Find the Best Spots for Fishing near Santa Maria, CA

The Santa Maria Valley is well known for recreation, including hiking, cycling and hitting the beach. But one activity that gets “cast aside” is fishing. The amount of places for fishing near Santa Maria, CA feels endless, as Santa Maria Valley’s geographic location and proximity to the ocean allows enthusiasts to fish for a variety of species in both freshwater and saltwater.

Before you choose your perfect fishing spot, you’ll need to pick up a saltwater and/or freshwater fishing license in California. There are several license options, and you can easily get a license online. If you’re a visitor to the area, your best – and most affordable – bet is to get a one-day or two-day sport fishing license. Short term sporting licenses allow you to fish in freshwater or in the ocean.

Oso Flaco Lake is a favorite fishing spot in Santa Maria Valley among local fishing enthusiasts. Anglers are able to fish in the fresh water lake itself, or they can try their luck with salt water fish by making the short and beautiful 1.7-mile hike to the beach. Enthusiasts can cast their lines in Oso Flaco Lake, Little Oso Flaco Lake, Oso Flaco Creek or the Pacific Ocean. As a bonus, the 1.7-mile hike through the dunes to the ocean is beautiful and scenic. There is parking available for a small fee. The lot opens at 7 a.m., which allows anglers to get an early start if they desire.

If ocean fishing interests you, check out one of the 15 beaches within a half hour drive of Santa Maria Valley. Fishing with a permit is allowed at nearly any public beach, including on piers like those at Pismo Beach Pier Beach or Hartford Pier at Avila Beach. Pismo Creek fishing is also a fan-favorite of the Santa Maria area, where you can find a variety of saltwater fish while being surrounded by vineyards, ranches and crops. 

Whether you’re a serious angler or a casual fisherman, Santa Maria Valley is the perfect spot to cast your line. Just grab your fishing license, and you can explore fresh water fishing at Oso Flaco Lake, or try your luck with ocean fish at one of the many beaches around the region. Either way, you’re sure to have a reel good time!


In Santa Maria Valley, there’s so much to do from here. Hit the road and explore it all with our 24 hiking trails, 34 tasting rooms, seven unique AVAs, 13 beaches, and a growing selection of local breweries, all within a beautiful 30-minute drive. There is no need to venture far if you are looking for sand dunes, cycling and authentic Santa Maria Style dining. You’ll find it’s the perfect home base, where you can eat, drink and do more for less.