Published in Lakes

Lake Murray

    Lake Murray

    Additional Info

    • Managed by: City of San Diego
    • Surface acres: 171
    • Facilities: Snack Bar, Tackle Shop, Restrooms, Portable Toilets, Boat Ramp, Picnic Tables, Fishing Dock(s), Fish Cleaning Station
    • Float tubes: Allowed
    • State license: Required
    • Fish species: Black crappie, Blue catfish, Bluegill, Carp, Channel catfish, Largemouth bass, Rainbow trout, Redear sunfish

    Murray has a reputation for producing very large big largemouth bass, while the record is "only" 18.55 pounds, many teen-size bass are caught at Murray each year. That lake record is also among the most recent, occurring in December of 2000. There have been rumors of 20 pound fish being caught at Murray, but nothing was ever confirmed.

    The lake has a fairly featureless shoreline with rocky slopes slowly leading to deeper water. There are a few small coves with submerged brush and rockpiles, and several man made rockpiles, sunken trees and other artificial holding spots up and down the shoreline. A fish finder can be very beneficial, but the lake is small enough and predictable enough to find the fish.

    For the larger bass, try any of a variety of artificial trout imitators. Either slow troll the deeper water along the points, coves and drop-offs or cast and retrieve making as little noise as possible. Reapers and crankbaits are other go-to baits at this lake.

    Trout fishing is the primary source of action at Murray with schools of fish frequenting the deeper areas in the middle of the coves, the buoy line, and surface away from boat traffic. Sinking rigs with powerbait and inflated crawlers work well, as well as nightcrawlers or Berkley Trout worms a few feet below a bobber on the surface.


    Located in La Mesa, Lake Murray is next door to practically anybody living in San Diego. Take Interstate 8 to Lake Murray Blvd. Go north less than a mile to Kiowa Dr., make a left and follow Kiowa to the lake entrance.

    History and General Information

    Construction of the dam at Lake Murray was completed in March of 1918 and would soon follow by the completion of Hodges Dam that same year, by the same architect. The new reservoir was in an ideal location close to the city and would help provide much needed water reserves. Later in 1950 the Alvarado Water Treatment Plant was built adjacent to the lake to provide on-site water treatment for the community's drinking water needs. Lake Murray fills the southern most extension of the Mission Trails Regional Park.


    Hours, Fees & Boating Information

    The park surrounding the lake is open 7 days a week sunrise to sunset for recreational use, shore fishing, and private boats. Private boaters will enjoy the new 2-lane launch ramp and dock. There is no hp limit at the lake but 5 mph is the speed limit. Canoes, kayaks and float tubes are permitted, however float tubers must follow standard regulations which include waterproof waders, 144 sq. in. orange for visibility, horn or whistle and spare flotation device. Float tubers must stay within 150 ft. of shore at all times. No swimming or water contact allowed.

    Rental boats are only available on days that the concession stand is open. Call (619) 466-4847 for current operating schedule and rental availability.

    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.

    Facilities & Camping Information

    There is a picnic area and full service snack bar with bait and tackle at the lake. Murray's concession is open Wednesday-Sunday, 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (Note: Hours may change due to daylight hours. Call the lake for current hours). Besides fishing there is a 3 mile long paved trail that leads around the lake to the dam. This is a very popular track for bicycling, rollerblading, jogging, walking and the like. Note: The trail ends at the dam and you must return the 3 miles back! Picnic tables surround the lake, some with barbecues or patrons may bring their own for use in designated areas. There is no camping at the lake.

    Special Regulations

    • Glass containers are not allowed in the park
    • Alcohol is prohibited in the park at any time
    • 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 01:33