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Lake  Talawa

kayaking Lake TalawaPhoto Credit Phil Guiterrez

Lake Talawa Kayak, Canoe, SUP & Kayak Fishing Information

 Lake Talawa is located about five miles from Crescent City, near Pacific Shores, in the Coast Ranges. At one time the Smith River emptied to the sea through these lagoons but it has now cut an outlet channel several kilometers north. Portions of the area kayaking lake talawasurrounding Lake Talawa and Lake Earl are private.

Lake Talawa and Lake Earl are connected by a channel are similar to the shallow lagoons found in other parts of California. The water varies from relatively saline in Lake Talawa, the smaller of the two and the closest to the ocean, to fresh in Lake Earl in the vicinity of the tributary creek.

 Lake Talawa is bordered by salt marsh, with salt grass and picklewead,  Potamogeton pectinatus forms dense blooms in the summer that may cover up to two-thirds of the surface of Lake Earl and Lake Talawa, making power-boating virtually impossible.

To the west of the lagoons there is a series of wind-and-wave-formed dunes. These lagoons are important stops on the Pacific Flyway and during the migratory season up to 100,000 birds may be seen in the area. Ducks are abundant.  250 species of birds have been observed in the vicinity of the lagoons, as have at least 50 species of mammals.

At one time the Smith River emptied to the sea through these lagoons but it has now cut an outlet channel several kilometers north. For much of the year the lagoons are landlocked and have a depth of between 30 centimeters (12 inches) and 1.2 meters (4 feet); however, during the winter floods the depth increases, and if the water does not breach the dunes to drain naturally, before flooding the surrounding area, a channel is bulldozed. Thus, during the winter months there is some tidal action.

Paddling on Lake Tawala with your line in the water can be quite mesmerizing as you gaze into forests and watch the animals frolicking along the shore, the shadows dancing on the water surface, until you feel that big tug that says you have a caught a big one.

Fishermen will find a variety of fish including bull trout, and Sacramento perch here, so grab your favorite fishing gear, and kayak and head out to the lake. If all goes well, the fish will be biting your fry and the Sacramento perch will be grabbing your bait. Some of the more common fish species in Lake Talawa are the king and silver salmons, and the cutthroat and steelhead trout..

There is a hand launch access at the narrows where Lake Earl becomes Lake Talawa. Fishing may not alwys be good here, because the lake undergoes water fluctuations as a result of hot dry summers, and cool wet winters.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
High 54 54 55 57 60 63 65 66 66 63 57 54
Low 40 41 42 43 46 48 50 52 48 45 42 39

Open: Boating and camping is permitted all year. Day use hours are from sunrise to sunset. A permit is required to camp. There is no posted boat speed limit.

Fees: There is a fee to camp and for horses, but no day use or launch fee.The Best Places to Kayak in California Guide Book

Lake Facilities: The lake facilities consist of beach launch access, fishing, swimming, biking, hiking and horseback riding trails. Jet and waterskiing are not allowed.


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