San Bernardino National Forest


Southern California has more than 50 percent of California's population, but only 2 percent of its precipitation. As a result, Southern Californians are thirsty for water-based recreation. Many flock to San Bernardino National Forest, which has several sizeable lakes and a number of perennial streams. Big Bear Lake is a real center of activity. Water levels can fluctuate in this human-made lake, which is managed by the Big Bear Municipal Water District (MWD). You can rent a boat or launch your own, fish, sail, and water-ski. The lake is stocked in the summer with rainbow trout. Stanfield Cutoff, Juniper Point, and areas near the dam are preferred locations for fishing from a boat or from the shore.

Near Palm Springs in the Santa Rosa area, Lake Hemet (stocked with rainbow trout) is a favorite spot for fisherman. Owned and operated by the Lake Hemet Municipal Water District, the lake is 1.5 miles long and 0.5 mile wide. Swimming and water/winter sports are not allowed.

Also in the Santa Rosa area, Fuller Mill Creek and Dark Canyon Creek are two streams regularly stocked with fish in the spring and summer.

The Arrowhead District is another center of water-based recreation. Lake Arrowhead is a well-known mountain resort with many restaurants, shops, and other services located in the village on the south side of the lake. However, Lake Arrowhead is not a public lake so there is no public access. If you don't want to be just a tourist, head to Silverwood Lake, which is a reservoir on the California Aqueduct System, and is open for recreation all year. The lake and the campgrounds are managed by California State Parks. The lake is stocked with trout only but other fish come through the aqueduct.

Two more lakes in the area include Green Valley Lake and Lake Gregory. Green Valley Lake is another lake to look at in the Arrowhead District. The lake is stocked with trout and catfish, and is open to public fishing and seasonal boat rentals.

Lake Gregory is managed by San Bernardino County Regional Parks and is stocked with trout, crappie, and catfish.

Deep Creek is a 36-mile-long wild trout stream. Actually the east fork of the Mojave River, it drains most of the Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear areas. The hike along the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail tracing Deep Creek is sublime.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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