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Reservoirs and Lakes

El Capitan Reservoir

Hours of Operation

El Capitan Reservoir is closed the first Friday of each month. More info about closure


Friday through Tuesday
1/2 hour before sunrise to sunset


Wednesday and Thursday

Holiday Schedule:

OPEN - Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day

CLOSED - Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day


Water activities allowed include:

  • Canoes
  • Row boats
  • Kayaks
  • Float tubes
  • Standup Paddleboards
  • Windsurfing


Leashed Dogs

Picnic Tables

Barbecue Areas


Water contact is NOT allowed. This includes:

  • Personal watercraft
  • Waterskiing
  • Wakeboarding

No Swimming

No Wading

No Dogs Allowed on Boats

No Camping

No Glass Containers

No Littering

No Fish Cleaning Stations



What you'll find here...


Largemouth Bass on white background
Largemouth Bass

Sunfish on white background

Catfish on white background

Crappie on white background

Carp on white background

Permits and Fees

A valid California Fishing License is required for anglers 16 years of age or older. California Department of Fish and Wildlife Freshwater Sport regulations and City regulations are strictly enforced.


General Admission

Each person 8 years or older will be charged a general admission to enter the reservoir property, even if not fishing or skiing. General admission includes a fishing permit.

Adults$11 per person
Youth (ages 8 to 15)
Children 7 and under are free.
$4 per person
Seniors (age 65 and older)$6 per person

Additional Fees

Private Boat Launching

  • Canoes are included with general admission
$11 per boat
Boat Rental Fees


Concession facilitates may or may not be available. See Rocky Mountain Concession's website for its operating schedule.

About El Capitan Reservoir

El Capitan Reservoir was created in 1935 with the completion of El Capitan Dam. That same year, the reservoir was connected to the City's water system via El Capitan Pipeline. Located approximately 30 miles northeast of downtown San Diego, on the San Diego River, El Capitan had the largest capacity in the City reservoir system until the San Vicente Dam Raise Project was completed in 2015. When full, the reservoir has 1,562 surface acres, a maximum water depth of 197 feet, and 22 miles of shoreline. El Capitan Reservoir has a water storage capacity of 112,806.9-acre feet.

Photo courtesy of