Fishing at Los Vaqueros

Los Vaqueros Fishing Report

July 18, 2018


Fishing is good with trout and striped bass being the main fish caught. We are still seeing catfish turning up here and there. The water level is currently at 153,000 acre feet. Filling has stopped for the summer. With the warming weather the water temperature is floating between 69 and 71 degrees depending on the time of day and winds. Our water clarity varies between good and fair. If you are looking to rent a boat it is a good idea to call ahead to check current wind conditions at (925) 371-2628 or check the weather conditions. We continue to see occasional high winds, which stop boat rentals, so please check ahead if you are planning to rent a boat.

2018 Fishing Licenses are now available. Don’t forget to pick one up at the Marina. Bring a driver’s license or an old fishing license with you.

2018 Annual Parking Passes are also available at the Marina, the North Gate and the Watershed Office.

April through August hours are 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., with boats due in by 6 p.m.

The Interpretive Center is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.


Trout are currently the most caught fish. South Cove continues to be the most active area for anglers and fish. Fishing past the Rock Wall is also popular with a consistent number of fish being caught. From boats, when the winds allow, bait fishing in the back of Cowboy Cove and trolling near its North shore has been popular. Shore anglers are having the most success using garlic scented powerbaits followed by night crawlers and some casting of lures. Trout have been averaging around a pound and a half but there are a number of fish in the 3+ pound range being caught. With the high water temperatures trout plants have been curtailed for the time being. Light tackle is important for catching trout. 4-6 pound test is plenty. Limits have been plentiful, both from South Cove and Cowboy Cove. When boats are rentable trout are being caught in good numbers in Howden Cove and Peninsula Cove. Even with the higher water temperatures trout are still being caught in good numbers. Two or three fish per angler are common with limit being seen regularly.


Most anglers were focused on stripers or trout. Keep in mind that largemouth need to be 12 inches to be kept. Please release any big largemouth bass you might catch, they are the future of largemouth bass fishing in the reservoir. If you catch any undersized fish please release them gently and allow them to grow up. 


Striper fishing is mixed with both shakers and legal sized fish being caught from around the reservoir. Cut anchovies or shad is the bait of choice, either from shore or a boat. Just a reminder, stripers need to be 18 inches or more to be legal. Please release the small fish as quickly and carefully as possible. They are the future of our striped bass fishery. A couple on a boat reported catching 3 keepers and losing another larger just before they could net it. All fish were released.


Catfish are being caught here and there. For those wishing to target catfish, chicken liver and anchovies are the best choices of bait. We will be having a catfish plant at the end of the month.


Whopper Mug rules are: Trout must be 8 pounds to receive a mug, Striped Bass need to be at least 10 pounds and Catfish is at 12 pounds or more. Largemouth Bass remains at 5 pounds and must be released. ONLY a photo with a scale or a measuring tape showing the fish being at least 18” will count.

Frozen Bait Available At North Entrance Gate on Weekends

We have frozen bait available for purchase at the North Entrance gate (near Brentwood) on the weekends.  We have anchovies, chicken liver and shad. You can only buy the frozen bait at the gate, not the watershed office.

Los Vaqueros, A Popular, Beautiful, Fishing Destination 


Los Vaqueros is not only the largest reservoir in the Bay Area, but has also become a popular fishing destination. 

Trout, stripers and catfish are commonly targeted. With the expansion of the reservoir in 2012, habitat for largemouth bass have been added and that fishery is expected to soon begin to produce exciting opportunities for largemouth anglers. 

The beautiful Los Vaqueros Marina on the reservoir's south side near Livermore offers fishing licenses, bait, snacks and electric boat rentals. 

On the north side of the reservoir near Brentwood, there are no services available, but anglers can park at the John Muir Interpretive Center and take a steep hike about a half-mile to fishing areas near the dam and in Peninsula Cove. 

Here is a map of the watershed.

There are three fishing piers along the shore of the reservoir.  The pier near the Marina is ADA-accessible.

The Marina and the south entrance to the watershed is accessible from Vasco Road at the Alameda-Contra Costa County line near Livermore. Here are Directions. The lake has been stocked with game fish including rainbow trout, salmon, catfish and largemouth black bass. The reservoir is available for day use only. 

A California State Fishing License and a CCWD Daily Fishing Access Pass Permit ($6) are required for fishing. There is a $6 parking fee to enter Los Vaqueros.

Additional Information

Please call the Marina at 925-371-2628 for more information.

Record Catch

Fernando Gonzalez

Fernando Gonzalez of San Lorenzo caught this record-setting 16.42 pound trout with a gold Kastmaster in South Cove on Jan. 24, 2015. It's the last record set at the reservoir, and beat the previous mark by .27 pounds.

Fishing 123

Ron Tobeck of Woodbridge shows a fine rainbow he caught from the north side of the reservoir on Nov. 28, 2017. He used Rainbow PowerBait to reel in this keeper.

Fish at LV

Jarred Bitcon caught this impressive limit of trout in Howden Cove on lures on Nov. 12, 2017.

Fish Guy

Safi Sherazi of Brentwood holds the largest of the five trout he caught from the north end of the reservoir on Nov. 1, 2017. He limited at a total of 14 pounds.