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Lake Hodges Closed for Summer Due to Dam Repair Project

If you live by Lake Hodges or drive by the area often, you’ve probably noticed something unusual – the low water levels and lack of any summer recreation.

“Usually the weekends are packed full of people with kayaks or fishing boats,” said Jeff Sigua, a frequent lake visitor.

Barrett Reservoir was created with the completion of Barrett Dam in 1922 after about three years of construction. Photo: City of San Diego

City of San Diego Celebrates Barrett Reservoir 100 Year Anniversary

Barrett Reservoir marks its first century of service, playing an important role in the City of San Diego’s water supply system. Barrett is one of nine reservoirs that make up part of the City’s vast water system. Fishing season opens at the reservoir on May 4.

“For 100 years, Barrett Reservoir has served as an integral part of our drinking water system and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future,” said Juan Guerreiro, interim director of the San Diego Public Utilities Department. “Barrett is also a popular recreation area that San Diegans enjoy.”

Barrett Dam completed in 1922

Barrett Dam was completed in 1922 and named after George Barrett who owned the land at one time at the confluence of Cottonwood and Pine Valley Creeks. Photo: City of San Diego Barrett Reservoir

Barrett Dam was completed in 1922 and named after George Barrett, who owned the land at one time at the confluence of Cottonwood and Pine Valley Creeks. Photo: City of San Diego

Barrett Reservoir was created with the completion of Barrett Dam in 1922 after about three years of construction. Named after George Barrett, who owned the land at one time, the reservoir is located at the confluence of Cottonwood and Pine Valley creeks.

Barrett captures rainwater runoff only and is not fed by imported water. The reservoir’s water storage capacity is more than 34,800 acre-feet. Water from Barrett is transferred to the Lower Otay Reservoir via the Dulzura Conduit before being treated at the City’s Otay Water Treatment Plant for distribution to customers.

Fishing reservations

Public access to Barrett has been offered on a limited basis by reservation only since 1994. Fishing season runs from May to September, and waterfowl hunting is allowed from mid-October through January. Visitors can enjoy boating, kayaking, and float tubes, and the recreation area includes picnic areas, barbecues, and restrooms.

Fishing reservations are on sale through Ticketmaster. You must buy your ticket at least one day before your fishing day. A valid California Fishing License is required for anglers 16 years of age or older. California Department of Fish and Wildlife Freshwater Sport regulations and City regulations are strictly enforced. Fish available at Barrett include largemouth bass, bullhead catfish, crappie, and sunfish.

Reservations for waterfowl hunting at Barrett are sold in advance via a lottery draw method in October.

Barrett Reservoir is located at 19886 Japatul Lyons Valley Road in Jamul. More information about Barrett and other City reservoirs: sandiego.gov/reservoir-lakes.

(Editor’s note: The City of San Diego is one of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies that deliver water across the metropolitan San Diego region.)

Lake Hodges-Hodges Reservoir-Hodges Dam

Repair Work on Hodges Dam to Begin

As part of continuing efforts to maintain and invest in City of San Diego infrastructure, repair work starts within the next two weeks on Hodges Dam, at the Hodges Reservoir north of Rancho Bernardo.

“It’s been over a century since Hodges Dam was constructed, and we are making significant investments to maintain this vital asset,” said Alia Khouri, Deputy Chief Operating Officer. “Projects like this one are crucial for the City’s aging infrastructure system in order to maintain the safe and efficient delivery of City services.”

During a recent inspection, staff identified areas in the dam wall that require repair and need to be sealed. To access these areas, the water level of the reservoir needs to be lowered by approximately 18 feet from its current level to an elevation of 275 feet. The reservoir may need to be lowered below 275 feet if additional areas needing repair are identified during the project. The repair project is expected to continue for an estimated five months.

Water transfers to maximize savings

The Hodges Dam, shown here in 1929, was built in 1918. Photo: UCSD

The Hodges Dam, shown here in 1929, was built in 1918. Photo: UC San Diego

The primary function of Hodges Reservoir is to store water for potable use. The City is working with its regional water agency partners on a plan to draw down the reservoir level to maximize water savings. Most, if not all, of the water will be transferred to other reservoirs, while some water may be released into the San Dieguito River.

“The City of San Diego is committed to maintaining Hodges Dam to ensure the protection of our water resources and public enjoyment of the reservoir,” said Juan Guerreiro, Interim Director of the City’s Public Utilities Department. “We appreciate the public’s patience while we complete the project.”

To access areas of the Hodges Dam for repairs, the water level of the reservoir needs to be lowered by approximately 18 feet from its current level to an elevation of 275 feet. As a result of the lower water level, the Hodges Reservoir will be closed for recreation while the repair project is underway. Boating and fishing will still be available at other City of San Diego reservoirs. The San Dieguito River Park trails and facilities around Hodges Reservoir will not be impacted during the drawdown or dam construction work.

Operated and maintained by the San Diego Public Utilities Department, the reservoir currently serves the San Diego County Water Authority, San Dieguito Water District, and Santa Fe Irrigation District, and the City of San Diego. San Diego operates nine reservoirs, including Hodges.

(Editor’s note: The City of San Diego, San Dieguito Water District, and the Santa Fe Irrigation District are three of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies that deliver water across the metropolitan San Diego region.)

Trout Season Opens at Lake Jennings

The 2021 trout season opens Friday at Lake Jennings, the Helix Water District reservoir in Lakeside. The lake is one of San Diego County’s hot spots for trout fishing, ranked second in the county by SDFish.com. The first delivery of 2,000 pounds of trout traveled 913 miles from Idaho in an oxygenated truck to stock the lake.

Helix Water District-Lake Jennings-Trout Season Opens-Trout Season Opens at Lake Jennings

Trout Season Opens at Lake Jennings

The 2021 trout season opened Nov. 19 at Lake Jennings, the Helix Water District reservoir in Lakeside. The lake is one of San Diego County’s hot spots for trout fishing, ranked second in the county by SDFish.com.

The first delivery of 2,000 pounds of trout traveled 913 miles from Idaho in an oxygenated truck to stock the lake. The first of 12 biweekly trout stock came from Wright’s Rainbows in Thatcher, Idaho. A total of 20,000 pounds will be stocked every two weeks through the week of April 18. Anglers can also catch large-mouth bass, red-ear sunfish, bluegill, channel and blue catfish.

Fishing one of several fall family activities  at Lake Jennings

For trout season arriving this weekend, the recommended lure is mini jigs, an all-purpose lure which attracts trout, bass, crappie and bluegill. Photo: Lake Jennings

For trout season at Lake Jennings, the recommended lure is mini jigs, an all-purpose lure which attracts trout, bass, crappie and bluegill. Photo: Lake Jennings

In addition to other recreational activities, Lake Jennings is where the Helix Water District stores imported water from the Colorado River and Northern California. After treatment, the water is supplied to 277,000 people in San Diego’s East County, including the cities of La Mesa, Lemon Grove, and El Cajon, the Spring Valley community.

Helix Water District is also part of a collaborative partnership for the East County Advanced Water Purifcation project, along with Padre Dam Municipal Water District, the County of San Diego, and the City of El Cajon. The plant is expected to provide 30% of current drinking water demands for East County residents when completed in 2025.

Trout fishing on the shore

Fishing is accessible on the shoreline, on the lake’s fishing dock, or from kayaks or a 16-foot skiff with an outboard motor available for rental. Rental boats are on a first-come, first-served basis. Anglers can also launch privately owned boats.

During the opening weekend of trout season in 2020, Lake Jennings issued 931 permits, including 161 for children, an increase of 10% over 2019. The lake is open for shore fishing daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Anglers must purchase a daily permit from the campground check-in kiosk. Five miles of shoreline provides ample space for social distancing.

Record catch, recommended lure

The recommended lure for trout arriving this weekend is mini jigs, an all-purpose lure that attracts trout, bass, crappie, and bluegill. To help cast the lightweight lure, lake staff recommend attaching a bobber five to six feet above the mini jig. Popular jig colors for trout season are pink, orange, and chartreuse.

The current lake record is held by Chris Sprecco, who caught an 84.4 lb. blue catfish on January 18, 2020. Sprecco broke a longstanding previous lake record of a 71.3 lb. blue catfish held by Bob Bowden on June 1, 2014.

Dock and boat fishing are available Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The bait and tackle shop is also open Friday through Sunday.  Check the lake’s website for the latest hours and information. Anglers can sign up for the weekly Lake Jennings fishing report sent by email at the lake’s website.

(Editor’s note: The Helix Water District and the Padre Dam Municipal Water District are two of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies that deliver water across the metropolitan San Diego region.)

‘It’s Been Dropping Fast All Year’: Concerns Rise Over Water Levels at Lake Oroville

The drought is taking its toll on dams and rivers throughout California and there is no clearer example than at Lake Oroville where water levels have been dropping all year.

“It’s been dropping fast all year,” said fisherman Jeremiah Corlin. “It’s been slowing down, but it’s still dropping fast.”

The Oroville Dam is the state water system’s tallest, but boaters and fishermen have witnessed the water level fall nearly 250 feet below average.

Sweetwater Reservoir Now Open on Fridays for Public Use

The Sweetwater Authority has added another day for the public to enjoy activities at the Sweetwater Reservoir in Spring Valley. Previously open Saturdays through Mondays, the Authority expanded operations to include Fridays to give residents more opportunities to get outside and experience nature this summer.

Starting Friday, July 2,  Sweetwater Reservoir will be open so that San Diego County residents can enjoy fishing, hiking, biking and bird watching.

Sweetwater Reservoir-Sweetwater Authority-Expanded days

Sweetwater Reservoir Now Open on Fridays for Public Use

The Sweetwater Authority has added another day for the public to enjoy activities at the Sweetwater Reservoir in Spring Valley. Previously open Saturdays through Mondays, the Authority expanded operations to include Fridays to give residents more opportunities to get outside and experience nature this summer.

Starting Friday, July 2,  Sweetwater Reservoir will be open so that San Diego County residents can enjoy fishing, hiking, biking and bird watching. The reservoir hours are 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Shoreline Fishing Program

The addtional day also means another day for the Sweetwater Authority Shoreline Fishing Program.

“Our Fishing Program provides cost-effective, fun and educational recreational opportunities for San Diego County residents of all ages,” said Sweetwater Authority Board Chair Hector Martinez. “We’re pleased to expand this program to include Fridays and welcome residents to enjoy the beauty of our water and the environment this Independence Day weekend.”

In addition to the Sweetwater Reservoir, shoreline fishing is also available at the Authority’s Loveland Reservoir near Alpine.

Both lakes host a healthy population of bass, catfish, bullhead, bluegill, perch, rock bass and more. Catch and release is encouraged to avoid overfishing, and anglers must comply with California Fish and Game regulations.

Sweetwater Reservoir

The Sweetwater Reservoir provides shoreline fishing along a 2.5-mile stretch on the south side of the reservoir. Access is via San Miguel Road in Bonita near Sweetwater Summit Park.

Hours of Operation: 
Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays
7 am to 5 pm, March – September
7 am to 4 pm, October – February

Daily Fees:  
$5 per adult
$2 per child under 16 (must be with an adult)
$3 per car for non-fishing visitors

Loveland Reservoir-Fishing-Sweetwater Authority

Shoreline fishing is available at Loveland Reservoir near Alpine. Photo: Sweetwater Authority

Loveland Reservoir

The Loveland Reservoir provides fishing along a five-mile portion of the shoreline. Access is via the Interstate 8 East to Tavern Road/Alpine off-ramp.

Hours of Operation: 
Open Daily
6 am to 6 pm, March – September
6 am to 5 pm, October – February

Daily Fees:
There are no fees to access Loveland Reservoir.

A California State Fishing License is required at both reservoirs for those 16 and older, and adult supervision is required for children under the age of 16.

(Editor’s note: The Sweetwater Authority is one of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies that deliver water across the metropolitan San Diego region.)

Lake Jennings 2021 Spring Photo Contest Winners Depict Life At The Lake

The theme “Life at the Lake” inspired 61 photographers to enter the 2021 Lake Jennings Spring Photo Contest, held for the 10th year by the Helix Water District. Photographer Johnathan Bradley of Lemon Grove won first place for his image titled “Open Field” and second place for the photo “Sun Star.” Third place went to Jeff Morin for “Ladies On  A Lunch Break.”

Each of the entries highlighted the unique beauty of Lake Jennings activities enjoyed by locals and visitors, including camping, fishing, hiking, spotting wildlife, and enjoying the view.

Fight Ignites Over Fate of Fishing at Sweetwater Authority’s Loveland Reservoir

David Thomas knows the cove that once was. He spent much of his childhood at Loveland Reservoir near Alpine, sneaking onto the eastern shore to cast a line where the lake had been deemed off limits for fishing.