Lake Nacimiento Information
Location: Lake Nacimiento is located west of Hwy 101, seventeen miles north of Paso Robles. Take the 24th Street exit in Paso Robles and follow the G-14 to the lake.
Elevation: 800 feet above sea level.
Size: The lake is 18.6 miles long. It has 5727surface acres and has nearly 163 miles of shoreline.
Phone Numbers: Main Phone (805) 238-3256 Marina (805) 238-1056 Lake Patrol (805) 238-2376.
Fees: Day use is $7.00. After April 1st $10.00. Annual day use is $125.00. The LAKE USE fee (that is to put a boat on the water) is $5.00 per day. Annual LAKE USE fee is $75.00 and is good for both Nacimiento and Lake San Antonio.
Species Present and Lake Records: Largemouth Bass 9lbs 14oz. Smallmouth Bass 4lbs 10oz. Spotted Bass 5lbs 3oz. White Bass 4lbs 2oz. Crappie 3lbs 8oz. Channel Catfish 20lbs 2oz. Blue and White Catfish 19lbs 10oz. Bluegill 1lb 12oz. Redear Sunfish 2lbs 4oz. Other fish present are, European Carp and Threadfin Shad.
Facilities: There are two public mulit-lane launch ramps. Full marina with boat rentals. There are many kinds of boats to rent, from paddle boats to pontoon boats. You can even rent a bass boat for a days fishing. There is a store, restaurant, and a laundry. There are over 400 campsites. RV sites have full hook ups. There are even lodges that you can rent daily or weekly with a wonderful view of the lake.
About the lake: Nacimiento was built in the 1950s by Monterey County, even though it is located in San Luis Obispo County. It was built for flood control and to provide farmers in the Salinas Valley good summertime water. Naciniento is a recreational mecca. With 163 miles of shoreline, there are many fingers and coves to explore, and to retreat to from the water skiers. Nacimiento is surrounded by oak wooded hills. In the spring, back in the Narrows, there are some shear granite cliffs, rising straight up out of the water with waterfalls cascading down them. If you haven't been back there to see this, you should make plans to do so. Nacimiento draws people from all over the state. Most come for boating and water skiing. At times, during the hot summer months, fishing can be disturbed by the amount of boating traffic. It can be very dangerious at times, so be carefull. Regulating the amount of boats on the lake would be difficult, as there are many private communities located on the lake, each with their own boat launch. Despite the disruption caused by the heavy summertime boat traffic, Nacimiento offers some great fishing.
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Nacimiento offers some consistant bass fishing. Largemouth, smallmouth, and Kentucky spotted bass are available. Largemouth are predominate, but many times I have caught more smallmouth than largemouth. Bass in the 1 1/2 to 2lb range are average, with 3 to 4lb fish caught regularly. All the usual methods work well here. My favorite is a topwater lure (who's isn't). Topwaters will, at times, work all day long here. The shoreline is pretty barren here when the lake level is down, and finding cover is difficult, unless the lake is full. Finding cover is the key to good success. Aquatic weeds are almost nonexistent here, because the lake levels fluctuate drastically. It is not uncommon to fish one day and return a few days later to find that the lake level has dropped 3 to 4 feet. Please practice catch and release. Save some fish for our kids.
Nacimiento is the lake in California that produces White Bass. They were stocked in the 1960s by the DFG and have successfully established themselves. They are generally an open water feeder and can be found boiling on the surface, chasing shad in the main lake channels all summer long. This behavior is most common in the early mornings and late evenings. I have seen more than an acre of whites boiling and feeding on shad. Some of these boils last for two hours or more. Small topwater lures, such as the Storm Chug Bug and Rebel Pop-Rs work best when whites are feeding on the surface like this. Trolling shad pattern crankbaits or roostertail spinners is a popular way of locating them when they are not feeding on the surface. In the spring, usually mid March, the white bass will move up into the main river to spawn. Some of the whites will move into the other tributaries that enter the lake. Dip Creek, Las Tablas Creek, Franklin Creek, and Cantinas Creek are some of the other spawning areas that they will use, but the main body of whites will use the main river (Nacimiento River). At this time they are concentrated in the river. Sometimes they are so thick, that you can walk along the bank and catch them with your bare hands. The males move into the river first and wait for the females. The females are always bigger than the males. Not just because they are ripe with eggs, they are physically bigger. You should always release these females when they are in the river spawing. There are plenty of the males to be taken and kept. The spawning occurs in shallow ( 4 to 10 inches) of gin-clear flowing water. A half dozen or more males will surround a female, and when she is ready, will turn on her side, splash like crazy and release her eggs. At that same time the males will turn on their sides and splash like crazy and release their sperm. The eggs and sperm will drift in the current, and settle into the gravel on the bottom. There, they will soon hatch and ultimately wind up down in the lake. At this time the whites are either easy to catch or, not at the least bit intrested in your bait. I have'nt figured out why sometimes you can catch them on every cast, and other times ZIP.. The only lure I use when the whites are in the river is a 1/8oz leadhead with a 1 1/2 inch white curlytail grub. Let it sink to the bottom and hop it across the bottom, in little 1 to 2 inch hops. It is important to keep your lure on the bottom. Light line, 4lb max, is necessary to have any success, as the water will be crystal clear and the whites will be easily spooked. I use ultralight spinning gear for the whites here. Remember, if you keep any white bass, you must, by law, cut their throats immediately. This is a DFG regulation, and if you are caught with white bass, without their throats being cut, even if the fish are dead, you could be cited with a hefty fine. Also, please remember to release any females that you catch. These females are carrying some 6000 to 10,000 eggs. These are the white bass that we will be catching tomorrow.
Crappie fishing at Nacimiento can be fantastic. Submerged brush ( if you can find some ) in Dip Creek, Cantinas Creek, Snake Creek, and the Las Tablas arm are good spots to try. Also many of the boat docks located around the lake can be productive. The marina is a good place to try. Lots of crappie hang out there, under and around all the docks. In the summer, I will fish the docks at the marina starting at around midnight. The crappie are attracted to the baitfish, that are attracted to the bright lights of the well lite boat docks. All the usual crappie jigs work well here. My favorite is a 1/16oz in white. You will have to quit fishing here, at the marina, when it opens, as there is no fishing allowed around the marina while it is open. Early in the spring the crappie will be spawing. This is the time when it is the easiest to catch them. They really go on a feeding craze at this time. Submerged grasses, brush, and stick-ups in 4 to 10 feet of water are good places to find these spawning crappie. One of my favorite spots for spawning crappie is in the back of Bee Rock Cove. Crappie will average about 1lb, with some up to 2 to 2 1/2lbs. Again, as with the white bass, please release all the females that you catch. They are easy to tell from the males, as they will have a swollen belly, full of eggs.
Bluegill are plentyful most anywhere around the shoreline. Drop-offs and the backs of coves are good spots to try. Meal worms and red worms are the most popular baits, although many anglers use little micro jigs, and do quite well.
There are channel cats, white cats, and blue cats in Nacimiento. They are one of the most popular attractions durning the summer, for both bank fishermen and boaters. Good baits are nightcrawlers, cut mackerel, and anchovies. The backs of the coves are good catfish hunting grounds. They will be found mostly in 8 to 20 feet of water. I almost always use a #2 baitholder hook, rigged with a sliding sinker. Leave your bail open or your reel in freespool and let them run a few feet before setting the hook. Night fishing is allowed at Nacimiento and many angler target the catfish at that time.
There are lots of big carp in Nacimiento. They can be seen cruising around just inches under the surface. Usually in schools of six of more. The north shore seems to hold more fish, especially around Oak Shores. If you really want to have some fun, try this. Using a light spinning rod, with 4 to 6lb line, tie on a #6 light wire hook. Don't use any weight, just the hook. Put on a thumbnail size ball of garlic flavored floating trout bait. Spot the fish, notice the direction they are swimming, cast out in front of them, being carful not to spook them. When they take your bait, hold on because carp are excellent fighters. Once you have hooked one, you will be hooked too.
This page was last updated June 23, 2000