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Arastradero Lake

Fishing Arastradero Lake

Arastradero Lake is a quiet pond in the hills of Palo Alto. Close to its bigger, recently-private sibling Boronda Lake, you reach the lake after a pleasant stroll along a grassy, sunny trail surrounded by oak trees.

About the Lake

Calling Arastradero a lake is a misnomer - it’s more of a farm pond than anything else. Surrounded by tules, shoreline access can be very difficult (no boats or float tubes allowed). There are only 3 or 4 places where you can cast into the lake. The fishing can be decent here, if you can snag one of the few fishing spots.

Arastradero has a lot of small bass that roam in schools around the lake, especially during early on in the summer and during warm evenings. When one of the schools pass by, throw a noisy/flashy bait, like a popper or a spinnerbait, and you’ll probably catch a fish.

Later on in the summer, the lake can get very overgrown with weeds. Try using a frog on top of the weed mats, or pitch small jigs and soft plastics into the pockets of clear water in between the clumps of grass.

If you’re searching for bigger bass, pitch soft plastics around the tules, where the fish will be looking to ambush baitfish and crayfish. The biggest bass ever caught here was 10 pounds, so there’s a big fish roaming out there somewhere.

I’ve also seen some pretty big bluegill here, but they are finicky. Worms should be moderately successful.

Weeds at Arastradero Lake

Weeds at Arastradero Lake


Arastradero Preserve is a very nice place. I love hiking and biking around here, along the park’s numerous trails. The parking lot can fill up very quickly.

Official website: City of Palo Alto

For the bass:

Yamamoto Senko

A must-have soft plastic for bassing on the West Coast. I usually fish these wacky-rigged - basically just sticking the point through the thickest part of the worm without any weight. Cast it out and repeatedly jig it, letting the Senko flutter back to the bottom. It seems to work quite well on the heavily pressured lakes in the Bay Area. Green pumpkin is traditionally considered the best color.
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Strike King Spinnerbait

Spinnerbaits are my favorite lures for covering water when bass fishing, as not only do they provide a lot of action and noise, but they also are relatively weedless compared to other hard baits. Honestly the brand doesn't matter too much here - I've linked the brand-name Strike King lure here. Like other lures, stop-and-go retrieves are the way to go.
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Hula Popper

Poppers are my favorite topwater baits - there's just something so appealing about the way they chug and spit water on the surface, and the way bass attack them so aggressively and visibly. Brand doesn't matter too much here again - I linked the classic Hula Popper. Keep your rod tip low to the water, and repeatedly jerk the lure. You can also "walk-the-dog" on good poppers by repeatedly wiggling the lure in a particular direction, once again with your rod tip close to the water. Your popper will start darting side-to-side, creating action that no bass can resist.
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Disclaimer: the above purchase links are mostly Amazon Affiliate links that help me keep this website running. I use all of the above products every time I go fishing.

From the old

Pros: lots of cover, light pressure, good catfishing

Cons: almost no shoreline access, no watercraft

Description: A very small pond on the side of a popular mountain biking and running trail in Palo Alto. You have to park on Arastradero Road and walk a quarter mile or so on the trail to the lake. It is circled with tules. So many tules that there are only a few places to fish from the bank. And for some reason that escapes me, you are not allowed to put a float tube or anything else in this lake.

Fish Largemouth Bass: There are bass in here, but getting to them can be problematic. Fish EARLY in the morning with topwater, then go to small plastics or jigs in the day. I've had most success dropping small baits into pockets of weeds or tules.

Catfish: This can be a good catfish lake. It is stocked on the rare occasion with channels. But I think it also has a good sustaining population of its own. Try chicken liver or nightcrawlers 4 feet under a small bobber and cast towards the middle of the lake. 
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