Organizers say the volunteers who came from as far away as Sacramento and Placerville picked up hundreds -- if not thousands -- of cigarette butts as well as beer cans, liquor bottles and assorted trash.
In addition to the garbage, they netted about 75 pounds of material on Saturday that can be recycled.
"I've picked up more cigarette butts than most years, and a lot of bottle caps, too," said Carol Christ of South Lake Tahoe, who has been cleaning El Dorado Beach for years.
South Lake Tahoe neighbors Melissa Baumann and Shelly Piscitelli walked El Dorado Beach and found what they described as "a ton of caps and butts and bottles."
Among their find: two wine bottles, a vodka bottle and a tequila bottle, plus three 24-ounce beer cans.
"There was a bunch of hair-holders. Lots of tape and nylon ties, a couple water bottles, a little baby toy and tons of cigarette butts," Piscitelli said. "Oh, and a bunch of Cheetos bags," Piscitelli added.
Ellen Nunes, program manager of Clean Tahoe, said the event drew people from far and wide.
"What is exciting to me is to see the people who've come out for this. They really do love where they live, and it shows," Nunes said.
Tahoe resident Bob Blaney, who typically dives in the water looking for material from Tahoe Keys to Camp Richardson, told Nunes that the water had looked the cleanest it had in years.
Most of the garbage collected, including an antique-style washing machine, came out of the meadows. Blackwood Meadow has become a notorious illegal dumping ground for furniture and appliances, Nunes said.
A group of 12 students from Union Mine High School in Placerville contributed to the cleanup as part of their environmental club. Student Suzanne Lewis reported the group picked up 97 cigarette butts, then stopped counting because there were so many.