Located about halfway between Berkeley and Concord, Lafayette Reservoir is one of the best fishing holes in the East Bay. The lake is not huge, so it can get crowded, unfortunately.
About the Lake
Lafayette Reservoir is shaped like one big fish. One thing about Lafayette Reservoir is that it has a huge number of tules. They’re everywhere - that means great fish habitat. There is still decent shoreline access with numerous docks that allow for comfortable fishing.
Lafayette offers pretty decent bassing - the lake churns out some pretty big fish. With a lot of weeds and tules, the fish get big, fast. Especially during the summer months, try and use weedless setups, to avoid getting tangled up in the plants. Pitching soft plastics and jigs by the reeds always seems to do well.
The DFG and EBMUD also stock trout in the reservoir. Try fishing off the docks using Powerbait and Kastmasters. Fisherman also have decent success here trolling crankbaits.
The water by the dam gets fairly deep, so try fishing off a boat there, especially during the hot summer months. Catfish also get stocked during July and August, so throw
stinkbaits, chicken livers, and worms.
There is a decent panfish population here as well. Lafayette Reservoir used to be one of the only lakes in the state with yellow perch. However, the population
seems to have died off in recent years, so catching one is a rare occurrence.
The marina here rents kayaks, paddle boats, rowboats, and motorboats. It can get pricey, unfortunately, but it is a welcome respite on hot days.
Lafayette Reservoir also boasts decent pet-friendly trails that circumnavigate the decently attractive lake.
Bikes are only allowed a couple days a week, which makes for relaxing walks.
One of my favorite lures for trout fishing, very useful for covering a lot of water and finding where the active fish are. It's a very aerodynamic lure that can be casted quite far on light line. I've had the most success on stop-and-go, erratic retrieves. Use gold Kastmasters on sunny days or in murky water. Use silver Kastmasters on cloudy days or clear water. Kastmasters can be somewhat expensive - South Bend also sells Kastaways which are somewhat cheaper but can't say I've personally used them.
A classic trout spinner. I like a retrieve with many erratic jerks with these spinners, to let the blade flutter as much as possible. Traditionally the gold blade with black body and yellow spots has been the most effective for me, but the other colors should also work.
A must-have trout bait. Take a small bit of the dough, and mold it around a size 14-16 treble hook on a sliding sinker rig. Cast the bait out and just let it sit. It can smell kinda bad, so be ready to vigorously clean your hands afterward. I've linked the garlic flavor, but the corn and original scents work just as well. I personally don't think the color matters a whole lot, but some people swear by chartreuse.
A less messy version of Powerbait, which is basically a piece of soft plastic infused with the Powerbait flavoring. I prefer the micetails in moving water, as they have a more natural appearance and drift more naturally.
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.
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.
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.