Paradise Lake

Paradise Lake is located just above Paradise, Ca, and is a PGE reservoir, as well as the main source of drinking water for the town of Paradise. It is very easy to access as it is only a few miles from Paradise, and Magalia, being half way between the two. There are two entrances off of Coutolenc Rd, both having boat launches and parking, and a third boat launch that can be accessed from the second entrance. I recommend taking the second entrance if you are looking for a less populated space, and better fishing. However, if you are interested in a more family friendly location, the first parking spot does have picnic tables and more room for activities. All parking costs $3 for autos, and there is a $10 fee for use of the boat launch. Although I find it strange, even simply carrying a kayak down and entering from the ramp, constitutes a $10 fee, as I learned on this last trip. But if you ask me, it’s money well spent!

Incorporated in 1979, Paradise is a beautiful town spread among the pines in the Sierra Nevada foothills, at about 1800 ft elevation.  The history goes back to the mid to late 1800s, when the Butte County Railroad serviced mines and mills around the area. [1]  Paradise Lake offers many different outdoor activities such as, hiking, fishing, biking, and kayaking.  While motorized boats are not allowed on the lake, electric trolling motors are okay, as well as kayaks, aluminum boats, etc.

This trip to the lake, I decided to try out my new kayak that I purchased from Wal-Mart for about $150.  It is a beginner type kayak, and has a weight capacity of 250lbs.  It comes with oars and everything.  I was looking to get something that was inexpensive for my first kayak, but that would also be durable, and I have to say that the Sundolphin does the trick, although it is not the most comfortable seat, to say the least (being that there is no seat…just plastic.)

Here is a map from


A few years ago, I caught the biggest rainbow trout in my life!  It was a monster!  It took all my strength and stamina to hold on and reel it in, while it jumped and splashed.  Okay, maybe it didn’t take all my strength, but it did put up quite the fight.  And right as I pulled it out of the water, it rolled and snapped my line, falling onto the shore bank, and tumbled into shallows.  Not willing to lose such a mammoth catch, I slid down the bank and snatched the fish, which was trying to gather its wits about it and swim back to the deeper water.  I ended up feeding myself and four others that night!

Additional information.

Durham, David L. (1998). California’s Geographic Names: A Gazetteer of Historic and Modern Names of the State. Clovis, Calif.: Word Dancer Press. p. 290. ISBN 1-884995-14-4.