The seafood on Catalina Island is legendary.
Catalina fresh fish is always a favorite. You can’t go wrong with the three most popular local fish species, halibut, white seabass and swordfish, but don’t miss the chance to try sand dabs and yellowfin tuna. We also love seafood from a bit further afield, like shrimp and scallops and – of course – clam chowder.
In the fall, Catalina seafood means you absolutely must have lobster. California lobster season opens the Saturday before the first Wednesday in October – this year that meant the last Saturday in September.
California’s lobster aren’t as famous as their Atlantic cousins – and lack the distinctive claw – but are definitely a local delicacy.
For many locals – and visitors – half the fun of lobster season is catching the lobster. You’ve got two options, a hoop net or scuba, the former being much, shall we say, drier than the latter. Rather self-explanatory, hoop nets are dropped about 15-20 feet down with bait the middle. When the lobster wander into the middle, they are pulled up and caught. Catching lobster on scuba simply involves grabbing the tasting critters, usually at night. Whichever option you choose, you’ll need a valid California fishing license and you’ll need to comply with strict size and bag limits, which can be found on the California Department of Fish and Game website.
Once you catch your lobster, you’ll need to cook ‘em. There are plenty of options, boiling, broiling and baking are just a few to start with. We also love lobster in cream sauce over pasta and lobster tacos and lobster salad and, well, you get the picture.
Prefer to let someone else do the catching, cooking and cleaning up? You’ll find fresh lobster on the menu at several Catalina restaurants, including Bluewater Avalon, Steve’s Steakhouse and, of course, the Lobster Trap.