Tilapia are a-bitin’ at the Salton Sea


Tilapia front

SALTON SEA – (OUTDOOR NEWS SERVICE)For those of you who don’t  follow our weekly fishing reports, one of the bigger news items on the fishing front has been the spectacular bite on tilapia to four pounds at the Salton Sea this spring and early summer.

There are three reasons this action has become so popular with fishing families. First, the fish are not difficult to catch. All you need are some nightcrawlers, No. 6 baitholder or circle hooks, some weights and fishing gear with line testing between four and 10 pounds that you can hurl a fair distance. This means they are perfect for kids and those of tILAPIAus who’ve never outgrown our childhood. Second, the fish are some of the best-eating fish in the world, mild and white-meated, and they have been averaging an honest 1 1/2 to three pounds. The perfect size. I get drooly just thinking about tilapia fish tacos. 3) There is no limit. Yes, you read that right. You can keep as many tilapia as you are willing to catch, clean, and eat. Anglers at the Salton Sea State Park jetty have been filling big ice chests full almost daily since March. Catches of 50 to 100 fish per angler have not been uncommon.

If there’s a disclaimer, it’s simply that it WILL be hot at the north end of the Salton Sea. It won’t be as hot as last Saturday when the temperature peaked at 122 degrees by mid-afternoon, but it is supposed to crank up to 108 or so. Go early and fish in the morning while it’s still pleasant.

Some additional tips: the heat has pushed the tilapia out of the shallow, shoreline areas to a little deeper water. Shore anglers who can make long casts can still get them from the State Park jetty, but Bombay Beach has a steeper shoreline that drops off to deeper water more quickly and has been better this week. Boat, kayak (which are available for rent at the state park headquarters marina), canoe, and even float tube anglers are having exceptional fishing. There’s a good launch ramp at the headquarters (without a bunch of engine or quagga mussel restrictions).

Last tip: Don’t mess around trying to catch tilapia at the Salton Sea on anything else. Get some nightcrawlers. It’s apparently what’s for dinner on the tilapia menu.


  1. do you send out a regular report on the fishing there? If so, I would like to be on it. I have been fishing tilpia since the late sixties in the ditches and would love to start again.

  2. I never thought salten sea would go to the dog it was a nice place to visit and now that’s gone what in the heck is wrong with this world if it not the lakes it something people sets fire and they gets the water from are drinking water they warry about the wood and not human life they got a lot of salt water they can use why take from the America people I love to hunt and fish but the people got to understand what’s important man or beast every thing is wrong and we all got to sitter salten sea is driving up the lakes are drying up and why is that because you got people who can’t make up there mine on what’s comes first yeh I know that wild life needs water but we do to so what I’m saying is leave the lakes along and think about the life that God put on this earth man was on earth before the beast of the land

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