San Francisco hot spot: coyote sea fishing

Tom Keer

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Urban anglers looking for great fishing spots in the Bay Area not far from home are in luck. Check out the fishing at Coyote Lake in a 6,695 acre recreation area east of Gilroy town. It’s a hot spot as well. Here are the top 5 reasons to fish in Coyote Lake.

1. Coyote Lake offers excellent fishing opportunities

The 449 hectare lake offers excellent fishing for 4 species of fish. Black bass, bluegill, black crappie, and Eurasian carp are the top species. There are other ways to catch. While rainbow trout are out of stock, the leftovers are a good size. Channel carp are also caught in moderate numbers.

2. Easy access for boats

While swimming or wading is not permitted, fishing is permitted on the shore. More importantly, motor boats, canoes, and kayaks are all welcome. There is also a jetty with a three-lane concrete ramp and two docks. Boating is closed from mid-October to mid-April.

3. Coyote Lake Fishing is family friendly

Camping is allowed, and if you roll in a motorhome you will find electricity and water hookups, as well as a garbage disposal station. If you’re a RV, you’ll find tables, grills, fire pits, and bathhouses.

4. There is plenty of water for fishing

The lake is 3.5 miles long from tip to toe. It’s also half a mile wide. Finding a place to fish is easy, but be sure to check out the areas near the marina and in the lower narrows. Some tips for fishing for largemouth bass include gum worms with Texas rigging in shallow water and stickbaits around the edges. Powerbait works well for catfish, and maggots or live worms are good choices for panfish. Throw a spoon for the trout like an Al’s goldfish and look for catfish on East Beach or the creek at the southern end of the lake. Fish near the dam and along the right side of the lake during the closed boating months, and aim for crappies around the dam in the evenings during the hot summer months. A buddy who recently fished there sent me a Coyote Lake fishing report showing that you can find largemouth bass in the 5 to 7 pound range there.

5. Tuck the edges into the pocket

Mixed fishing can be frustrating at times. Water and jet skiers prefer the middle of the lake, where it is about 30 meters deep. The fishermen stick to the shallows and work on the east side. It’s steeper and there are rocky areas that provide great structure and hold water.

Bay Area fishing spots are popular, but if you want freshwater fishing in the San Francisco area, give Coyote Lake a try. All you need is a fishing license. The rest is all in place.

Tom Keer

Tom Keer is an award-winning writer living on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. He is a columnist for the Upland Almanac, a contributing writer for Covey Rise magazine, a contributing editor for Fly Rod and Reel and Fly Fish America, and a blogger for the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s Take Me Fishing program. Keer is a regular contributor to over a dozen outdoor magazines on topics including fishing, hunting, boating, and other outdoor activities. When not fishing, Keer and his family hunt highland birds over their three English setters. His first book, A New England Coast Fly Fishing Guide, was published in January 2011. Visit him at or