Location and Overview
Like so many good California fishing lakes, Diamond Valley Lake is close to major population centers and easy to get to, making it a natural weekend getaway. It’s located right off SR 79 near Hemet, CA, conveniently close to Interstates 15 and 215 (check out the map). The lake is managed by the Metropolitan Water District, which manages access so that the lake does not get overcrowded or overused.
Fishermen rate Diamond Valley Lake:
Fishin’ Diamond Valley Lake
Since its opening in 2003, Diamond Valley Lake has made a name for itself as a world-class largemouth bass fishery. Its prominence is underscored by the fact that over 50 bass tournaments take place on the lake annually, including such big names as WON Bass, ABA, and National Bass West. Hardcore bass fishermen always have their own preferred baits for different conditions and times of year, and a variety of artificial lures have been proven effective here including swimbaits, buzzbaits, rubber worms, crankbaits, and jigs. Natural baits also produce big ones, with anglers reporting success on nightcrawlers and live crawdads.
Smallmouth bass also live in the lake, and are catch and release only.
In addition to largemouths and smallmouths, Diamond Valley Lake is also home to rainbow trout, catfish, striped bass, bluegill, and crappie. While the lake receives plants of trout every season, a number of the rainbows caught there are holdovers from the initial stocking back in 2000 and 2001 while the lake was being filled. This means your chances of catching a nice trout in the 4 or 5 pound range are pretty decent. Try small spoons and jigs, rainbow or chartreuse Power Bait, and nightcrawlers on light line from shore during springtime, making sure to keep your bait up off the bottom. During the summer months, break out the Kastmasters, Rapalas and Needlefish to troll for the big ones in 25 or so feet of water. Trout are stocked during the winter and spring months. For the latest trout stocking schedule, click here.
Catfish usually fall to natural baits such as chicken livers, shrimp, or cut mackerel. They tend to be aggressive, and are easily caught from shore. For panfish, consider live worms and crickets, minijigs tipped with mealworms, or small artificial trout worms like Lip Ripperz.
The striper bite at Diamond Valley Lake is not constant, but good action typically occurs in October and November. White topwater baits or swimbaits are consistent producers, while pretty much any flashy spoon or topwater bait will work if you’re lucky enough to find a surface boil and cast into it. During the rest of the year try drifting cut baits like mackerel or anchovies in the 70 to 100 foot depth range.
Click here for the latest Diamond Valley Lake fishing reports.
Fishermen bringing privately owned boats may make a reservation, and this is highly recommended because of limited parking capacity. Reservations are also accepted for shore fishing. For applicable entrance and reservation fees, check out the lake’s website. Float tubes are not allowed.
A small bait shop is located at the marina. It sells bait, some tackle, and a very limited selection of snack foods.
Diamond Valley Lake sits at a relatively low elevation of about 1550 feet in the town of Hemet, CA. Winters here remain comfortably temperate, with high temperatures in the 50’s, while summers can get downright hot. Expect summer highs in the 90’s and even low 100’s some days. As with any large body of water, wind can affect boating conditions. Always check current conditions and forecasts before going out.
Click here to see current weather conditions and forecasts for the city of Hemet.
Lodging and Camping
Camping is not currently available at Diamond Valley Lake, although plans are in the works to construct a campground at the lake in the future. A number of campgrounds and RV parks are located in and around the town of Hemet.
Hemet also has several hotels to choose from, for those who prefer not to camp.
Largemouth Bass – 5 fish, minimum size 15 inches total length.
Smallmouth Bass – Catch and release only, no possession allowed.
Bluegill, Crappie, and Sunfish – No size or possession limits.
Catfish – 10 fish, no size limit.
Striped Bass – 10 fish, no size limit.
Trout – 5 fish, no size limit.
For the most current California fishing regulations, check out the Department of Fish and Game website.
In addition to the regulations noted above, boaters are subject to requirements and restrictions imposed by the Metropolitan Water District. All privately owned boats must be inspected upon arrival at the lake to make sure they meet these requirements. Click here for more information.
No swimming or float tubing is permitted.
For more information, visit the Diamond Valley Lake Website or call them at (951) 926-7201 or (800) 590-LAKE.