To be honest, Stevens Creek Reservoir is not a great place to fish. Surrounded by tree-covered hills, it is a pretty place to be, and can be a nice area to take a walk. But the fishing is pretty terrible.
About the Lake
Stevens Creek has a pretty hefty case of the bathtub rings - it’s a big victim of water drawdowns every year. The shoreline access is very steep, so make sure to wear good shoes. It also means that there’s very little fish habitat - there’s not many weeds or logs or fallen trees in the water. What that means is that there aren’t many fish in the first place, and the few fish that swim in the lake are hard to find.
The DFG used to stock this lake with trout, but no more. Nowadays most people fish for the few resident bass. Try the shady areas around the lake, on the dam, or whatever structure you can find. People do okay with dropshots. The evening topwater bite is also decent.
People also catch a decent amount of carp here. There are also a few bluegill here and there, but you need to hunt them down.
There are quite a few poison oak stands around Stevens Creek, be careful.
There’s also a shooting range across the street. The noise can be very annoying when you’re just trying to have a quiet fishing trip.
If you want to avoid paying the parking fee, just park along the road just outside the lot. Or just don’t pay the fee and park inside - many people I’ve seen do that (at your own risk, of course).
Official website: Santa Clara County
From the old ichthy.com:
Pros: good trout bite in spring, crappie, good size for float tubing Cons: little cover, draw downs, bass fishing tough Description: Stevens Creek Reservoir is a drinking water reservoir. This means, according to the public's need, the water level can, and will, be dropped and raised frequently. The fact that it is only 90 acres means that the water level can go down or up very fast, up to a few feet a day. It also means that pretty much no matter how low it gets in the summer, it will fill up with only a few big storms in the winter. This feature of SCR effects the habitat greatly. With the water level rising and falling frequently there is little, if any, chance for any sort of weed growth to form. Typical bottom content is hard rock to gravel to sandy mud. Near the dam and all the way to the picnic area there is very little shoreline cover when the water drops more than few feet from full. You can see a very distinct line where the brush and vegetation stops and the water shoreline starts. My most successful structure to work in this area has been along the dam and around the spillway. Good fish hold all along the shoreline in deeper water, but it is difficult to find them with a limited period of time. The middle section, from the picnic area to the fire station, also has limited shoreline cover, but it does have a large amount of mid water stickups and the occasional downed tree. Shoreline access is extremely limited here. Only when the water level is at a extreme low can parts of it be fished. The upper creek end of SCR is much different than the rest. There is actually a good amount of shoreline cover along with a active culvert and a sandy stream bed area. In the spring large bass will get up tight to the trees submerged in this area. Shoreline access is only fair here and often the better spots are out of reach. The Fish: Largemouth Bass: The bass fishing is fair at Stevens Creek. There can be a good prespawn and spawn bite in the back end of the lake. Your typical assortment of baits will all work. But you really have to hit it on the right day. Summer and fall are very tough. You can some fish on reaction baits, but they will be small. I've had success fishing crankbaits and spinnerbaits through the trees in the middle portion of the lake. Another option is to fish carolina rigs deep near the dam and spillway. Winter is slow, but consistent. You will get skunked half the time, but it is by far the best time to catch a bass over 5 pounds here. Best bets in the winter is to flip 10 inch power worms if the water is high enough. Or fish jigs down the steep rock walls. Rainbow Trout: The rainbow trout fishing at SCR can be surprisingly good. If everything goes right, the first stocks of rainbows will start the first week of March. They will continue at 1000 pounds every other week until mid June. The good fishing is slightly different. It ranges from late march to the end of June, and if you're REALLY persistent you can catch them until the end of July. The good fishing spots wander throughout the months for trout. The first spot to see trout is usually the launch ramp and the spillway. Later the hot spot is the dam, especially around the shack in the center. By June the fish often start congregating around the shoreline opposite the parking lot. By this time the water level has dropped enough so that you can easily walk across the spillway to this far shoreline. If you're going to catch trout after June, the spillway and far shoreline are your best bets. Standard powerbait-dunking techniques work here. Try sliding egg sinker setup with leaders in the 15 foot range with a small marshmallow. In the evening right after stocks 1/4 oz kastmasters can be dynamite here also. Crappie: The crappie fishing can be good, but size is lacking. The best time to fish for crappie here is spring, early summer, and fall. In the fall, around September and October, the fish will school up at the surface and can be caught by casting small jigs into the boils. Over 50 fish in the evening is a possibility. I use a 1/16 oz jighead with a 2 inch chartreuse curly tail grub. Other: There are some catfish stocked here. Not many though and the fishing for them isn't all that great. I've caught a few by accident but don't intentionally fish for them. There are some very large carp in here also. Best spot is the shallow flats near the creek. The ever hungry bluegill is always an option. If you're using nightcrawlers it will be hard to avoid them. I fish for them with my flyrod when they come to spawn on shallow flats. They are good hard fighting fish on a flyrod. Word has it some one caught a relative of the piranha in here ...