The Santa Rosalia fishing area is, quite literally, the first look at Mexico's fabulous Sea of Cortez that vacationing anglers get as they drive down Baja California's Transpeninsular Highway after a dusty, 580-mile desert crossing from the U.S. border at Tijuana.
And as those drivers make the steep descent into town and glance at their tattered AAA Baja Road Maps, one thing that is not apparent about Santa Rosalia's rich fishing waters (because of the way the AAA map is split into two halves, and printed front and back) is that Santa Rosalia is actually located at the southern limit of the Sea of Cortez Midriff Area, and it is sort of a buffer zone between cool Midriff waters and the warmer Sea of Cortez farther south.
Santa Rosalia waters are therefore subject to some of the tidal currents and upwellings more common to the deep channels of the adjacent Cortez Midriff, and Santa Rosalia's fishing benefits from high nutrient levels mixed with warm currents, which brings not only frequent "green" water conditions caused by heavy plankton concentrations, but of course, the bait fish-game fish cycle that is sure to follow.
The end result of this situation is that Santa Rosalia fishing is very reliable for a very wide variety of fish species that come and go virtually all year long. Santa Rosalia is, hint, hint, a very good fishing spot.
But ironically, this historic French copper mining town has never been particularly oriented toward sportfishing or tourism, even though the year-round action in the entire area is some of the best and most reliable for middleweight species that Mexico has to offer.
Even today there are almost no sport fishing services available for the traveling angler at Santa Rosalia, although there is some limited commercial panga fishing and a huge panga armada that fishes at night for giant Humboldt squid. This situation is changing slowly as new vacation-oriented facilities are opened, travel services expanded, and the word gets out, but for the present, the excellent sportfishing opportunities in Santa Rosalia waters are still practically unknown to the outside world.
Historically and to the present day, most sportfishing boats working the Santa Rosalia area have been smaller trailer boats, inflatables, or cartop "tin" boats (lightweight aluminum skiffs mostly under 14 feet long) launching over the beach at shallow San Lucas Cove about 10 miles south of town.
The tiny little tourist camps and launching areas of San Lucas Cove amount to a combined total of only a couple of hundred yards of beach, but they very well may have accounted for more private boat sport caught fish per foot than any other beach in Mexico.
Going back to the earliest days following the opening of the Transpeninsular Highway, a steady stream of hardy, self-equipped vacationing anglers have come to San Lucas Cove, launched their small boats, struggled with the shallow water at extreme low tide, exited the narrow channel, and gotten into the amazingly reliable fishing just to the north off small "haystack" hill, south on the reefs surrounding the village of San Bruno, outwards to the reefs around nearby Isla San Marcos, or just north of the island to the "Isla San Marcos yellowtail bajos," which are so amazingly reliable and productive that they actually are "famous," albeit only to a small group of Baja yellowtail aficionados. Some seaworthy boats also get out to more distant Isla Tortuga for good seasonal offshore fishing, mixed with a sometimes higher grade of shallow water fishing made available by the island's relatively remote location.
Seasonal water temperatures at Santa Rosalia range from the low-60s in February and March to the low-80s in August and September, and the offshore migrators such as dorado, sailfish, marlin, and yellowfin tuna peak during the warmer months centered on May through September. Resident fish species such as spotted bay bass, triggerfish, cabrilla, corvina, and grouper also peak during the warmer months, but with the best action tending toward spring and fall. Yellowtail are resident and usually present in good volume, either on the bottom, on top, or somewhere in between.
As it vacation travel services develop, Santa Rosalia is sure to become a major attraction, due to its fishing, its historical interest, and its very unusual "feel" as the only town in Baja California that has an old downtown built mostly of wood. But for now, this long-standing "favorite fishin' hole" of a few knowledgeable insiders is still mostly "undiscovered" by outsiders.
Big Isla San Marcos Yellowtail Tournament at Santa Rosalia!
Caleta Santa Maria Fishing Map.
Craig Channel Fishing Map.
San Lucas Cove fishing description from The Baja Catch.
San Lucas Cove Fishing Map.
Santa Rosalia: Baja's Squid City.
Santa Rosalia Fishing Map.
Santa Rosalia Area Fishing Map (Including Surrrounding Areas).
March 10, 2007, Baja yellowtail fishing on tidal currents.
March 10, 2007, Slower yellowtail action for local fishing boats.
March 2, 2007, A few yellowtail biggies for Baja boats.
Feb. 25, 2007, Good Baja trailer boat fishing trip to San Lucas Cove.
Feb. 24, 2007, Heavy duty Baja yellowtail fishing at Isla San Marcos bajos.
Feb. 17, 2007, Good Baja yellowtail fishing when the wind isn't blowing.
Feb. 16, 2007, Rare winter striped marlin caught by Mexican pangueros.
Feb. 10, 2007, Low tidal current period fishing at Isla Tortuga.
Feb. 10, 2007, Excellent Baja fishing conditions for boats at San Lucas Cove.
Feb. 3, 2007, Yellowtail fishing and boat launching wheels at San Lucas Cove.
Feb. 3, 2007, Boats find excellent yellowtail fishing north of Isla San Marcos bajos.
Jan. 27, 2007, Isla San Marcos yellowtail bajos run hot and cold.
Jan. 20, 2007, Good fishing at Isla San Marcos yellowtail bajos.
Jan. 13, 2007, Good winter yellowtail fishing for San Lucas Cove tin boat fleet.
Jan. 6, 2007, Yellowtail fishing up-and-down on Isla San Marcos bajos.
Dec. 27, 2006, Windy fishing conditions for anglers at San Lucas Cove.
Nov. 20, 2006, Surface winter yellowtail fishing for 20 pounders and small fish limits.
Nov. 24, 2006, Yellowtail and a big gulf grouper caught in fishing at Isla San Marcos.
Oct. 4, 2006, Slow fishing at Santa Rosalia except for sierra at Haystack.
Oct. 28, 2006, Some early yellowtail and late dorado caught despite wind and rain.
Oct. 21, 2006, Dorado missing but sailfish caught in fishing at Isla Tortuga, Jim Anderson.
Oct. 21, 2006, Coming season's first north winds blow for local fishing boats.
Oct. 14, 2006, Governor's Cup Baja Sur fishing tournament held at San Bruno.
Oct. 6, 2006, Good Dorado Fishing And Hard Squid Work Out Of San Lucas Cove.
Sept. 30, 2006, Sea Life Heavily Concentrated In Rain Runoff Following Storm.
Sept. 21, 2006, New Website For Mike Kanzler's Isla San Marcos Fishing.
Sept. 8, 2006, Fishing In Settling Waters After The Storm.
Sept. 2, 2006, Pre-Storm Fishing For Sierra And Dorado.
Aug. 11, 2006, Rare Louvar Caught At Santa Rosalia.
July 28, 2006, Post-Storm Fishing Conditions.
July 23, 2006, Dorado Fishing Turns On At San Lucas Cove.
July 22, 2006, Good Summer Dorado And Baqueta Fishing.
June 24, 2006, A Wild Week Of Fishing For Local Boats.
June 17, 2006, Hot Summer Fishing Weather For Yellowtail At The Bajos.
June 10, 2006, Lots Of Yellowtail And Dorado Caught During Fishing Around Isla San Marcos.
June 3, 2006, Yellowtail Surface Fishing Season Is Ending.
Jan. 28, 2006, Strong Tidal Currents And Difficult Bait.
Jan. 21, 2006, Cool Weather And Fishing Water Temperatures.
Jan. 17, 2006, Sportfishing And Boat Permit Information.
Jan. 14, 2006, Slow Fishing Picks Up Over The Weekend.
Jan. 7, 2006, Fishing Was In The Tank All Week Long.
Jan. 6, 2006, Baja California Highway Mex 1 Road Report.
Dec. 31, 2005, Yellowtail Fishing Improves With Tidal Currents.
Dec. 23, 2005, Winds Over 50 Knots For Local Fishing Boats.
Dec. 17, 2005, San Lucas Cove Winds Put Dent In Local Fishing.
Dec. 17, 2005, Mike Kanzler Returns From Trip To U.S..
Dec. 10, 2005, December Winds Knock Out Fishing For Local Boats.
Dec. 4, 2005, Four Large Yellowtail Caught In Lumpy Fishing Waters.
Nov. 26, 2005, A Good Bite All To Ourselves While Fishing At San Lucas Cove.
Nov. 19, 2005, Inshore Fishing Is Good Between Winds.
Nov. 13, 2005, Mulege Yellowtail Fishing Tournament Winner.
Nov. 12, 2005, Billfish Producing Well For Offshore Fishing Boats.
Nov. 5, 2005, Isla San Marcos Billfish Bite Continues Strong In Local Fishing Action.
Oct. 29, 2005, Best Billfish Season On Record At Santa Rosalia In 20 Years.
Oct. 22, 2005, Sailfish, Striped Marlin, And Blue Marlin Caught In Offshore Fishing.
Oct. 15, 2005, Some Wind But Good Fishing At Isla Tortuga.
Oct. 9, 2005, Distant Tropical Storms Hamper Local Sportfishing Boats.
Oct. 1, 2005, Fall Sportfishing Season Approaches.
Sept. 24, 2005, Beautiful Calm Fishing Waters All Week Long.
Sept. 17, 2005, Very Warm Local Fishing Water Temperatures To 86 Degrees.
Sept. 17, 2005, An Eight-Yellowtail Fishing Day During A Slow Week.
Sept. 13, 2005, Las Casitas Hotel Report.
Sept. 10, 2005, Hot Muggy Fishing Weather From The South.
Aug. 28, 2005, No Fishing This Week Out Of San Bruno.
Aug. 27, 2005, Local Fishing Weather Wasn't The Best This Week.
Aug. 21, 2005, Hot August Weather And Sailfish Moving Through The Fishing Area.
Aug. 20, 2005, Motor Problems And No Fishing This Week.
Aug. 13, 2005, Good Weather But A Dorado Commericial Fishing Long Liner Is Reported In The Area.
Aug. 12, 2005, Plenty Of Bait And Yellowtail Are Available For Local Fishing Boats.
Aug. 6, 2005, Panga Commercial Fishing Long Liners Working Isla San Marcos Area.
Aug. 6, 2005, A Slow Summer Fishing Week With Mixed Weather Conditions.
July 31, 2005, Seal Problems And Slow Fishing For Yellowtail At The 110 Bajo.
July 30, 2005, A Few Anglers See Good To Fair Fishing For Yellowtail In Local Waters.
July 24, 2005, Good Dorado Fishing Arrives In Local Waterst.
July 24, 2005, Six Yellowtail And 1 Amberjack Caught In Fishing At Isla San Marcos.
July 23, 2005, Results Of The 2005 Santa Rosalia Dorado Fishing Tournament.
July 16, 2005, Early Morning Yellowtail Fishing A Sure Thing At Isla San Marcos' 110 Bajo.
July 10, 2005, Dorado Fishing Is On Weed Paddies, With Yellowtail At The Bajo.
July 7, 2005, Yellowtail Fishing Is Steady At 25 To 30 Pounds On The 110 Bajo.
July 1, 2005, Mixed Summer Fishing Action For Dorado And Yellowtail.
June 25, 2005, Yellowtail, Sailfish And Marlin Present In Santa Rosalia Fishing Waters.
June 18, 2005, One Of The Best Yellowtail Fishing Weeks Of The Year.
June 11, 2005, Isla San Marcos Yellowtail Bite Picking Up In Cool June Weather.
June 4, 2005, No Dorado But Yellowtail Fishing Is Steady At Isla San Marcos.
May 28, 2005, Plunging Water Temperatures In Fishing For Yellowtail And Sawtail Groupert.
May 27, 2005, Lots Of Sea Life Seen In Sea Of Cortez South To Punta Chivato.
May 26, 2005, Yellowtail Shootout Fishing Tournament Results At Isla San Marcos.
May 21, 2005, Good Sawtail Grouper Fishing At Isla Tortuga.
May 14, 2005, Dorado Sportfishing Limits Caught Under Birds.
May 7, 2005, First Dorado Of The Summer Fishing Season Caught.
May 5, 2005, Planning For Second Annual Yellowtail Shootout Fishing Tournament At Isla San Marcos.
April 30, 2005, Early Season Marlin isCaught During Fishing At Isla Tortuga.
April 23, 2005, Lots Of Cabrilla Caught During Fishing In Cool Weather Conditions.
April 16, 2005, Good Fishing At Isla Tortuga With Alan Lewis.
April 9, 2005, Yellowtail And White Seabass Caught In Windy Fishing Conditions At Isla San Marcos.
April 2, 2005, Big Yellowtail Counts While Fishing Between Heavy Winds At Isla San Marcos.
March 26, 2005, The Isla San Marcos Cabrilla Fishing Tournament.
March 12, 2005, A Mixed Bag Sportfishing Week Out Of San Lucas Cove.
March 5, 2005, Great Sportfishing Weather Enjoyed By Boats At At Isla San Marcos.
Feb. 26, 2005, Slow Tidal Currents And Fishing Around Isla San Marcos This Week.
Feb. 19, 2005, Lots Of Leopard Grouper Caught By Boats Fishing At Isla Tortuga.
Feb. 12, 2005, Photo Essay: A Day In The Fishing Life Of Mike Kanzler, Isla San Marcos.
Feb. 12, 2005, Rainy Weather Fishing For Humboldt Giant Squid.
Feb. 5, 2005, Winds And Hot Yellowtail Fishing Mix For Local Boats.
Jan. 29, 2005, Flat Sea Conditions And Lots Of Whales Seen By Anglers This Week.
Jan. 22, 2005, Wide-Open Fishing For Yellowtail At Isla San Marcos.
Jan. 15, 2005, Yellowtail Going Wild In Fishing On The Isla San Marcos Bajos.
Jan. 8, 2005, Yellowtail Fishing Action Explodes At Isla San Marcos.
Jan. 1 2005, Good Winter Weather And Fishing For Medium-Sized Yellowtail.
Dec. 25, 2004, Quality Yellowtail Caught In Cold Winter Fishing Conditions.
Dec. 18, 2004, Constant Winter Winds Hamper Local Fishing Boats.
Dec. 11, 2004, More Winds Bring Tough Fishing Conditions As Christmas Approaches.
Dec. 4, 2004, Plenty Of Yellowtail If You Can Get Out And Fish Through The Wind.
Nov. 27, 2004, Big Yellowtail Limits Caught In Cool Fishing Weather At Isla San Marcos.
Nov. 20, 2004, Inshore And Offshore Fishing Were Excellent Out Of San Lucas Cove This Week.
Nov. 13, 2004, Lots Of Boats Are Present And Inshore Fishing Is Good At San Lucas Cove.
Nov. 6, 2007, Fall Fishing Season Substandard At Isla San Marcos This Year.
Oct. 23, 2004, Yellowtail Active For Boats Fishing On Isla San Marcos 110 Bajo.
Oct. 16, 2004, Good Variety Fishing Is Close To Shore This Week.
Oct. 9, 2004, Huge Great White Shark Caught Just North Of Santa Rosalia.
Oct. 9, 2004, Anglers Returning To San Lucas Cove For Good Fall Fishing Season.
Oct. 2, 2004, Sailfish Caught At Isla Tortuga In Mixed Sportfishing Conditions.
Sept. 25, 2004, Fishing The Windy Side Of Isla Tortuga 25 Miles Off The Baja Coast.
Sept. 23, 2004, Fishing For Yellowtail With Orange, Squid-Colored Jigs.
Sept. 17, 2004, Part Time Seasonal Residents Returning To San Lucas Cove Fishing Camp.
Sept. 11, 2004, Bait, Fishing, And Water Conditions Were Not Ideal This Week.
Sept. 6, 2004, Isla San Marcos Mike Kanzler's "Live Yo-Yo Iron" Yellowtail Rig.
Sept. 4, 2004, Passing Tropical Rain Squalls And A Good Summer Fishing Week.
Aug. 28, 2004, The Fish Are Holding Very Deep In Late Summer Waters.
Aug. 20, 2004, Hot Summer Weather And Water Temperatures And Some Good Fishing.
Aug. 18, 2004, Offshore Dorado Fishing Was Slow Off The Baja Coast.
Aug. 7, 2004, Hot Weather But Cold Fishing At Both Islas San Marcos And Tortuga.
July 31, 2004, Local Fishing Was A Total Bust This Week.
July 24, 2004, Beach Fishing On Isla San Marcos Was Excellent For Shortfin Corvina.
July 17, 2004, Big Yellowtail And Tropical Rains greet Local Fishing boats This Week.
July 10, 2004, Hot Summer Weather Brings Catch-And-Release Dorado Fishing.
July 3, 2004, The Condition of Mexico's Fisheries.
July 3, 2004, Good Weather And Very Steady Multi-Species Fishing For Yellowtail, Dorado, And Cabrilla (Leopard Grouper).
June 26, 2004, A Good Fishing Week For Boats At The Nearby The Islands.
June 19, 2004, Thirteen Straight Days Of Fishing At Isla San Marcos.
June 17, 2004, Fishing Photo Of A True 53-Pound Yellowtail.
June 12, 2004, A New Fishing Sportboat For Isla San Marcos As Offshore Dorado Go Scattered.
June 5, 2004, Many Local Sport And Commercial Fishing Boats Are Catching Yellowtail.
May 31, 2004, Randy Peters, Big, Big Yellowtail Caught This Week During Fishing In Craig Channel.
May 25, 2004, 2004 Isla San Marcos Yellowtail Shootout Fishing Tournament Report.