Location and Overview
Located in Riverside County near the city of Temecula, Lake Skinner is another great California fishing lake suitable for a weekend getaway or day trip. The lake entrance is at 37701 Warren Road, in Winchester. Lake Skinner was created in 1973 with the completion of the Skinner Clearwell dam, and boasts approximately 1200 surface acres contained within 15 miles of shoreline. It is conveniently close to both Temecula and Murrieta, and can be easily accessed from I-15(check out the map). Although the lake is located within Lake Skinner County Park, it is managed by the Metropolitan Water District, which controls access so that the lake does not get overcrowded or overused. There is a $5 per vehicle park entrance fee.
Lake Skinner is close to Diamond Valley Lake, which is also administered by the Metropolitan Water District.
Fishermen rate Lake Skinner:
Fishin’ Lake Skinner
Since its creation in 1973, Lake Skinner has been renowned for both largemouth bass and catfish action. The lake is also home to striped bass and rainbow trout, as well as bluegill. Fishermen may fish from a boat or try their luck from shore.
As a general rule, anglers do well fishing for largemouth and stripers year round, while the catfish bite is best during the warmer months. Try anchovies, or chicken livers to get the stripers to bite; catfish will fall to these baits as well, and also like pieces of mackerel. Trout are only stocked during the cooler winter and spring months, and anglers do well for them with worms and Power Bait. For the latest trout stocking schedule, check out the Department of Fish and Game’s website. Interested in panfish? Consider using live worms and crickets, minijigs tipped with mealworms, or small artificial trout worms like Lip Ripperz. You can get the latest Lake Skinner fishing reports here.
Private boats are allowed on Lake Skinner, but must pass an inspection prior to launch. An inspection station is located at the entrance to the park. There is a fee of $6 to use the launch ramp. Fishing and pontoon boats are available to rent at the marina. Float tubes are not permitted on the lake. For the complete Lake Skinner boating regulations, see the Metropolitan Water District’s web site.
A well-stocked store at the marina sells groceries, fuel, camping supplies, bait and fishing tackle. To contact the Lake Skinner Marina call (951) 926-8515.
Lake Skinner Weather
Lake Skinner sits at a relatively low elevation of about 1425 feet in the town of Winchester, 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 town of Winchester.
Lodging and Camping
Camping is available at the campground within Lake Skinner Park, with some 300 tent and RV spaces available. Reservations may be made through the Riverside County Parks District’s website. Other nearby campgrounds are located in Hemet and Temecula.
Licensing and Regulations
Lake Skinner is open daily from 6:00 am to sunset all year. All anglers must possess a current California fishing license, and must purchase a $4 permit to fish in the lake. The following bag and size limits apply:
Largemouth Bass – 5 fish, minimum size 12 inches total length.
Bluegill – 25 fish, no size limit.
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 water skiing, swimming, or float tubing is permitted.
For more information about Lake Skinner, visit the Riverside County Parks Website or call them at (951) 926-1541.