted fishing area on the other side of the lake. The trail is 3 miles long, and is not a loop. If you walk all the way to the end, you must walk all the way back. Patches of tules limit which areas you can fish, but there are plenty of gaps. The shoreline is gentle sloped, so traversing it is relatively easy. That also works against shore anglers though, as accessing deep water is necessary to reach fish in the summer and winter – and that can be difficult to do casting from shore here.


    Lake Murray is located at 5540 Kiowa Dr., La Mesa, CA.

    Hours, Fees and Boating

    Lake Murray is open daily from sunrise to sunset for fishing, boating and general recreation. The concession stand operates on a limited schedule, with rental boats available only on days the concession is open. Check our recent Lake Murray fish reports for updated information on the concession schedule.

    Daily fishing permits are required, as is a valid California Sport Fishing License for all anglers 16 years of age and older. See our “Lake Permits and Fees” page for current permit rates.

    Lake Murray allows private boats, float tubes, kayaks and canoes. Water contact is not allowed, so float tubers must wear waders as well as follow all current Coast Guard Regulations.

    There is a 5 MPH “no wake” speed limit enforced.

    Water Level Trend

    The following chart shows measured water levels (feet below capacity) at Lake Murray over the previous 12 months.

    Lake Murray Fishing Records

    Black Crappie3.001995
    Blue Catfish33.952005
    Bullhead (Yellow)0.931991
    Channel Catfish33.92005 
    Largemouth Bass18.552000Roger Horton
    Rainbow Trout12 
    Redear Sunfish2.3552011Eduardo Valenzuela

    Recent and Future Fish Plants

    DateSpeciesSourceWeight (lbs)Notes
    11/10/15Rainbow TroutCA DFWConfirmed
    11/23/15Rainbow TroutCA DFWConfirmed

    Lake Murray News