pocket

MLPA

Where May I Surf Fish?

(without being cited and ending up in the pokey!)

 CA Fish and Wildlife MPA/MLPA CLICK HERE for regulations

I’ve tried to put together some common sense information about where you may and may not fish.  This information is for reference purposes only.  Please refer to the exact GPS coordinates as published by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

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Not all closed areas are included here but you will find information on the following surf fishing spots:

Tijuana River Mouth

San Elijo/Encinitas

Laguna MPA Complex

Newport Upper Bay

Bolsa Chica State Beach

Point Vicente/Palos Verdes

Malibu Area/Point Dume

Santa Barbara Area

Let’s first start with the California Mexico border and move North.
This is the Tijuana slough.  I loved to fish here in the late 60′s and early 70′s for huge leopard sharks and big perch.  Although I never had the luck of catching one it is probably a great place for spotfin croaker and corbina.  All estuaries like this will  provide gamefish a place to feed and spawn during the fall, winter and spring.  Look for them entering estuaries during fall and making their way out to sea in spring.

 

 

Tijuana River Mouth SMCA (above) – No fishing except for baitfish by dip net only. Extends from the border north to the foot of Seacoast Drive. The IB kelp directly opposite the pier is out of the closure, but some of the kelp farther inshore and south is included.
Boundaries:
This area is bounded by the mean high tide line and straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed except where noted:
32° 34.00′ N. lat. 117° 07.98′ W. long.;
32° 34.00′ N. lat. 117° 09.00′ W. long.;
32° 31.97′ N. lat. 117° 09.00′ W. long.; thence eastward along the U.S./Mexico Border to
32° 32.06′ N. lat. 117° 07.48′ W. long

 

La Jolla Area  The South La Jolla SMR and SMCA are to the south. Up north, the formerly well marked Scripps Ecological Reserve balloons into the new and larger Matlahuayl SMR, with the San Diego-Scripps Coastal SMCA perched above. Read on below for boundary maps and regulations.

 

South La Jolla SMR Southern Border (above)

Northern Border of La Jolla SMR (above)

 

South La Jolla SMR and SMCA Cluster – SMR no fishing; SMCA some two miles offshore allows pelagic finfish and bonito by hook and line. The boundaries are roughly Palomar Ave (north) and Diamond St (south), with the Crystal Pier shown for perspective. On the north end, the MLPAI map shows Big Rock in the closed area just south of the boundary, and Windnsea in the clear just to the north.

 

SMR Boundaries:

This area is bounded by the mean high tide line and straight lines connecting the

following points in the order listed:

32° 49.573′ N. lat. 117° 16.781′ W. long.;

32° 49.573′ N. lat. 117° 19.000′ W. long.;

32° 47.945′ N. lat. 117° 19.000′ W. long.; and

32° 47.945′ N. lat. 117° 15.495′ W. long.

 

SMCA Boundaries:

This area is bounded by straight lines connecting the following points in the order

listed except where noted:

32° 49.573′ N. lat. 117° 19.000′ W. long.;

32° 49.573′ N. lat. 117° 20.528′ W. long.; thence southward along the three nautical mile

offshore boundary to

32° 47.945′ N. lat. 117° 20.068′ W. long.; and

32° 47.945′ N. lat. 117° 19.000′ W. long.

 

 

Matlahuayl SMR, La Jolla (above)

San Diego-Scripps Coastal SMCA southern boundary (above) (you can take fin bait in the blue)

 

Matlahuayl SMR, La Jolla – No fishing. Western boundary extends north from Rocky Pt. The northern boundary is base of Scripps Pier. The San Diego-Scripps Coastal SMCA is directly north.

 

Boundaries:

This area is bounded by the mean high tide line and straight lines connecting the

following points in the order listed:

32° 51.964′ N. lat. 117° 15.233′ W. long.;

32° 51.964′ N. lat. 117° 16.400′ W. long.; and

32° 51.067′ N. lat. 117° 16.400′ W. long.

 

San Diego-Scripps Coastal SMCA northern boundary (above)

 

San Diego-Scripps Coastal SMCA, La Jolla – No fishing except baitfish by hook and line. Southern boundary at base of Scripps Pier. Northern boundary is off the La Jolla Farms area, south of the Glider Port. Closed area includes Black’s Beach.

Boundary Description

This area is bounded by the mean high tide line and straight lines connecting the

following points in the order listed:

32° 53.000′ N. lat. 117° 15.166′ W. long.;

32° 53.000′ N. lat. 117° 16.400′ W. long.;

32° 51.964′ N. lat. 117° 16.400′ W. long.; and

32° 51.964′ N. lat. 117° 15.233′ W. long.

 

San Elijo/Swami’s Encinitas SMCA–Our next stop on the “closure tour” is an area near San Elijo State Beach.  This is the area near Swami’s surf spot in Encinitas.  This area allows for shore fishing but limited spearfishing and no fishing allowed from boats.
This general area near the San Elijo State Park has always been a very productive area for surf fishing.  North, past the Park and near Swami’s point is a rather rocky kelp area that does provide some good bass fishing but can be very snag prone for the shore angler.  Areas to the south of this, just in front of the State Park, provide some great fishing for corbina, perch, yellowfin croaker and the occasional sand bass.  The San Elijo lagoon is completely off limits but the areas where the lagoon meets the ocean can be a very good spot for spotfin croaker.
The closure area is bordered by Encinitas Blvd to the North and the south end of San Elijo Lagoon.

Northern Boundary of Swami’s SMCA (above)

Southern boundary of Swami’s SMCA (above)

Swami’s SMCA, Encinitas - Shore fishing (all fish) and spearfishing for pelagic finfish, bonito, and white seabass only. Southern boundary just south of San Elijo Lagoon. Northern boundary at Encinitas Blvd, Moonlight State Beach. The lagoon itself is a separate no take SMCA, as is the nearby Batiquitos Lagoon east of the I-5.
Boundaries:
 This area is bounded by the mean high tide line and straight lines connecting the
following points in the order listed except where noted:
33° 02.900′ N. lat. 117° 17.927′ W. long.;
33° 02.900′ N. lat. 117° 21.743′ W. long.; thence southward along the three nautical mile
offshore boundary to
33° 00.000′ N. lat. 117° 20.398′ W. long.; and
33° 00.000′ N. lat. 117° 16.698′ W. long., thence northward along the mean high tide line onshore boundary to
33° 00.962′ N. lat. 117° 16.850′ W. long.; and
33° 00.980′ N. lat. 117° 16.857′ W. long.

Laguna MLPA Complex – Four linked MPA’s make this area a bit confusing.  Just remember don’t fish or collect bait in the RED and PURPLE area.  In the blue area hook and line and spearfishing are allowed.
There is some great fishing in both of the open areas that surround Laguna Beach.  To the southern end you have Salt Creek and the Dana Headlands kelp.  Salt Creek offers some fantastic corbina fishing in the summer and great perch fishing all year.  The headlands are well known as one of the best calico bass surf fishing spots along the coast.
To the north of the closed area you will find Crystal Cove State Park.  The State rangers and management of this park love fishermen.  They fought to keep the park open to fishing and succeeded.  You’ll find great fishing just below Reef Point parking lot and some epic corbina bites down on the south end of El Morro Beach.
Remember at both these bookend areas you are not allowed to take any bait, shells, etc. from the shore.  Just remember to catch or buy your bait elsewhere and you’ll be fine.

  

Laguna Beach SMCA (purple section in detail map): No fishing!
Boundaries:
This area is bounded by the mean high tide line and straight lines connecting the
following points in the order listed:
33° 30.800′ N. lat. 117 45.631′ W. long.;
33° 30.800′ N. lat. 117 49.200′ W. long.;
33° 30.050′ N. lat. 117 49.200′ W. long.; and
33° 30.050′ N. lat. 117 44.771′ W. long.
Laguna Beach SMR (triangle above, in red): No fishing!
Boundaries:
This area is bounded by the mean high tide line and straight lines connecting the
following points in the order listed:
33° 33.233′ N. lat. 117 49.200′ W. long.;
33° 30.800′ N. lat. 117 49.200′ W. long.; and
33° 30.800′ N. lat. 117 45.631′ W. long.
Dana Pt SMCA (Southern blue strip): Fishing here is fine. But no collection of bait, shells or natural matter.
Crystal Cove SMCA (Northern blue strip): Again, it’s ok to fish here but no collection of bait, shells or any other matter from the beach.  Carrying your own bait that was collected elsewhere is fine.
Upper Newport Bay SCMA (Blue section)  Fish by hook and line only in sections north of the PCH bridge.  In this area, fishing is allowed on the shore only (not allowed on any floating device) below the mean high tide mark.  Taking of all living marine resources is prohibited (ghost shrimp, clams, crabs, etc,) except the recreational take of finfish.

Boundaries:

Fishing below the Ecological Reserve, northeastward of a line connecting Shellmaker Island and North Star Beach is the only area open to shore fishing.  This area includes the waters below the mean high tide line (at the northeast tip of Shellmaker Island) within Upper Newport Bay northeastward of Pacific Coast Highway as defined by a line between the following points:
33° 37.02′ N. lat. 117° 54.24′ W. long.;
33° 37.02′ N. lat. 117° 54.32′ W. long.; and southwestward of Jamboree Road approximated
by a line between the following two points:
33° 39.07′ N. lat. 117° 52.02′ W. long.; and
33° 39.03′ N. lat. 117° 52.01′ W. long.
Bolsa Chica State Beach SMCA (Blue section)  Fishing, boating, swimming, wading and diving are prohibited.  This area has been closed for years.  The new additional area closed is under the walking bridge that passes over the southern Bolsa inlet.  Fishing is allowed only from the ocean side of the footbridge (and not from the footbridge) out toward open ocean.  Fishing, swimming, diving and catching bait beneath the bridge or in any of the blue section is prohibited.
Another newly closed area is on the very northwest end where the inner waterway passes up to and under the Warner Ave. Bridge ( 1 block north of PCH on Warner Ave).  This area inside the bay has very limited access and is now closed to fishing, etc.
All waterways north of PCH are off limits.

 

Palos Verdes Area (Blue section)  Palos Verdes has two ajoining closed areas.  One located near the Abalone/Portugese Bend area and another which wraps Pt. Vicente.
The Palos Verdes area includes the large Pt Vicente SMCA (no-take) to the west. The smaller Abalone Cove SMCA to the east prohibits hook and line fishing; some spearfishing and squid by dip net are allowed.

 

 

 

Abalone Cove SMCA, Palos Verdes (see above) – No hook and line fishing. Spearfishing for pelagic finfish, bonito and white seabass. Squid ok by dip net only. The eastern boundary runs north-south along the western edge of Portuguese Pt. The western boundary, anchored by Long Pt. seen below, is the southern boundary.  Traveling to your right would become White’s Point and San Pedro.
Boundaries
 This area is bounded by the mean high tide line and straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed except where noted:
33° 44.19′ N. lat. 118° 23.80′ W. long;
33° 41.16′ N. lat. 118° 23.80′ W. long; thence southeastward along the three nautical mile
offshore boundary to
33° 40.85′ N. lat. 118° 22.50′ W. long; and
33° 44.24′ N. lat. 118° 22.50′ W. long

Pt Vicente SMCA, Palos Verdes - No fishing, no way, no how. The eastern boundary runs north-south from Long Pt. The northern boundary (shown above) is one minor point north of Pt Vincente.

Boundary Description

This area is bounded by the mean high tide line and straight lines connecting the

following points in the order listed except where noted:

33° 44.80′ N. lat. 118° 24.82′ W. long.;

33° 44.80′ N. lat. 118° 28.93′ W. long.; thence southeastward along the three nautical mile

offshore boundary to

33° 41.16′ N. lat. 118° 23.80′ W. long.; and

33° 44.19′ N. lat. 118° 23.80′ W. long.

 

Pt Dume Area (overview map above) – Malibu’s iconic Pt Dume, a mainstay spot for small boaters since time immemorial, is set for complete closure to hook and line fishing. The point itself is surrounded by the Pt Dume SMR. The Pt Dume SMCA to the west allows only limited spearfishing. Sorry Zuma surf-casters, the powers that be made no adjustments for you as they did down south. Close-up boundary  maps and regulations are below.

Pt Dume SMR eastern boundary at Paradise Cove (above)

Pt Dume SMR / Pt Dume SMCA Boundary at Zuma Beach (above)

 

Pt Dume SMR, Malibu – No fishing. The eastern boundary runs north-south from Paradise Cove. The western boundary is at Westward Beach Rd / Zuma Beach entrance. The first map shows the eastern boundary; the second, the western, where the SMR meets the adjacent SMCA.

Boundaries:

This area is bounded by the mean high tide line and straight lines connecting the

following points in the order listed:

34° 00.76′ N. lat. 118° 49.20′ W. long.;

33° 56.96′ N. lat. 118° 49.20′ W. long.; thence eastward along the three nautical mile offshore

boundary to

33° 57.06′ N. lat. 118° 47.26′ W. long.; and

34° 01.20′ N. lat. 118° 47.26′ W. long.

 

 

Santa Barbara Area (overview map above) – Several MPAs are clustered around UC Santa Barbara. The largest is the Campus Pt SMR; the nearby Goleta Slough SMCA is also no-take. The Naples SMCA to the west allows only limited spearfishing. Close-up boundary  maps and lat / lon numbers are below.

Campus Pt SMCA (no take) eastern boundary (above).

Campus Pt SMCA western boundary (above).

Campus Pt SMCA, Santa Barbara area – No fishing of any kind. The nearby Goleta Slough SMCA prohibits fishing, boating, swimming, wading and diving. The eastern boundary runs north-south from Goleta Pt. The western is boundary just west of the Santa Barbara Shores County Park eastern boundary. The first map shows the eastern boundary and the Goleta Slough SMCA. The second shows the western boundary.

Boundaries:

This area is bounded by the mean high tide line and straight lines connecting the

following points in the order listed except where noted:

34° 25.20′ N. lat. 119° 53.60′ W. long.;

34° 21.48′ N. lat. 119° 53.60′ W. long.; thence eastward along the three nautical mile offshore

boundary to

34° 21.21′ N. lat. 119° 50.65′ W. long.; and

34° 24.30′ N. lat. 119° 50.65′ W. long.

 

Naples SMCA eastern boundary (above).

Naples SMCA western boundary (above).

 Naples SMCA, Santa Barbara area – Underwater only, spearfishing for pelagic finfish, bonito, white seabass and nothing else. The eastern boundary is near Eagle Creek; the western boundary is close to Dos Pueblos Canyon Rd. The first map shows the eastern boundary; the second the western.

 Boundaries:

This area is bounded by the mean high tide line and straight lines connecting the

following points in the order listed:

34° 26.51′ N. lat. 119° 58.00′ W. long.;

34° 25.00′ N. lat. 119° 58.00′ W. long.;

34° 25.00′ N. lat. 119° 56.00′ W. long.; and

34° 26.13′ N. lat. 119° 56.00′ W. long.

 

Kashtayit SMCA, Gaviota State Park (above) – Recreational finfish, invertebratesexcept rock scallops or mussels, and collection of giant kelp by hand are the only allowed takes.

 

Boundaries:

This area is bounded by the mean high tide line and straight lines connecting the

following points in the order listed:

34° 28.13′ N. lat. 120° 14.46′ W. long.;

34° 27.30′ N. lat. 120° 14.46′ W. long.;

34° 27.30′ N. lat. 120° 12.47′ W. long.; and

34° 28.23′ N. lat. 120° 12.47′ W. long.

 

Pt Conception SMR eastern boundary (above).

 Pt Conception SMR – No fishing. Eastern boundary near Cojo Road; the northern boundary runs west from Pt. Conception.

 Boundaries:

This area is bounded by the mean high tide line and straight lines connecting the

following points in the order listed except where noted:

34° 27.00′ N. lat. 120° 28.28′ W. long.;

34° 27.00′ N. lat. 120° 32.15′ W. long.; thence southeastward along the three nautical mile

offshore boundary to

34° 23.96′ N. lat. 120° 25.00′ W. long.; and

34° 27.19′ N. lat. 120° 25.00′ W. long.