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Reservoirs and Lakes

Upper Otay Reservoir

Hours of Operation

Upper Otay Reservoir is closed the second Wednesday of each month. More info about closure


The gates to Upper Otay Reservoir are open on a seasonal schedule from February through October (weather permitting).

Pedestrian access is allowed for fishing from sunrise to sunset on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday on a year-round basis.


Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday

Holiday Schedule:

OPEN -Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day

CLOSED -Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day


Float Tubes



Leashed Dogs

No Boating

No Camping

No Concessions

No Water Fountains

No Picnic Tables

No Barbecue Areas

No Glass Containers

No Littering

No Fish Cleaning Stations



Fishing rules: (Why are there fishing rules?)

  • Use artificial lures with barbless hooks only
  • Catch and release only

What you'll find here...

Fish Conservation

These rules were designed primarily to protect the last significant population of northern-strain largemouth black bass in the area. In virtually all other waters in Southern California, these fish have been replaced by the Florida-strain version of largemouth black bass. Other species include bluegill, bullheads, and both white and black crappie. Threadfin shad and silverside minnows are the primary forage fish.

Largemouth Bass on white background
Largemouth Bass

Bluegill Sunfish on white background

Bullhead Catfish on white background

Black 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.

Patrons can purchase permits at the Iron Ranger Pay Station. Permits purchased at Upper Otay can be used on the same day at Lower Otay as well, and vice versa.

CASH OR CHECK ONLY. Bring exact change.

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


Concession facilities are NOT available. Anglers must bring their own water, foodand lures to this reservoir. Glass containers are prohibited.

About Upper Otay Reservoir

The smallest of the City of San Diego's impounding reservoirs, Upper Otay Reservoir was established in 1959 as a hatchery for the propagation and introduction of Florida-strain largemouth bass. Remarkably, 21 of the 25 largest bass in history were the progeny of the fingerlings used in that experiment. The reservoir has been open to the public since 1996. When full, Upper Otay Reservoir has 20 surface acres.

Photo courtesy of