Loch Lomond

Fishing Loch Lomond

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 In recent years, a lot of the old wooden docks have been replaced by floating docks, which aren’t as great for fishing.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.

There’s an island with a boat dock and a few picnic tables that can be a fun place for an afternoonn adventure.


Loch Lomond is usually seasonally closed from October to the beginning of March. Double check that the park is open before you go.

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

Check out my Bay Area trout fishing guide.

For the trout:

Acme Kastmaster, 1/8 oz

One of my favorite lures for trout fishing, very useful for covering a lot of water and finding where the active fish are. It's a very aerodynamic lure that can be casted quite far on light line. I've had the most success on stop-and-go, erratic retrieves. Use gold Kastmasters on sunny days or in murky water. Use silver Kastmasters on cloudy days or clear water. Kastmasters can be somewhat expensive - South Bend also sells Kastaways which are somewhat cheaper but can't say I've personally used them.
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Thomas Buoyant, 1/4 or 1/6 oz

A Kastmaster alternative. It casts a somewhat smaller distance, but the spoon has a slightly different fluttering action that seems to sometimes entice more hits.
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Panther Marin, 1/16 oz

A classic trout spinner. I like a retrieve with many erratic jerks with these spinners, to let the blade flutter as much as possible. Traditionally the gold blade with black body and yellow spots has been the most effective for me, but the other colors should also work.
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Mini jig, 1/16 or 1/32 oz

A small tube that can be twitched in the water to entice wary trout. Keep your rod tip high, and wiggle the lure in the middle of the water column. Can be very effective, especially if you can see the fish. Can be hard to cast far, unless you're using very light line (2 - 4 lb)
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A must-have trout bait. Take a small bit of the dough, and mold it around a size 14-16 treble hook on a sliding sinker rig. Cast the bait out and just let it sit. It can smell kinda bad, so be ready to vigorously clean your hands afterward. I've linked the garlic flavor, but the corn and original scents work just as well. I personally don't think the color matters a whole lot, but some people swear by chartreuse.
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Powerbait Micetails

A less messy version of Powerbait, which is basically a piece of soft plastic infused with the Powerbait flavoring. I prefer the micetails in moving water, as they have a more natural appearance and drift more naturally.
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For the bass:

Yamamoto Senko

A must-have soft plastic for bassing on the West Coast. I usually fish these wacky-rigged - basically just sticking the point through the thickest part of the worm without any weight. Cast it out and repeatedly jig it, letting the Senko flutter back to the bottom. It seems to work quite well on the heavily pressured lakes in the Bay Area. Green pumpkin is traditionally considered the best color.
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Strike King Spinnerbait

Spinnerbaits are my favorite lures for covering water when bass fishing, as not only do they provide a lot of action and noise, but they also are relatively weedless compared to other hard baits. Honestly the brand doesn't matter too much here - I've linked the brand-name Strike King lure here. Like other lures, stop-and-go retrieves are the way to go.
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Hula Popper

Poppers are my favorite topwater baits - there's just something so appealing about the way they chug and spit water on the surface, and the way bass attack them so aggressively and visibly. Brand doesn't matter too much here again - I linked the classic Hula Popper. Keep your rod tip low to the water, and repeatedly jerk the lure. You can also "walk-the-dog" on good poppers by repeatedly wiggling the lure in a particular direction, once again with your rod tip close to the water. Your popper will start darting side-to-side, creating action that no bass can resist.
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Disclaimer: the above purchase links are mostly Amazon Affiliate links that help me keep this website running. I use all of the above products every time I go fishing.

From the old ichthy.com:

Pros: scenic, great shoreline cover, great trout trolling, good bluegill fishing, big bass

Cons: bass bite is tough, weekend crowds, long drive, no float tubes

Description: Loch Lomond Reservoir is my favorite water to fish that I ever have come by. It's a bit further away than the other waters I've mentioned so far so I end up fishing it much less frequently than most. Why is it my favorite water? What makes it special to me is it's scenic quality, it's tranquility, and the type of fishing it offers.

Like most reservoirs, it's long and narrow with deep cuts in the shoreline. It's about 500 acres and 120 feet deep at the deepest point. UNLIKE most drinking water reservoirs around the bay area, the water level does not drop to frightening levels each year.

The surrounding hills and the lake itself is absolutely gorgeous by Bay Area standards. The area from the dam to the marina is mostly steep rock cliffs and boulders with occasional blowdowns and tree stumps. It is also the very deepest and maybe widest part of the reservoir. Shoreline access is restricted to a very small path by the marina. If you want to fish the part near the dam you're going to want a boat.

Speaking of boats, having a boat is really going to improve the amount of fish you catch and enjoyment you get out of this water. I often use their rental boats which they rent out at a reasonable rate. On crowded weekends in the summer they can run out of boats so go early. It is an electric motor only water which I like very much. It makes it oh so peaceful to be out on the water there.

The middle section of the reservoir has good shoreline access one side, and none on the other. The accessible shoreline can get crowded with trout fishermen so plan ahead. There is also a small island in the middle section. You are allowed to dock a boat there. It's a neat place to eat lunch or do some more shore fishing.

Shoreline cover in the middle section is less rocky and more wood based. There are a lot of stumps, branches, trees (alive and dead) piled up in shallow water. You can fish the whole day just around all the shoreline structure. It may not be the most productive way to fish but it is my favorite.

The very end of the reservoir is really neat. The primary structure here is weed beds. Lots of them too. You have these cabbage like looking plants growing in up to about 15 feet of water making all sorts of pockets and edges and then rows of cattails in some areas for even more fun. All this with about the same amount of fallen wood too. For someone who usually fishes stark bare shorelines I go nuts over this stuff.

The Fish: The bass fishing can vary quite a bit here. The first year I fished it the bass fishing seemed great. I could go out there and catch a lot of bass. Thing is though, I never caught one over 3 pounds. Nearly all were barely legal. Lately it has been very, very slow. I think it has been fished out enough to reduce numbers.

My all time favorite technique to catch bass here is a split shotted Power Finesse Worm made by Berkely. The best colors are Pumpkinseed and Black/Chartreuse. I will just toss this rig around any visible structure I see and SLOWLY inch it back. The average sized bass just can't resist this.

For larger fish try a big white spinnerbait around any kind of structure, or a black/red jig. There's a good population of crawdads here.

This is also a perfect lake to throw a Castaic Trout or other big trout imitation. The bass here can eat trout all year round, and do.

All of this shallow structure makes for an ideal place to use a flyrod. I've caught many bass on wooly buggers and muddlers fishing around stumps and weeds.

Rainbow Trout: So many trout get stocked here it's a joke. Limits are the norm from April to June. The opener is normally very bad though. Power bait, nightcrawlers, whatever. They all work.

My favorite technique is trolling out of a rental boat. Foggy mornings can produce some great topwater trolling with kastmasters or flashers. In April and may you can have 40+ fish days trolling small needlefish (bikini is my fav).

Other Fish:Bluegills. This is the greatest bluegill factory I've seen. Go on a summer day and you can't fail to catch as many bluegills as you will ever want. I usually just have to throw out a bare hook and jiggle it a bit before one of them is on. No kidding. For this reason try not to use nightcrawlers for bait when trout fishing as the bluegills will drive you out of your mind.

There are also green sunfish here. If you catch a bluegill with a unusually large mouth, and faint bluish lines on the sides, it's probably a green sunfish. 
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