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Eastman Lake

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General Information

Eastman Lake is the result of the Buchanan Dam on the Chowchilla River
Copyright: - US Army Corps of Engineers
Eastman Lake is the result of the Buchanan Dam on the Chowchilla River
Description - Eastman Lake is nestled in the Sierra Nevada foothills surrounded by grasslands and blue oaks. At maximum capacity, the lake has 1,780 surface acres and holds 150,000-acre feet of water. The lake was created by the construction of Buchanan Dam on the Chowchilla River. The dam is an earth and rockfill structure 205 feet high and 1,800 feet in length. At 600 feet elevation, summers are warm and the winters mild, allowing for year-round recreation. Built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for flood control, irrigation and recreation, the lake is a popular destination for visitors of all ages.

Attractions - A good place to acquaint oneself with the area is by stopping at the visitor center, open Saturday and Sunday from 10 AM to 3 PM.

The Codorniz Campground has 65 sites and is open all year. Three group camping areas in the Codorniz Recreation Area are available by reservation. Equestrian groups and nonprofit organizations may also reserve the group equestrian area.

Launch ramps are located in the Chowchilla and Codorniz recreation areas. Eastman Lake has been designated as California's first Trophy Bass Fishery by the California Department of Fish and Game. Whether you are a beginner or an old pro, the lake offers a challenging fishing opportunity.

The Chowchilla area provides for a variety of recreation activities including picnicking, fishing, swimming, hiking, volleyball, and horseshoe toss. The Monument Ridge area has a softball diamond, picnic tables and portable restrooms. For current trail information, contact the park office.

Recreation - Eastman Lake offers a wide spectrum of land and water sports. Boaters, campers, picnickers, trail blazers and those who just wish to relax amid scenic beauty find Eastman Lake the ideal destination.Hunting is permitted in the wildlife management area in accordance with California Hunting Regulations. Game may be taken with shotguns or bow.

Equestrians, hikers, and mountain bikers enjoy the trails at Eastman Lake.

Climate - Weather conditions around Eastman Lake vary with elevation and exposure. Precipitation falls mainly from October through April. Winter temperatures well below freezing and summer temperatures above 100 degrees indicate the normal seasonal spread. Clouds can build up during the summer to produce thunderstorm activity. Layered clothing and rain gear is advisable.

Location - Eastman Lake is located in central California; the entrance to the park is 23 miles northeast of Chowchilla.

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
Add your own trip Report! Newly re-released feature. One of the most popular features on Wildernet, trip reports allow you to share your experiences with others. This is an invaluable resource for determining what to expect on your outdoor adventure, so please participate! To prevent spamming, you must be a registered user of Wildernet in order to submit a trip report

Filed By: not so happy camper
Number of People Encountered: 25-50 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Not Recommended
Report: Came in on a Fri night, after traveling to get there and setting up, having dinner and smores we were ready for bed but got NO SLEEP due to the NOISE til 4AM. The party started all over again Sat am and lasted ALL DAY long. Total lack of respect for the other campers in the area!! No privacy in the shower, bombarded with kids in and out of the bathroom....teenage boys included!!! Was called a "racist" for stating the obvious about how obnoxious things were and then everything escalated from there!! I was expecting to have a nice relaxing, QUIET, peaceful mini vacation for the July 4th celebration and instead got everything EXCEPT that!! Needless to say we left that night so were there a total of 24 hrs and was to be there til Monday!! I will NEVER go back nor would I recommend this campground to ANYONE!! I have camped all over the US and NEVER encountered anything like this!!

Filed By: jason boudreaux (turlock, CA)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: rough road getting out there, buts its worth it. as night falls head toward the dam!! throw sum dark trick worms and hold on. facing the dam head right! excellent structure the hole way back to the boat ramp

Filed By: bass fisherman (fresno, ca)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: my biggest reward was getting 12 fish. 4 over 5 five pounds, and one 7 pounder. It is easy to find and a great spot if you want to fish or just sight see.

Filed By: Jesse PEREZ (MADERA, CA)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: biggest reward was seening my two boys catch a four lb. and five lb. bass and myself a five and an eight lb. bass.

Filed By: Jesse PEREZ (MADERA, CA)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly

Filed By: Mark B ernard (Los Banos, CA)
Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Neutral
Report: Easy to find with our neighbor's directions. This SITE could help by responding to e-mail. The road's a bit rough getting there. Very dry (and VERY low water level) in August. We'll try again next year, when hopefully the water will not be the color and consistency of thin pea soup. It WAS warm, and the trade off for San Luis, where we usually go, was ALMOST worth it. It's a small lake, but the popularity seems to keep it from being crowded. If you are going for a 'day trip' however, pack a lunch and eat on the boat. The biting flies are too heavy to bother trying to set up food and BBQ'ing, so we skipped it and drove our hungry crew home as fast as we could. We hope for a better experience early next season.

More Information

Contact Information:
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Eastman Lake, P.O. Box 67 , Raymond, CA, 93653-0067, Phone: 559-689-3255, Fax: 559-689-3408
, eastman-info@spk.usace.army.mil

Additional Information:
California Lakes and Reservoirs - The lakes and reservoirs described here range from huge reservoirs to small mountain lakes. The lakes are often part of large recreation areas, National Forests or State Parks.
Central Valley Region - California's breadbasket, the great Central Valley, stretches for 450 miles down the center of the state, from Willows to Bakersfield. This region includes culturally diverse communities, historic sites, exceptional outdoor recreation, abundant wildlife and the California Delta.
Gold Country Region - The Gold Country Region lies in the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada. With its remnants of the gold rush era, pastoral towns, Sierra foothills, recreational and cultural activities, this region is filled with opportunities.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - Official agency website.


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