Water Sports

Bullards Bar Reservoir has a reputation of being one of the most popular watersport lakes in Northern California. Offering two launch ramps and featuring 60+ miles of shoreline, it’s easy to see why Water Ski Magazine calls Bullards Bar one of the best recreational lakes in the United States. Although many lakes in Northern California can be jammed packed with boaters, Bullards Bar is your best kept secret combining both the lakes size and water condition. From beginners to professionals, you can always find a great spot to enjoy the water at Bullards Bar.


  • Water Skiing
  • Wakeboarding
  • Tubing
  • Personal Watercraft
  • Swimming

Bullards Bar also offers floating restrooms at various locations on the lake as well as the full service marina at Emerald Cove. Stop by the Emerald Cove General Store for the latest in watersport gear and rentals. Also you will find overnight docking for your boat or watercraft as well as gasoline.


Year-Round Fishing is available at Bullards Bar Reservoir. A variety of cold and warm water species are abundant with a reputation as having some of the best Kokanee Salmon fishing in northern California.

Kokanee Salmon and Trout

Kokanee Salmon is a land locked sockeye salmon species that is the primary and target cold water fishery at Bullards Bar. Kokanee and trout fishing generally picks up in the spring. Sizeable catches can be often found near the dam, up the north fork arm of the lake, near the Willow Creek inlet and Mill Creek Cove. As the water clears, begin trolling in 35 to 45 feet of water. As the water becomes warmer, the fish begin to move into deeper water even up to 90 feet. Kokanee fishing is excellent in the fall during the spawning season. Wedding rings, needlefish, flings, and triple teasers are preferred on the end of flashers and dodgers. Bait anglers find success using nightcrawlers and powerbait.

Bass fishing at Bullards Bar is some of the area’s best. Largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted bass can be found early in the season near the mouths of creeks and rocky points. Spinnerbaits and weighted plastic worms work best. Try grubs and jigs later in the year. Topwater baits are effective early in the morning or during twilight. Bass are also found in shallow areas during spawning season.

“I travel all over the country chasing fish for a living. I have been on a lot of beautiful lakes, but few are as scenic as Bullards Bar Reservoir. One of my favorite things to do during the off season is to take my family to Emerald cove marina and rent a houseboat for the week. The fishing is great the water is clean and we have a blast! So if you are looking for a great vacation, book one of their houseboats and have a trip of a lifetime. I hope to see you there.”

Skeet Reese, 2009 BassMaster Classic Champion

Crappie and Bluegill

Crappie and Bluegill are usually found in 10 to 20 feet of water in coves and around submerged brush and debris. Try white or yellow mini jigs, bread, or worms.

Don’t forget to stop by the Emerald Cove General Store for your fishing tackle and bait needs.

Download Fishing at Bullards Bar Resevoir

Hiking & Day Use Areas

The trails at Bullards Bar can be accessed from several different trailheads. There are plenty of wildflowers, ferns, a variety of pines and firs. Trail users should be cautious about straying from the trail due to the abundance of poison oak. Motorized vehicles are prohibited on the Bullards Bar Trail system. Please contact the Ranger Station for additional information or suggested use areas. (530) 288-3231.

Download Trail Map

7 Ball Trail

1.0 Miles – This trail descends 400’ at a moderate to rapid rate leading to Bullards Bar Trail. The trailheads are found by taking a paved road that intersects Marysville Road 1.5 and 1.9 Miles from Hwy 49.

8 Ball Trail

3.8 Miles – This trail is an alternative to walking or riding on Marysville Road. It connects Rebel Ridge, 7 Ball and Schoolhouse Trails to make several loop routes possible with Bullards Bar Trail. 8 Ball winds it’s way through dense forest and open scrub brush areas following route of Marysville Road.

Dark Day Picnic Area

Dark Day offers 14 day use picnic sites – See Dark Day Campground Map. Easy access to parking, restrooms, and boat launch facility. No overnight camping in the day use area.

Bullards Bar Trail

14.0 Miles – This trail offers an easy, fairly level, and scenic route along the contour of the reservoir up to Old Camptonville Road. Parking is found at the Vista Point day use area.

Rebel Ridge Trail

1.6 Miles – This is a beautiful, moderate hike or ride down to Bullards Bar Trail. The trail descends 500’ through the lush conifer forest. Parking is about .6 miles from the intersection of Hwy 49 and Marysville Road.

Schoolhouse Trail

0.7 Miles This trail can be found near campsite #13 within the Schoolhouse Campground. A 250’ rapid descent to Bullards Bar Trail along an old heavily shaded road bed. Parking is at the Schoolhouse Campground.

Bullards Beauty