For the first time in three years, dozens of fishing enthusiasts were able to cast their lines into the water of Irvine Lake Saturday.
County Supervisor Don Wagner cut a ceremonial ribbon alongside the lake, officially ending the three-year hiatus in recreational activity at the 750-acre body of water.
“You waited three years. I’m not going to make you wait any longer,” Wagner told an early morning crowd that gathered in hopes of catching some carp, catfish, sturgeon or other fish lurking in the lake.
“Welcome back to Irvine Lake,” Wagner said. “A great big thank you to our parks staff who made this happen. A great big thanks to the folks that are behind me from the Irvine Ranch Water District, the Serrano Water District. … Together, we call came out to get this thing back into your hands. Here it is. Let’s enjoy it.”
The county Board of Supervisors in June inked a one-year agreement with a company known as James Productions to manage shoreline fishing at the lake, and to operate a bait shop. Coupled with the blessing of the water districts that pull water from the man-made lake, the move cleared the way for resumption of fishing — something that was done at the lake since the 1940s.
The activity was cut off three years ago in a dispute with the water districts, but those differences have at least temporarily been resolved.
For now, only shoreline fishing is permitted at the lake — no boats are allowed on the water.
No license is needed to fish at the lake. Fishing will be offered from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays through Sundays. It costs $5 to park at the lake.