The Lago Santa Margarita brings Members closer to nature by framing the picturesque Saddleback Mountains and incorporating organic elements into its design. In addition to its year-round beauty, the Lake also acts as a miniature ecosystem – drawing on the complex relationships between flora and fauna to maintain a well-balanced environment.
The excellent condition of the Lake and thriving fishery is the result of the careful and passionate efforts of the Lago Santa Margarita Committee, comprised of SAMLARC Board Director Charles Villafana (Chair) and Director Paul Persiani. The Committee steered the Lake Ecosystem Restoration Project, which included the installation of botanical islands, air diffusers, and an Active Lake Management Plan to mitigate the growth of harmful golden algae.
The floating botanical islands throughout the lake each have underwater roots that absorb excess nutrients that would otherwise allow the algae to thrive. These root systems also provide shelter for fish, who eat underwater insect larvae. Waterfowl then eat the fish, as well as any flying insects. Throughout this process, Members can observe the cadences of nature up close. After several years of inability to host fishing due to algae blooms, the Board appreciates the opportunity help families enjoy this activity together in a safe manner.
On July 23, three (3) new species of fish were reintroduced to the Lake: redear sunfish, crappie, and rock bass. These fish had regularly been stocked at the Lake several years ago, and as a result of the Lake Ecosystem Restoration project, the water quality is able welcome these species again. The redear sunfish, crappie, and rock bass join the bluegill, catfish, bass, and minnows stocked in late 2019. This combination of fish encourages the ecosystem’s continued progress as well as providing a wider variety of species for fishing.
The Lake is open to Members for recreational catch-and-release fishing. All who fish in the Lake are asked to adhere to all SAMLARC fishing rules. In alignment with State COVID-19 related recommendations, activities must also be limited to immediate households. Members can also help slow the spread of COVID-19 by maintaining safe social distancing, wearing a face covering, following counter-clockwise directional signs, and practicing thorough hygiene when using the Lakeshore facility.
When State, County, and City restrictions permit, the Board of Directors hopes to reinstate a cherished SAMLARC tradition: a fishing derby that allows families to enjoy a friendly competition in the great outdoors. For questions or more information on fishing at the Lago Santa Margarita, please contact the Beach Club Office at 949-858-1390.