Paddle Notes: Diamond Valley Reservoir, located
near Hemet, was created by building long dams at the
mouths of two valleys that drain off the north end
of Black Mountain. The dams block off the Diamond
and Domenigoni valleys to create the largest
Southern California,. Its
capacity is more than six times that of Lake Perris.
Diamond Valley Reservoir can handle about 300 boats
at one time but with ongoing drought and lack of
recreational development, it rarely reaches that
traffic level. Swimming and personal watercrafts are
not allowed on Diamond Valley Reservoir.
I missed the reservoir access road when I first
went here. I actually drove past it a couple of
times. The wind was howling at 8:00 a.m. and
the heat was horrific and it was only the beginning
of the day. I was almost blown over trying to
take a photo. There was very little in the way of
shade or a picnic area. This lake reminds me of Lake
Elsinore, except Lake Elsinore has more scenery. It
doesn't offer much in the way of scenery to enjoy
around its 21 miles of shoreline. Hiking and biking
is another way to enjoy lake and mountain vistas of
Diamond Valley Reservoir but start early, and bring
plenty of water.
Fishing: Chances are that if you are heading to
Diamond Valley Reservoir, you are doing so to fish.
The Department of Fish and Game started stocking the
reservoir with the best largemouth bass as soon as the reservoir was deep enough to
support the fish.
Diamond Valley Lake in Hemet was opened in late 2003
after a massive construction effort to build three
dams enclosing two mountain ranges. What was once a
huge cattle ranch is now an angler’s paradise
covering 4,500 surface acres and more than 21 miles
of varied shoreline. The reservoir spans more
than 4 miles in length and 2 miles in width, can
handle hundreds of additional boats and fishing
The reservoir opened to fishing in
October 2003. Growth of lake fish populations has
been unmatched so Diamond Valley Reservoir has
quickly become a premier fishing spot for bass and
trout in Southern California. In addition to
largemouth bass and rainbow trout, the reservoir is
home to blue gill, catfish, crappie, pan fish,
smallmouth bass, and striped bass.
The record largemouth bass, reeled in back in 2007,
weighed in at more than sixteen pounds. If you area
hoping to catch a rainbow trout you can bank on a
Wind & Weather Conditions: The reservoir provides
a reliable supply of water to the eighteen million
people in Southern California. No water body contact
is allowed. Temperature in the early spring are in
the 60’s in the morning and rising to the high 80’s
in the afternoon. There is a lack of shade, and
trees around the reservoir, and in the launch area
to escape the scorching sun, when the temperature
soars into the upper 90s and low 100s during the
Terrain: Diamond Valley Reservoir sits in the
middle of a wilderness. It is four-and-a-half miles
long, and two miles wide. While the reservoir and
the surrounding hills are known for the spectacular
wildflower blooms each spring, during the summertime
the hills dry out and turn brown.
Open: The reservoir opens at sunrise and close at
sunset. All boats need to be off the water one hour
before the posted closing time. The speed limit for
all watercraft on Diamond Valley Reservoir is 25
m.p.h. The maximum speed for boats within 200 feet
of the shore, dams, other operational structures and
in marina areas is 5 m.p.h.
Fees: There’s a fee to park, to camp, to launch
and to fish.
Lake Facilities: Swimming and personal
watercrafts are not allowed on Diamond Valley Lake.
Kayaks that meet lake guidelines for quagga/zebra
mussel prevention are permitted to launch as long as
the water level is high enough for launching from
the docks. Due to water quality issues, sit-on-top
kayaks are not allowed. Kayaks and canoes must be at
least ten feet long, non-bailing and have seating
for all passengers. All kayaks must be registered to
enter the lake. Inspections are from 6:00 a.m. to
2:00 p.m. daily at the Searl Parkway entrance to the
This is the first gate once you turn
off of Domenigoni Parkway. Boats that pass
inspection receive a sticker, which means you won’t
have to be inspected again, Pets are not allowed.
There is a children's play area. Residential
development is planned in the lake area, including
restaurants and shops.
Lake Directions: From the city of Hemet, off of
State Street, head south three-point-three miles.
Turn left at Domenigoni Parkway. Drive 1.3 miles.
Turn left on Searl Parkway. Drive point-four miles
to the marina entrance.