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2024 is Almost Here And The New 24 For 24 Program Begins 
The Lake Berryessa News Still Needs Your Support in 2024!

Thanks to those of you who donated in 2022 and 2023. We still need your support to continue our social media presence and publish the print version of the Lake Berryessa News in 2024. You'll notice a bit of inflation in my new request, as you've seen in all prices around you. I hope you'll stick with me despite the increase.

I challenge you to find any Lake Berryssa news anywhere. Hopefully the last few weeks of our intensive reporting about the latest Lake Berryessa issues will convince you of the truth of our motto, "Without The Lake Berryessa News there would be no Lake Berryessa News".

The Lake Berryessa News has been around in one form or another since the 1970s. You can download searchable PDF files of it from 2005 to the present at That web page also includes some very old fun-to-read editions from the 70s, 80s, and 90s.

The Lake Berryessa News regular email newsletter is read by about 500 people per issue. Our Facebook page has 32,700 Followers. My Nextdoor Berryessa posts regularly reach another 500 or so local residents. I distribute 1,000 copies of the print version on my 150 mile paper route every month from April to September. (Yes, many people do still read, and like, stories written on paper!)

If you love Lake Berryessa and the Lake Berryessa News in all its forms and want to support the Lake Berryessa Revitalization Program (Renaissance Lake Berryessa), please send a donation check of $24 (or more if you feel so inclined) made out to Peter Kilkus (not the Lake Berryessa News) and mail it to Peter Kilkus, 1515 Headlands Drive, Napa, CA 94558. You can stick crinkly old cash in an envelope with your information and send it to the same address. You can also use Venmo or Paypal if you wish. My Venmo account is under @Peter-Kilkus, Paypal is Member #2051. You can email me at (Note: Your donation is NOT tax deductible)

Your decision to support the Lake Berryessa News will show your vote of confidence in the future of the Lake Berryessa community. I’ll continue to do my best to keep you informed about every detail affecting Lake Berryessa.
Thanks, Peter


Will the Real Margaritaville Please Stand Up!

If you follow the Lake Berryessa News you will have seen several stories you will not find on any other news outlet anywhere - not even in Napa County. As I continue to point out, without The Lake Berryessa News, there would be no Lake Berryessa news.
With the withdrawal of Sun Outdoors from its plan to revitalize Steele Canyon Recreation Area, Spanish Flat Recreation Area, and Monticello Shores Recreation Area, Napa County reverted to the second Steele Canyon bidder in the last bid process, Camp Margaritaville Resorts. The real name of the bidder is not "Margaritaville". It is Camp Margaritaville Resorts which focuses on family camping and lodging, especially RV camping. Camp Margaritaville Resorts is a separate company from Margaritaville Resorts itself.
Unexpected opposition to the Camp Margaritaville Resort proposal arose at the Napa County Supervisors' meeting on November 7. There were no supporters of the Lake Berryessa Revitalization Program at this meeting because the item was on the consent agenda, and no one expected it to be removed for public comment. Even the county staff involved were not aware until just before the meeting that someone (still unknown) had removed the item from the consent agenda.
But, a bit surprisingly, several individuals were already organized to oppose the original bid proposal. Their opposition was based on misinformation and false assumptions bordering on scare tactics - focusing on the name Margaritaville, using it as a pejorative. But neither Camp Margarita Resorts, nor Margarita Resorts itself, is anything like what the project opponents tried to smear it as. It is not a wild party, heavy drinking, wet t-shirt kind of place like Cabo Wabo in Cabo San Lucas.
Another curiosity with the timing of the opponents' critiques is that attacks like this have not occurred against the recent proposals for the Sun Outdoors bid for Steele Canyon and Spanish Flat, the Pleasure Cove/Suntex bid for Berryessa Point, nor the Collective Retreats bid for Monticello Shores. Those bids were similar to the Camp Margaritaville bid. The opponents seem to have been reacting to the simple word "Margaritaville".
Having watched the meeting video more than once, I can affirm that Mr. Lederer, Ms. Sears, and the Camp Margaritaville representative Mr. Wilkens, did excellent jobs in answering all questions in detail, refuting every negative comment before they were made.
I recorded a closing statement at the meeting by Supervisor Pedroza completely contradicting the negative misinformation being spread by the naysayers. Supervisor Pedroza has consistently supported the Lake Berryessa community since he was first elected. I am hopeful that new Supervisor Cottrell will also be similarly supportive. Please watch it if you care about Lake Berryessa.
Supervisor Pedroza's statement is on YouTube:


The full Supervisors' Meeting (50 minutes) is on YouTube at:

The opponents are criticizing a two year old plan - even though that original plan is essentially moot. They are beating a dead horse with a stick. The actual plan is being redone now based on new financial and construction realities. At this time Camp Margaritaville Resort is assembling its consultants to do the initial feasibility work to develop an improved plan for the resort. As before it will be consistent with the Managing Partner Agreement  ( and the 2006 ROD which the BOR has renamed the VSP ROD (Victors Services Plan - Record of Decision) (
The proposed master developer and concessionaire will be lake Berryessa Partners LLC whose Manager is Tim Wilkens. Mr. Wilkens is a long time Napa County resident who has been to Lake Berryessa many time during the last 30 years. He has local resort development experience in Napa County as well as experience in other areas of California and overseas. I spoke with Mr. Wilkens personally, and believe the Camp Berryessa Resort process will lead to a family recreation-oriented, environmentally friendly resort that Napa County can add to its list of major recreation attractions. As Mr. Wilkens points out, "All elements of our resort will be ADA compliant as well as meeting the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standard for construction which is the world's most widely used green building rating system."
Some people raised the issue of the Napa County General Plan and its applicability to the Lake Berryessa Revitalization Program (Renaissance Lake Berryessa). Legally the General Plan has no jurisdiction over Lake Berryessa development since federal government owns the land on which the target resort redevelopment is occurring. But since the county signed a Managing Partner Agreement with the Bureau of Reclamation to take over management of the resorts at the lake and is now in charge of the future redevelopment of those resorts, the Napa General Plan should, and will, inform the planning for the new resorts. My conclusion is that the general plan does not conflict with nor contradict the Lake Berryssa Revitalization Program. It actually supports the resort planning goals.
My report on "Lake Berryessa and the Napa General Plan" is available at the following link:

Opponents of Lake Berryessa revitalization misuse the term "nature-based recreation". The Napa County General Plan defines Nature-Based Recreation as recreation which takes place in and around, and is significantly focused on, the natural environment, including but not limited to walking, hiking, equestrian and mountain bicycle riding, camping in tents, recreational vehicles, and rustic cabins, wildlife viewing, fishing, hunting, picnicking, swimming in lakes and rivers, and paddling.
The Lake Berryessa Revitalization Program includes nature-based recreation as a key goal in any resort redevelopment. All the bids received over the years, including recent ones from Sun Outdoors, Suntex Marinas (Pleasure Cove Marina), Camp Margaritaville Resorts, and Collective Retreats include strong commitments to environmental management and nature-based recreation. Lake Berryessa has always been a perfect destination for nature-based recreation and has been known as such for many years.
My report, "Nature-Based Recreation at Lake Berryessa" is available at:



Here's modest proposal (with apologies to Jonathan Swift). If people wish to participate in a discussion of the future of Lake Berryessa and its political and natural history, they need to read. One of my favorite sayings is, "I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you." Many people ask me about the history of the process that led to the present situation at Lake Berryessa. When I explain what happened most become incredulous and can't believe the government could have done something so stupid. "How could they have gotten away with that?" they exclaim. A good question!
When I start to explain they stop me and say, "Can you give me the 5-minute version?" The answer is no!
If you care, you must read. If you wish to participate in discussions on Facebook or Nextdoor, you must read. If you wish to make informed public statements at a Napa supervisors meeting, you must read!
You should read these books. This is not an advertisement; it is a recommendation. I make very little royalty on book sales. I wrote them to educate the public and to guarantee no one forgets the facts of what happened out here. If you read these books, you will become an expert on most Lake Berryessa issues.

 Policy and Politics Betray the People: The Lake Berryessa Saga: 1958 - 2020


Lake Berryessa Technical Manual: The Science, Engineering, History, and Humor of a Major Unnatural Resource


Nature-Based Recreation at Lake Berryessa
by Peter Kilkus

The Napa County General Plan defines Nature-Based Recreation as recreation which takes place in and around, and is significantly focused on, the natural environment, including but not limited to walking, hiking, equestrian and mountain bicycle riding, camping in tents, recreational vehicles, and rustic cabins, wildlife viewing, fishing, hunting, picnicking, swimming in lakes and rivers, and paddling.

Another general description of Nature Based Recreation is that people use natural areas to participate in activities such as walking, recreating with family and friends, sightseeing, picnicking, and viewing nature scenery, which are among the most popular outdoor recreation activities. 

The Lake Berryessa Revitalization Program includes nature-based recreation as a key goal in any resort redevelopment. All the bids received over the years, including recent ones from Sun Outdoors, Suntex Marinas (Pleasure Cove Marina), Camp Margaritaville Resorts, and Collective Retreats include strong commitments to environmental management and nature-based recreation.

Lake Berryessa has always been a perfect destination for nature-based recreation and has been known as such for many years. When I restarted the Lake Berryessa Chamber of Commerce in 2005, we promoted nature-based recreation as a main reason to visit the lake. Bekow is our 2007 brochure which was distributed widely in the Sacramento-Bay Area region.

The Bureau of Reclamation has promoted nature-based recreation at Lake Berryessa for many years. It has an excellent series of informative brochures available for download at:
which includes:

Photo Albums: Recreation, Scenery, Wildlife, Wild Flowers

Brochures: Bird Checklist, Fishing, Guide Snakes, Watchable Wildlife, Junior Ranger Activity Book


The best report ever written about Lake Berryessa's recreation potential, including nature-based recreation, is the Ragatz Report written in 2017 and available for download at the link below.

Lake Berryessa: An Untapped Resort Development Opportunity

Lake Berryessa itself, the five concession areas and the surrounding environs offer many unique and outstanding attributes, as discussed in the previous section – accessibility, size, extensive shoreline and surface area, beautiful scenery in a very natural setting, some of the best fishing in the state, large enough to offer both nature-based and motor-based activities without interference, and a wide array of family-oriented outdoor recreation opportunities.

The challenge and opportunity are to redevelop the five concession areas into resorts that more appropriately reflect the lifestyle of today’s participants in outdoor recreation – higher quality, more variety, greater convenience, more nature-based (but not forgetting the ever-popularity of motor boats and RVs), more family-oriented, etc. If more care is given to these important trends, Lake Berryessa has the opportunity to: (1) become a significant year-round destination for the almost 10 million people in the PMA (Primary Market Area); (2) significantly impact the economy of Napa County; (3) be profitable to appropriately selected concessionaires; and (4) do so while maintaining and enhancing the natural environment.

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Environmental Management at Lake Berryessa
by Peter Kilkus

Environmental Management has been a core requirement of every plan and bid prospectus for Lake Berryessa since the 1990s and before that in every plan proposed by the Bureau of Reclamation. I’ve been a strong (but rational) environmental quality proponent since I first read Rachel Carlson's 1962 classic book, Silent Spring. I was VP of Manufacturing and Quality Assurance at two cutting-edge digital communications companies in Novato and Petaluma. I led the successful registration of two of these companies to the ISO 9000 
international standards on quality management and quality assurance. As Mayor of San Anselmo I created our Quality of life Commission dedicated to improving the sustainability of all town activities.

Since I retired in 1998 I've focused my efforts on protecting and improving Lake Berryessa as a family recreation destination. When I restarted the Lake Berryessa Chamber of Commerce in 2005, we promoted nature-based recreation as a main reason to visit the lake. I wrote the Environmental Management Program responses for three of the resorts during the several Bureau of Reclamation bid processes. I also led the successful registration of Rancho Monticello Resort to the international ISO 14000 standard, which specify requirements for establishing an environmental management policy, determining environmental impacts of products or services, planning environmental objectives, implementing programs to meet objectives, and conducting corrective action and management review. This standard can be applied to outdoor recreation companies as well.

There are a lot of "I"s in the above paragraphs. I apologize.

The reason I wrote it is to guarantee that people understand my commitment to environmental requirements, quality assurance, and customer service. I am seriously annoyed by the local environmental exclusionists who seem to think they are the only ones who are experts in this field and use scare tactics and misinformation to try to undermine the Lake Berryessa Revitalization Program so important to the future of the Lake Berryessa community.

Below is a small part of the Environmental Management programs I wrote for Steele Park.

The best must-read report about Lake Berryessa's recreation potential (including "nature-based") is still the Ragatz Report:

The basic core documents are available for download at:


Environmental Policy, SP-002

Steele Park Resort’s Environmental Policy is to be a responsible corporate citizen in protecting the environment in which we operate. Our core purpose is to create innovative and enriching recreational experiences for the general public in a sustainable environment.

We are committed to reducing the environmental impact of our activities upon the land and water resources of Lake Berryessa under our stewardship. To that end, Steele Park Resort is in the process of implementing an Environmental Management System (EMS) that meets the requirements of ISO 14001, the recognized international standard for environmental management systems.
Our business decisions balance economic viability with ecological responsibility by making a corporate commitment to continual improvement of our Environmental Management System and to the prevention of pollution. We reduce and recycle waste, conserve energy and water, educate our guests and employees on environmental stewardship, and promote the environmental education programs of local government agencies and environmental groups.
We also commit to comply with applicable legal requirements and with other requirements appropriate to the environmental aspects of our operations. Our corporate goal is to meet or exceed those requirements where practicable using a formal process of continual improvement.

Our Environmental Policy provides the framework for setting and reviewing environmental objectives and targets which are developed through a documented analysis of our environmental aspects and impacts. Environmental objectives, targets, and supporting programs will be managed as the primary method for implementing the continual improvement of our EMS and will incorporate the input of our various stakeholders.
Our EMS is documented, implemented and maintained through policies and procedures defined in our corporate EMS Manual. This EMS Manual and its contents will be communicated to all persons working for or on behalf of Steele Park Resort, and will be available to the public. Senior management is committed to promoting and reviewing the Steele Park Resort Environmental Management System on a regular basis through program and process audit results reporting, with a formal Senior Management Review on an annual basis.



Please Send Your Letters of Support to the Napa County Supervisors

Attacks on the Napa County Lake Berryessa Revitalization Program

Oddly, attacks like this have not occurred against the recent proposals for the Sun Outdoors bid for Steele Canyon and Spanish Flat, the Pleasure Cove/Suntex bid for Berryessa Point, nor the Collective Retreats bid for Monticello Shores. Apparently, this virus was reawakened by the simple word "Margaritaville".
Our Napa supervisors need know the majority of people support Renaissance Lake Berryessa by sending them letters supporting it. Every letter or email to a supervisor or positive comment on the Lake Berryessa News Facebook page  (, Lake Berryessa Group Facebook page ( or Nextdoor Berryessa Highlands ( is like a vaccine shot to the Napa body politic.
Supervisors are most interested in serving their own constituents, but every message you send should be copied to all the other supervisors too. (Please also send a copy to the Lake Berryessa News at Lake Berryessa is too important to the whole of Napa County. See the informational web pages for each supervisor at the links published below.

Our two Lake Berryessa supervisors are Anne Cottrell (District 3 - north half of the lake) and : Alfredo Pedroza (District 4 - south half of the lake). (new supervisor)
The support of the other three supervisors is also very important. During the last few years all of the supervisors have been very supportive, voting unanimously for every proposal to support the lake renewal.

District 1: (new supervisor)
District 2:
District 5:

Some samples of excellent letters are copied below.
RoseAnn DeMoro: There were concerns expressed at a recent Board of Supervisors meeting on stopping the building of Camp Margaritaville Resort at the Steele Park Recreation Area, formerly Steele Park Resort. My husband and I are solid environmentalists. We worked very hard on the Bernie Sanders campaign nationally in part because he is a strong environmentalist.
It's always wonderful to think that nature needs to be maintained untouched. Lake Berryessa is a national treasure with 165 miles of shoreline, and incredible beauty and should be made available for all to enjoy. Thus, the question of the resorts which are coming to the lake after years of endless planning by Napa County and the Federal Government to balance environmental concerns, access and of course revenue to support and preserve our communities.
When I reviewed the background of other Margaritaville resorts, their record stands solid on the environment (RIP Jimmy Buffet). In fact, under the proposal of Margaritaville it looks like an opportunity to have a small footprint with people being given the opportunity to join in the nature we so love and covet here. The benefits for Napa and the local community are enormous, jobs with onsite housing! Recreation, dining and a place for kids and dogs (Bark-aritaville, lol.)
In terms of health and safety, this lake is on federal land and the federal government, as I understand it, wants this site developed in part because of the enormous amount of revenue it will generate for the county in Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) and concession fees that will help build fire stations and sheriff's stations. Those are critical issues to people.
I would loath high rises below our house. But this is a Camp Margaritaville. The proposed plan strikes me as smart and ecologically solid.
Yes, there will be more people; and there will also be great opportunities for people who are not able to hike the lake to enjoy the most beautiful lake in California but to have a place to camp, fish, dine, and play.
This community has been devastated by wildfire, following the 2020 wildfire started by lightning. The hardships that people have endured are unimaginable. Losing everything. And yet they worked diligently to rebuild the community. This is an amazing place. We are in the heart of nature, and I truly believe we can live with more people able to partake in the love and beauty.

Dee and Richard Eva: We have had a family home at 605 Putah Creek Drive in the Berryessa Pines subdivision since 1960. We’ve seen the heyday of Lake Berryessa where there were resorts overflowing with visitors whether camping, in mobile homes or campers, using the day use facilities or homeowners like us. We are devastated by what has happened to Lake Berryessa.


The Margaritaville plan sounds exciting to us because it’s a start at getting the lake back to what it should be - a vibrant, active recreation area for everyone. Sure, we love being the only boat on the lake. Who wouldn’t? But, the lake is so seriously underutilized that it’s a crime.

We hope Napa County can come to an agreement with the Margaritaville group to develop Steel Park and also look at developing either Rancho Monticello or Putah Creek, complete with gas docks, camping, RV or trailers, a restaurant and boat docks. As it is now, there is no gas dock at our end of the lake. Therefore, if we have a half a tank of gas in our boat and drive to Pleasure Cove to fill up the tank, by the time we get back, we still have about a half a tank of gas. So, we bring gas up with us or trailer our boats to the gas station in Angwin to fill them up. Towing the boat to Angwin is a 35+ minute drive.
There has to be a better way for those of us who live at the north end of the lake. Please don’t forget that we’re here. Our subdivision may be small, but there are still many Berryessa Pines homeowners who love being at the lake and need to have their service needs considered, too. We sincerely hope the County of Napa will be able to accomplish a working agreement with the Margaritaville group to start developing resorts at Lake Berryessa.



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Lots of Lots Available! 

Lake Berryessa: 

Circle Oaks: 


office:707-235-1124, fax:888-864-4133,, dre#:01302244

Build Your Lake Home Now!

**1140 & 1144 Steele Canyon Road - Lot 126 & 127 ~ APN#'s - 019-452-001 & 002 ~ Seller wants to sell both lots as one package. Both lots have the water/sewer assessment - see property tax bills for amounts. Lot 126 is 1144 Steele Canyon & is .3796 Lot 127 is 1140 Steele Canyon & is .3494 - $94K

**1122 Rimrock Road - APN#019-382-007-000 ~ Lot 146 ~ Approx. .2605 of an Acre ~ Views ~ $59,900

**253 & 259 Sugarloaf - APN# 019-322-004 lot #50 Approx. .53 of an Acre ~ APN# 019-322-003 lot #51 Approx. .37 of an Acre for a TOTAL of .9 of an Acre ~ Parcels to be SOLD TOGETHER! for $175K total (Spanish Flat Woodlands) - Water hook up paid for one parcel.

** 1013 Arroyo Lindo ~ $89,000 ~ 019-441-004 ~ Approx. .224 of an Acre ~ Mostly Flat then upslope

** 208 Manzanita Lane ~ $139,000 ~ APN#019-381-002 ~ Approx. .2466 of an Acre ~ Lake View ~ Downslope ~ Prior home was a 3Bedroom/2 Bath Approx. 1144 Sq. Ft. Single Story with a 1 Car Garage

** 1102 Arroyo Grande Drive - $48,999 ~ APN# 019-461-025-000 ~ Approx. .32 of an Acre ~ Flat then upslope - end of a cul de sac - backs up to open space on 2 sides. Private

** 814 Bahia Vista Court ~ $79,000 ~ APN# 019-451-004 ~ Approx. .32 of an Acre ~ Lake View, flat then downslope ~

** 1014 Arroyo Linda Court ~ $49,000 ~ APN# 019-441-017 ~ Approx. .2123 of an Acre ~ Flat then downslope.

**1057 Arroyo Grande Dr. ~ $185,000 ~ APN# 019-462-028 ~ Approx. .5397 of an Acre ! This parcel had 2 homes - 2 foundations/decorative retaining wall and services remain.

** 1121 Steele Canyon ` $48K APN# 019-442-004 - flat then downslope Approx. .31 of an Acre

**1119 Headlands Drive - $95K APN# 019-501-004 ` mostly flat - views. Approx. .27 of a Acre -

**1032 Eastridge - $140,000 - APN# 019-494-003 - flat then downslope, lake views, Approx. .31 of an Acre - Temp power connected - landscaped patio and partial fencing

**1131 Headlands - $90,000 APN#019-501-007 - mostly level - lake views, approx. .33 of an acre - driveway, fountains, patios, remain


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This Book Is Fun To Read!

Thanks to all of you who have bought my new book. I hope you like it. If you have a minute could you please go to the Amazon page for my book, scroll down to the Customer Review section and give it some stars and a good review. I would appreciate it since 5 stars and a good review really help sales.

Although it is not a real moneymaker for me, I would like to sell as many copies as I can so that I don't have to keep answering the same questions over and over on my Lake Berryessa News Facebook page (, the Lake Berryessa Facebook group ( and other emails. Thanks.

Lake Berryessa Technical Manual - $20

Lake Berryessa Political History - $15

Get both for $30

For a signed copy of either or both:

Send $20 plus $3.65 shipping for the the Technical Manual, or

$15 plus $3.65 shipping for the Political History, or

$30 plus $4.25 shipping for both

with your name and mailing address to:

Peter Kilkus
1515 Headlands Drive
Napa, CA 94558


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Policy and Politics Betray the People: The Lake Berryessa Saga: 1958 - 2020

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The KPIX Eye on the Bay interview below is one I did in 2010 and a relevant introduction to the substance of the book. 
I did it after Pensus had been given the contract for 5 resorts. As we all know Pensus was subsequently kicked out in 2012.

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Lake Berryessa Data Sources

There are many sources of Lake Berryessa water and weather conditions available. The Solano County Water Agency site is good for real-time graphs of level, capacity, and water temperature. The California Data Exchange Center has data going back decades for level, capacity, capacity change, dam outflow, dam inflow, and rainfall. Anyone can research their own data and create custom charts. This is the source of many of the charts on the Lake Berryessa News website.

An upgraded wildfire alert camera system will be keeping watch on Napa County day and night and notifying Cal Fire crews of potential fires. Twenty cameras will be part of a system that will use artificial intelligence and other technologies to identify fire and smoke. If they detect something, an alert will sound in the Cal Fire emergency command center near St. Helena.

Cal Fire has made a large investment into the ALERTCalifornia system, partnering with UC San Diego. There are 1,000 cameras across the state and Napa County is one of the test models.
Cameras can see 60 miles during the day, and this can increase to 120 miles on clear nights, with the changes in the air. The system can differentiate among smoke, clouds and dust. A link to this camera system and other relevant weather data is available on the Lake Berryessa News website at:

This website was created by Doug Kunst. It is an amazing resource for Lake Berryessa fire cameras and weather. His business website is

Lake Berryessa Fire Alert Cameras


 Real-Time Lake Level, Lake Capacity, Water Temperature
Solano County Water Agency
Lake Detailed Historical Data
California Data Exchange Center
Research historical data and create custom plots
Lake Berryessa Code: BER
Local Weather Stations (Weather Underground Network)
Berryessa Highlands (Somewhere in the Berryessa Highlands)
Berryessa Highlands - KCANAPA20
Skiers Cove (Below the Berryessa Highlands)
Skier Cove - KCANAPA228
East Side Road (Across from Big Island)
East Side Road, Lake Berryessa - KCALAKEB2
Spanish Flat (Near the Spanish Flat Recreation Area)


New Fishing Website

WHO WE ARE is here to make fishing more accessible. When you walk into a pro shop and see everyone looking at gear as if they’ve been doing this every day for 20 years, it’s intimidating. It’s hard to go up and ask someone for a recommendation or advice. We want to take away this fear and intimidation and help people get into the sport.