Irvine Lake FAQs

Irvine Lake Frequently Asked Questions

1) Do I need a fishing license?

a) Not at this time.

2) Do California Department of Fish & Wildlife fishing regulations apply?

a) Yes, however no fishing license is required. This is due to an existing Aquaculture permit held by the Serrano Water District. Future license requirements for fishing are uncertain and will be subject to review by the State and County.

3) Are there fishing limits?

a) Yes, all Department of Fish and Wildlife regulations regarding fish limits apply, see for the latest CA DF&W regulations.

b) Additionally, the following fishing regulations apply:

Five fish limit.
Bass is catch‐and‐release only.
Catfish larger than 24 inches must be released.
One rod per person maximum.
Approved baits only: worms, mackerel, dough baits, or artificial lures. No live bait allowed (except worms).

4) Are reservations required?

    a) Not at this time.

) What are the hours?

a) Friday‐Sunday 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

6) When can I line up to enter?

a) Gates open to parking at 6:30 a.m. Access to the lake begins at 7 a.m. Do not line up on Santiago Canyon Road prior. It is unsafe, and you will be subject to all applicable traffic laws.

7) How much does it cost?

a) There is no charge for fishing. Parking is $5 per vehicle. No reentry.

8) What fish are in the lake?

a) Bass, catfish, carp, bluegill, crappie.

9) Will the lake be stocked?

a) The lake is stocked. Schedules can be found here.

10) Can I boat on the lake?

a) Shoreline fishing only, no boats permitted.

11) Can I float fish?

a) No. Shoreline fishing only.

12) Can I drink?

a) No alcohol is permitted.

13) Can I buy bait?

a) Yes. Bait is sold at the Tackle Shop.

14) Can I buy food and drink?

a) Yes, light snacks available for purchase.

15) Where can I fish?

a) On the designated shoreline identified on the map onsite. May vary due to water levels.

16) Are dogs permitted?

a) No dogs permitted.

17) Who do I call in an emergency?

a) Please call 911 for emergencies. County Park Rangers do patrol the area but are not stationed there at all times. For any basic information contact the staff at the tackle sales office.

18) Will you be holding special events?

a) None are scheduled at this time. Please check or social media channels for future announcements.

19) Can I camp there?

a) No camping is allowed.

20) Other recreation – hiking, biking, bird watching?

a) At this time there are no open connections to other area trail systems. The park is only open for shoreline fishing.

b) For recreation opportunities at adjacent OC Parks facilities check and
c) Visitors are welcome to walk along the lake edge within the designated areas to observe birds, but there will not be any connections to hiking trails.

21) Are RC boats or drones permitted?

a) No drones, boats or any other radio‐controlled objects permitted.

22) Can music be played at the lake?

a) No amplified music is allowed

23) Who sets water level?

a) Serrano Water District and Irvine Ranch Water District determine the level of water in the lake.

24) Who owns the lake and are there future plans for more than just shoreline fishing?

a) The lake is open for shoreline fishing only this year through a cooperative agreement between the County of Orange, Serrano Water District, Irvine Ranch Water District and the Irvine Company. Future opportunities to keep the lake open are being discussed by all parties.

25) May I bring an RV or trailer?
    a) No boats, trailers or RVs. Oversized vehicles will be turned away.

26) May I use my OC Parks annual parking pass?
    a) For the time being, OC Parks annual parking passes that include regional and wilderness parks will be honored. This may be reevaluated in future.

27) Is there ADA access?

    a) For reasonable ADA accommodations, please call 714-649-9111. Please note, all lake access is dependent on parking availability.

28) May I bring a barbecue?
    a) No barbecues permitted at this time.

29) What happens during Red Flag warnings?

    a) Red Flag warnings and extreme weather/wind conditions may lead to immediate closure if deemed hazardous.