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Recreation and Park District

Fishing Report

Lake Cuyamaca Recreation & Park District

Fishing Report – September 2023

Check out the photos above from the 2023 Kids Derby

Our 2023 O.P. Ball Kid's fishing derby turnout was amazing! We had over 500 kids registered which all received new fishing poles and gear! It was such a great time for all the friends and family that showed up! Thank you to everyone for supporting our lake and the little anglers! We look forward to next years kids derby happening on September 21, 2024.

The derby was originated by Orville P. (O.P.) Ball, a well-known bass fisherman and prominent fixture in San Diego Lake Management and Development from the 1960s through the 1990s. Besides developing part of Upper and Lower Otay Lake, Ball was involved in the biology department at San Diego State University and wrote the master plan for the Lake Cuyamaca Recreation and Park District.His most notable contribution to the San Diego area was the introduction of the Florida Strain Largemouth Bass, which are doing well at fisheries and lakes throughout San Diego County. O.P. loved fishing and was excited about getting more kids exposed to it.

Lake Cuyamaca Recreation & Park District

Fishing Report – August 2023


It’s been hot in the Cuyamaca’s this summer with daytime temperatures in the high 90’s in the month of July and still continuing to be high temps in August. If you can put up with the heat, there are trout to be caught! Anglers are still catching their trout limits by 11AM. DFW has been stocking the Lake almost every two weeks and we just received 2,100LBS of Rainbow Trout delivered on 8/7/2023.


We are pleased to be holding the 23rd Annual “Fishing In The Pines” O.P. Ball Memorial FREE Kids Derby at Lake Cuyamaca! It will be happening on September 23rd, 2023. This event is Free! Lunch will be provided by The San Diego Anglers. There will be live music, local vendors and much more. Natasha Hollingsworth will be MC of this wonderful event. Trout fishing starts at 6:00AM and is open to kids up to 15 years of age. We have AMAZING prizes for the Derby Raffle this year, which include boats and kayaks, bicycles, camping gear and more!


The Pub at Lake Cuyamaca is a wonderful restaurant that has been at our lake now for over a year! They have local specials, Happy Hour Thursdays and Taco Tuesdays! Stop by for a local pint of beer from Nickel Brewery which is fresh on tap every day.


Quotes and Jokes:

"Impossible is just a word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they've been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It's an opinion. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing." – Muhammad Ali

“A grasshopper walks into a bar. The bartender says, “Hey, we have a drink named after you!”. The grasshopper looks surprised and says, “You have a drink named Steve?!?!?!”

November 2, 2022


“Dusty Britches” here saying Howdy from Lake Cuyamaca along with “Peppermint Patty”, my nephews, ”Holy Britches” and “Dripping Britches”, and as always, “Fog Horn-Leg Horn”. We are still recovering here at the pond from the O.P. Ball Kid's “Fishin' in the Pines” Derby…… and also Hurricane Kay who hit us with sustained winds of over 100 m.p.h. Damage control and management is in full swing. “Peppermint Patty” and the girls in the bait and tackle shop are picking up the slack to make sure inventory is up to snuff and vacancies are being filled.

With the number of available rental units being bought up by Air-B&Bs it is hard to get help. Not only here at the Lake, but all over the Julian area. I know the PUB is experiencing some of those pains. One of our own employees now has to move due to rent hikes. He started at $700.00 a month to rent his place and now he is expected to pay $3,000.00 and, as a result must move…… what’s happening in wonderland? Times, they are a changing.

The O.P. Ball Kid's “Fishin' in the Pines” Derby was a huge success, with 537 or so registrants, 5,500 pounds of trout planted, a 10 foot by 10 foot “shoot em in the barrel” net set up at the end of the “T” dock for the young anglers filled to the brim with 750 pounds of fresh trout just waiting to be caught, 750 hot dogs (with chili, cheese, buns, and onions), 650 hamburgers with all the trimmings, chips, soda, and fish fillets (blue fin tuna, yellow fin tuna, yellow tail, wahoo, and dorado)….. some 200 pounds of it. The San Diego Anglers were responsible for a lot of the food and kept asking if we needed more….. they were very helpful in making the event a success. Natasha Hollingsworth did most of the organizing, getting sponsorships, and acquiring 102 raffle prizes, including a 16’ aluminum boat with outboard motor and trailer, as well as kayaks, float tubes, trophies for the different categories, and much, much more!


Thanks to Natasha and her family for supporting the event. She has been coming to Lake Cuyamaca since she was a toddler and she is older now and has a son of her own, Timmy, about the same age she was when her father, Tim, brought her up here.

Another thanks goes out to Chris Stanley who has supported us through the years. Chris, and his group come up each year to help set up, show the little kids how to catch a fish at the “shootin barrell” and anything we needed to have done……oh yeah, Chris provided the net and set up the delivery of 1,500 pounds of trout. So, “No sidewinding, bushwacking, hornswaggling, cracker croker is going to ruin my biscuit cutter !!!" We had a good time.


Did you know…..


Glass….. takes about a million years to decompose, which means it never wears out and can be recycled an infinite number of times.

Gold….. is the only metal that doesn’t rust, even if it is buried in thew ground for thousands of years.

Your tongue….. is the only muscle in the body that is only attached at one end.

A tooth….. is the only part of the human body that cannot heal itself.

Zero….. is the only number that cannot be represented by a Roman Numeral.

Kites….. were used during the Civil War to deliver letters and newspapers.

Peanut Oil….. is used for cooking in submarines because it doesn’t smoke at temperatures below 450 degrees.

The roar….. that we hear when we place a seashell next to our ear is not the ocean, but the blood surging through the veins in our ear.

In Ancient Greece….. tossing an apple to a girl was a traditional proposal of marriage. Catching it meant she accepted.

Intelligent people….. have more zinc and copper in their hair.

A Comet’s tail….. always points away from the sun.

Strawberries and Cashews….. are the only fruits whose seeds grow on the outside.

Everything….. weighs one per cent less at the equator.

The letter “J”….. is the only letter that doesn’t appear on the periodic chart.

While Fishing……. never spit into the wind.


With Halloween (All Hallows Eve) behind us and Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years around the corner….. be safe. “Dusty”



September, 2022




Wisdom from Dusty Britches

"Things Money Can’t Buy”

  1. Manners

  2. Morals

  3. Respect

  4. Character

  5. Common Sense

  6. Trust

  7. Patience

  8. Class

  9. Integrity

June 27, 2022

“Dusty Britches” here with “Peppermint Patty”, “Dodger Scott”, “Skid Mark”, and Slim. The fishing has changed from a trout bite to Channel Catfish, Blue Gill, and Crappie. 
The “summer solstice” has come and gone. In the northern hemisphere it occurred between June 20 and 22…..depending on where you are at the time. The “longest day of the year”. Now the daytime hours will slowly diminish. The weather has one word for it lately… Even the Lake water temperature is coming in at close to the mid-70”s. It’s hotter than a hooker’s doorknob on nickel-night…..not my comment …..Mark Twain. Some very nice channel cats coming in on fresh mackerel and the blue gill and crappie are being taken on trout teasers and fly lining night crawlers. The gut barrels don’t lie. 

The Pub is a pleasant addition to the Lake with sandwiches, my favorite is their pork belly sandwich……the “nickle pickle”burger is also a good pick. They also serve salads, chili, appetizers, and more. With cold refreshments on tap and a smiling hostess, how can you lose.


Lenny and Rosey are the rangers you’ll meet on the weekends over at Chambers Park, Bill at Lone Pine and  Jene, Scott, and Wally roving. On the dock you will meet Charlie, Tao, Frank. Wyatt and Forest are on another family vacation. The bait and tackle shop’s crew include Patty, Sarah, Rosi,  Ellie, JoEllen, and Barbara. Most of the folks here take care of a number of duties and responsibilities….so cudos to them.


Most of the goslings and ducklings made it through the perils of predatory birds and animals, so we have a good number of little ones hanging out……mostly in front of the boat house waiting for the next can of cracked corn to be tossed out at them. The starling nests are abound with little ones as well. The seasonal streams have stopped and become mud-holes which doesn’t keep my labs from frolicking in them, and soon after visit the vet for ear infections, and (for lack of a better term) bottom infections. Looking for infections on a dog sometimes is harder than trying to repair bald spots in your lawn. The more you look, the more you see. 

If you are in the area, and have the time, stop in and check us out. We have 800 square foot cabins with full amenities, full kitchens and full baths, our condos have kitchenettes and fireplaces. We are building 3 new tipis for the adventurous, and we also have tent camping, and R.V. camping available. If interested, go to our website and click on the reservation link. If you need to change or cancel your reservation, or are having trouble with the online reservation system, call (760)765-0515. Laura will take good care of you.

So long from a very comfortable air conditioned office.

“Tight Lines and Bent Rods”……..”Dusty Britches”.

“In the spring, I have encountered 126 different kinds of weather”……..”Mark Twain”. 

April 7, 2022

“Howdy !!” from Lake Cuyamaca….. This is “Dusty Britches” along with “Peppermint Patty”, “CT-3”, and “Slo-Bullets” listening to uncle “Snot Locker” Britches talk about signs along the roadways when he was young before the big highways came in to being. “Burma Shave” had some good ones like….”A man, a miss, a car, a curve, he kissed the miss, and missed the curve”. Or…..”Don’t stick your elbow out so far, it may go home in another car”, or “trains don’t wander all over the map because nobody sits in the engineer’s lap !”

Ole “Snot Locker” had some good ones! Like the story he told us about sliding down the banister at home to find it had splinters in it….

The fishing has picked up considerable with reported rainbow trout catches of up to 6.5 pounds! Limits coming out as the days lengthen and water warms….. and that was before our recent stocking of 1,000 pounds from Jess Ranch on April 7th. Not to be confused with the upcoming Western Outdoor News “Troutcast” tournament which will see some good action as we have an additional 4,000 pounds of Mt. Lassen trout to be planted before the April 23 fishing extravaganza! They have a different idea for prizes and awards this year.


The Lake will be closed for fishing from the 19th of April until tournament day.

Not to mention another fishing tournament for the young anglers on April 30th…..”Flippin Sticks and Rippin Lips” for ages 15 years and under. Natasha Hollingsworth is the organizer for this event.

The bass anglers are starting to show….rock hoppin has started. We are unable to get any catfish lately, but it will be interesting to see how well the panfish faired through winter when things warm up more……it looks pretty good so far. And if you come up, kill a carp…. fish for free, or camp for free**. I hear that Bohemian potato bread works wonders with them. Buy a loaf, bring it, mush some of it up into dough balls to fish with and make sandwiches with the rest.  

The winds are from the east as the Santa Ana’s grow strong up here and dry out the inland valleys.

The number of dogs going on walks in the early mornings with me has increased to 4 which provides more entertainment for me. More butt sniffing, grass eating, stick fetching, and K-9 farting. Something to be said about a dog’s passing of gas, no noise…..just an odor that permeates the air in all directions.

This morning was clear and windy. We watched as a local bald eagle was being chased by a very mad raven…..I wonder what the eagle did? One of the more amusing questions that we get is “When is a good time to take a picture of the bald eagle? and where?” or….when do they fly by? …….hmmmm….. that’s right up there with “Where can I catch fish?”

Things are waking up from a long winter’s nap….the deer are out, red winged black birds are here in force, the Canada geese are pairing up, turkey vultures are doing their thing, raccoons are stirring, skunks smelling, road kills happening in greater numbers, and those splats on the windshield isn’t rain.

We have a couple new employees, one is an ex-postal worker, and the other is 81 years old, no discrimination here. They wanted to stay anonymous, so I told Bill and JoEllen that their secret is safe with me…..

The restaurant is coming along swimmingly (I heard that somewhere) with the new kids on the block Tom and Tyson. Damn good food, and better service so come and check it out. The new brand for the restaurant is “The Pub” at Lake Cuyamaca. Smoked chicken wings for appetizers (or the Charcuterie board) followed by a ”Nickle Pickle” burger with garlic cheese fries is my favorite. To look at their menu, check out their web-site. They are now open for dinner on Friday and Saturday evenings too….. sometimes with live entertainment!

Well, I’m headin' on so, “Happy Trails” to you until we meet again.


“I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened”.  “Worrying is like paying a debt you don’t owe”……”Mark Twain”.


“Tight lines and Bent rods…..take a kid fishin”…..”Dusty Britches” .

** Kill a carp, show the tackle shop or a ranger, and you will receive a gift certificate for a future fishing permit or a future night of tent camping.



March 2, 2022


Dusty Britches here along with “The Commander” and “Rooster” just tryin to give an update on current events at the old mud hole. We stocked 2,500 pounds of rainbow trout February 9th because we want to make all your fishes come true. Ya know, it has to be impossible to grow weary of a sport that is never the same on any 2 days of the year.


This morning was awesome with just a whisp of a wind, what a change. We took the dogs for their morning walk …… which is a competition between them to see which one can eat the most goose poop along the way.


It has been rainy, snowy, and windy here lately, so the lake is stirred up with very little visibility. Some nice trout have been coming out, just not too many of them. The “gut barrell gods” never lie. That doesn’t stop the hearty anglers, though. You can see them huddled down low along the shoreline with a determination to catch a freshly planted rainbow trout.

There is a tall pine tree at the north end of the west parking lot that seems to be a favorite roosting spot for one of our bald eagles as he watches the shoreline below him intently….looking for a wayward trout to swim too close to the shore. It’s always a treat to see him swoop down and pluck a trout from the shallows. Our white pelicans are back. They can be spotted usually toward the south end of the lake….they kind of stick out like a sore thumb….and our cormorant population is coming back.


In the mornings the ice is slicker than snot on a door handle, so if you come up to visit, wait for it to warm up a little bit. It's what you get when you have a rain, a freeze, then a snow…..part of the life here around the pond.


Bobby Morgan, one of our rangers, came up with an all-in-fun good idea… name one of our trucks after another ranger……we’re going to call it Rosi, but I can’t tell you who the ranger is and you didn’t hear it from me……Bobby would be plumb pissed… would the ranger.


The new kids on the block would be Tom and Tyson…..our bookends who have taken over the restaurant which is now called simply “The Pub” at Lake Cuyamaca. Better and more plentiful food will be hard to find….and the service is the best!  Tom also has 12 craft brews on tap to taste. We have wrapped the outside deck around the entire south end of the building, replacing the old wood with Trex and a solid roof overhead to give shelter during rain, total shade from the sun, and provide protection from our prevailing westerly winds. You should try it out!


The bridge on the back of the island has been resurfaced, which is a great upgrade -  just in time for the Pirate's Cove 12 – 24 hour run this weekend. We will see cars come out of the woodwork for the event. In speaking with Jennifer, the run’s coordinator, she is expecting 121 registered runners to do a loop run, and the bridge is a vital portion of it. They congregate here to run a little and have fun…a little.

Well, my mouth, as a babbling brook , has turned into a rushing river again , so I’ll have to say “Happy Trails” to you…..until we meet again.




“Never argue with stupid people. They will drag you down to their level ……and beat you with experience”……Mark Twain  


“Tight lines and bent rods…..take a kid fishin”…….”Dusty Britches”

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