Photo of Don Pedro Lake, CA

Don Pedro Lake

Load the fishing rods and the water skis into the boat and head for Don Pedro Lake. Everyone finds excitement at Don Pedro. Houseboaters cruise the channels, anglers fish from shore and boat, water skiers and wakeboarders carve the glassy lake surface, and campers relax in the shade at their shoreline campsites.

Don Pedro Lake is owned by the Turlock and Modesto irrigation districts. Recreation at the lake is under the direction of the Don Pedro Recreation Agency. The sprawling reservoir is fed by the Tuolumne River. Situated just a few miles south of Sonora, Don Pedro Lake is less than 4 miles from New Melones Lake and less than 2 miles from Lake McClure. The winding channel of Pedro is so long that a boater starting at the dam could cruise more than 20 miles up the main arm.

Don Pedro Lake 2018 Fees

For complete list of fees, see Don Pedro Lake Schedule of Fees


Don Pedro Lake has room for all kinds of boaters. Houseboats have miles of shoreline to cruise, while water skiers can spread out across more than a dozen large bays and inlets. Personal watercraft, sailboats, fishing boats, kayaks, and canoes can be seen scattered up and down the snaking channels. Warm summer water make Pedro a favorite destination for water sports enthusiasts. Even when water levels drop, the lake is so deep that it hardly affects the boating.


Don Pedro Lake has two marinas, one near the dam at the southwestern end of the lake and another at Moccasin Point at the northeastern end. They both are full service marinas with boat rentals, but the Lake Don Pedro Marina near the dam offers the greatest variety of rentals. Three launch multi-lane launch ramps provide easy access to the water.


Don Pedro Lake draws fishermen looking for lots of action and the chance of landing a trophy fish. Many bass tournaments are held there with amazing results. Kokanee salmon, rainbow trout, and brown trout are another popular target of anglers. The usual catfish, bluegills, and crappies are also found in the lake. Fifteen or seventeen-foot fishing boats can be rented from either marina.


There are three major campground areas located on Don Pedro Lake, one at Moccasin Point and two more near the dam. They are all operated by the Don Pedro Recreation Agency, so prices and amenities are pretty much the same. Two of the campgrounds have full hook-ups for RVs and the other offers water and electricity. One of the best things about Don Pedro Lake is that shoreline camping is allowed almost anywhere around the lake. Don Pedro Lake.


There is no lodging at Don Pedro Lake other than a few vacation homes for rent. Most of the resorts which offer cabins or yurts are found around Groveland, 10 steep, winding miles to the east. Other lodging can be obtained 25 miles away in Jamestown and Sonora or down in the valley around Modesto.


Don Pedro Lake is set in a canyon formed by the Tuolumne River. The lake snakes around with narrows separating larger bays and many side-inlets leading off from the main channel. Two dramatic bridges span upper sections of the lake. Oak covered hills rise from nearly every side of the lake.

Nearby Communities

The closest town to Don Pedro Lake is the little community of La Grange with a population of several hundred. From the lower end of the lake the city of Modesto is only 36 miles away. Twenty-five miles to the north is Sonora, which offers everything from movie theaters to big box stores. From Moccasin Point the picturesque town of Groveland is only 10 miles away, but the road is steep and windy. Some people save time by using the shorter, but very steep and narrow, Priest Grade Road (not recommended for trailers or RVs). Only a short distance to the west is the grand city of Stockton.

Stockton is home to beautiful shaded parks, professional sports, the Stockton waterfront, art and music, and the University of the Pacific and Delta College. Discover it all on our sister website
Stockton Treasures.


Don Pedro Lake Facts
Lake Size: 13,000 surface acres
Maximum Depth: 400 feet
Length: 22 miles
Shoreline: 160 miles
Original Dam Construction: 1923
New Dam Construction: 1967-1971
Maximum Lake Elevation: 830 feet
Average High Air Temperatures
  spring: 75 degrees
  summer: 94 degrees
  fall: 84 degrees
  winter: 54 degrees
Summer Surface Water Temperature: 80 degrees


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Recreation around Don Pedro Lake

Don Pedro Lake is close to a number of attractions worthy of a day-long outing.


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