Big Springs Reservoir

Map of Big Springs Reservoir

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Big Springs Reservoir is located at the northern end of the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge, 131 miles northwest of Winnemucca. It was originally developed as an irrigation impoundment for Lower Virgin Valley and Dufurrena Ponds. Water rights and administrative authority are controlled by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and is accessible to the public.

Pertinent Information

Big Springs covers 212 acres with an average depth of 7 feet and a maximum depth of 10 feet at the dam when full. When the reservoir contains water, anglers typically average 5 fish per day. There is unimproved camping with outhouses, but no garbage collection so pack out your trash. The best times of year to fish are May, June, September, October, and November. Productive fishing methods include the usual bait fishing techniques of using worms or Power Bait and fly-fishing, usually from float tubes. Small green wooly buggers and scud patterns have been the top producing patterns. The reservoir is turbid (cloudy) and flashier patterns usually produce more fish than subdued patterns.


If the reservoir fills to an acceptable level, NDOW will stock up to 5,000 9-inch rainbow trout during spring. However, the reservoir has not been stocked since 2004.


The season is open the second Saturday in May through the last day of February, any hour of the day or night. Limit is 5 trout per day or in possession.

Boating Regulations

Anglers may use non-motorized boats, boats with electric motors, float tubes, and similar flotation devices.


Travel 31 miles north of Winnemucca on U.S. 95 to the junction of SR 140, turning left and traveling 104 miles to the Denio Junction turning left again and continuing for another 33 miles along 140 to the Big Springs turnoff (north side of road). It is one mile to the reservoir along a level graveled road.


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