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Barrett Reservoir

Photo of Barrett Reservoir

Barrett Dam was completed by the City of San Diego in 1922, creating Barrett Reservoir. Located at the confluence of Cottonwood and Pine Valley creeks, Barrett Reservoir is in a remote area approximately 35 miles east of San Diego. Located behind locked gates in a remote area of San Diego County and closed for many years, access has been offered on a limited basis by reservation only since 1994. Barrett Reservoir has a water storage capacity of 34,805.5 acre feet. Water levels are monitored weekly.

Map to Barrett Lake

The reservoir is open Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. There are no concession facilities at Barrett, and no drinking water available. Patrons must bring all lures, food, water, etc., with them. No glass containers are allowed. No motor homes are permitted due to limited parking and low overhead on the entrance road. Pets are not allowed. Due to the fact that the entrance road passes through private property, all parties must be escorted on and off the premises.


The fishing season is May through September. Ticketmaster (800-745-3000) handles all reservations for Barrett fishing. Reservations are available one month at a time, always beginning on the second Tuesday of the month before at 7 p.m. Ticket purchases must be made no later than 2 p.m. the business day prior (Tuesdays and Fridays). Those anglers 16 years of age or older must have a California state fishing license. Fishing licenses are not available at Barrett.

There are two types of reservations available; Boat Reservations and Shore/Float tube Fishing reservations. Boat Reservations are $80, plus Ticketmaster's normal fees and one reservation is good for up to four (4) people and includes a boat and motor. No other fees apply. Maximum of two (2) vehicles per reservation. Shore/Float tube Fishing Reservations are $20, plus Ticketmaster?s normal fees and covers the permit purchaser only; they may purchase one (1) additional guest permit for $20 through Ticketmaster or at the gate on the day of the event for cash only Maximum of 1 vehicle per reservation.

Barrett Lake

There is a limit of one reservation per household (same address or computer) on the first day reservations go on sale. After the first day if there are any reservations remaining, then patrons can purchase as many reservations as they want. Ticketmaster will sell one-half the reservations per day on its web site and one-half at the call-in center. There are no physical tickets issued. Photo ID of the reservation holder will be required at the gate, and all parties on that reservation must enter at the same time.

Fishing is offered on a catch and release (zero kill) basis, with barbless artificial lures only for all species of fish. These regulations 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. No motorized private boats are allowed at Barrett. See the Barrett Reservoir Fishing Information & Rules for more information. Fish catch information is updated weekly.

Water Craft

Float tubes, canoes, and kayaks are permitted, but a reservation is still required and no motors are permitted on these. Rental boats are 14 feet long and come with 8.0 horsepower motors. Patrons can bring their own motor, maximum size 25 horsepower. Maximum capacity is four people.


Barrett is open for waterfowl hunting on Wednesdays and Saturdays throughout the season established for the Southern California Zone. Hunting reservations are generally distributed the first or second Saturday in October via lottery; please see the What's New page for date, location and time information posted by the end of September.  For further information, call 619-668-2050 or email [email protected] You must have a valid hunting license to participate. 


Barrett Junction Road is closed. From Interstate 8, take the Japatul Valley Road exit and turn right, turn left on Lyons Valley Road, and travel 6 miles to gate. From state Route 94, turn left on Honey Springs Road, turn right on Lyons Valley Road, and travel 1.7 miles to the reservoir gate.

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