Paddle Notes: Copco Lake lies in a mountainous
country of northern California's Shasta Cascade
region. It is inviting for those who are looking for
a place to paddle in a remote area with primitive
Copco Lake offers excellent paddling
opportunities and wildlife viewing. As you paddle,
watch for a variety of wildlife. Black-tailed deer,
porcupines, beavers, otters, muskrats and turtles
are some of the animals that call the area home.
Coyotes can still be sighted and, rarely, you might
see a bear or mountain lion. Birdwatchers will find
Canadian geese, white pelicans, ducks, owls, quail,
woodpeckers, hummingbirds, hawks, wild turkeys and
There are several fantastic places to explore around
the lake that provide private retreats. The lake is
primarily used by fishermen due to the 10 m.p.h.
boat speed limit.
Copco Lake is a mid-size lake with
approximately eleven miles of shoreline.
It is located about seven miles above Iron Gate
Reservoir on the Klammath River. Copco Road, the
northern lake access road turns into a rough,
pitted, narrow and winding dirt road unsuitable for
motor homes and vehicles pulling trailers, once you
past Iron Gate Reservoir. Use caution driving on
Copco Road after a recent rain. I recommend using
the Ager Beswick Road to reach the Mallard
campground and boat launch.
Copco Lake is located about 30 miles northeast
of Yreka, California just south of the Oregon
border. It is a manmade lake formed in 1917
upon the completion of the Copco Dam on the Klamath
River. It has a surface area of 1000 acres.
Fishing: The fish at Copco Lake may not be large but
there are an abundance of them. Copco Lake generally
has largemouth bass in the 1 to 3 pound range, but
the lake also hosts trout, catfish and hordes of
perch in the 5 to 7 inch range and the trout in the
1 to 6 pound range. Kayak fishing is excellent for
trout and perch. There are also thriving populations
of bass and catfish.
Wind & Weather Conditions: At full water level
capacity, there are a limited number of pullout
access locations, which purposes a slight problem if
you get caught in the sudden erratic gusty wind
conditions that frequently occur. From October to
May there are white water conditions from the spring
melt-off and heavy rains at the entrance of the
Klammath River, which flows into Copco Lake.
get extremely hot at this desolate lake with the
average daytime high air temperatures in the high
80s and low 90s during the summertime. The spring
and fall daytime high air temperatures range in the
60s and 70s and the 40s to 50s in the wintertime.
Terrain: The dense forest around Copco Lake
offers scenic views while paddling. Thick groves of oak cover the hillsides
at Copco Lake, unlike the scattered stands of oak at
Iron Gate Reservoir. Striking views of the
surrounding terrain, and an abundance of secluded
coves, provide a pleasant paddle in an quiet
Open: Copco Lake is open daily all year.
There is a 10 m.p.h. boat speed limit.
Fees: There aren’t any day use, camping or launch
Lake Facilities: There are three picnic sites,
cabin and boat rentals, (including canoes), fishing,
swimming, windsurfing, power boating, sailing,
hiking, and chemical toilets. Jet and waterskiing
are allowed in a designated area.
Improved launching facilities are available and
all boating is permitted but limited to a 10 mph
speed restriction in most areas.
Directions: In the town of Henley, off of
Interstate 5, exit on Copco Road (Main Street)
traveling northeast for about eighteen miles. (You
will go past Iron Gate Reservoir for about eleven
miles.) Or you can take the Ager Beswick Road for
about fifteen-point-eight miles to reach the Mallard
Cove campground and boat launch. From Interstate 5,
take the Grenada exit and turn right. Turn left on
Copco Road and drive three miles. Turn right on Ager
Beswick Road and drive sixteen miles to the