To reach Penner Lake in Nevada County, drive to the
Lindsey Lakes trailhead by taking Highway 20 from
Highway 80 at Yuba Pass. Take Highway 20 west until you can turn right on Bowman Lake Road.
From Bowman Lake Road, follow the signs to the turnoff for Lindsey Lakes Road. This road is an unimproved
dirt road that is moderately rough but still manageable in a 2-wheel drive vehicle with
modest clearance. We were the only car in the parking area on a Friday morning. As an alternative,
you can use the Carr Lake trailhead and take the Crooked Lakes trail which is a slightly shorter hike.
We chose the Lindsey Lakes trail because we wanted to fish a number of lakes along that route.
The hike to Penner Lake starts in the parking area just below Lower Lindsey Lake and makes its way past
Lower Lindsey Lake and the campground on the north side. This is a 4WD road that passes several lakes along the
way including Upper Lindsey Lake, Culbertson Lake and the Rock Lakes. Construction crews were repairing the dam
at Culbertson Lake when we were there and the lake had been drawn down significantly. The hike is moderate with only
a few hills to hike up. The road leads to the Rock Lakes where, at Upper Rock Lake, it ends and a maintained trail
begins. Following this trail leads you to Shotgun Lake or Penner Lake if you take the right turn just past Upper
Rock Lake. After taking this right turn, there is about 1 mile of hiking over some very easy terrain before you reach
the eastern shore of Penner Lake. Camp sites are located on the east side of the lake and are plentiful. We chose
the camp site on the northern peninsula which is an excellent spot that could accommodate several tents and has
a couple of spots to hang a hammock. Expect to see people at Penner whenever you go there as it is a very popular
lake which is easy to access from two different directions. There are many established camp sites but on a weekend
you may find it difficult to find a camping spot if you do not get there early enough.
Penner is a great fishing destination that has never disappointed me. It didn't take long for me to
land a 2 pound Brookie while fishing the lakelet on the east side of the peninsula. I threw out a black prince nymph
for a while until the bite died out around noon. We paused for lunch and then packed up our fishing gear to
adventure around the east side of the main body of the lake looking for a honey hole.
We started at the first point, near the northern peninsula, and managed to land a 12 inch Brookie while losing
a few fish there as well. Caleb was having trouble keeping the trout on the line but we were happy they were biting
after striking out the day before at Upper Rock Lake. From that point we moved southward along the shore, fishing
every point that did not have people. We did not see any action until we reached the south end of the lake where we
hooked into one more fish that shook our hook before we could land it. All in all, the east side fished poorly for us.
When the sunlight started to wane, we trekked back to camp to fish the west side of the peninsula and prepare for
dinner. From our camp, we landed two more Brook Trout, both measuring 12 inches or so.
Conclusively the fishing was slow with only 4 fish landed all day. That is why I rate it as fair to good for this outing,
crediting the large Brookie caught upon arrival. Penner Lake makes for a good spot to take the kids as it is an easy
hike and always has fish. Fish and Wildlife plant trout in the lake either annually or bi-annually.