Family Activities, Fishing & Crabbing

Pardee Lake Fishing Review

Pardee Recreation Area features fishing, several day use areas, boat rentals, and hiking trails. I enjoy taking my kids to Pardee Lake because it is easy to catch Blue Gill from the shore. Below is my real life Pardee Lake Fishing Review.

Note, the lake is the center of EBMUD’s drinking supply, so body contact with the lake, personal water crafts, water skiing, and lake swimming are not permitted.

Note, you’ll want to review the California Department of Fish & Wildlife regulations for all updated rules. If you plan to cook and eat fish you catch, you should first conduct your own research regarding fish consumption guidelines and advisories.

Please keep in mind that links in my posts are affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you go through them to make a purchase, I will earn a commission. Earning commissions enables me to write, manage and maintain this free blog for readers like you.


Pardee lays in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range of Northern California and is just twelve miles southwest of Jackson. The facility is reachable from Highway 88 or Highway 12 and is near the Jackson Rancheria Casino. 

Admission, Parking & Bathrooms

Pardee Recreation Area charges a typical day use fee, a reasonable price in my opinion. Note, you’ll need bring your California fishing license and Pardee charges a fee for their own fishing license per an adult. So, keep that in mind.

Pardee Lake has several different paved parking lots near the shoreline, so you can drive to different areas of the lake and park, then carry your equipment to the shore line.

Based on what I’ve seen, Pardee Lake has portable bathrooms at all of the parking lots and in areas between parking lots, helpful when you have small kids. If you’re squeamish about using portable bathrooms, then use the toilet seat covers we use, see links below:

Toilet Seat Covers Disposable –

My Thoughts

It’s a beautiful area and they have picnic tables and benches throughout the park. I would still recommend bringing a beach tent and camping chairs in case you pick a spot on the shore that doesn’t have a picnic table or bench, we do.

I enjoy bringing my kids to this lake because it does not allow body contact with the lake, personal water crafts, water skiing, and lake swimming. The lake is less busy and more peaceful than lakes that allow body contact and personal water craft from my personal experience.

Also, we’ve found it easy to catch Blue Gill from the shore. We’ve tried several areas at the lake’s shoreline for fishing, but the area that has the fishing deck seems to be the best place for the kids to easily catch Blue Gill. On our last trip, my daughter almost caught what appeared to be a bass, but it got away just as we were going to lift it out of the water. We usually catch and release.


We use the small skinny red worms for bait and typically buy two containers (50 worms per container) at Big 5 Sporting Goods or Walmart since we have two adults and three kids fishing. We actually ran out of the red worms and went to the marina store, but they only had the large night crawlers, so we chopped those up into smaller pieces and it seemed to work fine. I found out later that my oldest daughter was baiting her hook with three or four worms at a time instead of 1 worm, which is the reason why we ran out of worms.


We used the bobber rig in the picture below and I’ve provided links to the specific equipment we used. I typically use 10-20 lb test line when fishing in lakes.

Bassdash 175 Pcs Octopus Offset Fishing Hooks –

AGOOL Fishing Swivels Tackle Kit –

Water Gremlin Removable Split Shot Super Pak –

Berkley Trilene Big Game Monofilament Fishing Line – (10-20 lb test line)

RESTCLOUD Fishing Landing Net with Telescoping Pole Handle – (Strong Stainless Steel, 48 inches)

Zebco 202KBK Spincast Reel –

Zebco 202 Reel and Fishing Rod Combo –

Hope you enjoyed my real life Pardee Lake Fishing Review. Happy fishing!

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