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San Luis Reservoir

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San Luis Reservoir is a Reservoir in Merced, California.

Have you fished San Luis Reservoir? Help your fellow anglers out by giving a fishing report, some fishing tips or general information about San Luis Reservoir.

Do you have a question about San Luis Reservoir, ask it here.

San Luis Reservoir, located 12 miles west of the city of Los Banos near the historic Pacheco Pass, is part of the San Luis Joint-Use Complex, which serves the State Water Project and the federal Central Valley Project. Its recreational reservoirs include O'Neill Forebay, San Luis Reservoir, and Los Banos Reservoir.

Fishing Description: 

Trophy-size striped bass have been caught in the forebay. Many of the fish in San Luis Reservoir and O'Neill Forebay arrive through the California Aqueduct. Trout, crappie, bluegill, black bass, and catfish have been planted in Los Banos Reservoir. Even tiny Los Banos Reservoir, with only 620 surface acreas, offers great fishing.

Fishing Tips, Tactics, How-To info: 

San Luis Reservoir/O’Neill Forebay—
Fishing experts suggest trolling with lures from fall through early spring, and with anchovies or shad and live minnows the rest of the year. Largemouth black bass, striped bass, crappies, bluegill, shad, perch and occasional salmon and sturgeon are caught here.

Overnight fishing is permitted in some parts of the San Luis Creek area (no camping). In the Medeiros area only
registered campers may fish all night. Call for details.

Los Baños Creek Reservoir
Crappies,bluegill, largemouth bass, catfish and planted trout are caught in this reservoir.

Recreational Activities: 

Sail and power boating, wind surfing, fishing, swimming, hunting, hiking, bicycling, jet skiing, water skiing, camping, picnicking,


San Luis Reservoir State Recreation Area has four campgrounds: Basalt, San Luis Creek, Medeiros, and Los Banos Creek. All campgrounds are open year round.

Boat Ramp: 

O’Neill Forebay
The only boat ramp on the O’Neill Forebay is at the San Luis Creek area. All boat traffic on the O’Neill Forebay shall move in a counterclockwise direction around the special marker buoys in the center of the lake. Extreme shallow areas exist along the entire southern shoreline, the Catfish Flats area, and the Mud Flats area. Boats are prohibited at North Beach. Certain areas of O’Neill Forebay have speed restrictions.

San Luis Reservoir
Boaters can launch at Dinosaur Point and the Basalt boat ramps. Extreme shallow areas and other hazards exist, especially during water drawdown. Certain areas of San Luis Reservoir have speed restrictions. All boats must remain at least 500 feet from the dam and intake structure.

Los Banos Creek Reservoir
A 5 mph speed limit is in effect on the entire Los Banos Creek Reservoir year round. Boats can be beached overnight, although boating is prohibited after sunset. Boaters should be aware of shallow areas and other lake hazards. Boaters should also be aware of swimmers near the boat ramp and the campground areas. Los Banos Creek is subject to winter/road closures because of water release from the reservoir.


San Luis Reservoir State Recreation Area consists of three lakes: San Luis Reservoir, O’Neill Forebay, and Los Banos Creek Reservoir. Each lake is susceptible to sudden changes in wind and weather conditions. Wind warning lights are used on San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay to alert boaters of the current wind conditions. On San Luis Reservoir, watch for the 3 wind warning lights near the Basalt entrance station, Quien Sabe Point, and Romero Visitor Center. On the O’Neill Forebay, wind warning lights are located near the old Medeiros boat ramp and above the South Beach area.

Wind Velocity Condition Light Color
Below 15 mph Okay All lights off
15 to 29 mph Use caution Amber
Over 30 mph Closed to boating Red

Current wind conditions can be retrieved by calling 1-800-805-4805.

Boaters should also be aware of the lake hazards during water drawdown on O’Neill Forebay and San Luis Reservoir.

Boating hours are from sunrise until sunset. All boats must be off the lake and out of the closed day-use areas by sunset.


The San Luis State Recreation Area is administered by California State Parks. The Parks office is located at 31426 Gonzaga Road, Gustine, CA 95322, (209) 826-1197. The Romero Visitors Center is open daily except, until further notice, the center is closed on Wednesdays and Thursdays. The center is also closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day. For more information, call (209) 827-5353. Free admission.


31426 Gonzaga Road
Gustine, CA 95322

Directions to Lake: 

On Highway 152, 7 miles West of I-5, or 33 miles East of Highway 101 from Gilroy.

San Luis Reservoir
Waterbody type: 
United States
Standard elevation: