Published in Lakes

El Capitan Reservoir

    El Capitan Reservoir

    Additional Info

    • Managed by: City of San Diego
    • Surface acres: 1,562
    • Float tubes: Allowed
    • State license: Required
    • Fish species: Black crappie, Blue catfish, Bluegill, Carp, Channel catfish, Green sunfish, Largemouth bass, Rainbow trout

    El Capitan is a premier bass and crappie fishery headlining the fish counts regularly. The words "North End" become very cliche when it comes to this lake as the majority of fish, whether it be bass, crappie, or catfish are reportedly caught at the North End of the lake. El Capitan has florida-strain largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill, channel catfish, blue catfish, green sunfish, carp and rainbow trout (in the winter).

    thumb_elcapitanLocation / Directions

    El Capitan is located in the rural hills east of Lakeside, surrounded by spacious horse ranches and old trees. The road to El Capitan is the first sign that you have left the city. From Interstate 8 proceed north on Lake Jennings Park Road, then east on El Monte Road 8 miles to the reservoir entrance.


    The dam at El Capitan was completed in 1934 after some dispute between city planners as to where a dam should be built on the San Diego River.

    Facilities & Camping Information

    There is a picnic area situated above the launch ramp with an elevated view of the lake that has barbecues and tables. There is no longer a concession at El Capitan, but there are vending machines with snacks and drinks, and lake staff is selling bait and state fishing licenses from the dock. Permits are purchased at the entrance permit booth. All persons entering the lake area are required to purchase a day use permit. There is minimal hiking terrain with only about 4 miles of shoreline accessible without a boat. Camping is not permitted at the lake, however the Lake Jennings Campground is only 7 miles away.

    Hours, Fees & Boating Information

    Please see the Whats New section of the COSD Water Dept. website for current conditions and operating schedule. See the Permits and Fees page for current pricing.

    Special Regulations

    • Glass containers are not allowed in the park
    • Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times and at least 50 feet away from the water
    • Dogs are not allowed on boats (rented or private)
    Last modified on Saturday, 06 September 2014 01:34