Calero Reservoir: Navigating the Depths of Bass Paradise in the Santa Cruz Foothills

Embark on an angler’s journey at Calero Reservoir, hidden in the eastern foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Beyond its scenic allure, this reservoir harbors a variety of fish, making it a well-kept secret for those seeking a peaceful escape close to urban life. Delve into the underwater realm with our comprehensive guide to enhance your fishing experience.

Fish Species at Calero Reservoir:

  1. Largemouth Bass (Resident Bullies): Masters of disguise, these bass lurk near rocks, weed beds, and structure. Jigs, crankbaits, and live bait are your go-to choices.
  2. Channel Catfish (Whiskered Wonders): Bottom dwellers that love deeper areas and the dam wall, especially at dusk or night. Stink bait or cut bait can yield surprising whiskered surprises.
  3. Sunfish and Redear Sunfish (Mini Marvels): Abundant in shallows and brushy areas, these feisty sunfish provide endless fun with small lures, flies, or worms.
  4. Crappie (Aggressive Fighters): Schooling fish offering exciting light tackle action. Look for them near structure and cast small jigs or crankbaits for a tug-of-war.
  5. Rainbow Trout (Seasonal Visitors): Stocked in spring and fall, these trout provide a fun challenge for fly-fishers and bait casters alike. Try lures or bait near inlets and deeper areas.

Local Insights:

  • Early Mornings and Evenings: The golden hours are prime time for most fish, especially bass and catfish. Be patient and strategically work the structure.
  • Structure is Key: Docks, fallen trees, weed beds, and rocky outcrops are fish magnets. Explore these areas thoroughly for hidden predators and hungry sunfish.
  • Live Bait Magic: Worms, nightcrawlers, and minnows work wonders for bass and catfish. Even crappie can’t resist them. Experiment with different presentations and depths.
  • Seasonal Specialties: Adjust your tactics to target trout in spring and fall. Research stocking dates and regulations for optimal success.
  • Family-Friendly Fun: This is a popular spot for families. Be mindful of other visitors, dispose of trash properly, and practice catch-and-release for most fish to maintain the healthy ecosystem.

Unique Considerations:

  • Limited Boat Access: Most of the shoreline is accessible by foot or bike, but a small boat launch is available near the marina. Check capacity and regulations before heading out.
  • No Swimming: This is a fishing and boating lake. Keep cool by wading in shallows, but remember there are no designated swimming areas.
  • Water Levels and Clarity: The lake’s depth and clarity can fluctuate depending on rainfall. Research current conditions before heading out, especially if wading or launching a boat.
  • Wildlife Encounters: Turtles, birds, and even the occasional deer call this area home. Observe them from a distance and avoid disturbing their habitat.

Specific Fishing Locations:

  1. Dam Area: Cast jigs, crankbaits, or live bait near the dam wall and rocky outcrops for aggressive bass and potential catfish surprises. This is a hotspot for morning and evening action.
  2. Brushy Shoreline Near the Boathouse: Explore the brush and fallen trees for sunfish and bass hiding in the shade. Try small lures or finesse techniques for patient fishing.
  3. Weed Beds Near the West Side of the Lake: If conditions allow, wade into the shallows and cast weedless lures or frogs for hungry bass lurking within the green maze.
  4. Inlets Near the North End of the Lake: Fish near the inlets where stocked trout enter the lake. Try lures or bait for a chance at a feisty rainbow.

Additional Tips:

  • Grab a California Fishing License before heading out.
  • Pack Essentials: Bring snacks, drinks, sunscreen, and insect repellent for a comfortable lakeside adventure.
  • Diverse Tackle: Equip yourself with a variety of lures, bait, and tackle to target different fish and water depths.
  • Weather Preparedness: Be ready for changing weather conditions, especially in the winter and spring months.

Check out our Gearlist for the gear we for trips like this

Our Gearlist account lists all of the gear we use. Discover our top picks, where to snag them, and stay informed with our regular updates.

In essence, relax, enjoy the city oasis, and create lasting memories with your family while making new fishy friends in Calero Reservoir. Happy fishing and tight lines!