YOU CAN HAVE LEWISTON ALL TO YOURSELF
(dated July 25, 2001)
Bee Staff Writer Gary Voet is traveling through Northern California in search of the best destinations for lake lovers. This week, he spotlights Lewiston Lake.
The water is cold and the fish are big, and there usually are plenty of both. Yet Lewiston Lake, nestled just below Trinity Lake and the feeder to the Trinity River, is normally not crowded. Not even close.
close-up image of Sacramento Bee article
The main reason is Highway 299. The winding, two-lane road out of Redding will test your nerves on some of the hairpin turns. As one local put it, "It's a damper on our business, but it enhances the privacy on the lake."
Even in drought years, Lewiston Lake will not fluctuate more than 18 inches. And because the water comes from the bottom of Trinity Lake, the temperature is always 50 degrees.
Lewiston Lake serves as a buffer between Trinity Lake and the Trinity River. When water is released from Trinity Lake to prevent the Trinity River from rising 3 to 5 feet, Lewiston Lake absorbs the release.
Fishing is generally good, and a combination stocking program from the Department of Fish and Game and plants from those who own the marina and resort greatly enhance the fishing. Last week, a plant involved 1,000 rainbow trout, all in the 4-12-pound range.
The constant water level and clarity, the surrounding small mountains with the massive Trinity Alps in the backdrop and the usually consistent fishing make Lewiston Lake one of the prettiest all-season lakes around.
Fishing – Rainbow trout and the Eagle Lake trout strain are the headliners. There is a smattering of largemouth and smallmouth bass and some brown and brook trout, but rainbow and Eagle Lake trout are the ones most fishermen seek.
The most popular spot to catch the bigger Eagle Lake trout is at the base of Trinity Dam where the water enters Lewiston Lake. Float-tubers who fly-fish have a field day at this shallow lake – it is 70 feet deep where the lake ends and enters the Trinity River, but most of the lake is 10 feet or less.
Other activities – You can swim, but because the water is so cold, that option isn't often exercised. The posted speed limit on the lake is 10 mph, so that rules out water skiing. Wind usually comes up in the afternoon, so sailing, although it has yet to catch on, is a viable option.
Accommodations – United States Forest Service campgrounds, four units, are on the edge of the lake, all on a first-come, first-served basis. All have a maximum stay of 14 days. Mary Smith campground has 18 tent campsites, all with running water. The fee is $9 per night. Ackerman campground has 66 sites, all of which can accommodate RVs up to 40 feet in length. The fee is $10 a night ($5 November through March). There is also a sanitary disposal station ($3 fee). Cooper's Gulch ($10 a night) has five units and can accommodate trailers up to 16 feet. Tunnel Rock is $5 a night (no water), and the six sites can accommodate trailers up to 15 feet. For information, call (530) 623-2121.
For cabins, Lakeview Terrace offers ideal accommodations for the family on a budget. All cabins have kitchens, complete with refrigerator, stove and cooking and eating utensils, and a barbeque. A heated swimming pool is also available. Costs range from $60 a night for a cabin for two to $120 a night for a cabin that will sleep nine. Weekly rates are also available. A one-bedroom that sleeps two is $378 a week, while a five-bedroom costs $756 a week. For information, call (530) 778-3803.
An RV park also can be found at Lakeview Terrace. There are seven sites for RVs 24 feet and longer ($21 a night) and six sites for RVs shorter than 24 feet ($18 a night). There is an RV building complete with bathrooms, showers and laundry facilities.
Rental boats are available through Lakeview Terrace and Pine Cove Marina at (530) 778-3770.
Specifics and Location – Lewiston is five miles long, from the base of Trinity Dam to its own dam near the town of Lewiston. The widest portion of the lake is less than one-half mile.
It is 36 miles northwest of Redding off Highway 299. To reach Lewiston Lake, take Interstate 5 north to Redding and then Highway 299 West toward Weaverville. Take the Lewiston-Trinity Center turnoff (Trinity Dam Boulevard) and go 10 miles to Lewiston Lake.