In 1897, the first Lower Otay Dam was completed by the Southern California Mountain Water Company. The Lower Otay Reservoir was connected to the City of San Diego's water system in 1906 via the Bonita Pipeline. Following heavy rains, the dam burst in 1916 and the Otay Valley was flooded. The dam was rebuilt in 1918 and renamed Savage Dam. When full, Lower Otay Reservoir has 1,100 surface acres, a maximum water depth of 137.5 feet, and 25 shoreline miles. Lower Otay Reservoir has a water storage capacity of 49,848.9 acre feet. Water levels are monitored weekly. The reservoir is the home of the United States Olympic Training center for rowing sports.

The picnic area at Lower Otay Reservoir has 13 barbecues and 16 picnic tables. Patrons can bring self-contained gas barbecues for use in designated areas only. No ground fires or glass containers are allowed. Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times and at least 50 feet away from the water. Overnight camping is not allowed at Lower Otay.

Lower Otay's concession is open on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays only, 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. They are renting boats on a first come basis on those three days only, no reservations. They are selling California state fishing licenses. There is bait available - shiners, crawdads, nightcrawlers, meal worms and wax worms. Patrons can use credit cards for boat rentals and other purchases, but permits are cash only.

At times when the concession is closed patrons can purchase permits from the electronic pay station or the iron ranger boxes (envelope system) at the lake. Lower Otay's fish include Florida-strain largemouth bass, bluegill, black and white crappie, channel catfish, blue catfish, white catfish and bullhead. Minimum size limit for bass is 12 inches. Fish limits are five bass, five catfish and 25 crappie and bluegill in aggregate, with no limit on other species. Fish catch information is updated weekly. Anglers 16 years of age or older must have a California state fishing license. Fish catch information is updated weekly.

Our bait recommendations

Here's the baits that our Pros love for this lake.