Loch Lomond is a gem. Nestled in the tree-covered hills above Santa Cruz, Loch Lomond’s natural beauty rivals its fishing.
About the Lake
Loch Lomond has a lot of coves, which make for some pretty good fishing. A decent amount of weed growth, stumps, logs, and tules makes for a large amount of fish. Bluegill and green sunfish are virtually everywhere - during the warm summer months, you can simply pick a spot along the shoreline and throw out a worm. In recent years, a lot of the old wooden docks have been replaced by floating docks, which aren’t as great for fishing. However, the bluegill are still willing, so bring your kids!
There are also loads of small to medium size largemouths. On warm summer days, you can see them prowling the shade by the shoreline - they’re definitely not going to bite though. You’re better off trying your luck during the warm summer evenings. However, earlier or later on in the year, you can have some great bass days casting soft plastics or spinnerbaits.
The trouting is pretty great at the lake. Due to its higher elevation, trout will often bite deep into June or even early July. Try throwing out Powerbait off the numerous points. Note that only recently did the DFG restart stocking fish in the lake due to low water concerns, so holdover populations are still not quite there yet. Trolling can also be very good - you can rent from the marina at very reasonable prices ($7.50 / hr). There is an island on the lake only reachable by boat, with picnic tables and a grill.
If you do choose to rent a boat, try heading to the far shore of the lake. There is only shoreline access along one side of the lake, so you can escape a lot of the fishing pressure by hitting the shady coves on the other side. If you want a little adventure, you can also boat to the inlet of the lake. Here, the lake turns into a calm, slow river, where the fishing can also be quite good - I’ve had some great days catching panfish.
There are also a couple of catfish that roam the bottom, but those are pretty rare. I’ve also accidentally caught a turtle here, so watch your line.
Loch Lomond recently started renting out kayaks from the marina, at very cheap prices. The marina also rents rowboats, paddle boats, and motorboats, and sells refreshments, worms, and some fishing gear.
Access to Loch Lomond was closed for a couple years due to the drought here in California. That gave some time for the populations of the wild bluegill and bass to rebound after years of pounding by Bay Area fishermen. Hopefully the fishing remains good in the upcoming years, and practice catch and release if you can.
Loch Lomond is actually the first place I learned to fish. I remember catching bluegill after bluegill off one of the docks - it was one of the greatest experiences of my life.
Official website: City of Santa Cruz