Lake Perris Information

Perris Reservoir, commonly known as Lake Perris, lies in Riverside County, California, about 60 miles southeast of Los Angeles and 75 miles north of San Diego. It is between the towns of Moreno Valley and Perris, California. The Bernasconi Hills, and the Russell, Apuma, and Armada Mountains hide the view of the urban areas surrounding the western and northern edges of Lake Perris. Inland, to its east, is rural, and the San Bernardino, San Jacinto, and Santa Rosa Mountains rise high in the distance. Lake Perris is in a valley known as Moreno Valley today.

The State of California owns Lake Perris and the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) operates and maintains it. Lake Perris covers 8,200 acres with ten miles of accessible shoreline and a maximum depth of 100 feet. Lake Perris State Recreation Area covers 8,800 acres and becomes extremely crowded during the summer months around the lake. Lake Perris supports a healthy population of wildlife, birds, amphibians, and reptiles. Earthquakes pose some of the highest risks to dams in California.

DWR’s Division of Safety of Dams identified Perris Dam as a high priority, state-owned dam for seismic improvements because of its proximity to nearby earthquake faults and large downstream communities. In 2005, DWR began the Perris Dam Modernization Project with the seismic retrofit to the dam embankment. DWR will achieve its goal of upgrading its infrastructure to protect its water system and enhance public safety by 2023, with completion of the remaining project components.

Stay up to date with the Perris Lake Email Newsletter.


History of Perris Reservoir

California DWR constructed the Perris Dam in Moreno Valley from 1970 to 1974 to impound Lake Perris for drinking water purposes in the Moreno Valley dry desert region. European settlers originally called it Moreno Valley. Native Americans inhabited Moreno Valley for thousands of years before European Settlement. The Cahuilla and Luiseño were the largest of the native groups sharing the mountain-rimmed valley.

Before European exploration, the Native Americans lived off of the abundant resources and mild climate of Moreno Valley and the surrounding hills and mountains. They hunted antelope, bighorn sheep, deer, rabbits, birds, and a variety of small mammals. They built seasonal houses made of leaves and branches  on top of tree limbs set upright and surrounded with low rock walls or other small structures.

The Luiseño’s territory ranged west to the Pacific coast. The Cahuilla’s extended east into the San Jacinto Mountains and Colorado Desert, but their territories overlapped. During construction of the Perris Dam, artifacts discovered indicated that the two groups traded with other groups known as the Serrano, Tongva, Cupeño, and Chemehuevi. These cultures are known for their rock art. Some are still visible around the Lake Perris. Time has weathered away their rock paintings and engravings.

In 1774, Spanish explorer Juan Bautista de Anza discovered what today’s San Jacinto Plains and where Lake Perris is today. This region consists of the tablelands stretching from Box Springs, 13 miles north of Lake Perris, to the San Jacinto Mountains, 45 miles south, and between the Badlands and Temecula, California. By the 1840s, Mexico had owned California since 1921, and the Mexican Army ordered the Cahuilla to kill the Luiseño during that era. These battles were incidents in the Mexican-American war theater. Settlement in Moreno Valley began in the 1880s.

Besides the wars, the Native Americans had no immunity to European diseases and were forced into living in crowded mission systems, all of which led to the decline of their populations. The Ya'i Heki' Regional Indian Museum tells the story of the monumental State Water Project and focuses on the culture and history of the native peoples of the southern California desert region. In the 1880s, which was a boom period for Southern California, people moved into Moreno Valley and used the land for pastures.

Perris, California, grew up around the California Southern Railroad after it built its depot in 1882. This rail route opened up a connection between today’s Barstow and San Diego, California. Officers and directors of the Bear Valley and Alessandro Development Company named the town Moreno, Spanish for brown, to honor Frank E. Brown, who established the Moreno-Alessandro water development plan. Today, the areas north and east of Lake Perris and surrounding mountains are thriving urban communities. Paris Lake gives their residents a great place to hunt, fish, and play in and around its clear, blue, sparkling waters.


Fishing Perris Reservoir

Popular game fish species in Lake Perris are Florida largemouth bass, Alabama spotted bass, black crappie, bullhead and channel catfish, bluegill, carp, green and redear sunfish, and rainbow trout, The California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) make regular plants of rainbow trout throughout the winter months. The trout bite best in the cooler months after the DFG stocks Lake Perris between November and April. Lake Perris is known for trophy-sized fish. As of 2021, the marina is closed.

Legal live bait includes amphibians, bait shop purchased crayfish only, crickets, crustaceans, fish eggs, dead ocean fish, treated and processed foods, lures, mollusks, and worms, plus processed foods such as salmon eggs and cheese baits. It is illegal to use salamander as bait.

Natural bait in the Lake Perris includes threadfin shad, crayfish, and tiny shrimp. Fish cover includes citrus tree branches, decades-old tree branches, sunken boats, weed beds, reefs made of old tires, rocky habitats, and marshy areas.

Sail Cove near parking lot #1 and 2, has a free fishing pier that can get crowded, and parking lot # 11 and 12 is one of the most popular bank “fishing only” areas. Fishing guides at Lake Perris work other area lakes, so it is best to look for and book a charter in advance.

Find experienced local guides on our Lake Perris Fishing Guides page.

Perris Reservoir Fishing and Boating Regulations:

  • A valid California State Fishing License is required for all persons 16 years of age.
  • Lake Perris entrance fees are $10 per vehicle & $10 per vessel.
  • California requires boat operators to have a California Boating Card. This card is required for all persons age 40 and under to operate a boat in California's waters.
  • During peak season in the summer months launch reservations are necessary at Lake Perris. Lake Perris can accommodate a little over 200 boats, and the lake reaches capacity early in the morning.
  • Boating hours are from 7:00 AM to 6:30 PM. All vessels must be on their trailers by 6:30 pm.
  • Boat launch fees apply, along with entrance and vehicle fees.
  • State Parks Police and Game Wardens strictly enforce the many “no wake zones” on Lake Perris.
  • No alcohol is allowed except in designated areas only.
  • All vessels entering Lake Perris SRA will be inspected for standing water and quagga mussels. Vessels that fail inspection will not be allowed to launch and may be turned away from the park. Please ensure your vessel is cleaned of vegetation and organic material, and drained of any and all standing water, including in the outdrive and live wells, and completely dry. Any amount of water found may constitute a failure to pass this inspection.
  • Dogs are not allowed on unpaved trails and on the sand, which means all beach areas, Allesandro Island, or the Bernasconi Beach area. Dogs may go on your boat, but cannot have any body contact with the water at any time.
  • For your safety and the safety of the animals, do not harass or interact with the wildlife, and always tred carefully.

Fish Length and Daily Limits:

  • Bass: Length limit: 12 inches or more with their mouth closed and laying flat; daily limit: 5
  • Trout: No length limit; daily limit: 5
  • Catfish: No length limit; daily limit: 10
  • Bluegill, Crappie, Red Ear and Green Sunfish: daily limit: 25 total combined species

The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment issued a safe eating advisory for any fish caught in the Lake Perris because of elevated levels of mercury and PCBs:

When consuming fish from Lake Perris, women ages 18-49 and children ages 1-17 may safely eat a maximum of seven total servings per week of inland silverside or sunfish species, or two servings per week of black bass species, or one total serving per week of common carp. Women age 50 and older and men age 18 and older may safely eat a maximum of seven total servings per week of inland silverside or sunfish species, or five 8-oz servings per week of black bass species, or one total 8-oz serving per week of common carp. Children should eat smaller servings.


Boating Lake Perris

Boaters enjoy Alessandro Island, which is day use only for picnic tables, shade ramadas, grills, and restrooms. Two designated swimming areas are at Moreno Beach and Perris Beach, on the northwest side of Lake Perris. Use caution and swim at your own risk. In the summer months, water skiers crowd Lake Perris causing high wakes.

Scuba diving is permitted at the west end of Perris Beach. Perris Beach offers changing rooms, showers, and restrooms. Moreno Beach and Perris Beach have nearly 300, mostly shaded picnic sites with tables and grills in various day-use areas. For a fee, groups may reserve three group picnic sites and larger groups may combine more than one group site.

The marina at Lake Perris State Recreation Area is under construction and closed until further notice as of 2021. There are no boat rentals, slips, or a store available. Call the Lake Perris State Recreation Area for more information. Several cities surround Lake Perris, and you can easily find bait, groceries, and supplies nearby.

Plan your next outing with our Perris Lake Boat Ramps Map, and keep an eye on the Perris Lake Level. Find or sell a boat on our Lake Perris Boats for Sale page.


Camping at Perris Reservoir

The Lake Perris Campground in the Lake Perris State Recreation Area offers tent, horse, and RV campsites between Moreno Beach and Perris Beach. Both beaches have designated swim beaches, tables and grills, launch ramps, a pier, and a few peninsulas. Maximum stay is 30 nights in a calendar year. From June 1, to November 30, campers can stay 15 consecutive nights.

Three license plates are allowed at each camping unit, but your reservation only covers one vehicle. Extra vehicles must pay use fees on arrival. Boat trailers are considered a vehicle. All vehicles must fit on the parking pad and must not hang out on the roadway.

The tent sites are primitive with no hookups and can hold two 4-person tents, or four 2-person tents. Each site can accommodate up to eight people. There is no off-road or extra parking. There are seven handicap, non-hookup sites. A California State Parks Disabled Discount Pass is required to receive a discount for handicapped people. It is the pass holder's responsibility to request the discount when making reservations. You can apply the handicap discount to any campsite. Showers are ADA accessible.

The RV hook-up sites at Lake Perris have water and grey water hookups with 30 and 50 amp electrical hookups. There are no black water sewer hookups. A dump station is located at the campground entrance. RV hook-up sites allow tents. Every site has a picnic table and a fire ring with a grill. There are shade trees, but extra shade canopies are highly recommended. Water and restrooms with free hot showers are nearby. Each site can accommodate up to eight people.

Lake Perris has six group campsites that accommodate a maximum of 100 people each. Each site has shade ramadas, picnic tables, and a kitchen area with counters, a sink, and a barbeque grill. There are no hookups or electricity provided in the entire group camp area, and this includes the restroom receptacles. Visitors can check online and see what group sites are available when, and make reservations at their convenience.

The Reserve California website lists group campsites as "Group Standard". You can make reservations six months in advance online or through their call center. You are required to make reservations through Reserve California at least seven days in advance. The park may accept “walk-in”, "same day" booking at the park campground office if any group areas are not reserved. Each group site allows 100 people and 20 vehicles maximum in each group unit. If you have over100 people or over 20 vehicles, you will need to reserve another unit.

Lake Perris Campground has seven primitive equestrian campsites. Each campsite has a fire pit, a picnic table, a corral, and allows a maximum of eight people and two horses. The reservation fee covers two horses per site. Sites can accommodate two vehicles with trailers, one vehicle with a trailer and one self-contained RV, or three vehicles maximum. Drinking water is available and chemical restrooms are provided. There are no showers, and the entire unit is unpaved. Campers must muck out stalls and clean up after their horses.

Watering troughs for horses are located in the horse camp area. You can make reservations between two days and six months in advance for the Horse Camp online or rent on a same-day, walk-up basis. Campers with horse camp reservations can go directly to the horse camp area. Campground staff will drop by to check you in, collect extra vehicle fees, and provide you with official parking passes. An official parking pass is required for vehicle in-and-out privileges.


Trails at Perris Reservoir

The Lake Perris State Recreation Area’s primary trail is a nine-mile, equestrian, hiking, and bicycling trail and circles Lake Paris. The park does not allow dogs on its trails. It costs $10 per vehicle to enter the trails. There is no charge if you enter on foot or bicycle.

This trail is paved and loops around the lake and used to access the different areas of the lake. Hikers, runners, and cyclists use the portion of the trail that runs along the top of the Perris Dam.

This trail offers a wonderful way to see birds and other wildlife at Lake Perris, especially during early morning hours or at dusk. Park rangers conduct hikes during the spring and early summer months.

Terri Peak Loop Trail is a 4.4 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Moreno Beach where you hike to Terri Peak which offers panoramic views of Moreno Valley. This trail is rated as moderate. The trailhead is next to the Ya’i Heki’ Regional Indian Museum. There is no shade on this trail, so bring plenty of water.

You can hike at the Lake Perris State Recreation Area’s Upland Game Hunting Area outside of hunting season.


Hunting Perris Reservoir

The Lake Perris State Recreation Area designates part of its acreage for hunting purposes in its Upland Game Hunting Area. 

  • Only shotguns are allowed in designated hunting areas.
  • Shooting in other areas of the park is prohibited.
  • Shooting hours are from 6:00 a.m. until sunset.
  • Only three rounds permitted in a shotgun at one time. You must have plug.
  • Valid California State Hunting Licenses are required at all times. 
  • An Upland game stamp is required for dove, pheasant, and quail.

Game species at Lake Perris State Recreation Area are:

Dove:

  • September 1 – September 15, 2021
  • November 13 – December 27, 2022
  • Bag limit 15, up to 10 of which may be white-winged doves.
  • Possession limit is triple the daily bag limit.

Eurasian Collared Dove:

  • September 1 – January 31, 2022
  • No bag limit and no possession limit.

Quail:

  • October 16, 2021 – January 30, 2022
  • Bag limit: 10 per day.
  • Possession limit is triple the daily bag limit.

Pheasant:

  • November 13, 2021 – December 26, 2022
  • Two males per day for the first two days of the season.
  • Three males per day after the first two days of the season.
  • Possession limit is triple the daily bag limit.

Cottontail:

  • September 1 – January 31, 2022
  • Limit 5 per day; 10 possession limit.

Jackrabbit:

  • September 1 – January 31, 2022
  • No limit

Things to Do at Perris Reservoir

The urban communities of Riverside County surround Lake Perris’s east and north borders. There are tons of attractions, restaurants, and bars to visit when you are not fishing, boating, camping, hunting, hiking, or swimming. Listed below are a few interesting sites to visit. 

Rancho Del Sol Golf Club, at located 28095 John F Kennedy Drive, Moreno Valley, California, a few miles northeast of Lake Perris, offers an 18-hole golf course and a disc golf course. Its course ascends into the hills above the houses off of the green, giving breathtaking views of Moreno Valley and the San Bernardino Mountain range in the distance.

The Ya'i Heki' Regional Indian Museum, pronounced ya-hee eh-key and means “home of the wind” in Cahuilla, is located in the Lake Perris State Recreation Area. The museum provides a comprehensive interpretation of Native American history and the cultures of the Indigenous peoples of inland southern California. It features displays of the local flora and fauna of the southern California bioregion, and early Spanish explorers.

The March Air Reserve Base, home to the March Field Air Museum, is only ten miles from the eastern shores of Lake Perris. It is located at 22550 Van Buren Blvd, Riverside, California. Docents are on hand while you tour you its indoor exhibits in the M museum’s main hangar structures. For a small additional fee, it offers guided tours of the flightline several times each day aboard an electric tram.

Exhibits include a 1903 pioneer which launched the era of powered flight, World War II bombing icons, Cold War fighters, an MQ-1 Predator, and more. While there, you can also visit the National POW/MIA Memorial at Riverside National Cemetery. Memorial Honor Detail teams are strictly volunteers and vary in size and scope, from folding and presenting the flag only, to full honors with a rifle salute and bugler at a military funeral.

Visit the Southern California Railroad Museum, located at 2201 S A Street, Perris, California, seven miles from Lake Perris, which offers unique indoor and outdoor event venues. The Museum is home to a vast collection of historical locomotives, railcars, trolleys, model trains, and much more. The Museum hosts several events throughout the year. A train and trolley operate every weekend.

Skydive Perris, only 6.8 miles from Lake Perris at 2091 Goetz Road, Perris, California, is an indoor skydiving facility. It offers an indoor skydiving experience that mimics free fall without requiring a jump from an airplane. It features a vertical wind tunnel that creates a wall-to-wall cushion of air that you can freely and safely float upon.

Mr. Joe’s Farm, located 5.3 miles from Lake Perris at 20850 Old Elsinore Road, Perris, California, strives to educate people about rural living, a dying art in the United States. Primarily, the farm raises goats, but it has other animals to pet and see, like goats, sheep, camels, pigs, cows/bulls, horses, alpacas, and many egg laying farm birds.

Plan your next trip with our What To Do At Perris Lake page, and our Perris Lake Event Calendar.


Perris Reservoir Weather & Climate

Lake Perris sees an average of 11 inches of rain, with one inch of snow, and 272 days of sunshine per year. The winter low in January is 40 degrees with a summer high in July of 99 degrees. April, October, and November are the most comfortable months for this region.

Keep an eye on the skies with our Lake Perris Weather Forecast page.


Perris Lake Zip Codes

Perris Lake is in the 92571 and 92555 zip codes of Riverside County, California.


Perris Reservoir Flora and Fauna

Shrubby plants including desert encelia, brittlebush, sagebrush, black sage, white sage, buckwheat, and cacti define the south-facing slopes of the Russell Mountains and Bernasconi Hills. On the shady hillsides that face north or northwest, chaparral plants such as chamise, penstemon, and poison oak are dominant.

Remnants of the original perennial grasses that once flourished in this region can still be found in the flat interior of the park surrounding the lake. Europeans imported the majority of plants that now make up the valley grassland community. Riparian areas near springs and seeps on the east and south of Lake Perris include willows, cattails, elderberry, and nettles. Beautiful displays of wildflowers bloom during the rainy season from November through April.

The predominant plant community supports a vast variety of birds and wildlife. Wildlife watchers frequently view a wide variety of lizards, rodents, waterfowl, and birds of prey. Wildlife that shies away from people in the Lake Perris area includes mule deer, roadrunners, bobcats, coyotes, rabbits, quail, gopher snakes, and rattlesnakes, and they can sometimes be seen by day.

Birders have spotted more than a hundred species of birds at Lake Perris. Many are migratory, while others make their permanent residence there. Meadowlarks, loggerhead shrikes, roadrunners, California thrashers, quail, wrens, sparrows, hummingbirds, golden eagles, several varieties of hawks, ospreys, and even bald eagles are frequently spotted. Many varieties of waterfowl use the lake, including pintails, widgeons, teals, mallards, shovelers, various geese, and sometimes tundra swans and pelicans. The water’s edge attracts black-necked stilts, avocets, killdeer, willets, kingfishers, egrets, and herons.

Lake Perris Email Updates


 

Lake Perris Current Weather Alerts

There are no active watches, warnings or advisories.

 

Lake Perris Weather Forecast

Monday

Mostly Sunny

Hi: 86

Monday Night

Mostly Clear

Lo: 57

Tuesday

Mostly Sunny

Hi: 92

Tuesday Night

Mostly Clear

Lo: 57

Wednesday

Mostly Sunny

Hi: 96

Wednesday Night

Mostly Clear

Lo: 64

Thursday

Hot

Hi: 97

Thursday Night

Mostly Clear

Lo: 66


Lake Perris Water Level (last 30 days)


Water Level on 6/6: 8.44 (-1,586.56)