Fishing at El Dorado Park Lakes: Complete Angler’s Guide

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El Dorado Park is a popular urban fishing destination in Long Beach, just south of Los Angeles.

The regional park has a half dozen small lakes, although several are off-limits to anglers.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife stocks two of the lakes with hatchery-raised rainbow trout in the late fall and winter when pond temperatures suit these cold-water species. Officials will also stock channel catfish, especially in the spring and fall.

Besides stocked fish, El Dorado Park Lakes are home year-round to a range of common fish species, including largemouth bass, bluegill, and some big carp.

Between the stocked and resident fish, something is nearly always biting at the lakes. That makes the El Dorado Park Lakes a great place to get kids into fishing.

The San Gabriel River borders the park and feeds fresh water into the chain of connected lakes, which provide flood relief during exceptional rain storms.

Trout Fishing

The main fishing ponds are stocked with hatchery-raised trout during the season, which can start as early as November and stretch through late winter or early spring.

Trout cannot survive the summertime water temperatures at the park. CDFW plants trout so anglers can come out and catch some fish for fun and dinner, and the shorelines get quite crowded when the trout fishing is good.

Rainbow trout are the most commonly raised fish species in California and typically the trout species stocked here.

There are a variety of ways to catch these feisty, tasty fish.

The most popular method is bait fishing off the bottom, using either a dough bait like Berkley PowerBait or live nightcrawlers.

When rigged up properly using a light leader, PowerBait floats a little above the lake bottom and attracts the attention of hungry trout.

Nightcrawlers are a tried and true method used the most for all species found in El Dorado Lakes, including the seasonal trout.

Either inflated and floating a little off the bottom, sitting directly on the bottom, or fished under a bobber, this tempting morsel is hard to resist for hungry trout looking for an easy meal.

There are plenty more options for catching trout.

For the angler looking for that exciting hit, try casting and retrieving lures such as spoons, jigs, and spinners.

Fly fishing for these hungry marauders is also a fun but more challenging time. Just be careful of your surroundings when casting.

El Dorado Park Trout Stocking

Trout stocking often occurs every two or three weeks when the park conditions and fish supplies allow.

Trout can take a few hours to a few days to settle into their new environment before feeding aggressively.

Don’t dally long after a fish delivery because other anglers will beat you to it and quickly reduce the trout population. Figure days rather than weeks for the best catches.

You can find out the posted fish stocking dates by simply checking the fish stocking schedule for Los Angeles County.

Catch More Trout

Please read our how-to article covering basic trout fishing techniques and tips.

Bass Fishing

Though not necessarily known among Southern California’s premier bass lakes, these small shallow lakes can hold a surprise or two when fishing for bass.

The biggest bass are known to prey upon the terrified trout. These big, easy meals give the bass a booster shot of growth, and they can get up to 10 pounds in these urban environments.

Most bass trophy hunters will wait for the colder months and use large swimbaits to imitate stocked trout and try to fool the biggest bass. Those advanced tactics can be hard to master, and they are costly in part due to the cost of those big swimbaits.

Bass fishing here, regardless of the time of year, is exciting. In the warmer months, tactics like drop shots rigged with a Senko plastic worm, buzz baits, smaller swim baits, and even topwater lures mimicking mice and rats can work well in these urban environments.

Both fishing lakes have a good population of bass since most anglers practice catch and release. State limits are in effect.

Catch More Bass

We have a simple guide to the most effective bass fishing techniques.

Catfish Fishing

Most urban environments have good to great catfishing, and El Dorado Park is no exception. It helps that CDFW boost the catfish population here with periodic stocking.

Catfish are stubborn, hard-fighting fish you can catch all year round. Surviving catfish occasionally grow to impressive sizes.

Fishing here for catfish is pretty straightforward.

Again, the bait of choice for many is none other than the nightcrawler. You can fish this live bait in so many different ways, whether on the bottom or under a bobber, inflated, dipped in attractants, and more.

Commercially produced catfish baits work very well in these shallow water areas, as do cut baits like raw shrimp and pieces of mackerel or other oily fish.

You will see anglers sitting there with poles out in the water, just waiting for the fish to bite. But don’t set your rod down and walk away because a big cat might drag it in!

Catch More Catfish

Here’s a quick fishing guide to catching more catfish, including the tackle, bait and tactics that work on these whiskered fish.

Bluegill and Panfish

Panfish can describe any smaller fish that can fit into a standard frying pan, such as sunfish and crappie.

When fishing El Dorado Park Lakes, consider getting a bigger frying pan because these bluegill and other panfish can get downright big in these waters.

These lakes are blessed with an excellent bluegill population, with many bigger than your hand.

Bluegill love any smaller live bait like a piece of nightcrawler, whole red worm, mealworms and crickets. Fishing these baits on a small hook beneath a bobber near weeds or other hiding spots is simple and effective.

Even beginning fly anglers can have a blast casting to them with artificial flies and poppers. They also are a great species to learn to catch with tiny lures such as spinners and jigs.

Bluegill are plentiful because reeds, bushes, and rocks provide ample cover and rich insect life for food around the shorelines of the two fishing lakes. And, honestly, you will see people feeding the ducks, and the bluegill will likely be eating the handouts with their feathered friends.

Fishing for bluegill is the most fun a kid can have, and is how many of us got hooked on the fishing spirit for all those years after. It seems like every cast results in a fish on the line to keep kids excited and parents busy.

So the next time you want to keep the young ones entertained, El Dorado Park has got your back!

Catch More Bluegill

Don’t make panfish fishing too complicated. Here is a super simple guide to fishing for bluegill and sunfish.

Common Carp

You can also catch common carp in El Dorado Park’s fishing lakes. You might be bait-fishing for trout or another species only to hook a big carp.

Carp are among the hardest fighting freshwater fish; you will soon know when you hook into one. They are fun to catch but have wrecked more than one ultralight fishing rod or reel.

Plenty of California anglers deliberately target carp, especially for the sport. Some people eat them, although they aren’t for everyone’s taste.

Canned corn kernels are the most common type of carp bait. Companies also make commercial carp baits, and many serious carp enthusiasts prefer to make their own dough baits.

Planning Your Trip

El Dorado Regional Park covers over 650 acres in several sections and access routes. Besides fishing, the park is known for its bike riding, model boats, archery range, sports fields, picnic areas, and nature preserve.

How to get to El Dorado Park

El Dorado East Regional Park sits east of the San Gabriel River and west of the San Gabriel River Freeway. The two lakes managed for fishing are on either side of E. Wardlow Road, with access roads to parking areas near either lake.

From the 605 Freeway, the E. Spring Street exit provides quick park access just to the south of the two fishing lakes.

These two lakes have nearby restrooms, picnic tables, shoreline pathways, and access for people with disabilities.

Weed growth can be heavy along the shorelines, making fishing more challenging but providing places for fish to hide.

El Dorado West Regional Park is primarily a golf course, not a fishing destination. The Nature Center’s pond also is off-limits to fishing.

El Dorado Park Fishing Rules

When fishing at El Dorado Park, state licensing and angling regulations apply. Check the California Resources tab below for more information.

El Dorado Park Fishing Hours

Park hours vary by season, with earlier closures during the shorter days of late fall and winter.

Entrance Fees

Vehicle entrance fees vary by vehicle type and day of the week (and holidays). Pedestrians and bicyclists can enter for free.

For More Information

For current fees, operating hours, and rules, check out the El Dorado Regional Park website.

Check the El Dorado East Regional Park’s website for up-to-date information. Or call (562) 570-1771.

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