One of the Los Angeles area’s more popular fishing reservoirs, Hansen Dam Recreation Lake is an artificial flood control basin for the Big and Little Tujunga washes.
The Hansen Dam Recreational Area (a.k.a. Hansen Dam Park) has two separate reservoir basins, one set aside for swimming as well as the recreation lake is managed for fishing. The fishing area is a 10-acre artificial pond up to 18 feet deep.
The recreation reservoir is stocked with trout in the coolest months and catfish when warmer. Resident bass, carp and bluegill help make sure something is nearly always biting, even when most of the stocked fish are long gone.
The trout really draw a crowd whenever they are stocked. Anglers will line up along the shoreline using everything from dough baits to lures to fly rods.
Dough baits fished on the bottom seem to be the preferred fishing method here, along with brightly colored trout worms or mini jigs under a water-filled bobber. However, you still can’t beat the traditional nightcrawler because they always produce fish.
If you time it soon after trout are planted here, the sight of fish being pulled in one after the other is not uncommon.
Anglers keep most of their catch. The few survivors are eaten by the bass and by the birds that come during trout season. The water here will get too warm for trout to survive anyway.
Hansen Dam Fish Stocking
For the highest odds of success, try to get to Hansen Dam Lake as soon as possible after trout are stocked, which is most likely to occur from late fall through winter.
There really is no definitive schedule for the stocking times. However, plantings average over 1,000 pounds or more of trout.
As an example, recent checks showed trout stocking days in November, December and February.
See the links at the bottom of this article for recent updates.
Catch More Trout
We have lots more trout fishing tips and tactics in our simple angler’s guide.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife may stock catfish during the warmer months from spring to fall.
Stocked catfish typically range in size from 9-12 inches, although sometimes they throw in a few bigger ones weighing over 5 pounds.
Bait fishing is the number one way to hook into some catfish. Anglers use everything from store-bought dough baits to pieces of frozen mackerel to shrimp and more.
You will see anglers lined up along the shoreline with umbrella-shaded chairs, just waiting for that dinner bell on their pole to start ringing. A fun and relaxing time spent catfishing is the perfect way to spend a pleasant day.
Although catfish tolerate warmer water than trout, stocked catfish also tend to get fished out fairly fast, given such intense pressure, so try to get to the lake as soon as you learn it’s been stocked.
Catch More Catfish
We also have an easy how-to guide to catfishing.
During the trout stocking period, larger swimbaits designed to imitate trout are the ticket for the bigger largemouth bass.
The trout stocks come from the CDFW, and most of the time, these fish are from 9-12 inches in size. Although it will look big, that’s the perfect lure size if you’re after those lunker bass feeding on trout.
A lot of serious bass anglers use plastic worms, lizards, and other creature baits during and after the spring. Topwater lures fished along the exposed rocks near the inlet also can reward anglers with some nice-size largemouths.
Using a drop shot method is very popular and can be quite successful here during the warmer months because.
Catch More Bass
And this is our helpful bass fishing guide.
Even though the small, shallow fishing reservoir is surrounded by the suburbs of L.A. and brings the most anglers when it is stocked with trout and catfish, the other resident fish species provide a fun alternative year-round.
Known as one of the strongest fighting fish in freshwater, these golden-brown, rubber-lipped monsters are extremely fun to catch.
Dough baits fished on the bottom are the best way to hook into these beasts. Corn also will attract biters, and even fly anglers sometimes get in on the act.
Bluegill and other Panfish
What small fishing hole is complete without a healthy population of bluegill and other panfish? Hansen Dam is no exception.
Mealworms, crickets, wax worms, and even worms from the garden work on these smaller species. However, these little aggressive fish will tackle (and often steal) the biggest nightcrawler too.
More: Read our guide to catching bluegill.
Make A Day of It
Since there are two water activity spots right next to each other, a lot of anglers will have the kids play in the swimming section while they play in the fishing section. A pretty good combination, if you ask me.
One very important item to know about is boating. Small cartop boats, sit-inside kayaks and canoes are allowed on this very small, wind-swept lake. All boats must be people-powered or driven with a small electric trolling motor. This is a “no-contact” reservoir, so please check ahead to learn the rules.
Hansen Dam Fishing Rules
There is no cost to park and fish, no cost to launch a boat, and no extra cost for boat trailer parking. Yes, all this access to fun and excitement is free as long as you have a state fishing license. General California fishing rules apply.
You simply park, walk the few hundred feet, check in, and fish the day away.
How to Get There
Hansen Dam Recreation Area is located at 11770 Foothill Blvd, Lake View Terrace, on the north side of Los Angeles. It’s right off the 210 Freeway, minutes away from Burbank and San Fernando.
For More Information
For current visitor information, see the Hansen Dam Recreation Area website.