Cave Lake

Map of Cave Lake

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Cave Lake is a manmade impoundment constructed in 1932. It was purchased in 1971 by the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) and is currently managed under a cooperative agreement between State Parks and NDOW.

Pertinent Information

Cave Lake is fed by Cave Creek. It covers 32 surface acres with an average depth of 25 feet and a maximum depth of 60 feet. The reservoir is inhabited by stocked rainbow and brown trout. The most recent angler survey found a great catch rate of 5.70 fish per angler day and the average size rainbow trout was 10 inches and brown trout 11 inches. Although less common, very large brown trout can be caught. Fishing for big browns is most productive at night. The current state record brown trout is 27-pounds 5-ounces that was captured from Cave Lake in 1984. A 13-pound brown was caught in 2005. Primarily managed as a put-and-take fishery, the lake is an excellent year round fishery for stocked rainbow trout. Ice fishing usually lasts from December through March. Virtually all common trout fishing methods are productive such as fishing deep with salmon eggs, Power Bait, or night crawlers. Spin fishing does well with the normal hardware such as Mepps or Panther Martins as well as a fly on a bubble. If fly fishing, try wooly buggers or nymph patterns on sinking line near Cave Creek inflow. The normal baits fished with bright colored jigs work well for ice fishing. Both Cave Creek (above the reservoir) and Steptoe Creek (below) are home to wild populations of brown trout. In addition, Steptoe Creek is augmented with hatchery rainbows. The lake is also home to a large population of crayfish that are easily caught from shore at night and provide for a delicious meal. Try using hot dogs or bacon with a flashlight and net.


Cave Lake will be stocked with 22,500, 9-inch rainbow trout from April through October. Steptoe Creek will be stocked with 1,000 9-inch rainbows in May or June.


The limit is 5 trout for Cave Lake, Cave Creek, and Steptoe Creek. Season is open year around, any hour of the day or night.

Boating Regulations

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.


Already located in a picturesque location in Cave Lake State Park, there are a number of excellent facilities including a modern boat ramp and dock, group use picnic area, hiking trails, running water, fish cleaning station, restrooms, showers and 34 camping sites with tables and fire pits. Fees are charged by Nevada State Parks.


From Ely, drive 7 miles south on Highway 93 and then east 7 miles on State Route 486 to the park. Follow the signs.


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