El Capitan Lake
El Capitan Lake Kayak, Canoe & Kayak Fishing Information
El Capitan Lake is not one of the prettiest lakes I’ve been to. However, it was a memorable paddle due to getting stung by aggressive meat eating bees within moments upon arriving at this barren lake, located in the foothills of Lakeside, northeast of San Diego. Another notable feature about the lake is that the shoreline is soft in some areas, at least it was in the area where I pulled my kayak out onto the shore and sank up to my knees in smelly mud.
Once the lake reaches its capacity, the lake will stop allowing all water vessel access until 3:00 pm. At 3:00 pm it will reopen and accommodate all available openings. At the current water level, parking for vehicles with trailers is limited to 85. There is no safe place to wait in line along the entrance road. The nearest available parking for vessels waiting to come back to the reservoir at 3:00 pm is at El Monte County Park. Weekends will often reach capacity by 9:00 or 10:00 am. Thursdays and Fridays are generally slower. Boat Capacity Hotline: Ph: 619 668-2770
El Capitan Lake offers ideal kayak angling opportunities trolling at a slow speed for crappie in the northern end of the lake in the "no ski arm" are where the crappie are concentrated. Other species of fish caught here include Florida-strain largemouth bass, bluegill, channel catfish, and bullhead. Most bass taken are in the 1 to 3 pound range, but a number of Florida-strain largemouth bass have exceeded the 10 pound mark. This destination also yields quality largemouth bass as well as quantity catfish and bluegill.
Open: The lake is open February 1st through late September Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Monday to kayaks and canoes one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. Kayaks are permitted Thursday through Monday during the summer schedule. El Capitan is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year's Day.
Be sure to check prior to traveling to El Capitan Lake for the current boat operating schedule for the days open to paddlers. The boat speed limit is 35 m.p.h. except in the 5 m.p.h. zones and within two hundred feet from the shoreline.
Fees: El Capitan Lake charges a day use, launch and pet fee. Launch Fees for kayaks: Each person pays the $8.00 (adult) or $2.50 (youth) user fee, but there is no additional fee for launching the kayak. Prices are subject to change at anytime.
Lake Facilities: Swimming, windsurfing,SUP, jet and waterskiing are not permitted. Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times and at least 50 feet away from the water. Dogs are NOT allowed on boats. The picnic area has barbecues and picnic tables. Self contained gas barbecues are allowed in the picnic area. Ground fires, glass containers and camping are not allowed at the park. The facilities consist of a boat launch, a concession store, boat rentals, vault toilets, jet and waterskiing, power boating, windsurfing, sailing and four miles of hiking trails along the shore. Swimming and paddle boards are not permitted.