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San Vicente Reservoir Fishing Report 2023 [Tips, Spots, Pictures, and Everything You Need to Know]

How To Fish San Vicente Reservoir | Your San Vicente Reservoir Fishing Report

San Vicente Reservoir, officially known by the locals as “San Vicente Lake” or just “San V” is a large man made lake that sits 24 miles away from San Diego and 132 miles away from Los Angeles.

Overall it’s a popular lake located just north of San Diego. In this post you’re going to be given the blueprint to fish this lake.

So what are the best tips for fishing San Vicente Reservoir? There are three important factors you must know if you want to know how to fish San Vicente Reservoir successfully. First, you need to know what kind of fish is in San Vicente Reservoir. Second, it’s important for you to know which part of the lake each species can be found. Lastly, knowing what are the best baits that work on San Vicente Reservoir is vital. However, tactics, baits, and locations will be different for each type of fish that you target. So let’s talk about the steps you need to take in order to give you the best chance of catching a fish on San Vicente Reservoir.

Key Takeaways

This lake gives locals and visitors the opportunity to test their luck in catching one of the many game species this lake has to offer, such as trout, bass, catfish, bluegill, and much, much more!

Here’s the most recent and updated   San Vicente Reservoir Fishing Report – it gives you a quick and easy list of some really good fishing spots. If you’re looking for more detail on how to fish each spot scroll down into the article. 

  • Lowell Island
  • South Shoreline
  • Grassy Bay
  • Barona Arm
  • Kimbal Cove
  • Aqueduct Arm

Here are some additional fast and helpful tips just for you: 

  • The easiest way to fish this lake is by boat, but there are areas to fish from the bank, or by kayak or float tube.
  • There are public boat ramps to use.
  • Camping and RV parking is available.
  • You can buy tackle and groceries at the lake or at one of the tackle shops in the outer edges of San Diego. 

About San Vicente Reservoir

wikicommons photo - Phil Konstantin

Initially constructed in 1943, the lake was designed with the foresight that the demand for water in the region would escalate over time and necessitate an expansion. To accommodate this need, the dam’s original architectural design incorporated the ability to increase its height in the future.

At its inception, San V contained roughly 90,000 acre-feet of water. However, as demand for water grew and droughts continued to plague Southern California, plans were made to increase the dam’s height. Following extensive research and engineering, it was decided to raise the dam’s height by 117 feet, just three feet shy of the maximum height that had been planned by earlier generations.

As a result of this expansion, the lake’s capacity more than doubled, providing an additional 152,000 acre-feet of water storage when at full capacity. This project was among the largest dam projects in the county, particularly in terms of raising a dam’s height.

The lake was closed in 2008, and the multi-year project to reopen it commenced. During this time, fishermen speculated about the quality of fishing that would be available upon the lake’s reopening, with rumors circulating that it would be exceptional.

In 2016, rumors started to circulate again that the lake would finally be reopened, and it was confirmed that it would open on September 22nd of that year. Prior to the opening, a small ceremony was held, and the San Diego Mayor cut the ribbon, officially reopening the lake for business.

San Vicente Reservoir is a moderate sized lake, but deep body of water with the average depth being 50-125 feet and a maximum depth of 306 feet when the lake is completely full. San Vicente Reservoir approximately 2.25 miles long and around 1 mile across. Fishing San Vicente gives anglers just under 20 miles of shoreline and 1,600 surface acres of lake to fish.

This reservoir plays a vital role in drinking water and flood control for San Diego. San Vicente Reservoir gives locals and visitors the opportunity to test their luck in catching one of the many game species this lake has to offer.

Important Lake Warnings

Algae blooms may be present which may affect fishing, swimming, and water contact in general. 

According to parks.ca.gov, “every one of California’s new laws requires boat operators to have a California Boating Card. The card is required for anyone under the age of 41 to operate a boat in California’s waters.”

If you are fishing and camping, fire bans may be in effect due to the ongoing drought conditions.

Per Sandiego.gov:

“Monday, Thursday and Friday. 1/2 hour before sunrise to sunset. Fishing and general boating, no water contact activities.
Saturday and Sunday. 1/2 hour before sunrise to sunset. Fishing, general boating and water contact (water-skiing, wakeboarding, etc.)
Tuesday and Wednesday. CLOSED.”

Cost of entry (per rockymountainrec.com):
LAKE PERMITS (Cash only)
Adult Fishing Permit (age 16+) $8.00
Youth Fishing Permit (age 8-15) $2.50
Senior Fishing Permit (age 65+) $4.00
Boat Launch Permit $7.00
Adult Water Contact $10.00
Youth Water Contact $5.00
Special Use Permit for Wakeboard and Waterski $10.00
Prices are subject to change at anytime.
Maximum speed limit is 35 mph.
Kayaks: Kayaks are permitted Thursdays through Mondays with a vehicle pass or accompanying a towing vehicle. LAUNCH FEES ARE DIFFERENT AT SAN VICENTE FOR KAYAKS. Each person pays the per person user fee, but there is no additional fee for launching the kayak.

What Kind Of Fish Are In San Vicente Reservoir

  • Rainbow Trout
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Black Crappie
  • Bluegill and Sunfish
  • Catfish

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      San Vicente Reservoir Fishing Tips & General Strategies

      Ah, the San Vicente Reservoir in sunny California! Let me tell ya, it’s a true bass fishing paradise that’ll get your adrenaline pumpin’ and your rod tip dancin’.

      Water Clarity & Conditions

      • Crystal clear most of the time
      • Visibility up to 20 feet in some areas

      San Vicente Reservoir boasts some of the clearest waters you’ll ever lay your eyes on. You’ll be able to spot those big ol’ lunkers from a mile away. But don’t be fooled, these bass are no dummies. They’ll see you comin’ too, so you gotta bring your A-game and stay on your toes.

      Structures & Fishing Cover

      • Submerged islands: When it comes to bass fishing, these underwater gems are the real deal. Cast your line near the edges and you might just hook a hog.
      • Rocky reefs: Bass love to hang around these rocky hideaways. Toss a jig or a crankbait into the mix and watch that rod bend.
      • Steep drop-offs: The bass here love to ambush their prey from the depths. Give ’em a taste of a Carolina rig or a drop shot, and you’ll be in business.
      • Laydowns and brush piles: These tangled messes are like magnets for bass. Flip a Texas-rigged creature bait in there and hold on tight.

      Aquatic vegetation: From hydrilla to lily pads, San Vicente’s got it all. Get your froggin’ game on, and you’ll be rippin’ lips in no time.

      Springtime Fishing update

      Water Temperature & Clarity

      • Temperature: Ranging from the high 50s to the low 70s as spring starts to heat up
      • Clarity: Mostly clear, with 4+ foot visibility in some spots

      San Vicente is lookin’ good this spring, with water temps heatin’ up and those fish gettin’ active. Visibility is pretty decent, so get ready for some sight fishin’ action.

      Wind & Weather Conditions

      • Occasional rain
      • Calm winds, perfect for worm fishin’

      Springtime at San Vicente can bring a little rain, but don’t let that stop you. The winds are mostly calm, so break out those worms and get ready to fill your livewell.

      Techniques & Baits

      Bass

      • Drop-shotting small plastics in 15-20 ft
      • Texas-rigged crawdads, crankbaits
      • Split shot rigs with 12″ leader near big rock walls

      Bluegill & Redear

      • Medium nightcrawler pieces, mealworms, redworms
      • Fish in 10-20 ft near tules and rocks

      Where the Fish Are Biting

      Bass

      • From the ramp to the Aqueduct and up to the island
      • Around big rock walls
      • Shallow areas on reaction baits for pre-spawn patterns

      Bluegill & Redear

      • Tompkin’s Cove
      • The Chimney

      So there you have it, boys. San Vicente Reservoir is heating up this spring, and the fish are biting like crazy. Grab your tackle box and favorite rod, and head out to the lake for some unforgettable angling action. Don’t forget to snap a few pics and make some memories with your fishin’ buddies. Tight lines!

      San Vicente Reservoir – Summer Fishing update

      Summer Fishing Report: San V

      • Water Temperature: Ranging between 77°F and 82°F
      • Water Clarity: Clear (4+ foot visibility) to muddy (0-2 foot visibility)

      Conditions and Techniques

      Bass:

      Morning Topwater Action:

      • When fish are chasing shad, capitalize on the topwater bite in the morning hours
      • Use a variety of lures like Vixens, gunfish, Spooks, Sammy’s, and poppers
      • Target grass edges and submerged structures where bass are likely to ambush prey
      • Mix up your retrieve speed and cadence to trigger strikes

      Midday Finesse Fishing:

      • As the sun gets higher, bass often move to deeper water (20′ to 35′)
      • Utilize finesse techniques such as drop shot, shakey head, and Ned rig to entice these fish
      • Soft plastics like Roboworms, Senkos, and smaller creature baits work well in these situations
      • Be patient and maintain a slow, natural presentation for finicky bass

      Grass Lines and Rock Walls:

      • Focus on grass lines and rock walls to locate larger, more aggressive bass
      • Texas rig larger worms (e.g. 8″ Green Weenie or Red Flake worms) and flip them around grass edges
      • Jigs, like 1/4 oz finesse jigs in watermelon color, can be effective when targeting bass in deeper water
      • Cast close to rock walls and let your bait sink slowly, as bass often hide in these areas waiting to ambush prey

      Additional Techniques:

      • Experiment with swimbaits and flukes in grassy areas or when bass are schooling
      • When bass are actively feeding on silversides, throw A-rigs, small spoons, and swimbaits to mimic the baitfish
      • Don’t hesitate to switch up your approach if one technique isn’t producing; bass can be finicky and may require some experimentation to find what they’re after

        Bluegill:

        • Bite slows down as summer progresses; mostly juvenile fish reported
        • Effective baits include drop-shot nightcrawlers, red worms, mealworms, and crickets

        Catfish:

        • Rarely reported during summer; no specific techniques or locations mentioned

        Specific Locations

        • Toll Road Arm for schooling bass chasing bait
        • Kimball Arm for topwater action
        • Deeper waters around grass lines and rock walls for larger bass

        Pro Tips

        • Look for breaking fish on the banks early in the morning
        • Fish outside of grass lines in deeper water (15’+) for worm fish
        • Be prepared for algae blooms in the warm weather
        • Keep an eye on boat traffic, as it can affect the bite during weekends

        But Where Are The Best Places To Fish At San Vicente Reservoir?

        And in no particular order here is that list of the best fishing spots at San Vicente.

        DISCLAIMER:  The material provided is for general information purposes only. It’s important to understand that any information provided in this article can change at any time. Any maps or graphics featured are not to be used as navigational aids. Fishing Blueprint will not be responsible for any personal injury or property damage from any misuse of the maps or graphics provided.   It’s completely impossible to give you every single spot where you can potentially catch a fish.  But, what this list does do is to give you a helping hand and narrow down to the most productive fishing spots.

        Lowell Island

        Look carefully at this fishing spot under lower water conditions…

        Lowell Island is a fisherman’s paradise! You’ll find bass chilling in the rocks while trout are hanging out in the deeper water above them. When the water’s low, bass like to party by the rocky shores, submerged brush, and humps.

        The west side of the island is where the cool kids hang out – huge boulders and rock rubble make for awesome fishing. Just make sure you hit up the north-facing sides of the rocks for maximum shade and fish action.

        Head north for bass and crappie, where you’ll find brush piles and structure all year long. For the best bass and crappie action, hit up the southern shoreline – there’s vegetation, submerged brush, and standing timber galore, plus some sweet rock pile patches around the edges.

        Located: Mid Lake

        Structural features: Steep rocky banks, boulders, brush, and ledges

        Best species to target: Bass, trout

        Most effective way to fish this spot: Boat

        South Shoreline

        Look carefully at this fishing spot under lower water conditions…

        For some amazing summertime action, hit up the southern shoreline – there’s vegetation, submerged brush, and standing timber galore, plus some sweet rock pile patches around the edges.

        Located: southern side of the lake

        Structural features: Rocky banks, boulders, brush piles, standing trees, and ditches

        Best species to target: Bass, trout

        Most effective way to fish this spot: Boat

        Grassy Bay

        Look carefully at this fishing spot under lower water conditions…

        Grassy Bay is the place to be for bass during the summer and fall – there’s submerged brush, vertical trees, and boulders aplenty.

        Located: southern side of the lake

        Structural features: Rocky banks, boulders, brush piles, standing trees, and ditches

        Best species to target: Bass, trout

        Most effective way to fish this spot: Boat

        Barona Arm

        Look carefully at this fishing spot under lower water conditions…

        And don’t forget about Barona Arm – sure, it’s the popular spot, but it’s for good reason. There’s huge boulders, rock piles, vertical trees, and brush piles lining the entire area, perfect for crappie and bass. Scan the secondary channels and feeder creeks for even more fishy fun.

        Located: eastern side of the lake

        Structural features: Rocky banks, boulders, brush piles, standing trees, and ditches

        Best species to target: Bass, trout

        Most effective way to fish this spot: Boat

        Kimbal Cove

        Look carefully at this fishing spot under lower water conditions…

        Don’t miss Kimball Cove, where you’ll find gigantic boulders, rock piles, and submerged brush and multiple submerged tree thickets for some sweet bass and crappie action.

        Located: Northern side of the lake

        Structural features: Rocky banks, boulders, brush piles, standing trees, and ditches

        Best species to target: Bass, trout

        Most effective way to fish this spot: Boat

        Aqueduct Arm

        Look carefully at this fishing spot under lower water conditions…

        The Aqueduct Arm is named because of the aqueduct that feeds into the lake. This area is phenomenal during the summer. Because this area drops into deep water very quickly it’s also great for suspended trout at the mouth of this area.

        Located: Southern side of the lake

        Structural features: Rocky banks, boulders, brush piles, standing trees, and ditches

        Best species to target: Bass, trout

        Most effective way to fish this spot: Boat

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        Boat Ramps at San Vicente Reservoir

        Lake San Vicente Boat Launch Facility

        Address: 12375 Moreno Avenue, Lakeside, CA 92040

        Website: link

        Phone number: (619) 668-2050

        Lanes: 3

        Restrooms: Yes

        Showers: No

        Gas: Yes

        Groceries/snacks available: Yes

        Electric: No

        Camping nearby: No

        Marinas at San Vicente Reservoir

        Lake San Vicente Boat Launch Facility

        Address: 12375 Moreno Avenue, Lakeside, CA 92040

        Website: link

        Phone number: (619) 668-2050

        Lanes: 3

        Restrooms: Yes

        Showers: No

        Gas: Yes

        Groceries/snacks available: Yes

        Electric: No

        Camping nearby: No

        Tackle Shops Near San Vicente Reservoir

        East County Bait and Tackle

        10137 Maine Ave, Lakeside, CA 92040

        (619) 390-9112

        Angler’s Arsenal

        12255 Woodside Ave, Lakeside, CA 92040

        (619) 466-8355

        Hook’d Bait and Tackle

        9113 Mission Gorge Rd B, Santee, CA 92071

        (619) 328-2130

        Liberty Bait and Tackle

        9520 Pathway St, Santee, CA 92071

        (619) 333-9318

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        In Summary...

        As you now can see San Vicente Reservoir fishing can be tough at times, but it’s not impossible and with the help of the San Vicente Reservoir Fishing Report… It definitely helps you get started on the right foot quickly and easily, so you can avoid wasting hours wondering where and how to get started.

        Did You Get All This?

        As fellow fisherman and content creator I thrive on helping others… I feel like I can do the most good by helping others… And frankly… I would feel like I did something wrong if you didn’t walk away feeling a little better about this lake.

        I truly want to over deliver for you…

        So Let Me Ask You Another Question… 

        After reading this helpful report:

        • Can you see how this could change the way you would fish this lake?… To make it easier, faster… and… with less headache, less frustration?
        • If nothing else, do you now have a better sense of where you can get started, even if you have have been here?
        • Do you feel that you have a good grasp of what species to expect in this lake?
        • Do you have a good understanding what baits are needed to catch each of the different species of fish?
        • Earlier we came up with some helpful spots to catch more fish, can you see yourself considering any one of those spots? Which ones are you the most excited about implementing when you get to the lake?
        • Is it fair to say that using these spots would give you a significant advantage over someone else who’s fishing this lake? 

        I Need To Ask A Favor From You And It’s Not Going To Cost You A Single Dime… 

        If you have gotten anything out of this free report; whether its knowing where to get started, what kinds of fish are in this lake, what baits to use, where to launch your boat, where to buy a frosty beverage, where to camp, and other things to do when you’re at this lake…

        Then I need you to do something that is going to help you your fellow angler…

        And that is share this report.  Please share it to as many people as you can.  It’s free to you and it really helps me out as a creator. 

        Lastly… thank you for spending your time reading through this report and I hope you have a luck on the water.  

        THIS IS WHERE YOU CAN HELP ME THE MOST:  There’s a lot of information about this subject you have found helpful, and I’m sure you’ll be able to put some of the knowledge bombs to use.  But sharing this report helps drive traffic which in turn helps me at absolutely no cost to you.  I love creating reports like this for you, and you like reading these types of reports please share this with your friends, family, and fellow anglers.   

        Click on your favorite social media buttons to share this page now!

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