This lake is small, so small you can walk around the entire lake in less than 30 minutes but don’t let that detour you. Great things can come in small packages and this is one of those exceptions. Over the years it has become known for producing some of the largest bass in the world!
Hidden in the hills above Escondido, CA is Dixon lake. Even though it’s too small for bass boats this lake has produced enormous largemouth bass reaching weights between 10-20lbs. It was created back in 1971 as a result of a water storage act that was passed by the city almost a decade prior. For over thirty years the lake has served as a recreational area providing campsites, fishing, hiking trails and picnic tables to the local community of San Diego County.
Hours of Operation
Lake: Open year round (except Christmas), 6AM to Sunset (Closing hours vary by season). Night fishing is available in the summertime.
Campgrounds: Open year-round, 24 hour accessibility
Customer Service Hours: 7AM – 4PM
Parking Fee: $5 (weekends, holidays, and special events). Buses and Vehicles over 20 feet are $10 and if you’re over 60 years old then it’s FREE! So bring your grand parents along.
Dixon lake does not have any launch ramps. Therefore, private boats and float tubes are not allowed but dingy boats with electric motors are available to rent for the day. It’s $35 for a full day and $17 for a half day.
Don’t let this deter you from going. The dingy boats are more than enough to putt around and get to were you need to go. If all the boats are rented out there are three docks to fish from around the lake. There’s also a trail surrounding the lake making every cove easily accessible.
There are 44 campgrounds at Dixon Lake with 10 having hookup capabilities. Here are the rates and camping details.
Regular Campsite (Includes: Table, Charcoal Grill & Locker)
- Per Night (Mar. 2 – Nov. 15) $25.00
- Per Night (Nov. 16 – Mar. 1) $18.00
- 2 Vehicles Max. Per Campsite
Deluxe Campsite (Includes: Table, Charcoal Grill, Locker, Water, Electricity & Sewer)
- Per Night (Mar. 2 – Nov. 15) $35.00
- Per Night (Nov. 16 – Mar. 1) $28.00
- 2 Vehicles Max. Per Campsite
Dixon Lake’s fishing is phenomenal for such a small lake. It’s not only accessible by multiple methods but offers a number of coves that are easily accessible for bank anglers. The lake holds a variety of species such as largemouth bass, catfish, crappie, common carp and bluegill. In the wintertime it is heavily stocked with trout. The lake is infamous for its annual Trout Derby, a fishing competition that occurs every April to see who can catch both the largest and smallest trout.
After going here for many years I will have to say that it can get very busy. Since Dixon Lake is quite small you will find it packed on the weekends along with the rental boats unavailable unless you get there early. I definitely recommend going during the week. If you can get off of work early or go to work late I think you’ll find this lake to be one of your favorite spots to fish.
Rules & Regulations
- Daily fishing permit required
- Pets are not allowed (including the campground)
- No firearms (or air-propelled), bows or other weapons
- No alcohol allowed (except within campgrounds)
- Charcoal fires only
- Shoreline and east of buoy line is off-limits
- No swimming, wading or bodily contact in the water (basically don’t go in the water)
If you do not have a State of California Fishing License you will have to pay a fishing fee:
- 16 years & older $7.00
- 60+ years $5.00
- 8–15 years $5.00
- Children under 8 years FREE*
- 2nd Rod Permit $2.00 (ridiculous…I know)
I’m going to be honest with you though, if you aren’t fishing in a dingy, on the docks or anywhere near the lake office you could probably fish without one and get away with it (I’m not saying you should but you could). I see a lot of people without them. Dixon Lake is small but it can be difficult to get around. There’s actually two roads that go to the lake. One is the main road that goes to the boat rental, asphalt parking and the main dock site and the other is a longer back road that takes you to the other side of the lake.