The hardest thing about finding Lake Cuyamaca was locating it on Google. Apparently, I spelled it so bad that even Google didn’t recognize what it was. Did it start with a “G” or with a “C”? After a few tries, I spelled it close enough to get the links I was looking for and the info on where it was and how to get there.
Lake Cuyamaca is about an hour’s drive from San Diego and only ten minutes from the small town of Julian. The route to Julian from Oceanside is one of my favorite drives even though it takes over an hour to get there. I had heard about this lake many times and always wanted to visit, so off we went with fishing poles in hand, cameras, munchies, and a warm change of clothes.
As you pass through the main street of Julian you eventually hit the road that heads towards the lake. The scenery along the way is filled with meadows and hills and you would never know that it snows there at certain times of the year.
Situated at an elevation of around 4,600 feet, the lake is nestled in a forest of mostly pine and oak and is surrounded on three sides by the 26,000 acre Cuyamaca Rancho State Park.
Arriving at the Lake
On an exceptionally warm day in November, we departed Oceanside with the car thermometer showing 85 degrees outside. Dressed in shorts and short sleeves, we noticed the needle slowly descending toward lower numbers as we drove further up in elevation. When we arrived at the lake it was 65 degrees.
At first it felt kind of nice and refreshing so I kept on my summer attire, but after a while I made the mad dash to the car to find my warm clothes consisting of a sweatshirt and long pants. I may be a beach girl with salt water for brains but even I know it gets colder at over 4,000 feet above sea level…plus I Googled the current temperatures.
Now it was time to get busy fishing. As we sat alongside the lake, a few people stopped by to chat and casually let us know that the lake had been dead the last few days. One guy said he hadn’t caught anything in three hours and in that same time period we only got three small nibbles.
Don’t let that discourage you as they stock the lake annually with over 38,000 lbs. of trout. They just weren’t biting that day where we were, or on the boats, or on the dock, or anywhere near someone’s fishing pole. It was just one of those days. Other than trout, the lake also has bass, catfish, crappie, bluegill, and sturgeon.