Is Magnet Fishing Legal In California?


Magnet fishing in California is a bit of a grey area. There is no specific law against it, but there are laws against trespassing and littering that could be applied. So technically, magnet fishing is illegal in California if you’re doing it on private property or leaving behind trash. But if you’re careful and respectful, you can magnet fish legally across the state.

Magnet fishing enthusiasts are all over California, including in San Diego, Santa Barbara, and Los Angeles. Here are some of the main rules to follow on magnet fishing in California:

Is magnet fishing legal in California?

Affecting ecosystems:

Make sure you are always picking up your trash and any found debris from magnet fishing. Leaving behind trash or debris is littering and illegal in California. You could face serious fines for leaving trash in public areas if caught.

Also, be mindful of the ecosystem you’re in. If you’re fishing in a river or lake, you could disturb the natural habitat and harm the wildlife. Check local regulations before magnet fishing in any body of water.


You can only magnet fish on the property you have permission to be on. This means no trespassing onto private property or closed-off areas. You could be fined or arrested for trespassing if you don’t have permission. Violating California law for trespassing can often carry fines of $400 or more, which is not worth the risk.

Metal detector use:

In certain areas, such as San Francisco bay, it is illegal to use a metal detector or magnet fishing equipment. This is because of the sensitive ecosystem and the potential to disturb cultural resources that are located underwater. This is a clearly posted area, and if you see signs that prohibit fishing or the use of metal detectors, it is likely an area that prohibits magnet fishing as well.

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The best spots to legally magnet fish in California:

There are many spots in California that are perfect for magnet fishing, as long as you follow the rules. Here are some areas that people are flocking to for magnet fishing:

The LA river:

The LA river has many spots with bridge access and waterways that pass under highways, making it perfect for magnet fishing. However, check for signs prohibiting magnet fishing or trespassing before you start, as there are sections of the LA river that are not accessible to the public.

Legg Lake:

Legg lake is a great place to find old coins, as it is a very popular spot for fishing. This lake is located in South El Monte, CA, and is open to the public for magnet fishing.

Berkeley Marina:

Although it is part of the San Francisco bay area, the Berkeley Marina is a great spot for magnet fishing. There is public access to the water and plenty of areas to fish from the pier. This is an area that does not prohibit magnet fishing as long as you follow the rules.

Marina Del Rey:

One of the largest man made marinas in the United States. There is public access to the water and lots of parks along the channel/waterways This is also an area that does not prohibit magnet fishing as long as you follow the rules.

Common items found in Magnet fishing throughout California:

Magnet fishing in California can be a lot of fun, especially in areas that are commonly used by tourists and locals. Some of the most common items found when magnet fishing in California are:

  • Old coins
  • Buckets
  • Tools
  • Knives
  • Wedding rings
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Rings are common in swimming and fishing areas, and you can often take them to the police to be returned to their owners.

If you find any cultural artifacts, such as old coins or tools, it is best to leave them in place and notify the authorities. These items could be part of California’s history and should be preserved. You should also contact authorities should you find any firearms or other weapons, as these could be dangerous.

Overall, magnet fishing is a great way to spend some time outdoors, and you can even find some valuable items. Just make sure to follow the rules and regulations in place to avoid getting fined or arrested. With a little research, you can find the perfect spot for magnet fishing in California.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>