Map of Bassett Lake
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Bassett Lake was constructed in 1942 in McGill to serve as a final settling pond from copper mill tailings. Kennecott Copper Corporation presently owns the lake. Bassett Lake’s primary source of water is from Tailings Creek, however, water management in recent years has changed, resulting in lower than normal water levels in both the creek and reservoir.
Bassett Lake covers 77 surface acres with an average depth of 5 feet. It represents one of two waters in Nevada that has northern pike and one of two waters in the county having largemouth bass. It also contains a large population of nuisance carp. The Mail-in, Angler Questionnaire Survey from 2009 found an average catch rate of just over 5-fish per angler day. Fishing is best in early spring, following ice-off, to early summer for bass and pike. Shore fishing can be difficult, so a boat or float tube/pontoon boat is recommended. During the “Dog Days” of summer, biting insects and a thick mat of aquatic vegetation render the lake nearly unbearable and unfishable. Be sure to use steel leaders for pike in front of red and white Daredevils, Rapalas, spoons, and spinners (the flashier the better). A 44-inch pike was taken in 1999. Typical bass tackle works for largemouth, however, weedless or surface lures are suggested. For a change of pace, try fly-fishing in sloughs above the lake for cruising carp. Wooly bugger, leech, and streamer patterns work best. Tailings Creek produced trophy-sized trout in the past, but recent low flows have halted all stocking activities. Camping is not allowed and no toilets are available. Roads will be very muddy when wet.
Largemouth bass and northern pike are self-sustaining and require no stocking. No trout stocking is planned for Tailings Creek.
Open year around, any hour of the day or night. The limits are 10 largemouth bass and 5 trout. There is no limit on northern pike (unlimited possession). However, northern pike are a prohibited species and anglers wishing to keep them to eat are required to kill them upon capture.
A vessel must be operated at a speed that leaves a flat wake, but in no case may a vessel be operated at a speed in excess of 5 nautical miles per hour.
Bassett Lake is located 17 miles north of Ely and 5 miles northwest of McGill off Highway 93 via a dirt road.