Jenkinson Lake is in the Sly Park Recreation area in California. The lake has opportunities to swim, fish, water ski, as well as paddle sports activities and rentals. Personal watercraft like SeaDoos are not allowed on the lake. Locals sometimes refer to Jenkinson Lake as Sly Park Lake, and Jenkins lake. Jenkinson Lake is surrounded by over 9 miles of trails where you can hike, mountain bike, and go horseback riding. The hiking trails go through thick forested areas and open meadows as it follows the lake shore around the entire perimeter. The Sly Park Recreation Area (SPRA) has several different day use areas that have excellent picnic and cookout locations for your outdoor adventure. All of the day uses areas are close to the lake, and have picnic tables, restrooms, and drinking water nearby.
Jenkinson Lake has two launch ramps, in different parts of the lake. The first one starts at the marina, and it has a nice wide ramp, with improved trailer parking. This part of the lake is mainly used for water skiing, wake boarding, and tubing. It has a nice wide area to go fast in and enjoy. The second part of the lake is called The Narrows. It is a half mile of 5 miles per hour zone that is best used for drifting, swimming and enjoying a quiet picnic on the boat with your friends and family. This area has the ramp known as the Stone Breaker ramp. The ramp is long, but narrow, and has plenty of parking. This ramp is great for small fishing boats, kayaks, and canoes.
Jenkinson Lake Kayak and Canoe Boat Rentals
During the summer season, there is a small boat rental dock near this ramp where you can rent a Kayak or Paddle Boat. As of 2023, the pricing for a single person Kayak rental is $100 per day, a tandem two person kayak is $125, and a two person canoe rental (can have an additional child under 10, or medium sized dog) is $125. They also have stand up paddle boards for $100 per day. These prices are for the full day rental. They also have hourly rentals available.
Jenkinson Lake Map
The map below is provided by El Dorado Irrigation District. Click on the map to open their full size map on their website.
Fishing at Jenkinson Lake
Jenkinson Lake has great fishing opportunities for Smallmouth Bass, Largemouth Bass, Spotted Bass, Rainbow Trout, Lake Trout Mackinaw, Brown Trout, and Bluegill.
Lake Trout Mackinaw Fishing at Jenkinson Lake
Jenkinson Lake sits at 3,500 feet in elevation, which makes it the lowest lake in the Sierra Mountains to get your chance at catching a nice trophy lake trout. Lake Trout can get up to 20 pounds or more, which is why it is a highly sought after trophy fish to target. You can usually find mackinaw near the dam, or between the two islands across from the boat launch. You can catch these Lake Trout, also known as Mackinaw, or Lakers, top lining the regular trout gear like spoons, or flatfish. Tipping the lure hook with a worm or a minnow will help to entice them to strike. Read your local Regulations before using any live bait. In the fall months, and into the late spring months, Mackinaw will bite in the top of the water column. Top lining a Rapala f-18 or an AC plug will produce fish this time of year but later in the summer months you will need to get down deep for the fish. Trolling with a downrigger in deep water with a dodger or J plug, or jigging in deep water with a Gibbs minnow, and last but not least bouncing an 8 ounce lead weight off the bottom with a lure or minnow trailing behind will get you into some good action.
Bass Fishing on Jenkinson Lake
Thought trout are the most sought after fish at Jenkinson Lake, the Bass fishery is also strong and offer some great chances to hook into one of these great fighting lunkers. One of the best bets to try your luck at some bass fishing are to use some soft bait lures, rubber worms, and topwater hard bait lures, or some stickbaits. You can also do quite well with crankbaits, and spinnerbaits.A great place to target the Largemouth, Smallmouth, and Spotted Bass is the creek channel leading into Hazel creek. In early spring, the bass will move from the main body of the lake up into the creek channel to spawn. Another great spot is up in the five mile per hour zone referred to as the chimneys. The name comes from some old stone houses that are deep below the water, and the chimneys poke up out of the water. Several yards from the chimneys there is a large flat area with a nice drop off along the edge.
Rainbow Trout Fishing on Jenkinson Lake
Trolling for Rainbow Trout with a small silver dodger, or some small blades, in varying patterns with a matched up lure with some shine will get you into some rainbow trout. You can also use Kastmaster’s, needlefish, wedding ring’s tipped with a minnow or a worm, spoons, small apex, small stickbaits that are silver or rainbow trout pattern, small flatfish. The best place to troll is from 15 ft to 100 ft off the shoreline. Troll in a long S pattern so that your lure motion will change as you move through the long S patterns. The top lure for Rainbow Trout Fishing in our experience are the Trout Mini Jigs. Check them out!
Brown Trout Fishing on Jenkinson Lake
You can target Brown Trout near the shoreline using a medium to large stickbait tied on with a Rapala knot to allow more action of the lure, instead of using a swivel. Rapala f-13 and f-18 work the best. The best pattern to use is rainbow trout, plain silver, or brown trout. You can also flip some stickbaits up into shore. I like to take a red medium tip permanent marker and draw some red marks on the gills and spots on the body to customize the lure a little to entice more strikes. You should troll in five to fifteen feet of water, between 5 ft to 40 ft off of the shoreline. You can catch them in the depths as well, but the best fishing is ripping the shore line. Keep your rod in your hand and rip the line back a few times now and then to change up the motion of the lure. When you spot a big brown suspended off the bottom, troll through that area back and forth in all directions until you trigger an aggressive strike. In early fall and late spring you want to run fast trolling speeds with stick baits at about 3 to 4.5 mph. As the water starts to get cold later in the year you need to slow it down a touch. You should run your stick bait right on the bottom, within a foot or two off the bottom. You should work rocky points and areas with mostly rocky bottoms. Brown Trout like having cover to hide in.Another good technique to catch Brown Trout on Jenkinson Lake by top lining, also known as long lining, by getting your stickbait at least 100 ft. behind the boat. 200ft. even better. Keep it ripping too. Don't let your stick bait drag behind the boat lifelessly. Jerking and ripping makes a stick bait dart around and go crazy back there and that's what those Browns love.
Bluegill Fishing on Jenkinson Lake
Bluegill are fun to target catch on Jenkinson Lake. When you find a school of bluegill you can get into a burst of action cast after cast. They like slow moving sections of water in creeks, and shallow areas on lakes. They bite just about anything you throw at them, and are fun to catch. You can use small worms, crickets, and grasshoppers (live or fake). They have small mouths, so you want to use smaller baits with smaller hooks. You can also use small jigs and small plastics to entice them to bite.
Lip RipperZ Perch Bluegill Fishing Lure Kit
Jenkinson Lake Camping and Lodging
Sly Park Recreation Area SPRA has camping sites for tents, RV’s, trailers, and motorhomes. They also have large family sites, and horse family equestrian camp sites as well. You can view their campsites and make reservations on their website.
RV and Trailer Rentals at Jenkinson Lake
Talk about convenience, these are perfect for a small or large family. Upgrade your camping convenience, comfort, and style, by renting an RV from RVshare for your ultimate family fishing adventure at Jenkinson Lake. Make this a trip an adventure to remember and go camping in style.
Cottages and Vacation Home Rentals At Jenkinson Lake
Looking for a vacation rental at Jenkinson Lake, or any destination you wish to go? Vrbo has vacation homes, cabins, and cottages for many locations that would be great for your next family vacation.
Jenkinson Lake Fishing Guide
There are several different fishing guides that offer guided fishing trips on Jenkinson Lake. FishingBooker is a service to help you find a local fishing guide to schedule your next guided fishing trip with. Book your next fishing guide for Jenkinson Lake, or any lake, or any location that you want to hire a guide to get you and your friends on some fish!About The Author Mike Mendenhall is the the founder of Mendenhall Outdoors. This website is an extension of the Mendenhall family’s lifestyle and passion for the great outdoors. Everything that they learn, and experience, along the way that they find may be valuable to our website visitors is on the site for you to enjoy. We highlight products and services that you might find interesting. We frequently receive free products from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. If you click a link on this page, then go on to make a purchase, we might receive a commission – at no extra cost to you, and does not impact the purchase price of any products that you may purchase. The Best Jenkinson Lake Fishing Experience Awaits!