Lake Berryessa

Reclamation issues safety tips for Berryessa recreators

storm damage

Sizable gully formed after heavy rains near Lake Berryessa’s Acorn Beach (USBR Photo by Geoff Godfrey)

Visitors should use caution in and around the lake, and follow these safety tips:

  1. Driving: Check road and weather conditions prior to starting trips and allow extra driving time due to rock/debris slides, visitors and wildlife. Consider visiting during the weekdays if possible.
  2. Boating: Use extreme caution navigating through the reservoir. The 2018 County Fire’s burned areas are experiencing their first heavy rains. Upstream burned area runoff entering the lake is thick with silt and downed trees. Increased lake cloudiness has resulted in poor visibility of submerged and floating hazards.
  3. Shoreline: Quickly rising waters may weaken and undermine shorelines around the lake. Keep some distance from the shoreline, observe terrain changes and remain on maintained roadways and trails when possible.
  4. Hypothermia: Lake Berryessa’s cold water can lead to potentially life-threatening hypothermia. Symptoms include shivering, slurred speech, apathy, disorientation, drowsiness and unconsciousness. Move into a warm or sheltered area immediately. Replace wet clothing with dry clothes, a sleeping bag, or blankets and drink a warm, nonalcoholic beverage if conscious. 

Photo of Lake Berryessa

New fee program proposed for improving Lake Berryessa recreation facilities

Reclamation is proposing to charge and retain fees for day use and boat launch at Capell Cove Boat Launch, Oak Shores and Smittle Creek Day Use Areas located at Lake Berryessa. The proposed fees would be used to improve local facilities, provide increased visitor services and protect natural resources. Special recreation event authorization fees and shade shelter reservations fees are also proposed.

A Federal Register Notice announcing the proposed fees was published July 25, 2018, and can be viewed here: Notice of Proposed New Fee Site, Lake Berryessa, Napa, California; Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act

The related July 25, 2018 press release can be viewed here.

For more information, call 707-966-2111 (TTY 800-877-8339).

About the Lake

Lake Berryessa is the reservoir for the Solano Project which is owned by the Bureau of Reclamation and operated under a cooperative agreement by the Solano County Water Agency/Solano Irrigation District. The project provides flood control protection to the city of Winters and other downstream communities, as well as high-quality water supply for irrigation and the cities of Vacaville, Suisun City, Vallejo, and Fairfield.

At capacity, Lake Berryessa stores 1.6 million acre feet of water and is one of the largest bodies of fresh water in California. The lake is 23 miles long, 3 miles wide, with 165 miles of shoreline. Reclamation and the Blue Ridge Berryessa Partnership jointly manage a 2,000-acre wildlife area along the east side of the lake.

Nestled between Blue Ridge and Cedar Roughs, east of the Napa Valley, Lake Berryessa offers year-round recreation opportunities. Berryessa's water reaches temperatures of up to 75 degrees in the summer, making it an ideal place for water sports. Anglers enjoy fishing for both cold and warm water species, such as rainbow trout, bass, catfish, crappie, and bluegill.

Lake Berryessa provides many opportunities to experience a variety of wildlife and plant exploration activities. The grassy hills dotted with oak and manzanita provide excellent opportunities to view eagles, hawks, songbirds, wild turkeys, and deer. Hiking, bird watching, photography, and picnicking are all popular activities year-round.

Business Opportunities
Visitors to Lake Berryessa

Visitors to Lake Berryessa are being asked to help protect historic resources by not handling, removing or destroying any artifacts or ruins along the lake bed. Structures in the Berryessa Valley were removed or razed prior to the creation of Lake Berryessa, however the remains of historic sites, including farms, ranches and portions of the town of Monticello may be exposed as reservoir levels continue to lower. These sites and artifacts are protected by both federal and state laws that prohibit disturbing the sites in any way, including removing or relocating artifacts. In addition, the use of metal detectors is not allowed on Reclamation lands per 43 CFR 423.29(f). Please report any found ruins or artifacts, or any destruction or removal of ruins or artifacts to the Lake Berryessa Field Office at 707-966-2111.

Lake Conditions

Lake conditions vary seasonally on Lake Berryessa depending on weather and annual rainfall. Please see the following link for the most up-to-date lake condition information.

Last Updated: 2/4/19