Benbow Lake Canoe, Kayak, SUP & Kayak Fishing Information
The Eel River is dammed from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The lake. is created by a small dam across the Eel River. To protect the salmon Benbow Lake is drained for most of the year, leaving a gravel lakebed. If the river's flow is low enough and no salmon are present, the lake is filled from June 15 to September 15. The park's day use area is little-used when the lake is empty; on a recent Labor Day weekend.. Without the lake, there really isn't much to see and do here.
Due to the recent budget cuts and shortages in staffing North Coast Redwoods District will be putting into place service reductions resulting in the closure of Benbow Lake State Recreation Area campground. Benbow Lake Campground which normally opens just before Memorial Day will not be opening this year.
NOTE: The dam will not be going in this year so there is not be any water in the lake because the dam on the Eel River is not installed.
Fishing is not recommended due to young steelhead and salmon. Fishing regulations are catch-and-release, no bait, and barbless hooks only. No trout are stocked.
Open: The campground and day use area are open year-round. Reservations can be made from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend. Benbow Lake is part of the Eel River, which a temporary dam is placed across the river to form Benbow Lake beginning of Memorial Day to Labor Day weekend. Boating is allowed from sunrise to sunset.
Fees: There is a fee to camp and for day use.
Lake Facilities: Benbow Lake is an excellent choice for a weekend getaway. The 1200 acre park consists of a large day-use picnic area, sailing, rowing, windsurfing, paddle boat and canoe rentals, and hiking trails. A designated swimming beach is located near the picnic area. A launch ramp is available in the summertime only. Only non-powered boats are allowed. Hiking, swimming, kayaking and hiking are popular summertime recreational activities.