Sugar Pine Reservoir     

Suagrpine Reservoir Kayaking
Photo Credit Lynn Halstead

Sugar Pine Reservoir Kayak, Canoe, SUP & Kayak Fishing Information

Area Map # 167 Miles of Shoreline: 3.5 Reservoir Surface Acres: 16 Elevation: 3620’ Address: Sugar Pine Road Foresthill, CA 95631    Ph:530 367-2224

Paddle Notes: Often the crow of a soaring bird is the only disruption at this peaceful reservoir. Sugar Pine Reservoir is surrounded by a dense mixed conifer forest, which meanders down to the water’s edge. The three-and-a-half miles of shoreline provide an easy and delightful paddle. The boat traffic during the summer is minimal. The reservoir is primarily used for fishing, windsurfing and paddling. A hand launch access is located Sugarpine Reservoir Kayaking, Canoeing, SUP boarding, Kayak Fishing on the south shore. A designated swimming beach is located on the north shore by the Giant Gap and Shirttail campgrounds.

Photo Credit Cheryl Wood

The reservoir’s 10 m.p.h. boat speed limit deters the number of powerboat enthusiasts, though it is a popular summer destination for camping. Book your reservations in advance if you plan on camping here, especially on a holiday weekend.

The reservoir has four recreation areas around the reservoir. In addition to a soul-stirring paddling experience, there are numerous hiking and bicycling trails to explore in the area, but be on the lookout for bears. On my first trip to Sugar Pine Reservoir, I mistakenly took Finning Mill Road (off of Foresthill Road), and I almost collided with a bear sitting in the center of the road as I drove around a blind bend. I don’t know who was more startled, me or the bear. That experience certainly put to rest any idea’s I had about being able to out run a bear. I couldn’t believe how fast it moved! I would highly recommend using the Sugar Pine access road which is about ten miles past the Foresthill Ranger Station.

Kayak Fishing: 7,500 catchable rainbows, and 20,000 fingerlings are planted annually at Sugar Pine Reservoir, plus there’s also small and largemouth bass. German browns are occasionally taken here, but the Department of Fish and Game hasn't stocked the reservoir with catchable browns since the 1990's. The fishing season begins early in April continuing into early summer, but there’s still pretty good trout action in the fall. Sugar Pine Reservoir is primarily a paddling and kayak fishing destination, due to the 10 m.p.h, boat speed, which deters fast-moving enthusiasts from intruding upon your kayak fishing experienSugarpine Reservoir Kayak Fishingce.

Although most of the the reservoir's fish taken here are planters, the reservoir has a good holdover rate for trout during the summer. There is some natural trout spawning in the tributary creeks, but it is not enough to sustain the fishery.

Photo Credit Lynn Halstead Pas

Wind & Weather Conditions: During the winter and spring it is windy in the afternoons. The summer daytime high are temperatures linger in the 80s and 90s. During the spring and fall, it is a comfortable 65 to 75 degrees. The reservoir’s access roads are closed in the winter due to snow. Sugar Pine Reservoirs warm waters and nice beaches make this popular destination in the summer months.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
High 56 58 60 66 74 83 90 89 85 75 61 55
Low 35 37 38 42 48 55 61 59 55 47 39 34

Terrain: Sugar Pine Dam is located at 3500' elevation on North Shirttail Canyon, a tributary of the North Fork of the American River. Rolling pine  forest with open areas contribute to the pleasant setting of this small reservoir. The reservoir is surrounded by sugar pines and other conifers. A shady picnic area is located on the north shore. There's a paved, shoreline trail suitable for wheelchairs about a mile long. The trail continues on gentle, rolling grade for another 2.5 miles around lake to south shore. Reservoir capacity is 6,921 acre feet with a surface area of 165 acres.  Sugarpine Reservoir Kayaking

Open: The reservoir is closed from late October to May due to heavy snowfall. The boat speed limit is 10 m.p.h.

Fees: There is a fee to camp, but there isn’t any fee to launch or for day use.

Reservoir Facilities: All watercraft is permitted, but there is a 10 m.p.h. boat speed limit, which prevents you from waterskiing. A paved boat launch is on the south shore. Other facilities include swimming, fishing, windsurfing, hiking and bicycling trails. Pets are permitted on a leash.

Directions: From the city of Auburn off of Interstate 80, head north for two miles. Exit on Foresthill Road traveling east for seventeen-and-a-half miles to the town of Foresthill. From the Foresthill Ranger Station, drive ten miles and turn left on Hollow Log Road. Then turn left on Sugar Pine Road (#10) and drive three-point-eight miles to reach the launch and campgrounds. NOTE: Do not take Finning Mill Road off of Foresthill Road. It is a rough, dirt road. Map

Sugar Pine Reservoir Kayaking


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