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Click here to buy California Recreational Lakes and Rivers at

NEW for 2008!

RecLakesRivers Tom Stienstra's California Recreational Lakes and Rivers

Moon Outdoors; 4th edition (2008)

This book puts the best of California's lakes and rivers right in your hands. It was written with the intent that it will become your bible for boating and water sports across California.

We have detailed every lake, river -- more than 400 listings -- and the water sports popular at each, as well as precise directions to the state's boat ramps:

  • 534 boat ramps.
  • 190 lakes without boat ramps ideal for car-top boating, many of which are perfect for a family with a canoe or raft.
  • 132 lakes for waterskiing and wakeboarding.
  • 282 lakes for swimming.
  • 196 lakes for windsurfing.
  • 126 areas for personal watercraft.
  • 45 rivers for rafting, canoeing or kayaking.
Let Your Ship Come In
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. Heh, heh, heh -- see you out there!

Author's Note
If you have an old edition of this book, or any other book that resembles it, throw it away, burn it or shred it. This book is my way of trying to make things right.

Some of my detractors call it "Stienstra's Kiss and Tell." Whatever they call it, the effort has been made to put the state's lakes and rivers on a silver platter for you to enjoy. I have found there is no faster way to transform how you feel - for the better - than to get out on a boat, to swim, to paddle, and enjoy the great outdoors.

The new California Recreational Lakes and Rivers is the most accurate, up-to-date resource guide of its kind. Each body of water is rated on a scale of 1 to 10, and activity icons show--at a glance--which activities can be enjoyed at every locale. Boating rules, speed limits, and safety zones are also described to make your trip as safe and fun as possible, and to help you select the best destination for your adventure. As an added bonus, we secured permission to reprint the "ABCs of the California Boating Law," a must-read for every boat owner in the state.

Beyond the scope of lakes, rivers, streams, bays, and coastal areas in California, I discovered a much more important lesson in writing this book: For anybody who desires adventure, excitement, fun, and a chance at true freedom, the fastest way to get it is with a boat. In a boat, there is nothing but open space, often for miles . . . no stoplights, no traffic jams . . . and in the outdoors, I have learned firsthand that heading out in a boat is the fastest and easiest way to put a giant smile on your face.

Click if you want to see a picture of The Stienstra Navy!

See you out there!
--Tom Stienstra

Click here to buy California Recreational Lakes and Rivers at

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