Published in Lakes

Santee Lakes

    Santee Lakes

    Additional Info

    • Managed by: Padre Dam Municipal Water District
    • Facilities: Snack Bar, Tackle Shop, Restrooms, Portable Toilets, Picnic Tables, Campground, Fishing Dock(s), Fish Cleaning Station
    • Float tubes: Allowed
    • State license: Not required
    • Fish species: Bluegill, Bullhead, Carp, Channel catfish, Largemouth bass, Rainbow trout

    For a small set of lakes, Santee Lakes produces their share of larger fish through an aggressive seasonal stocking schedule of catfish in the summer and rainbow trout in the winter. The lake record channel catfish weighed in at 39 lbs 4 ozs and was caught in Lake 2. Bass over 10 lbs are caught each year and required to be released to be caught again later. Rainbow trout are stocked in lakes 2, 3, and 4.

    The trout fishing season at Santee Lakes is unlike any other. Monster trout are stocked into these small lakes, giving anglers a very good shot at the biggest trout of their life. They also filter in numerous tagged trout, which are worth a variety of prizes, from big screen HDTVs to video game consoles.


    From Highway 52 take the Mast Blvd exit. Head east to Fanita Pkwy. then turn right. Follow Fanita Pkwy. to Carlton Oaks Dr. and turn right, park entrance will be on the right.



    The lakes within this park were formed in 1959 as part of an innovative water reclamation system. Santee lakes was the first to use reclaimed water for irrigation and recreational purposes. After many requests from local community the lakes and surrounding land were opened to the public 1961*.

    Facilities, Camping & Recreation Information

    santee-lakes-patioLake-front patio dining at Santee Lakes' Lake 5The Santee Lakes park area is made up of 7 small lakes located within the San Diego River vicinity in Santee and is operated by the Padre Dam Municipal Water District. Santee lakes offers a unique and rewarding fishing experience for anglers of all ages, especially the younger of the crowd. The area houses quite a few areas ideal for a scenic family outing. Recreational activities available include volleyball courts, several picnic areas with tables and BBQ's, a playground for the kids, canoe, kayak, rowboat and pedal boat rentals, and needless to say great year-round fishing.

    Santee Lakes offers anglers and campers one of the nicest concession facilities in the County, resembling more of a mini-mart rather than a concession. A very tasty grill is offered during the lunch hours on the weekends, offering burgers and dogs.

    Less than an hour drive from anywhere in San Diego County, it's an ideal spot to take the family for a quick getaway. Regardless of whether or not fishing is your game, there is plenty to do when you're not relaxing in your lakefront campsite.

    Santee Lakes even has a few on-the-water cabins available for guests to really enjoy their stay at Santee Lakes.

    For the RV campers, there are numerous RV hookups with all the amenities, including full service electrical, water, and sewage hook-ups. Campsites may be occupied daily, weekly, or monthly. There are numerous picnic areas around all of the lakes, and large area's with volleyball courts, barbecues, etc.. may be reserved for group occasions. There is even a laundry room.

    Hours, Fees & Boating Information

    The park is open daily for fishing: Mon-Thur 8 am to sunset, Fri-Sun 6 am to sunset. Santee Lakes has a unique fishing program in that unlike all other lakes in the county a California State fishing license is NOT required. A daily permit is all that is required. Row boats, canoes, kayaks and pedal boats are available for rent on Lake 5. Boat rentals require a prepaid deposit equal to the fee of the rental. Private boats are not permitted. Float tubes are now permitted in Lake 1, inquire at the park office.

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    Last modified on Sunday, 22 March 2015 16:30