Salton Sea

Location and Directions:

The Salton Sea is located in Imperial County, 90 miles East of San Diego and 40 miles North of the Mexican border. From I-10 take the 111 hwy. South to any of East shore Marinas or hwy. 86 to the West and South shore marinas.

General Info:

    This is one of the largest inland saltwater lakes at 360 square miles. It is open year-round, 24/7. There are several campsites along the lake. Many permit camping right along the shoreline. Imperial County Parks - (619) 339-4384, Desert Shores Trailer Park - (760) 395-5280 Salton Sea Website

Other lakes and rivers in the area:
Cahuilla Lake
All American Canal

Boating Info:

There are several marinas to launch from. High winds can kick up here in the afternoon so boaters should be alert.
East Shore:

  • North Shore Marina
  • Salton Sea State Park Marina - (760) 393-3052
  • Bombay Marina
  • Red Hill Marina - (760) 348-2310
West Shore
  • Desert Shores Marina - (760) 395-5280
  • West Shores RV park and Marina - (760) 394-4755
  • Salton Sea Beach Marina - (760) 395-5212

Fishing Info:

    During the latter half of the 20th century, this lake was by far California's most productive inland fishing resource. The warm water and high salinity created a perfect habitat for Orangemouth corvina over 30 pounds, croaker and tilapia. Tens of thousands of anglers visited the lake yearly. Fresh water fed from the Alamo river and several irrigation canals kept the salinity levels in check which allowed these fish to thrive.

     During the mid 1990's, several events took place which led to the lake's demise. The main factor was the water which flowed regularly through the irrigation canals was deemed too valuable to allow the excess to flow into the lake. The canal flow was cut down to a fraction of it's normal capacity. As a result, salinity levels slowly rose and all of the fish have died with the exception of tilapia which still thrives here.

The following is some old information and reports from the past:

Orangemouth Corvina are the prime target for anglers fishing this lake. The fish average around 6-12 pounds though some have been taken over 30 pounds. Popular baits are live mudsuckers, small croaker and tilapia. They will also take crankbaits retrieved slowly. Steel leaders are recommended 'cause these big brusers got teeth! (Be careful!) There is also an abundance of Tilapia, Croaker and some Sargo here. Note: If you are fishing from shore, bring an umbrella, if you are in a boat, make sure you have a canopy. It gets HOT down here folks. Be sure to visit the CDFW web site for complete regulations before heading out.

Read and Post Salton Sea Fishing Reports Here

Comments and Tips:

Title=Ever Try The Salton Sea?

Name=Mark Jackson


Message=I kept reading in WON about the Salton Sea, and finally decided to drive down and check it out. I was absoultely blown away by the action down there. I only brought 2 dozen crawlers and fished from shore. Those were gone by noon, and I had about a dozen 1-2 lb talapia on the stringer, and had let as many go. I switched to roostertails and started nailing corvina on every other cast. I had never tried the sea before this, so I didn't know what to expect. Saw many Corvina 15-20 lbs. I'm hooked on the place. Do me a favor..tell everybody it is polluted and stinky. I'll do the same, maybe we can keep this place to ourselves! Kind of hot for small kids, but the kind of place to get them started because the action is so fast and easy!

Posted by Jeff on May 21, 2000 at 12:45:48:


I have fished there only once and nailed three big corvinas 12-15 pounds. Forget the mudsuckers, use the small croaker and tilapia which are EVERYWHERE. That is what they are used to eating and will gobble them up. Good Fishing, Jeff.

fish'n @ Salton Sea

Posted by steve on May 23, 2000 at 12:55:36:

I have fished near Bombay on the Salton Sea this time of year and it is a very miserable place to be. It's too hot and humid, even the water gets too warm and the salinity does not help. There is a caution out on eating the fish from there. If you have to be there, this time of year, I'd plan on night fishing. During the day it's 100+'F. Steve

Title=Salton Sea Fishing

Name=John Willis


Price=Free! (Need fishing license, worms)

Message=The Salton Sea was said at the State Park Museum to be the most productive fishery in the U.S.A. By that they mean that you are going to catch more fish per hour. And, from the bank! Caution, pregnant women are advised to eat no more than one fish meal per week from there. I know that children of mothers who have eaten fish from Lake Superior while pregnant are about 5 I.Q. points deficient on the average. BUT, I am 67 and I love fish, which is now about $5-10/lb at Safeway. So, I intend to get my fair share of fish while the getting's good.

Salton Sea tip

» Photos

  • FNN member "Dores34" had a fun day loading up on great eating tilapia while fishing from the shore.>>>Report

  • Anglers wading the shoreline. You can see the one in the middle is hooked up on a nice corvina.

    FN Angler Mike K. with a healthy Salton Sea Corvina.
    Posted by sialek on June 06, 2000 at 02:58:26:

    Hi gang,

    If you want to increase you chance of catching those delicious Corvina, try squid and big chucks of bloody mackeral are also very good. I've consistantly do better with squid and mac than cut up coraker. The corvina feed on smells. Good luck


    carls catch re: salton sea

    Posted by Captain Ron on June 13, 2000 at 23:28:53:

    I read your report on the salton sea, next time try catching smaller croakers using a fly rig, or small white jig. Pin that baby on using a 3-4/0 octopuss style hook,don't use the standard live bait hooks cause they are to thick. Put the hook just in front of the dorsal fin,dont stick it in the meaty part just the skin. Now put on a jumbo split shot or use a slider rig. you wont get bit as often but you'll catch grande size corvina, this method has been very deadly for my bro and I, last time out tim nailed a 14 pounder and we both had fish in the 8-10 lbs. range. Well good luck next time. Captain Ron

       If you know something about this area or have some photos that you'd like to share, please E-mail and I'll post it here!

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