County of Santa Barbara

Cooler Fall Temperatures Spawn Ideal Conditions for Fishing

Cachuma Lake just welcomed the first of four scheduled Rainbow Trout releases of about 4,000 pounds each, with fish ranging in size from half-pound “catchables” to eight-pound trophies. The fish come from Mt. Lassen Trout Farms, Inc., in Paynes Creek, Calif. The additional three trout plants are slated for December, January and April. 
Trout fishing conditions are ideal due to cooler fall air and water temperatures. During the fall, warm surface water begins to cool and becomes denser causing it to sink. Dense water moving down forces water from the bottom, called hypolimnion, to rise. This temperature driven process known as “lake turnover” allows aquatic life to inhabit the entirety of the lake as oxygen becomes more available. Rainbow Trout are cold water fish and during the late fall and winter they move from deep water to the shallows, most actively feeding in temperatures between 340F and 670F. The current surface temperature is just about right at 630F. 
Cooler weather is also great for fishing excursions and enjoying the outdoors. Layer up in warm clothing and bring your favorite hot coffee or cocoa. This is a prime time of year to see bald eagles and osprey migrating through the area. Everything an angler needs is available for rent or purchase at the Cachuma Lake Marina and Boat Rentals, which offers pontoons, outboards and kayak rentals, as well as one-day and annual fishing licenses. Fishing from shore in the recreation area or from a boat is open year-round with a valid fishing license. 
Visitors are advised to check recreation area hours, and road and weather conditions in advance. For up-to-date fishing tips and summaries, visit the Cachuma Lake Weekly Fishing Report. For more information, contact the marina at (805) 688-4040. 
For those who plan to bring their own boating vessels, note that due to the 30-day Quagga restrictions at the lake, boats must be inspected and tagged by Cachuma Lake staff at least 30 days prior to your visit. For more boating information, please visit the website

About Cachuma Lake Recreation Area

Cachuma Lake Recreation Area is a full-service campground offering year-round cabin, yurt, RV and tent camping, recreational activities, nature programs for all ages and of course, rainbow trout fishing! For camping reservations and more information, go to

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