Quarry Lakes

Fishing Quarry Lakes

In Quarry Lakes Regional Recreation Area, there are two lakes you can fish - Horseshoe and Rainbow Lake. Horseshoe Lake gets regularly stocked by the EBPRD as well as the DFW. All this means a lot of planter trout (and some catfish), as well as lot of fishing pressure. There are also some resident bass, catfish, and other warmwater fish in both Horseshoe and Rainbow.

About the Lake

The main attraction here is the trout fishing at Horseshoe Lake. All of the lakes here used to be part of a gravel quarry, which means that the water is quite deep close to shore. As a result, it seems like a lot of different spots on the lake are good for the trout. In general, it pays to keep moving here - oftentimes certain parts of the lake will be pumping out fish, while other regions are totally lifeless.

Perhaps the area that sees the most pressure is the small cove with the fishing dock to the left of the boat ramp - fishermen are often shoulder-to-shoulder here. Often the fish are planted by the boat ramp, and as a result this cove can be a hot spot for people sight-fishing for the freshly planted trout. Small mini jigs, Kastmasters, and other lures are the most successful.

Another popular spot is the so-called “Fisherman’s Row” - a stretch of easily-accessible water to the right of the boat ramp. Here, the water is mostly shallow close to shore, but a steep dropoff is accessible with a nice cast. Powerbait, nightcrawlers, and salmon eggs seem to do the trick here.

A somewhat less popular spot is the area around the fish tube. The water here is quite deep, and the shoreline can be steep and hard to access. Powerbait, mini jigs, and Kastmasters do well here. However, expect big crowds if the trout are being stocked at the fish tube.

Most other spots on the lake get somewhat less pressure. Some fishermen swear by certain spots on the backside of the lake - the backside of the peninsula seems to be especially popular. It does seem like there are many brush piles and shallow stretches on the backside, so pick your spot wisely if you do intend to avoid the crowds.

The Lassens that the EBPRD puts in the lake can be quite sizeable, so make sure you set your drag appropriately and bring a net.

Trout at Horseshoe Lake

A Nice Trout from Horseshoe Lake

During the summer, the EBPRD occasionally stocks channel catfish in Horseshoe. Nightcrawlers, cut bait, shrimp, stinkbaits, and other classic catfish baits do the job.

On the bass in Horseshoe - I’ve never tried myself. However, most of the lake bottom seems to be fairly featureless, so I suspect you might have to stick with spinnerbaits, crankbaits, and other lures that let you cover a large amount of water. I’ve heard there are big bass (largemouth and smallmouth) in here, so it might be worth a shot.

On Rainbow Lake - I haven’t fished it much. But I assume classic bass and catfish tactics should do just fine.

Notes

The EBPRD charges both a $5 parking fee, as well as a $5 fishing fee. Expensive, but can be worth it if you can find the fish - which are often big.

Lead weights are not allowed here - so make sure to grab some steel or tin weights - I often use the Ultra Steel or Gremlin Green brands.

Official website: EBPRD

Check out my Bay Area trout fishing guide.

For the trout:

Acme Kastmaster, 1/8 oz

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.
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Thomas Buoyant, 1/4 or 1/6 oz

A Kastmaster alternative. It casts a somewhat smaller distance, but the spoon has a slightly different fluttering action that seems to sometimes entice more hits.
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Panther Marin, 1/16 oz

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.
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Mini jig, 1/16 or 1/32 oz

A small tube that can be twitched in the water to entice wary trout. Keep your rod tip high, and wiggle the lure in the middle of the water column. Can be very effective, especially if you can see the fish. Can be hard to cast far, unless you're using very light line (2 - 4 lb)
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Powerbait

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.
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Powerbait Micetails

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.
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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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