El Capitan Lake

Location: El Monte Road
Alpine, CA (map)
Phone: (619) 465-3474
More info: Website

Lake Activities

El Capitan Lake is a large reservoir, in Alpine, about 30 miles northeast of downtown San Diego. The lake and surroundings feature boating, fishing and picnicking. Three barbeques and eight picnic tables are available for use. People can bring self-contained gas barbecues for use in the picnic area only.


The lake is stocked with Channel Catfish, Green Sunfish, Carp, Bluegill, Florida-strain Largemouth Bass and Crappie. Minimum size limit is 10 inches for crappie and 15 inches for bass.

Patrons can fish from boats, float tubes, waders, or from the four miles of shoreline that are reasonably accessible by foot.

Anglers 16 years of age or older need to have a California state fishing license.


El Capitan has rental rowboats and motorboats. To reserve all day motorboats, call 619-668-2050, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. . Rental boats are available on Saturday and Sunday only, with no rentals from June through August.

Wakeboarding, waterskiing, and personal watercraft, such as jet skis are allowed. Standup paddleboards are prohibited.


The concession is open Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays, 6am to 6pm. The shop rents boats first come first serve. No reservations are necessary. It sells a wide variety of bait and will soon sell California state fishing licenses.

Helpful Information


From Interstate 8, take the Lake Jennings Park Road exit north, turn right on El Monte Road, and travel approximately 8 miles to the reservoir entrance.


No ground fires or glass containers are allowed. Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times and at least 50 feet away from the water. Dogs are not allowed on any boats. There is no camping allowed at El Capitan.