Boronda Lake

Fishing Boronda Lake

In Foothills Park, Boronda Lake is a slightly more developed version of Arastradero Lake in the hills of Palo Alto. Until recently, the lake was off-limits to non-Palo Alto residents.

About the Lake

The lake is quite pretty - it sits in front of a beautiful forested hill, and is surrounded by tules, meadows, and a few rocky outcroppings. Unfortunately, the fishing doesn’t quite match the views.

Boronda Lake is extremely shallow, and the bottom is effectively covered with thick mats of vegetation. Around the boat docks and boat ramp the water gets a smidge deeper, as well as towards the center of the lake, but these deeper areas are few and far between. What that means is that the populations of larger fish tend to be quite small.

Thanks to the weeds, the bluegill fishing can be quite good. The area near the island and in the shade under the few docks around the lake tend to be hot spots. Nightcrawlers should work quite well.

The bass can be somewhat harder to catch. I would stick to weedless setups to avoid instantly catching the weeds that carpet the bottom of the lake. If you want to catch bass, I’d probably look elsewhere in the South Bay.


The area near the lake has been extremely busy recently, thanks to the public opening of Foothills Park. It may be difficult to find parking, and the park may close during periods of the day as a result - check the official website for up-to-date details.

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.
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