Los Vaqueros Reservoir is the Perfect Spot for Fishing & Exploring

During the spring and summer, Los Vaqueros Reservoir comes alive with flora, fauna—and people! It’s the perfect time of year to experience prime fishing and outdoors exploring.

The beautiful Los Vaqueros Marina on the reservoir’s south side near Livermore offers fishing licenses, bait, snacks and electric boat rentals.

On the north side of the reservoir near Brentwood, there are no services available, but anglers can park at the John Muir Interpretive Center and take a steep hike about a half-mile to fishing areas near the dam and in Peninsula Cove.

This spring was a fantastic season for trout and striped bass fishing at Los Vaqueros Reservoir. May and June are traditionally windy months at Los Vaqueros—which makes it the perfect time for boating.  If you are looking to rent a boat, it is a good idea to call ahead at (925) 371-2628, check current conditions, or look at a forecast for the Livermore-area.

Creatures at Los Vaqueros Reservoir

Although you hear “reservoir” and think “fish,” there are way more animals that make this area their home. For instance, some trails in the watershed are closed to protect golden eagle nests.

That also means less friendly critters—like rattlesnakes—are out and about, so always check your surroundings when you’re hiking.

Bald Eagles are starting to become regular visitors to the Los Vaqueros Watershed. For the last several years, they’ve been seen between the months of December and March.


Los Vaqueros regularly hosts fishing clinics for enthusiasts and beginners. Fishing topics rotate on a monthly basis and may be tailored to participants’ skill level. From bait to knots to trolling and cleaning, the experienced staff can provide tips to help you snag a catch!

Los Vaqueros Reservoir
Los Vaqueros Reservoir

Open to people of all ages. For details call (925) 371-2628.

Fishing Report

A 16.75 striper was caught in Peninsula Cove on an anchovy. A 9.32 pound trout was caught on a Kastmaster in Cox Cove and an 11.25 came out of Howden Cove on a Rapala. So when you cast your line, be prepared for a big one!

TROUT: Fishing for trout continues to be good with all the trout plants and cool water temperatures.  They are being caught in South Cove and Oak Point as well as Peninsula Cove.

LARGEMOUTH BASS: Most anglers were focused on stripers or trout although there still are many sighting near the boat dock and adjacent fishing pier and along the Rock Wall.  Senkos have been seen catching some nice fish in that area.  Keep in mind that largemouth need to be 12 inches to be kept.

STRIPERS: Shakers continue to be the main action with striped bass.  From shore, cut anchovies or shad is the bait of choice.  Just a reminder, stripers need to be 18 inches or more to be legal.

CATFISH: Catfish are hit or miss with fish being reported out of Cowboy and South Coves.  As the water warms we look to see more fish being caught.  For those wishing to target catfish, nightcrawlers and chicken liver are the best choices of bait.  The experts at Los Vaqueros encourage and appreciate the release of any monster catfish (15+ pounds).

Get Your Bait!

You can purchase frozen bait at the North Entrance gate (near Brentwood) on the weekends, including anchovies, chicken liver and shad. You can only buy the frozen bait at the gate, not the watershed office.

Tips for visiting Los Vaqueros

Los Vaqueros’ weather is often very different from the Bay Area or the Valley; it’s a good idea to check ahead to see updated weather information.

There is no drinking water on any of the trails at Los Vaqueros, so please remember to bring plenty of water for your trip, and some snacks as well.

Los Vaqueros can get quite hot in the summer months, so if you are hiking in the summer leave early in the morning.

Without exception, all the trails have hills. Be prepared, wear good shoes and comfortable clothing.


The Purple Orchid, located in the heart of Livermore Valley, is a relaxing and convenient getaway. Enjoy our fine accommodations and unwind with some excellent spa treatments. And don’t forget to download our free area vacation guide to help you plan your stay.