Yellowtail Migration (July 2014 update)



Yellowtail migration typically follows the water temperature changes from the tip of Baja north and sometimes into Southern California. 70-72 degrees preferred but can be found in 64 to 75 degree waters. Not all Yellowtail migrate many remain as "guard" fish in the places with a good supply of food; Usually found around offshore islands, rocky reefs or kelp beds.

Yellowtail amberjack are circumglobal. California yellowtail begins to reproduce at a young age and produces large numbers of young, traits that help it withstand fishing pressure (it is not considered vulnerable or needy of conservation efforts).

Yellowtail begin spawning in southern warm water in winter months and spawn into the spring when they surface and feed; One major spawning ground for California Yellowtail is at Cedros Island, where mass amounts of 15- to 20-pound yellowtail can be found. A 3 year old female will weigh about 10 pounds and spawn approximately 450,000 eggs; A 25 pound female will produce more than 1 million eggs. Yellowtail may live to 30 years. 

Catalina island off of long beach is one of the locations where home guard yellowtail have made a home. Typically these guard fish are to large for animals such as sea lions to catch and eat.

San Lucas Cove annual Yellowtail Tournament, (10th held on May 26th, 2013), is typically when the fishing is heating up. Fishing reports can be found on

As the yellowtail mostly follow changing water tempuratures fishermen need to find them. Hence fishing reports are the easist way to track them.

A school of Yellowtail who need to
migrate to find more food.


The 2014 season starts early ...

A Feb. 21st report from "The Coronado Islands found a few new schools of Yellowtail over the weekend with the ¾ day boat San Diego." If these are not home guard yellowtail, then the yellowtail have been in deep waters and are far more abundant than the fishing reports indicate.  An incredible March 15th report has yellowtail all the way up the Sea of cortez at Rocky Point via Forums March also saw limits being hit out of Loreto, and across the sea in San Carlos by early morning. San Quintin on the west coast bringing limits with consistency and farther south in Asuncion limits are being hit rapidly under little to no presure from fishermen. First person reports alone the west coast of southern baja were consistently hitting yellowtails, although the sports fishing fleets through this region have been occupied by whale watching for the month of March.

July 2014

Ensenada, limits of tuna and yellowtail ... Catch of the Day.

San Quintin, Yellowtail are still being landed, however Tuna have attracted the majority of attention out of San Quintin. reporting Yellowtail in abundance, and Tuna going into the half way mark of July have fan out north and south attracting most of the attention. Halibut and Seabase are reported in adundance in the bay.

June 2014

2013 saw yellowtail still as far south as the Cabos but with other species getting more attention to the south ... Fishing report 6-11-13 Explains: "In the 17 years that we have worked out of the Van Wormer Resorts I have not seen this many sailfish in June. Add that happy occurrence to one of the better years for stripped marlin and you have an exceptional situation for those seeking billfish" ...and yellowtail fever hitting Southern California waters, on the pacific side. In the Sea of Cortez yellowtail showed in at the islands out of San Felipe specifically San Esteban Island was the hot spot.

2014 is seeing warmer waters for June than were seen in 2013. 

Southern California, has reports on the rapidly warming water conditions, and yellowtail reports going into the 2nd week of June north to Catalina. Some reports of barracuda. ... "Kelp beds south maybe La Jolla- they were seeing yellows splashing on the surface chasing bait. 2:45pm June 13th 2014." Going into the month Bob Vanian's blog on puts it simply, Yellowtail have been found in a lot of places.

Ensenada, First week of June 2014 week saw large numbers of barracuda with the sports fleet catching triple digits of Barracuda, making barracuda the catch of the day.

San Quintin, bluefin and yellowfin tuna have arrived in San Quintin waters. Yellowtail are present but not under pressure from fishermen.

Loreto,  dorado, (mahi mahi), are the catch of the day, with catch and release going on after limits have been reached. Bill fish are being seen on a regular bases. Yellowtail are present but not under much fishing pressure.

Memorial Day

Ending out May has reports of the San Lucas Cove Yellowtail Tournament. The winner a 38-pound from San Lucas  May ends with San Quintin showing some changing water termperatures and a mixed bag of catches, the catch of the day in San Quintin has changed to Halibut found in the mouth of the Bay. Yellowtail still in waters.

May ends reports of non-stop radio reports of yellowtail from the San Diego sports fishing fleet ..

May 2014

2013 saw the Yellowtail migration into and past Newport Beach in May, is reporting some yellowtail. Putting the Yellowtail more or less as far north as they were for May in 2013. The Sea of Cortez in 2013 did not see the same levels of activities for yellowtail as they are seeing this year. An El Nino effect appears to be warming the sea of cortez but has not yet been seen on the pacific side of baja. Official start of the season in the Sea of Cortez for yellowtail begins in May, with early yellowtail showing up in Loreto near the end of April.

San Diego Catch of the day, has into may fairly consistantly had yellowtail, although the predominate catch has been rockfish.

May 22, 2014 Yellowtail action in Ensenada - San Quintin.

Ensenada catch of the dayis yellowtail and barracuda with yellowtail being the most caught fish for the first week of May, and into the month with numerous reports. Memorial Day found yellowtail waiting for sports fishermen to arrive.

San Quintin Catch of the Day is a competition between yellowtail and lingcod with both abundant in the waters. The increase in yellowtail into the month is pronounced.

Bahia de Los Angeles (Sea of Cortez) has spottings and catches of yellowtail via -- However, groupers 15-20 lbs are taking the bait before the yellowtail making catching limits of yellowtail difficult.


SANTA ROSALIA (Sea of Cortez) Yellowtail are off the charts

Loreto, (Sea of Cortez), Yellowtail remain catch of the day ... largest weigh on May 3rd in from the great Yellowtail tournament was 41 lbs

San Carlos (Sea of Cortez, Sonora) via yellowtail have thinned as they continue to migrate. 

La Paz catch of the day, (Sea of Cortez)unusual weather and tidal currents made for more difficult fishing out of La Paz than they are use to. They still managed to have a smorgasbord of fish, with people hitting limits of dorado, roosterfish, wahoo, etc. 

April 2014

2013 saw yellowtail the yellowtail migration starting early however, 2014 has already exceeded 2013 for yellowtail activity. Tony Reyes started his skedule out of San felipe in the last week of March fishing reports out of San Felipe will begin. 


San Diego South: Information gets posted quicker in San Diego than farther south. Catch of the day is still rock-fish, (easy limits being hit),  with yellowtail available to those who target them. The week leading to the first weekend saw cooler water temps and less yellowtail activity. The first weekend April 4-6th was however productive for Yellowtail for hm landing. with daily yellowtail.

Ensenada, First posted fishing report for april is from, yellowtails are the catch of the day. “Northwest from San Miguel Reef the fish went crazy, ... Reel Adventure, Fish Tank, Fin Tuition, No Limitz I and Selena all had fish between 13 to 30 pounds.” All boats in the Ensenada sport fishing fleet are reporting yellowtail on every trip to date in April. The last date no yellowtail were caught was 3/17/2014.

Continuing into the Month of April yellowtail are only getting better: However  when looking at individual fish counts per boat, Yellowtails are there on some days and not on others

Winds are forecasted for the last weekend of April 26-27 via San Miguel swell 2.3 feet.

First weekend in April swells

San Quintin, First weekend of April saw great surfing condictions, (see image), and no first person open water fishing reports found online, no reports of yellowtail, or rockfish, or any-fish. Surf forecast going into the 2nd weekend is 2-3 foot swells, winds up to 15 MPH in afternoons. Ending the month via with continued yellowtail.

MULEGE, ends April with great epic yellowtail via

San Carlos, (west side of sea of Cortez), had winds to 30 mph for the first weekend of April. Dorado, (Mahi Mahi) are present end of April, Yellowtail are off of San Pedro and barracudas off of san Antonio link

Santa Rosalia, April 21st, report via is seeing record numbers of Yellowtail for April. a lot of 40-plus-pound fish north side of San Marcos Island and north of Santa Rosalia ... eating everything, “It didn’t seem too really to matter what you use. As long as you had something in the water, you should have been able to catch world class yellowtail.”

Loreto, Yellowtail's are the catch of the day, the month starting with limits being reached on trips out 22 miles from Loreto between 30 and 44 pounds. As of April 12th from report shows signs that the Yellowtail are migrating, (people are no longer hitting limits)  - Yellowtails are eating Loreto mackerel.

East Cape, Tuna arrive that spells the end of season for targeting yellowtail on the east cape. 23 to 35 pounds, yellowfin tuna, 4-6 miles off the Lighthouse. The East Cape has been unpredictable as of late with different fishing condictions and fish from one day to the next so tomorro could see a return of yellowtail, or dorado, or marlin, or rooterfish. Cabo striped marlin comeback,

La PazLa Paz’s roosterfish are back and Yellowtail have not left Catch of the Day. Dorada, (Mahi Mahi), are biting. 

March 2014

San Diego South: Mission Belle out of San Diego landed 58 California Yellowtail on the first weekend after the rains. Generally speaking the season begins as the yellowtail begin to migrate in schools north, for their breeding season, swimming against the current and follow bait fish into coastal waters. H&M Landing's boat Malihini, on their 3/10/14 trip had 111 yellowtail onboard. San Diego South - Catch of the Day seems to still be rockfish and lingcod with improving chances of landing yellowtails.

Ensenada is also seeing yellowtail activity, both before the rain and after, Hat tip (

San Quintin is hitting limits on yellowtail, Hat Tip ( in the first week of March. The lagoons to the south are still focused on whale watching and almost no fishing pressure on yellowtail.

Asuncion, Just south of Guerrero Negro, (still involved in whale watching), does not often have fishing reports; The exception is first person reports, A march report is posted in with three anglers hitting limits, in less than two hours right off the beach in town with Capt. Juan Arce Marron. 

San Carlos - Accross the Sea of Cortez half way in the gulf,  north of Loreto and east of Loreto; first person reports from people our hitting limits for Yellowtail early in the morning.

Loreto - The first two weekends saw yellowtails as the catch of the day. near the surface as well as up the water column, with limits being reached by noon, (there is no limit for catch and release). The third weekend saw windy conditions and the fourth saw orcas coming to feed and chasing yellowtails around the Carmen and Catalan Islands; Anglers headed south looking for yellowtails and found them ... limits are being reached by 10:00AM.

La Paz - The yellowtail bite is consistantly being the La Paz catch of the day, (however catch limits are not being hit), from February through March, with Baja Pirates out of La paz. Of course people who want to catch yellowtail and come back with yellowtail, grouper, and cabrilla have enjoyed their adventure.

Cabo San Lucas: Jc Sportfishing first week report via is that the yellowtail are inshore with good numbers from Solmar up to Ranch Migrano. still catching Marlins.

Feb. 11, 2014 A chance of an El Nino has been forecasted for 2014 ... United Press International ... An El Nino brings fish up the west coast.

February 2014

At the ending of February, 28th, reporting on Loreto: "Yellowtail are out there but not close in." ... “There is so much bio -mass, whales and tourists chasing them it is no wonder the yellowtail and baitfish are further offshore,” Rick Hill of Loreto Sea and Land Eco Tours said. “Candeleros and the La Cholla areas have been kicking out 30-pound yellowtail for the boats with live bait. Down south, the high spots are kicking out similar sized fish.”

Ending February in San Quintin reports on "Yellowtail on the Iron" with 16 photos of yellowtails.

East Cape

Laguna Whale Watching Fleet

"It's 4 Reels" by Louie Prieto, Todos Santos Island, Just off Ensenada, in the mid month of Feb, has reports of great home guard yellowtails. The only regular reports out of Ensenada in February is Selena, they are not reporting yellowtail.

Out of San Diego home guard yellowtails continue to bite off the Coranodo Islands - Union Tribune, Looking a multible reports, the bite is good on some days and not there on others. Plan to catch rockfish and hope for a yellowtail is the recipe for a enjoyable trip.

Mid Feb in the Cabos are still landing tuna and dorado, although the Marlin have been heading towards warmer waters. Yellowtail are put off by steel leaders which are used for Tuna and Dorado, and these fish bite through the line used to catch yellowtail.  When they head towards warmer waters filament leaders can be used. Winter has been very mild this year in the Cabos, (by Cabo standards), they are still waiting for cooler weather. 

Inshore Yellowtail in the Cabos is being reported in forum within reach of Kayaks. Water temps have dropped according to this report.

Out of La Paz Feb Fishing report has numerous yellowtails.

SAN QUINTIN seems to be the hot spot for Yellowtail, with just the right conditions forum is filled with images of winter yellowtail.

Whale watchers are still using the fleet of pangas in the lagunas between San Quintin into Baja Sur, which convert to tour guides during the whale migration.

January 2014

Yellowtail may not be as abundant in Southern California waters but Baja is still active.  January bite around Bahia Asuncion is being called strong. Bahia Asuncion is just south of Guerrero Negro. The sheltered waters of Cedros Island and Natividad Island, are both well-known central Baja yellowtail hangouts.

Cabo San Lucas noticed a bit of a tempurature drop in late December. Its ok when they see a temperature drop; It means they will start seeing some good Yellowtail action and the Sierra bite will go crazy. Mid January in the Cabos is still seeing Striped Marlin which gets most of the attention. There are reports of Marlin in all areas but the pacific side is where most of the action is: Hat Tip for info to

A Delayed report out of La Paz, is that the yellowtail are close to shore.

Off the coast out of the Cabos. Yellowtail are being seen in the last week of January, Hat Tip Water temperatures are holding in the 70/74 degree range.

Very large Yellowtail have been reported at the 240 Bank out of San Quintin January 17, 2014 via 112 miles south of Ensenada. More reports of San Quintin Yellowtail from and

In Ensenada anglers are reporting more yellowtail sightings as yellow tail swim off the coast in Ensenada, towards the Cabos. Ensenada has been referred to as 'the Yellowtail Capital of the World.” as yellowtail swim past Ensenada year round.

LORETO: Starting the year off right, the weather turned more like one would expect in the fall, and the yellowtail came back to town.  A quote from We have some monster yellowtail harassing and beating up fishermen at all the local hotspots,” Hill said. “I've heard it before, and now I am a believer, that the yellowtail over here pull twice as hard as their cousins on the Pacific side, and they know all about rocks, too. 

September 2013

Yellowtail have been up and down the west coast of Baja throughout the season with reports all summer and no end in site. This report out of San Quintin has yellowtail, dorado, bluefin tuna and yellowfin tuna, (via KM landing). They have consistantly been showing yellowtails this year since February. 

 Phil Friedman's Radio show, reports on the yellowtail out of Ensenada in his September 17th report.

Yellowtail will not migrate south until water temps cool.

July 2013

High swell from a hurricane in the Eastern Pacific early in the month reduced the number of fishing reports. Reports later in the month show the yellowtail are north to south across Baja and on both sides going into August. 

Has been great with reports of both yellowtail and Bluefin off Ensenada, with yellowtail sports fishing counts daily and farther south near San Quintin K&M reports Yellowtail and white Seabass. In US waters off San Diego and north reports yellowtail fishing is still good. 

Sea of Cortez out of La Paz First hand report via Tripadvisor.

Farther north in Loreto reports from fish sniffer the Yellowtail has moved to the bottom to feed and are being caught using mackerel, some having luck using jigs. Marlin and Dorado are getting the most focus south of Loreto in the Sea of Cortez.

Out of San Felipe and North in the Sea of Cortez Captain Reyes said having live bait was the key to their 230 yellowtail. via WowNews the report does not reveal specific locations.