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Modesto Reservoir

Photo Credit Will Brown

Modesto Reservoir Kayak, Canoe, SUP & Kayak Fishing Information

Modesto Reservoir is encircled by a grassy pasture with tree tops protruding from the water’s surface. The campground is situated beneath the only tree-shaded area on the lake. Otherwise, the topography of the surrounding area around the reservoir is a flat grassland with an occasional oak tree doting the shoreline.

Modesto Reservoir has a hidden inlet that not too many people know about. You can park at San Jose Island and paddle for about a quarter of a mile up the narrow inlet. Keep your eyes open and your camera ready when the inlet opens up to an area that provides a multitude of wildlife sightings at close range including deer, beavers, osprey, geese, Blue Herons, ducks and otters. Depending on the water level and the current, you can paddle for about a mile further past a little mud flat, where you will eventually run into the water gates.

The winds at the Reservoir can be in the 15 to 20 mph range and typically come out of the west northwest. What is nice about that is, on late afternoon paddles you have the wind at your back going up the inlet. Once you have reached the inlet where it opens wider, the foothills that surround that part of the inlet, shelter it from the gusty winds. When paddling back out to the main reservoir, you now have the current helping you, when you paddle into the wind.

Paddling in the early morning watching the sun come up is one of the best times of day to paddle due to the limited boat traffic, or at the end of the day when the wind dies down, watching the incredible sunset coming back out is a sight you don’t want to miss.

 All types of boating are allowed at Midesto Lake. Power boats pull water skiers, tubers and wakeboards while jet skis race the length of the lake.  Paddling is most enjoyable in spring and fall, when the lake is still calm and the influx of summer visitors has yet to begin.

 Modesto Reservoir offers an abundance of outdoor aquatic activities and is suitable for any level of paddler, providing novice paddlers stay within the restricted 5 m.p.h. zone in the southeastern section of the reservoir. The windsurfers, jet and water-skiers and powerboats can sometimes be a problem while paddling. Swimming is allowed in a designated area. All boats must travel in a counter-clockwise direction at all times.

Modesto Reservoir is an excellent warm water fishery with a nice population of large and smallmouth bass, channel catfish, bluegill, and crappie. Smallmouth bass are more predominant than largemouth bass but the majority of the bass caught here are smallmouth bass. The best time of year to hook rainbow trout is from November until mid-March during the period of time when the Department of Fish and Game plants the lake with 4,800 rainbow trout. Black crappie thrive here in the spring and summer around the abundance of submerged brush.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
High 54 61 66 73 81 88 93 92 87 78 64 53
Low 39 43 46 49 53 59 62 61 58 52 44 38

Lake Facilities: There are two boat launches, a general store, a full-service marina, The Best Places to Kayak in California Guide Bookcanoe rentals, fishing, boating, sailing, windsurfing, jet and waterskiing. Pets are not allowed. No swimming outside of the 5 m.p.h. zones or two hundred feet beyond the shoreline. Animals and fuel containers are not allowed at Modesto Reservoir.  



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