California Recreational Lakes and Rivers

The Complete Guide to Boating, Fishing, and Water Sports

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Fourth Edition
By: Tom Stienstra
Series: Moon Outdoors
ISBN-13: 9781598800180
Pages: 560
–400 lakes you can reach by car
–190 smaller lakes you can reach by vehicle that don’t have boat ramps and
 are ideal for kayaks, inflatables and canoes
–75 major recreation lakes where most water sports are permitted
–175 major rivers, streams and tributaries
–100 lakes with speed limits to protect low-speed boats and swimming
–25 lakes with boat-in campsites numbering in the hundreds
–800 campgrounds at lakes and streams
“I wish I could fly every person who loves the outdoors over California, Washington and Oregon and see all the hidden lakes, streams and campsites you can’t see by car from the main roads. Your outlook on what is possible in your life will be changed forever.”

Acclaimed outdoors author Tom Stienstra knows where to find the best of California’s lakes and rivers, from the wild and pristine Smith River in the Redwood Empire to the clear waters of Big Bear Lake, only two hours from Los Angeles. Moon California Recreational Lakes & Rivers leads outdoor enthusiasts to the best spots for boating, fishing, and water sports in the Golden State. The fourth edition of this definitive guidebook includes detailed descriptions of nearly 400 lakes and rivers, as well as many top-10 lists.

Complete with detailed regional maps as well as directions and ratings for each location, Moon California Recreational Lakes & Rivers provides readers with first-rate expert advice and all the necessary tools to head outdoors.

Do you feel useless, unhappy and have a lousy sex life?

Join the club, eh? Just kidding . . . but one answer to a better life, according to a national survey, is to get a boat, any boat (well, almost any boat) and get out there and have some fun.

Maybe that’s why the sales of boats and motors have remained steady across the nation even during years when there are economic downturns, when there is little money available for most people to buy goodies.

Because according to a survey conducted by the Impulse Research Corp., if you want to harbor health, then let your ship come in. By margins of roughly 10 percent, the survey concludes that boaters have better health, self-esteem, the ability to enjoy life, and a better sex life than non-boaters. Conversely, by margins of 4 to 8 percent, non-boaters are more prone to feeling useless, lonely, unhappy and fatigued. These margins would probably be larger except there are some boaters who own old outboards that won’t start at the boat ramp, at that not only skews the results, but increases the homicide level (man shoots motor to death).

The latter may be why the sales of outboards have gone up in recent years when just about every industry on the planet went down. It also is a fact that boaters new and old are equally entranced with the new generation of 4-cycle engines. It used to be that trolling with a smoky 2-cycle felt something like mowing the lawn. Those days are a nightmare of the past with the clean-running, quiet 4-strokes.

The other areas with big increases are car-top boats, primarily canoes and kayaks. The reasons are money, SUVs and reality afield.

Canoes and kayaks are the cheapest way to get in the game. And SUVs are the easiest way to make a trip work, that is, where you throw a canoe on top of your rig, then venture off to a lake to claim it for your own. Since California has 190 recreation lakes that can be reached by vehicle that do not have boat ramps (yet most have campgrounds), this can be the best summer gig in the state.

But once you discover the charm of a canoe or kayak on flat water, you will eventually desire an upgrade, and thus the addiction begins. It started for me with a small raft, floating around ranch ponds, casting for bass. It graduated to a canoe, a 17-foot Old Town Tripper, which I took everywhere imaginable, from San Francisco Bay to mountain lakes to the Canadian wilderness. Then it was on to a flat-water kayak and an inflatable kayak. Then to a small skiff, and eventually to a 20-foot fiberglass cruiser that didn’t run right (tried to get in on the cheap; bad move). Finally, I caved and bought something expensive, a new 19-foot aluminum do-it-all boat with a bullet-proof 115-horse 4-stroke.

Note that this process started innocently with the purchase of a $79 raft with $10 plastic paddles. See you out there!

Tom Stienstra

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