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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.)

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.

Sweetwater Authority Reservoirs Provide Safe Public Recreation

One year into the coronavirus pandemic, San Diego County’s reservoirs and lakes have provided welcome opportunities for safe, accessible outdoor family recreation.

After shutting down in March 2020, facilities began to slowly reopen through the summer months by carefully implementing safety guidelines, including increased sanitation, social distancing, and restricted attendance to allow San Diegans to resume their favorite hiking, fishing, horseback riding, and bird watching activities.

Hooded mergansers glide across Sweetwater Reservoir. Photo: Sweetwater Authority Reservoirs

Sweetwater Authority Reservoirs Provide Safe Public Recreation 

One year into the coronavirus pandemic, San Diego County’s reservoirs and lakes have provided welcome opportunities for safe, accessible outdoor family recreation.

After shutting down in March 2020, facilities began to slowly reopen through the summer months by carefully implementing safety guidelines, including increased sanitation, social distancing, and restricted attendance to allow San Diegans to resume their favorite hiking, fishing, horseback riding, and bird watching activities.

Sweetwater Authority owns and maintains two popular recreation spots in San Diego County, Sweetwater Reservoir near Spring Valley and Loveland Reservoir, near Alpine.

Primarily a local water supply for Sweetwater Authority’s 200,000 customers in National City, Chula Vista, and Bonita, the agency has created recreational opportunities at the reservoirs. Fishing programs are offered at both reservoirs and a riding and hiking trail at Sweetwater Reservoir is operated by the County of San Diego.

Sweetwater is one of several regional water agencies that offer recreational opportunities at reservoirs and lakes. Helix Water District operates Lake Jennings, a hot spot for trout fishing. The City of San Diego also provides boat rentals and paddle-boarding at several of its reservoirs.

Safety first to protect the public 

Sweetwater Authority owns and maintains two popular recreation spots in San Diego County, Sweetwater Reservoir (above) near Spring Valley, California, and Loveland Reservoir, further east near Alpine, California. Photo: Sweetwater Authority

Sweetwater Authority owns and maintains two popular recreation spots in San Diego County, Sweetwater Reservoir (above) near Spring Valley and Loveland Reservoir near Alpine. Photo: Sweetwater Authority

Both fishing programs and the trail at Sweetwater Reservoir are designed to protect public health and the drinking water supply while benefiting the community.

“At Sweetwater Authority, part of our mission is finding the balance between human and environmental needs,” said Sweetwater Authority Board Chair Hector Martinez. “The recreation opportunities at our two reservoirs are a great example of how we achieve that balance. We can share these beautiful resources with the community while continuing to protect the local drinking water supply for our customers.”

A California Fishing License is required to fish at both reservoirs, and there are rules in place to ensure the protection of the water supply and sensitive habitats surrounding its reservoirs. For more information on current hours, fees, and COVID-19 safety, go to: www.sweetwater.org/fishing.

“The Board and I are proud to offer these recreation programs,” said Martinez. “We encourage the community to take advantage of these opportunities to get outside and enjoy the beauty of our water and the environment.”

Sweetwater Authority Offers Community Safe Outdoor Recreation Opportunities at Two Local Reservoirs

An angler casts a line, hoping for a nibble. Nearby, hikers and equestrians enjoy a morning walk along the water. Overhead, dozens of bird species, some of which are endangered, travel home to their nests made safe by protected areas around the reservoir. This idyllic scene is just another Saturday morning near Sweetwater Reservoir in Spring Valley, Calif.

Lake Jennings Trout Season Opening A Success

Lake Jennings, the Helix Water District reservoir in Lakeside, is one of San Diego County’s hot spots for trout fishing, ranked second in the county by SDFish.com. The 2020 fall trout fishing season got underway on November 20, with enthusiastic anglers enjoying safe outdoor recreation with pandemic precautions in place.

“It’s one of those family activities people can do right now,” said Kira Haley, Helix Water District recreation manager.

A happy Lake Jennings angler shows off his rainbow trout prize during the fall season opening weekend. Photo: Lake Jennings trout season

Lake Jennings Trout Season Opening A Success

Lake Jennings, the Helix Water District reservoir in Lakeside, is one of San Diego County’s hot spots for trout fishing. It ranks second in the county according to the recreational fishing website SDFish.com. The 2020 fall trout fishing season got underway on November 20, with enthusiastic anglers enjoying safe outdoor recreation with pandemic precautions in place.

“It’s one of those family activities people can do right now,” said Kira Haley, Helix Water District recreation manager. “Kids need to get outside and spend time in the fresh air. It was a big weekend; it was really fun.”

Through the opening weekend, Lake Jennings issued 931 permits, including 161 for children, an increase of 10% over 2019.

Showing off a string of rainbow trout along with the beautiful Lake Jennings scenery. Photo: Lake Jennings trout season

Showing off a string of rainbow trout along with the beautiful Lake Jennings scenery. Photo: Lake Jennings

Haley said due to safety measures, the lake staff worked hard to keep lines to a minimum.

“We are only allowing one family into the bait and tackle shop at a time,” said Haley. “One of the first things we did was get a portable register. It allows us to go up and down the line of people selling permits to those who don’t need to come into the store itself.”

Trout arrived last week from Thatcher, Idaho. The 2,500 pounds of fish travel 913 miles in an oxygenated truck to stock the lake.

“The lake is so clear you can see the fish,” she said. “A lot of our fishermen are sight fishing. They can follow a school around the lake and cast before they get there. It becomes more of an exercise activity too.”

Fishing and social distancing go together

Catfish were also biting. This impressive 38-pound catfish was safely released back into the lake. Photo: Lake Jennings

Catfish were also biting. This impressive 38-pound catfish was safely released back into the lake. Photo: Lake Jennings

Fishing is a natural social distancing activity.

“We have five miles of shoreline there’s plenty of space to spread out,” said Haley. “When you’re working with hooks and big fishing poles, you want to stay away from other people.”

Haley praised visitors for their compliance with all safety precautions, which have been in place since July.

“People are being respectful,” she said. “They’re wearing their masks, which makes us so happy. This is allowing us to stay in business and stay in compliance.”

She said all boats, lifejackets and seat cushions are disinfected after every use. Haley said only EPA approved disinfectants are used around the lake.

The lake’s 97 campground spaces are currently booked three weeks in advance for weekend dates.

Nothing tastes quite as good as freshly caught fish prepared on the grill at Lake Jennings. Photo: Lake Jennings

Nothing tastes quite as good as freshly caught fish prepared on the grill at Lake Jennings. Photo: Lake Jennings

The lake remains open for activities, including nature walks and birding from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday through Sunday. Night fishing ended November 20 due to California’s 10 p.m. curfew order.  Haley said night fishing might return on a limited basis until 9 p.m. on future weekends. Check the lake’s website for the latest information.

Lake Jennings is more than just a great fishing spot. The lake is also where the Helix Water District stores imported water from the Colorado River and Northern California and local water from Lake Cuyamaca and El Capitan Reservoir to provide safe, reliable water to East County residents.

Reservoir Keeper Viviana Castellon shared her expertise with citizens as part of the City’s #AskAnExpert series on Instagram. Photo: City of San Diego/Instagram

San Diegans #AskAnExpert Reservoir Recreation Questions

Reservoir Keeper Viviana Castellon shared her expertise with citizens during the City of San Diego’s #AskAnExpert series on Instagram as part of the City’s community outreach to citizens. The City regularly offers the opportunity for the public to ask employees about its services including parks, libraries, streets, and water.

“We find that it’s a great way to get general information about City services to the public,” said Arian Collins, public information officer with the San Diego Public Utilities Department.

Castellon answered several questions about the recreation offered at the City’s lakes and reservoirs.

Can you rent boats at City of San Diego reservoirs?

Yes, the reservoirs do have boat rentals through the concessionaires. You can view the hours of operation and rentals fees online.

Social media outreach gives City of San Diego residents access to experts like Reservoir Keeper Viviana Castellano. Photo: City of San Diego/Instagram

Social media outreach gives City of San Diego residents access to experts like Reservoir Keeper Viviana Castellano. Photo: City of San Diego/Instagram

Is stand-up paddleboarding allowed at any City of San Diego reservoir?

Yes, Hodges Reservoir offers stand-up paddleboarding on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday from the beginning of February through the end of October.

Can you swim at City of San Diego reservoirs?

No. What are commonly referred to as the San Diego City lakes are actually impounding reservoirs that are part of the City’s municipal water-supply system. The State Water Resources Control Board approves the different recreational activities that can occur on our reservoirs and swimming is not included in our current domestic water supply recreational permit.

Can you water ski at the City of San Diego reservoirs?

Yes, San Vicente Reservoir offers water-skiing and wakeboarding from May through October Thursday through Sunday.

Residents who would like to keep up with the latest information about the City’s reservoirs and lakes as well as other City of San Diego services can learn more at the City of San Diego website, as well as follow the City’s Instagram account for more #AskAnExpert opportunities.