The first view of the lake from the parking lot is paradisiacal! And only 45 minutes from Fresno makes it a great one-day spot. Manzanita Lake is well hidden from the roadway leading to the lake and is completely edged with vegetation and trees. This makes the lake a fine place to canoe / kayak while fishing or watching birds.
In recent years a few pairs of Canadian Geese have been nesting and raising their young here. The geese and assorted ducks can often be hand fed according to the locals. Osprey, Red-tailed Hawks, Acorn Woodpeckers, and Red-winged blackbirds can also be seen here. The lake is regularly stocked with trout and has large mouth bass as well.
The stream that feeds the lake offers a fine upstream paddle that's not difficult and gives you a bit of exercise. The water ways meander around little islands of wild growth and trees. A few well placed sand bars give you an opportunity to park your vessel and watch birds or simply take in the sounds of the running water.
North Fork Chamber of Commerce
"Canoeing the California Highlands" by John Coale