The dam at Dixon Lake was completed in 1971 as the result of a water storage act that was passed almost a decade prior. Built in a time when fishing was at the forefront of recreation in San Diego, Dixon was built with the plan of creating a good fishery and recreational facility. Fish were stocked 6 years before it opened, and surrounding the lake are picnic shelters, hiking trails, fishing floats, a concession stand and a campground.
Dixon Lake and the surrounding park is open daily from 6 am to sunset year-round. Night fishing is offered in the summer months as well.
There is no launch ramp at Dixon Lake, so private boats are not allowed. Float tubes are not allowed either. The lake does have a rental boat fleet with electric motors.
Dixon Lake has 44 campsites on the grounds, nestled into the hillsides above the lake. 10 of those campsites have hookup capabilities.
As of 2010, anglers are no longer required to have a California State Fishing License, but daily fishing permits are required.
Dixon rose to fame in the 2000’s with a series of big bass catches (mostly of the same bass every few years) and grabbed headlines worldwide. It started in April of 2001 when Mike Long of Poway caught a 20 pound 12 ounce largemouth bass, one of the heaviest bass of all time.
In June of 2003, Jed Dickerson of Carlsbad raised the bar with a 21 pound 11 ounce bass, which turned out to be the exact same bass Long caught and released two years prior. The bass had a very specific identifying mark, a black dot on its “chin” which earned her name “Dottie.”
Dottie was already the 4th largest bass ever caught at this point, and the most famous bass in the world – but she wasn’t done. In March 20th, 2006 Dottie would make history.
Mac Weakley, fishing with Dickerson and Mike Winn in a rental boat had found Dottie spawning once again. Shortly before 8 AM that morning Weakley landed her. Unfortunately though, Dottie had been foul hooked after Weakley thought she had bit his jig. She weighed 25 pounds even on the dock’s scale, nearly 3 pounds heavier than the 22 pound 4 ounce world record.
However, because she was foul hooked, she would not be considered for a world, state or even lake record. But there was no controversy about her weight, she was the largest bass ever landed. The undisputed heavyweight bass champion of the world. And the world noticed.
Dottie was featured in all sorts of mainstream media; ESPN wrote an article about her life titled, “The One That Got Away” and the National Geographic Channel featured her on a TV special called “Hooked on Bass: Big Bass Obsession.”
Despite being caught, weighed, photographed, and released 3 times in the 2000s – Dottie lived on. In May of 2008, lake staff at Dixon found Dottie floating dead (likely of natural causes), closing the book on the greatest bass to ever live.
For more information, visit the city of Escondido’s official page for Dixon Lake, lakedixon.com.
Water Level Trend
The following chart shows measured water level elevations (feet) at Dixon Lake over the previous 12 months.
Dixon Lake Fishing Records
|Black Crappie||2.5625||2014||Tasi Tautala|
|Channel Catfish||28.75||2010||Paul Cannon|
|Largemouth Bass||21.7||2003||Jed Dickerson|
|Rainbow Trout||16.82||2017||Don Stephenson|
|Striped Bass||24.00||2012||Mac Weakley|
Recent and Future Fish Plants