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Lake Hennessey Camping and Fishing Vacation

Lake Hennessey is a true fishermen's dream vacation, with its calm water and beautiful secluded location.

Lake Hennessey is a true fishermen's dream vacation, with its calm water and beautiful secluded location.

Lake Hennessey Recreation Area

Lake Hennessey Fishing in California Wine Country (Trout and Bass)

Lake Hennessey Recreation Area is a hidden gem tucked away in the California wine country. Even as the near by, and far better known Lake Berryessa drastically outshines Hennessey in size; Berryessa is 20,700 surface acres, whereas Hennessey measures around 850 surface acres.

Rest assured that what Lake Hennessey lacks in size it more than makes up for in providing fishermen with unlimited peace and quiet. Experienced anglers will thrill at the catch found here, rainbow trout, large-mouth bass, small-mouth bass, catfish, black crappie, and more fun fighters to chase. The trout and bass really do abound in Lake Hennessey, and fishermen find it a dream come true!

Finding Lake Hennessey, California

Located about five miles east of Rutherford, Hennessey lake provides water to the city of Napa, California. Fishing is the reason for landing here, but bring your own boat as no rentals are available. (NOTE: Lake Hennessey limits watercraft's to outboard motors no bigger than 10 hp.) For the true fisherman, this is music to his/her ears! No churning motor-boating high-speed crafts to scare away today's catch. You will find cozy picnic grounds and the scenery—loads of oak trees blanket the surrounding hills—is a visual masterpiece. Waterfowl glide in on wing and paddle gracefully across the serene water. A launch ramp and dock, along with ample level parking are easy to access. Travel east of Silverado Trail along Route 128.

Lake Hennessey Recreation Area - Angwin, California

City of Napa Water Division - Permits and Lake Info.

Lake Hennessey Shoreline Fishing

As well as giving fishermen some of the most perfect solitude, Lake Hennessey has great shoreline fishing. The lazy trail around the lake has beautiful scenes of Napa wine vineyards and weeping willow arched paths. Not much to worry about with easy level trails, which saves all of your energy for fighting those bigmouth bass! During the spring and winter months you shoreline fishermen (and boaters alike) will find rainbow trout by the droves! Approximately 6,000 pounds of these rainbow trout get stocked every year from November through April by the Department of Fish and Game.

You can find a few quick facts about Lake Hennessey by checking-out the helpful table below. It gives you pertinent information regarding lake history, size, fishing season, where to get permits, and regulations that must be adhered to when traveling to Lake Hennessey. Any angler who appreciates the serene stillness of lake fishing is going to find all of the listed facts well worth a visit. Lake side picnics, shore fishing, boat fishing, and even just popping-off a few great scenic digital photos make a vacation to Hennessey Lake a welcome water adventure!

Quick Lake Hennessey Fish Facts Table



Napa water supply located behind Conn Dam and was filled in 1960 


has a water capacity of 31,000 acre-feet, elevation is 331 feet above sea-level 

Fishing season 

Open year round, annual or daily fishing and boating permit required,  

Where to get permits

Lake Hennessey caretaker or the city of Napa water division at 16000 First Street, Napa, CA.

Regulation regarding fishing

All DFG fishing regulations apply at Hennessey, fish within 2,000 feet of the lake intake tower is prohibited, no cleaning fish in or around lake


daily boat launching fee is $4.00 per watercraft, Outboard motors of 10 horsepower maximum

Lake regulations

No swimming, wading, or water contact sports are allowed, Sailboats, catamarans and rubber rafts, with a minimum of 8 feet in length and a maximum of 18 feet

Boating hours

Boats shall be allowed on the lake one hour before sunrise and shall be removed from the lake by one hour after sunset of each day.



Conn Dam backs up to Lake Hennessey. This is where the water supply for Napa, California is contained. Pictured here is the Conn Dam Spillway in action.

Conn Dam backs up to Lake Hennessey. This is where the water supply for Napa, California is contained. Pictured here is the Conn Dam Spillway in action.

Lake Hennessey Scenery

The second we pulled into the parking lot at Lake Hennessey Recreation Area I could tell this was a peaceful place for a picnic and perfect outdoor photography. Nice benches were located along the serene shoreline, the place was calm and uninhabited by the hoards of vacationers just down the road at lake Berryessa. The oak trees tussled in the cool breeze as they framed the calm lake waters and emerald green hillsides across the lake. A tailored level trail swept along the shoreline as it guided us along the way under weeping willows covered artfully in sage-green waterfall moss. The images were so wonderful that I found myself standing there, simply drinking in the beauty.

As I stood observing my surroundings, I thought to myself that this is an awesome opportunity to mange both the rowdy water-sport activities the kids enjoy, balanced with the peaceful fishing environment we older folks prefer. Camping or staying at Lake Berryessa and then making the short day-trip to lake Hennessey provides equal fun for everyone in the family. Those tough water athletes can remain on Berryessa skiing and swimming, while those of us who are dedicated anglers can slip away to the quiet edges of Lake Hennessey for a day of superb shoreline or boat fishing. No better water vacation match has ever been created!

The scenery surrounding Lake Hennessey makes for great pictures and simple quiet picnics.

The scenery surrounding Lake Hennessey makes for great pictures and simple quiet picnics.


Those Rowdy Lake Berryessa Ski Jumping Athletes!

Where to Eat Near Lake Hennessey, California

Make sure to plan ahead for tackle and supplies, because it is a bit of a drive to most facilities. Lake Hennessey (Rutherford, CA) is near one of the wine countries best restaurants, Auberge du Soleil, making the trip worth every minute.

  • AUBERGE DU SOLEIL - 180 Rutherford Hill Road, Ruhterford, CA. Call: (707) 963-1211 or (800) 348-5406. Mediterranean in spirit as well as appearance, this wine country retreat continually wins praise for its inventive wine country dishes. Offers a bar as well as restaurant. The prices reflect the quality- way above average.
  • RANCHO CAYMUS INN - 1140 Rutherford Road, Rutherford, CA. Call: (707) 963-1777 or (800) 845-1777. A more casual place to eat, offering a restaurant and bar. Prices are resonable.
  • RUTHERFORD GRILL - 1180 Rutherford Road, Rutherford, CA. Call: (707) 963-1792. You will find a relaxed bar atmosphere, serving local cuisine, outdoor seating and a few entertaining customers. High praise has been given to the vegetable lasagna and wine list, of course. The service is great! If dining after 7pm, it is recommended that you make reservations. Pricing is very good.
The sun shines through cloth-like willow  tree moss next to Lake Hennessey's shoreline.

The sun shines through cloth-like willow tree moss next to Lake Hennessey's shoreline.

Closing the Tacklebox on a Lake Hennessey Travel Adventure

We enjoyed the quiet fishing and trails of Lake Hennessey after having a quaint private (and a little romantic) picnic along the shoreline. The birds were hypnotic in flight, the water was soothing in its gentle ebb and flow, and the wild flowers painted colors along the hillsides. It was memorable and without question a place to where we will return. The fishing makes the day fun and eventful for those who have a hankering for angling. For those who prefer a more rowdy water vacation, Lake Berryessa is just a hop-skip-and-a-jump away! Break-out your tackle and spin your reels, because you'll need that fishing gear once you set foot on the Lake Hennessey shore!

In the picture at right, the sun shines through cloth-like moss that is draped over willow tree branches on the trail next to Lake Hennessey's shoreline. This spectacle is found most abundantly in early summer, but can be seen to a lesser degree and within camera view throughout most of the year.

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Comments for "Lake Hennessey - A Fishing Vacation Dream in California Wine Country"

India Arnold (author) from Northern, California on July 02, 2018:

Ganesh, thank you for the nice comment.

India Arnold (author) from Northern, California on June 28, 2012:

Nell~ Let me know when you're heading that direction and I'll bring the bait!


Nell Rose from England on June 28, 2012:

This gets me yearning for the old days when I used to go fishing nearly every week! why have I stopped? lol! I do prefer shoreline fishing but if I could get my hands on a boat I would be out there, really interesting, now wheres my fishing rod? lol! cheers nell

India Arnold (author) from Northern, California on July 20, 2011:

Gordon~I understand your passion for deep-sea fishing; the size, the fight, and the soothing ocean movement. Once in a while I find the quiet nature of Lake Hennessey to manage a different sort of adventure. I hope you get a chance to settle in for a day of lake fishing. In my humble opinion, Hennessey is a great place to begin!

Cheers Gordon~


Gordon Hamilton from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom on July 18, 2011:

K9, fishing is one of my greatest passions in life but as a rule, I generally do saltwater fishing only. I have done freshwater in the past (particularly as a child, as freshwater was my Dad and brother's preference) but have never found it to offer the same excitement. You have presented a case for Lake Hennessey in such a way, however, that I would love to give it a try. Maybe the next time I pass by Loch Lomond on the way to one of my favourite sea fishing venues, I'll stop and give it a go... :)

Simone Haruko Smith from San Francisco on July 18, 2011:

Wow, Lake Hennessey looks and sounds divine! I have never taken a fishing-centric vacation before, but I have many family members who regularly do. I'll have to ask them if they've been here before! Gorgeous Hub. Love the fun facts.

India Arnold (author) from Northern, California on July 14, 2011:

Robin~ Thank you for making it by today! You are right, the current economy has limited the surrounding business survival to minimum, it is a certain shame. I hope you do get a chance to stop by Lake Hennessey on your next adventure to Berryessa, the balance of action and serenity can make for a wonderful family lake vacation. I appreciate your support!



Robin Edmondson from San Francisco on July 14, 2011:

We camped and skied at Lake Berryessa last summer. We chose it over Hennessey because of the camping, but a day trip would have been great. I noticed that a lot of business around the lake had been shut down in the recession - sad. Next time we go to Berryessa, we'll check Hennessey out, too!

India Arnold (author) from Northern, California on July 13, 2011:

Denise~ I really appreciate your comments here. Glad you enjoyed the sub titles, I was in a "fishing vacation" mood! I love Napa also-- wine tasting and fishing; nothing tops that in my book!

Cheers DH~


Denise Handlon from North Carolina on July 13, 2011:

I loved the hub subtitles in this hub-clever :) Interesting information. I love the Napa Valley area-what's not to love, right? Thanks for another great hub.

India Arnold (author) from Northern, California on July 13, 2011:

billyaustindillon~ So glad you made it by for a little Lake Hennessey Fishing Tour! Fishing is one of those things I have to do just to stay grounded, so traveling to this lake is my favorite! Peaceful, beautiful, and active with fish, no more perfect place can be found in my humble opinion. Thank you so much for your comments!



billyaustindillon on July 13, 2011:

Great hub K9 - what a perfect holiday idea fishing and a little wine tasting. :)

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