High country lakes offer relief and fishing
By: Kirby Desha for The News Messenger
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Beat the heat by going high and visiting our area’s beautiful lakes for stunning scenery and fine fishing. Here are some family favorites.

Fuller lake

This little lake is operated by PG&E and located just off Highway 20 about 10 miles east of Nevada City. It is regularly stocked with trout and a destination for fly fishermen. No gas-powered boats, but canoes, kayaks and small boats with electric motors are fine.

Get there early to fish and watch the trout break the surface at sunrise. Crowds show up in the afternoon and the ramp fee is $10.

Lake Valley Reservoir

Exit at Yuba Gap on Highway 80. This little lake is not visible from the road and a great hidden spot to swim, fish or kayak. There is a single-lane ramp for smaller boats at the Silver Tip Picnic Area and 35 campsites on the south side.


For years I passed by on Highway 80 and looked down at this beautiful blue lake and wondered what the boating and fishing was like. Although relatively small, it offers some trout, kokanee and mackinaw.

The best shore fishing is on the north side, with public piers available at no charge. There are parks on the west and east ends; the east is Donner Memorial State Park commemorating the historic Donner Party. The area is developed with homes, cabins, and stores.

Stampede Reservoir

Stampede sits at an elevation of 6,000 feet, east of Donner Summit and 15 miles north of Truckee. There are no developments near the lake except for a public campsite.

Kokanee is the main draw here, although both trout and mackinaw can be had too.  The main road across the dam is currently under construction, so access is available through a detour that runs off Highway 89 though Hobart Mills. 

Jackson Meadows

A little farther off the beaten path is beautiful Jackson Meadows Reservoir, a real area gem. Access is off Highway 89 about 10 miles north of Truckee. The lake has four public campgrounds along with a group camp, horse camp and many hiking trails.

Fishing for trout can be good from either shore or boat. There are two boat ramps, but be advised that strong winds can come up in the afternoons.

There is also a small store on the west side of the lake and the scenery is spectacular.