Fishing FAQ

Who is required to get a fishing permit?

No person 16 years or older shall fish without a valid adult fishing permit. No child between seven and 15 years of age may fish without a valid junior fishing permit. One child under seven years of age may fish without a permit when accompanied by an adult with a valid permit; the fishing limit shall be that of one person. An additional permit may be required for taking trout during specified times of the year.

All permits are non-refundable and non-transferable. Permits may be obtained from various outlets throughout the Park. Refer to the section regarding fees and charges for current fishing permit rates.

A Park fishing permit entitles anglers to utilize only one closely attended fishing pole with a maximum of three hooks. A second fishing pole may be utilized only with the purchase of a second pole permit. Refer to the section regarding fees and charges for current second pole permit rates.

Do you require a fishing license?

The District may require anglers over the age of sixteen to obtain a valid California State Fishing License issued by the California Department of Fish and Game.

What are the fishing hours?

Day-use visitors may fish only during posted Park hours unless authorized by the Park and Recreation Director. Registered campers may fish from sunrise to sunset with a Day-Use Fishing Permit and from 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. with a Night Fishing Permit.

What are night fishing requirements?

Anglers must be a registered camper, have a light at all times and be at least 16 years of age or accompanied by an adult. Anglers may only night fish on Lakes 6 and 7 between the hours of 5:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. The 9:00 p.m. campground quiet hour must be observed. Anglers may not fish directly behind or within close proximity to a campsite not registered under their name.  We also have Summer Night Fishing events in our day use portion of the Park.

Do you have daily creel limits?

Authorized District staff reserves the right to inspect the creel catch of any angler fishing on District property. Anglers may only place their catch in one single location. Creels may not be shared among two or more anglers.

Creel limits for all fish with the exception of bass which is strictly catch and release, and carp which does not have a limit, shall not exceed a combined total of five (5) fish per person, per day. When Carp are caught, they shall not be released back into any of the lakes within the Recreation Preserve. Incentives for the catch and removal of carp from Santee Lakes may be provided at the discretion of the Director of Park and Recreation. Anglers in possession of fish in excess of the creel limits or in violation of any fishing Rule or Regulation are subject to a noncompliance fee.

Creel limits and fishing regulations may be changed as deemed necessary by the Park and Recreation Director.

What are the bait restrictions?

The use of minnows, frogs, goldfish, or other game fish as bait are not permitted. The use of any type of attractant or chum is not permitted. Corn may not be used as bait.

What are the "catch and release" policies?

The practice of “catch and release” of catfish is strongly encouraged. The “catch and release” of trout and carp is prohibited. Bass fishing is limited to catch and release only. All bass caught in any of the lakes must be released back into the lake that it was caught in. Persons in violation of the catch and release policy are subject to the non-compliance fee.

Where can I fish?

Fishing in Lakes 6 and 7 is restricted to registered campers only. All other lakes are open for public fishing unless otherwise designated and posted. Non–registered campers, may purchase a stamp along with a daily fishing permit to fish Lakes 6 and 7. The District may limit the number of stamps sold in order to fish Lakes 6 and 7. All other fishing rules covered in section 9.5 will apply unless special privileges are requested in advance and approved by the District.