Marinas and Public Launch Ramp Open for the Season in Big Bear

Big Bear Marina                                                                                                                             (500 Paine Court) 909-866-3218-

Captain John’s Marina                                                                                                          (39396 North Shore Drive) 909-866-6478

East & West Ramp Public Launch                                                                                   (41911 & 38925 North Shore Dr) 909-866-5200 & 909-866-2917

Holloway’s Marina & Pirate Ship                                                                                            (398 Edgemoor Rd) 909-866-5706

North Shore Landing                                                                                                             (38573 North Shore Dr) 909-878-4386

Pine Knot Marina                                                                                                                           (439 Pine Knot Ave) 909-866-7766

Pleasure Point Marina                                                                                                                (603 Landlock Landing Rd) 909-866-2455


The Lake Officially Opens April 1st!


The lake officially opens April 1st….below is a quick article from Kathie Portie of the Big Bear Grizzly….the Marinas are ready!

Marinas Ready to Set Sail

Spring is here and the lake is waking up. Temperatures are rising and the fish are starting to move. The Big Bear Municipal Water District is getting ready for anglers and boaters to take advantage of the great weather.

The MWD planted 10,000 pounds of baby trout on March 19 and is busy building a new and improved larger fish cage to grow the next shipment of fish from California Fish and Wildlife.

Public launch ramps are also gearing up for official opening. The Carol Morrison Public Launch, more commonly known as the East Ramp, will open for early season hours daily beginning Wednesday, April 1. Hours are 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. The Duane Boyer Public Launch, or West Ramp, remains closed until May 7.For more information, call the East Ramp at 909-866-5200 or the MWD at 909-866-5796.

Following suit, several marinas have already opened or are planning to open in the next week. Shelly Fengler, owner of Big Bear Marina, is excited about the upcoming season. “Our goal is to open April 1,” Fengler said. “It will be a soft opening because it’s on a Wednesday. But we will have boats available to rent by that weekend.”

Rental options at Big Bear Marina include pontoons, fishing boats, kayaks and paddleboards. “We have fuel available for purchase, fishing licenses and a full pro shop,” Fengler said.
Big Bear Marina is at 500 Paine Court, Big Bear Lake. For more information, call 909-866-3218.

Captain John’s Fawn Harbor & Marina also opens April 1 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Manager Serena Saunders said Captain John’s has the largest fleet of nonmotorized rentals including canoes, kayaks and paddleboards. Boat tours are available on Captain John’s special electric boats. Call 909-866-6478 for more information. Captain John’s Fawn Harbor & Marina is at 39369 North Shore Drive in Fawnskin.

Several marinas already open include Pine Knot Landing and Holloway’s Marina. The Miss Liberty Tour Boat has run all winter at Pine Knot Landing.Pine Knot Landing is at 439 Pine Knot Ave., Big Bear Lake. For more information, call 909-878-5750.Holloway’s Pirate Ship is scheduled to set sail for boat tours Saturday, March 28, according to employee Maria Da Re.  Holloway’s is at 398 Edgemoor Road, Big Bear Lake. For more information, call 909-866-5706.

Pleasure Point Marina will be available for boat and slip rentals the week of April 6. Office manager Jesi Pujda said the marina is also in the process of arranging a partnership with a new charter fishing concession.

Pleasure Point Marina is at 603 Landlock Landing, Big Bear Lake. For more information, call 909-866-2455.

Big Bear Marina has a new owner


Big Bear Marina

I’ve always loved reading Alan Sharp’s Fishing Blog.  It’s good information for all levels of fisherman.  There was a rumor that Big Bear Marina had sold …..and now it’s official  🙂  Congratulations to the Fengler’s.

Article written by JUDI BOWERS of Big Bear Grizzly

Steve Fengler has lived in Big Bear for more than 30 years, He’s a fixture at Bear Mountain, and horse people may know him as their farrier. He’s adding another hat. Steve and his wife of eight years, Shelly, are the new owners of Big Bear Marina.
The couple were having dinner at Thelma’s Restaurant in Big Bear City and picked up a real estate magazine. Why not look at lakefront property, Steve says he told his wife. Instead of a new house, they saw the marina for sale and realized it could be just what they were looking for.

With a lot of research and plenty of prayer, they made an offer, which was accepted. The Fenglers took over Jan. 15 and the marina opened for the season March 29. Steve, having worked in the resort arena for many years, is aware of the peaks and valleys of owning and operating a business in Big Bear. He and Shelley are adamant about quality customer service and have a great deal to bring to the table. Shelly is a flight attendant with Jet Blue, so customer service is second nature to her. Customer service is their No. 1 goal at Big Bear Marina, they say.

When they took over, there was no delay in getting down to business. There was plenty of administrative duties to sort through before boats and docks were in the water. Shelly says when the first check for a slip rental arrived, she knew they were the owners. She had a photo taken of her holding that first check, she says.

In honor of the loyalty of slip holders at the marina, Steve and Shelly offer a 20 percent discount in the retail store and a 5 percent discount at the gas dock to slip holders during the 2013 season.

Alan Sharp is staying on to help with the transition this first year and will oversee the fishing tournaments. A solid core of the workforce is returning as well, but some new faces will be added, Shelley and Steve say.

A new addition is the flyboard concession, Aqua Flight, operating out of the marina, Shelly says. The operation opens for business May 15. The Big Bear Queen will remain, and Big Bear Marina still holds the designation as the official weigh station on Big Bear Lake. Big Bear Marina offers clean pontoons and fishing boats for rent. Also available are personal watercraft, paddleboards, including stand-ups, canoes and kayaks for rent. A store is onsite featuring bait and tackle, apparel, beer and wine, snacks, beverages, sunscreen, fishing licensees and boat permits, “and Dramamine if you need it,” Steve says. Big Bear Marina is a Berkeley pro shop and has gone green. All live bait sold at the marina is sold in Earthsmart products, which contain no Styrofoam.

The marina also offers repair and maintenance service and boat detailing, with dry storage and winterizing at the end of the season and unwrapping and launching services for the start of the season. Quagga mussel inspections are also done at Big Bear Marina.

A few days prior to the March 29 opening, Steve and Shelly were busy making final preparations for the big day. It didn’t seem real, Steve said. They are committed to making a visit to Big Bear Marina the best experience possible. Shelly says she wants families to come to Big Bear Marina and create memories.

“This is something families do,” Steve says. Fishing has grown as an affordable recreation and family activity, and the Fenglers plan to make sure more people enjoy it at Big Bear Marina.

Not many people get to ski all winter and play at the lake all summer, Shelly says. “It’s been a blessing and amazing how everything fits for us,” she says. The Fenglers hope Big Bear Marina is a good fit for their customers as well.
Big Bear Marina is at 500 Paine Court, Big Bear Lake, adjacent to the Big Bear Municipal Water District office. For more information on the marina, call 909-866-3218 or visit

Big Bear Lake Receives First “Snow Dusting”

Docks at Eagle Point Estates

Winter weather arrived last night with a “light dusting” of snow covering the valley…

If you decide to come up to Big Bear for the weekend, make sure you check with Cal-Trans on chain restrictions.  There wasn’t too much accumulation, but Cal-Trans is currently requiring chains on all vehicles except four-wheel drives, all-wheel drives, and snow tires on all four wheels.

7 day Forecast from

As the water temperature drops, the boats start coming out of the water (evidenced by the photos above and below taken from two private marinas in Big Bear).  The month of November is the time to pack up the fishing gear, winterize the boats, and secure the docks before the lake freezes.

The majority of the marinas in Big Bear are closed….except for limited services including boat removal and winterizing.  Boat rentals and launch ramps are no longer available at most locations including Captain John’s Fawn Harbor, Pleasure Point Marina, Pine Knot Landing, and North Shore Landing.  Big Bear Marina’s launch ramp is also closed.  The public can still use the East Boat Launch, operated by the Big Bear Municipal Water District between 7am and 4pm seven days a week.

Docks at Eagles Knoll

State Considers Cuts to Boating Department


Saw this in the Grizzly this week……
State Considers Cuts To Boating Department
written by Kathy Portie

One week after California Governor Jerry Brown released his 2013 budget proposal, the Marina Recreation Association sounded the alarm.

Brown proposes to merge or eliminate several state departments as part of his cost-cutting measures. The California Department of Boating and Waterways is on the chopping block. The plan is to merge the department with the state’s Department of Parks and Recreation. The Marina Recreation Association asked its members to contact legislators and oppose the proposal.

Local members of the Marina Recreation Association include Big Bear Marina LLC in Big Bear Lake and Captain John’s Fawn Harbor & Marina in Fawnskin. Association members include marina owners in Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Washington, Hawaii, Mexico, Canada and Australia.

What does the elimination of the state department mean to the Big Bear Municipal Water District and Big Bear Lake marinas? Big Bear Marina owner Alan Sharp is concerned the money collected in boating licenses and other lake fees will no longer go toward lake and waterway improvement programs.

“The reality of it is the money would go to Parks and Rec,” Sharp said. “The Department of Boating and Waterways revenue comes out of boat registration. That money is earmarked to improve lakes and launch ramps. Put that into the Department of Parks and Rec, that money could be put somewhere else.”

The proposal also sends a red flag to the Big Bear Municipal Water District, which depends on funding from the state agency for its fleet of vessels and employee training. Lake Manager Mike Stephenson is cautious when criticizing the proposal. “I don’t understand the proposal well enough to know how it will affect us,” Stephenson said. “But I don’t want to see them go away. It could have a lot of effect, mainly on the reimbursable training program and officer training program.”
The Marina Association’s statistics show that recreational boating contributes about $16.5 billion to the gross state product, representing 1.2 percent of the state’s economy. It generates about $1.6 billion in state and local taxes. Loans through the Department of Boating and Waterways generate approximately $20 million in revenue each year for the state.

The California Department of Boating and Waterways is self funded by vessel registration fees, boating fuel tax dollars and boating facility construction loan payments. Department programs include officer training, financial aid and equipment grants for more than 100 local and state agencies including boating law enforcement training, marina and launch ramp construction loans and grants, vessel sewage pumpout station grants and abandoned vessel removal assistance.
Stephenson said every boat in the MWD fleet has been paid for through Department of Boating and Waterways grants. “For us, the vessel grant program is important,” Stephenson said. “It helps pay for new engines, drives and boats. And if we lose the education program for our guys, I don’t know where we’d find a replacement.”

The Big Bear Municipal Water District has not taken a stand for or against Brown’s budget proposal. How the money from boater fees is used under the merger will be the determining factor, Stephenson said. “That’s one of the questions that I have,” he said. “If that is eliminated, I’d be extremely opposed (Brown’s proposal). But I don’t see how the government could allocate the money to something else.”
The precursor to the California Department of Boating and Waterways is the Division of Small Craft Harbors, which functioned within the Department of Natural Resources until 1961. At that time, the division was relocated to the Department of Parks and Recreation.

The division was elevated to the Department of Harbors and Watercraft in 1966. The name was changed to the Department of Navigation and Ocean Development in 1969 and to the Department of Boating and Waterways in 1979.
This is not the first time a California governor has proposed eliminating the department. “The issue comes up with every administration,” Sharp said. “We’ve been fighting this for 13 years.”

Don’t Hate The Player, Hate the Game

David V Goliath

The battle continues over the non-regulation of kayak/canoe rentals on Big Bear Lake…IMO, non-marina business owners have increased the popularity of kayaking in Big Bear Lake through clever marketing, superior products, and good internet presence.  They’ve created a niche for themselves and I wouldn’t blame em for profiting….just regulate it and make em get a conditional use permit and call it done!  The longer the debate, the heavier the legal battle which doesn’t bode well for the little guys, but I think they can come to some sort of compromise.

Below is another informative article from Kathy Portie of the Big Bear Grizzly regarding last weeks public workshop.

STIRRING UP BIG BEAR LAKE – Marina Owners, Kayak Business Owners Debate Non-motorized Rental Issue

Call round one a draw. Marina owners are on one side of the line drawn at the high water mark. Kayak rental businesses stand on the other side.

The Big Bear Municipal Water District listened to both sides of the kayak rental issue during a workshop Oct. 15. The question is whether kayak rental businesses have the authority to conduct business on Big Bear Lake or if it is the exclusive right of the marinas.

MWD General Manager Scott Heule began the meeting with a brief overview of the district’s administrative code. The MWD has jurisdiction over district-owned real property, the water surface of the lake and the land area below elevation 6,743.25 feet.

Marina owners cite a 1991 legal settlement with the district that they say upholds their legal right to exclusive commercial enterprises on the lake. “Kayaks are not a large portion of our business,” said Loren Hafen of Holloway’s Marina and North Shore Landing. “I’m not here because of competition. It is the principle of the point.”

Hafen said comparing the situation with the marinas to ski rentals and ski resorts is not accurate. “We have a specific contract that gives us exclusive rights,” Hafen said. “Ski areas did not have a specific contract with the Forest Service granting them exclusive rights to rent skis.”

The Grizzly has not been able to obtain a copy of the contract Hafen cited.

There are several nonmarina businesses renting kayaks and canoes in Big Bear Lake as well as nonprofit organizations providing kayaks and canoes for tours, instruction and other programs. Rental company owners claim they provide a service that the marinas didn’t focus on and as a result have turned the lake into a kayaking destination.

Ron Cotta of Johnny’s Ski Rental in Boulder Bay believes there is room for everyone. “We are approached often about where to rent kayaks and we direct them to our business,” Cotta said. “We are not a commercial operation on the lake. We are a commercial operation in the city. We don’t want to be a marina.”

Earlier this year, marina owners successfully scuttled a city of Big Bear Lake plan to build a nonmotorized boat launch ramp at Boulder Bay Park. At that time, marina owners also complained about kayak rental businesses conducting operations at the park.

Steve Pontell of Pine Knot Landing, Alan Sharp of Big Bear Marina and John Saunders of Captain John’s Fawn Harbor Marina also cited the legal settlement as the basis of their argument.

“When I had my tour boat, I was told I would have to go through a marina for my business,” Saunders said. “Now you’re considering changing everything. It isn’t that I don’t want anybody to compete with me. They are going to have to do it the same way I had to do it.”

“I don’t think any one of us wants to prohibit anyone selling products in the Valley,” Sharp said. “They have every right to do that. As far as renting and delivering them, that is the job of the marinas.”

Roy Brownie of Pleasure Point Marina suggests kayak renters should work as concessionaires within a marina. “We don’t control what they do,” Brownie said about Pleasure Point concessionaires Lucky Bear Fishing Charter and Desi Wakeboard. “I’d be perfectly happy to hammer out any kind of agreement. There has got to be a way to come to some sort of solution so it works without bringing in the lawyers.”

Jory Lyle of Big Bear Paddling believes the MWD should offer nonmotorized commercial use permits. “List the things we can and can’t do,” Lyle said. “Maybe we have to charge more money than the marinas. That’s OK. There have to be ways to work together.”

Jim Dooley implored the district to find a solution. Dooley owns North Shore Trading Post, a Fawnskin company that sells high-end kayaks and canoes, and sponsors the Big Bear Paddlefest. “I promote paddling out of John’s marina,” Dooley said. “I also promote Jory’s business. I feel like I’m sitting on a fence and I don’t like it. It hurts.”

MWD board president Todd Murphy explained before the debate that no action would be taken on this first round of talks. Board members remained quiet for the most part, allowing marina and rental owners to speak their minds.

MWD board member John Eminger suggested the two sides find middle ground. “What if you had to pay a marina to launch at a marina?” he asked.

A second workshop is expected, but not scheduled.

The Dock Club: An Alternative Way of “Getting On The Lake”

What is The Dock Club and What are you Buying?

Over the past decade, Pine Knot Landing has been converting from a rental facility to a private ownership marina (by subdividing the fee land) and selling deeded ownership dock rights to buyers through an entity called The Dock Club.  Each owner, by grant deed, owns 1/650th interest of the Pine Knot Landing Marina Facility.  The slips come in a range of sizes (20′, 22′, and 24′) and are well constructed with a warranty.  Pricing ranges from $65,000 to $85,000 with association dues billed semi-annually at $42/month. 

The Dock Club and Statistics regarding Big Bear Lake
The Dock Club Location in Big Bear Lake
Features and Benefits to The Dock Club:

Rental Income?  You can rent or lease your slip monthly or by the season (you just need to make sure your renters carry liability insurance).  Owners are required to carry $500,000 coverage on their boat. 
Each dock system has a wheeled tote for moving gear out to your slip or back to the car, as well as fire suppression equipment, electrical power, water and lighting. 
Private Parking:  As an owner, you would receive (2) parking passes.  This will ensure (2) parking places within the “members only” parking areas.  This is not assigned parking, but reserved parking.
Private Facilities:  There are (2) restroom buildings which are for members use only.  One building has a fish cleaning station and the other has an outdoor shower unit. 
Security:  There is 24 hour security at The Dock Club.  While there is security on staff during normal operating hours, there is also an overnight watchman.  In addition to this, there is also a webcam that may be accessed from the comfort of your own home to view your boat in it’s slip.  The main gate is located at the end of Pine Knot Avenue which is open during normal business hours and generally staffed.  There is also a private gate that has a card key access for members. 
Dock Rentals:  Located inside the Pine Knot Landing Administrative Offices. 
Boat Rentals:  Located inside of the Valley-Wide Marine Building (I’ve rented a boat on several occasions when family came in town and it was very easy). 
Fuel Dock:  Expensive but available for public use as well.
Big Bear Parasail and Jet Ski Rentals:  Located at the end of the jetty, this is available to the public. 
Miss Liberty:  The newest paddlewheel tour boat on Big Bear Lake providing guided tours for public use. 
Valley Wide Marine:  Full service repair and mechanical shop.
Pine Knot Landing Layout
Pine Knot Landing Layout

For many, the cost of lakefront home ownership is too expensive and not justified on a part time basis.  The Dock Club is a great alternative to getting on the lake.  It’s relatively inexpensive, it’s close to the Village (the restaurants, the shops, the entertainment is all within walking distance of a dock slip at Pine Knot Landing), and it can be sold, rented, and transferred just like any other type of real estate.   

For additional information regarding The Dock Club, or if you would like to learn about alternative methods to buying on the lake feel free to contact me, Mike Wochner