Why the lunkers

No license required to fish Dixon Lake

Dixon Lake Derby
  • Dixon Lake Derby

Trout fishing in Southern California has been a put-and-take fishery. The trout caught in our lakes and rivers have been farm-raised and planted (put) for anglers (to take.) Instead of the rainbow trout stocked during my youth, larger, colorful sub-species such as Nebraska Tailwalkers and Snake River Cutthroats (the former more common in San Diego County) can be caught.

Some of the trout are much larger than any native species that existed before the modern era. Today, catches of trout over ten pounds are not uncommon in county lakes and even ponds. This past April, angler Sean Sanders caught a 12-pound, 12-ounce Nebraska Tailwalker during the Hidden Valley Trout Derby at Escondido’s Dixon Lake.

On November 16, Dixon Lake received its first plant of trout for the winter season — 4500 pounds — and its second plant of 1500 pounds on November 22nd, thus ensuring fish in the 72-acre lake for their Dixon Lake Trout Derby, which runs Friday, December 2, to Sunday, December 4. Dixon Lake will be closed for fishing on Wednesday and Thursday, November 30 and December 1, in order to maintain the stock before the contest. (Anglers caught fishing will be subject to citation and ejected from the park for 72 hours.)

Past Event

Dixon Lake Trout Derby

  • Friday, December 2, 2016, 6 a.m.
  • Dixon Lake, 1700 North La Honda Drive, Escondido
  • $5 - $7

Because Dixon Lake has been granted an aquaculture permit by the State of California Department of Fish and Wildlife, fishing licenses are no longer required. However, all anglers eight years and older will need a daily lake fishing permit, which are available at the concession stand.

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