Dave Tye, left, celebrates his 58th birthday with his family at the picnic area at Castaic Lake State Recreation Area Lower Lake lagoon on October 03, 2018. (Photo by Dan Watson)

Planning for a day at the lake

Residents longing for a beach experience without mixh if a road trip can make 15-minute drive to Castaic Lake, and find a treasure of activities that could make any day meaningful and memorable.

The lower lake is at the highest level it’s been in years, and there are acres of land to explore surround the lake.

Coyotes, racoons and eagles are commonly found throughout this bucolic Castaic setting, along with the occasional bobcat. Migrating birds, geese and neon yellow butterflies also flock near the playgrounds and open fields, offering families the chance to get up close and personal with nature.

“The hikes are pretty with a lot of scenery,” said Lavaida Loson, a cashier at the lake.

“It’s nice to just come and enjoy the day,” she said in an interview, describing the natural beauty found on the more than seven miles miles of trails. “It’s really pretty here at the lake and it’s a good way to forget all of your worries and come chill, fish or hike.”

Loson said a lot of local residents will come by on work days during lunch to relax by the lake or take a walk.

The green box trail, which is the trail that reaches the highest altitude, is a popular activity because one can see the dam and the entire lake, she said. “That or the fisherman trail by the west ramp will also allow you to see everything. A lot of people seem to enjoy that one.”

Dogs are allowed, but they must remain on the leash, according to lake rules.

It’s especially important around this time because it could get pretty busy considering how nice the weather has been, Loson said, mentioning during the summer months sometimes the lake attracts visitors from around the globe.

“A lot of times they’re hiking or camping in their RV. They see us by (Six Flags) Magic Mountain so that helps attract them to take advantage of the campgrounds afterwards,” she said. “It’s about $20, so it’s cheaper than a hotel. Especially with the nice weather, it’s a good experience.”

Local families like the Kentons took advantage of last week’s Spring break vacation to fly a kite, enjoy the outdoors and picnic, which is another popular activity at the lake.

The children played at the playground, enjoyed the beautiful weather and flew a kite, Saugus resident Dennis Kenton said. “It’s nice to get outside for the day and enjoy what’s out here.”

One can also always fish or bring their own boat, kayak or stand-up paddleboard and enjoy time out on the water.

A power boat heads back to the boat launch on Castaic Lake. Dan Watson/The Signal

Families who are looking for some Easter Day fun can head to the lake and check out the Dragon Boat Easter Balloon/Egg Hunt and barbecue, which will run from 10 a.m. to noon on Sat, April 20.

“Come and experience paddling on a dragon boat (with) the entire family. Learn how to paddle together as a team and reach prize-filled balloons floating on the lake,” the event’s Facebook page states. “This is a free, kid-friendly event, (and) afterwards, we will have a barbecue and talk about our paddling stories.”

Lake officials ask that prospective participants RSVP by contacting 661-257-4050.

Campground at Castaic lake Lagoon. Dan Watson/The Signal

In June, the lake will be the site of the second annual Dragon Boating festival, and other summertime activities will ramp up around Memorial Day on May 27, when the lake will allow swimming, offer boat rentals and more, Loson said. But in the meantime, there are many other things to do at the local lake.

On Saturday, the lake played host to the Friends of Castaic Lake 2019 Float Tube Bass Tournament’s first round, which featured fisherman vying to catch the biggest fish.

Last year, first-time participant Dohnte Allison won top prize, according to castaiclake.com, which mentioned tournaments similar to Saturday’s happening throughout the summer.

On Saturday, April 13 from 9-11 a.m., the Friends of the Castaic Lake will hold their Pride in the Lake day.

A man fishes from the pier on Castaic Lagoon. Dan Watson/The Signal

The event repeats every second Saturday of the month, and provides community members — young and old — with the means to clean up the lake and assist the environment by picking up litter or other garbage that may be left behind by visitors. “It’s pretty cool to be a part of,” Loson said.

The Friends of Castaic Lake also plan to host its annual Fishing and Fun Day for Kids on May 4.

“This event has become one of the largest single-day draws to the lake with over 400 kids enjoying a day of fishing and outdoor activities,” castaiclake.com states.”The event is designed to encourage kids to come out to the lake, while introducing them to the great sport of fishing. With the support of our generous sponsors, we are able to provide breakfast and lunch, fishing tackle and raffle prizes on this special day.”

Officials said there will be fishing lessons, arts and crafts and prize giveaways available during the event along with bait and loaner poles.

For more information on the lake, its events, campground or trails, visit castaiclake.com,  castaiclakedragonboat.com or contact 661-257-4050.

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