Lake Camanche, California, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - West - California - Gold Country -

Also known as:  Camanche Reservoir

Lake Camanche is situated on the border of Calaveras and Amador Counties in California’s Gold Country tourism region. These two counties played influential roles in the infamous gold rushes of the 1800s. The municipality of Camanche originally went by the name ‘Limerick’ and then by ‘Clay’s Bar’ before finally, in 1849, was designated ‘Camanche’ (after a town in Iowa). Interestingly, this town was completely flooded by the East Bay Municipal Utility District in 1962 in order to create today’s Camanche Lake. Many buildings and artifacts survived, creating a veritable underwater ghost town just perfect for scuba diving exploration.

With a surface area of 7,770 acres and a maximum depth of 150 feet, Lake Camanche has plenty of room for boat lovers to spread out. Also known as the Camanche Reservoir, the body of water features a 417,120-acre-foot capacity. A power plant, capable of generating 40 million kilowatt hours of electricity each year, was built on site in 1983.

Swimming and sunbathing along Lake Camanche’s 53 miles of shoreline, or golfing at one of the nearby country clubs can be wonderfully relaxing. The Camanche Recreation Area is divided into two parts: the North Shore and the South Shore. Between October and June each year, the entire reservoir is stocked with 80,000 pounds of trout. Fishing for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, catfish, bluegill and crappie is also possible – but anglers should note that as of June, 2009, the use of live bait is no longer allowed. Real estate and vacation rentals are available.

Wake boarding, wind surfing and water skiing are other popular Lake Camanche pastimes, however boats must obey the five mile per hour speed limit. Hiking the reservoir’s two trails leads to priceless wildlife watching opportunities. Facilities include marinas with eight-lane launches, boat storage areas, and a general store. Camping is permitted year round, with RV hookups on the south shore. Amenities like barbeques, showers, hot water, picnic areas, playgrounds and restrooms are accessible.

Roughly 10 miles upstream from Lake Camanche sits the Pardee Dam and Reservoir. Fed by the Mokelumne River, both serve as storage areas for irrigation waters. However, Lake Pardee also stores drinking water, and as a result sports and activities requiring human body-water contact are strictly prohibited. Fortunately, fishing is allowed – local species include rainbow trout, kokanee, black bass, catfish, crappie and sunfish. Southeast of the Camanche Reservoir also lies the Wrinkle Cove Day Use Area, Oak Knoll Recreation Area and Acorn Recreation Area – all clustered around New Hogan Lake.

East of Lake Camanche you’ll find Yosemite National Park, the renowned home belonging to one of America’s favorite cartoons of all time: Yogi the Bear. Before Europeans immigrated here, the Ahwahneechee tribe inhabited the region. Settlers came in the mid-1800s, and populations increased exponentially with the addition of the Yosemite Valley Railroad in 1907. Today, roughly 3.5 million people tour the park annually. Historic gold mines, rock formations, and some of the highest waterfalls on the planet are just a few must-see sights. Adrenaline seekers can’t resist heart-pounding activities like mountain biking, backpacking and rock climbing. Skiing, snowboarding, and ice skating can be enjoyed during the winter at the Badger Pass Ski Area. Wildlife watching is unparalleled along the park’s 800 miles of trails – home to numerous state endangered animals such as the wolverine and the Sierra Nevada Red Fox.

Lake Camanche is the perfect place for a vacation rental or summer home. Families, couples, and solo travelers alike could spend a lifetime here and never fully explore the diverse parks and preserves nearby – from Tahoe National Forest to King’s Canyon and Sequoia National Parks. Watching the sun set at the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains is an unforgettable memory that every nature lover deserves to savor at least once in a lifetime.

Things to do at Lake Camanche

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Water Skiing
  • Wakeboarding
  • Wind Surfing
  • Scuba Diving
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Ice Skating
  • Rock Climbing
  • Biking
  • Snowboarding
  • Waterfall
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • National Park
  • National Forest
  • Playground

Fish species found at Lake Camanche

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Kokanee Salmon
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Sunfish
  • Trout

Lake Camanche Photo Gallery

    Lake Camanche Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

    Water Level Control: East Bay Municipal Utility District

    Surface Area: 7,770 acres

    Shoreline Length: 53 miles

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 220 feet

    Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 0 feet

    Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 235 feet

    Maximum Depth: 150 feet

    Water Volume: 417,120 acre-feet

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    Trophic State | LakeLubbers

    Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

    An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

    A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

    A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

    The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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    Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

    This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

    Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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    Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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    Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

    Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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    Completion Year | LakeLubbers

    This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

    The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

    You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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    Water Volume | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

    You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

    Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

    1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

    The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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    Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

    You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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    Average Depth | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

    Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

    Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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    Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

    This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

    At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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    Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

    This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

    Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

    When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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    Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

    This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

    You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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    Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

    This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

    A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

    When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

    You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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    Surface Area | LakeLubbers

    This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

    The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

    You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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    Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

    This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

    Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

    "Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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    Lake Type | LakeLubbers

    There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

    - A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

    - A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

    - A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

    "Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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