Lake Hodges re-opens for season and more

Lake Hodges Dam, 2003 overflow/Ben Sever

Lake Hodges is back in business, baby, re-opening this week for the 2020 season and getting a makeover cleaning to boot.

The 1,234-acre reservoir just has been closed since November, but the serene paradise — home to grebes, fishermen/women, and just plain lovers of lovely landscapes and hiking —  is opening its gates to let the good times roll.

The lake’s shoreline stretches for 27 miles, surrounding a pristine body of water that sinks as low as 115 feet deep.

The park just south of Escondido at Del Dios is open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Lake Hodges has six barbecues and 12 picnic tables, perfect for the whole family to enjoy.

Leashed dogs are allowed at Lake Hodges, the city said.

A wide range of water activities are allowed at the park, including fishing, boating, canoeing, tubing, and paddleboarding.

There is no swimming or camping allowed at the reservoir. To learn more about the rules and opportunities at Lake Hodges, click here.

Lake Hodges supplies water to the San Dieguito Water District and Santa Fe Irrigation District, according to its website. The park itself doesn’t have a drinking fountain, so the city warns San Diegans to bring their own water.

Lake Hodges takes in runoff from all over San Diego County and, as such, the water contains lots of impurities. These are cleaned up in filtration plants before going out to the public.

This year, however, a new wrinkle was added to the dirty tale: A strange looking device called a Speece Cone that’s expected to improve the water quality at Hodges Reservoir near Escondido

It’s the only one of its kind in Southern California and no one will see it again for years.

“It’s a giant upside-down cone with some pipes,” said Jeff Pasek, a Project Officer with the City of San Diego’s Public Utilities Department. “It’s a strange looking device.”

“It’s not going to be seen again for a number of years because it’s 70 feet deep in the reservoir,” Pasek said.

The $3.4 million project will constantly inject oxygen into the reservoir which will reduce the nutrients that algae feed on, Pasek said.

“There’s quite a bit of runoff captured in Hodges Reservoir that we could use more efficiently if the water quality were improved,” he said. “The problem with the water quality in Hodges is that it grows a lot of algae.”

“This is the first one to be installed in Southern California,” Pasek added.

Lake Hodges was created in 1918 with the building of Hodges Dam on San Dieguito Creek. It is owned by the city of San Diego and operated by the Public Utilities Department.

For information about Hodges, including boating and fishing rules and permits, as well as details about the City’s other reservoirs, please visit

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