Smallmouth bass are not as widely rooted in San Diego as their larger cousin, the largemouth bass. There have been several attempts to introduce smallmouth to our lakes throughout the years, and the results have been mixed. While they seem to have taken hold in Lake Cuyamaca, the small population introduced into San Vicente seems to have failed.
The introduction of smallmouth to Cuyamaca was relatively small-scale, with only 15 fish initially stocked in 1995 by the California Department of Fish & Game. There was another stocking of 50 smallmouth in 1997 to further stimulate the population.
One of the most successful local stocks has taken place at Diamond Valley lake, where year after year more and more smallmouth show up in the fish counts. Diamond Valley is a big, wide, clear and extremely deep reservoir making it condusive to smallmouth. Anglers are starting to be able to specifically target them in Diamond Valley now, and they should continue to successfully spawn here.
Perhaps the best local smallmouth fishing exists in the irrigation canals near Calexico, CA. The system of canals which bring water to Imperial and Calexico from the Colorado River are home to a very abundant population of smaller-sized smallmouth. Lake Havasu, about 5 hours North-East of San Diego is developing into a very good smallmouth fishery as well.