Fort Churchill Pond
Map of Fort Churchill Pond
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Fort Churchill Cooling Pond is the primary
cooling pond for the steam-generated power plant operated by NV Energy. Hot water from the power plant is released in
the northeast quadrant of the pond, which then flows in a clockwise direction
through three other quadrants until it cools for re-entering the power
plant. However, since 2009, the power
plant has been operated sporadically. NV
Energy owns the pond and anglers should respect the property to ensure continued
access to the fishery.
The pond is 210 surface acres with water depths
that range from 7 to 14 feet. Water
temperatures during normal power plant operation range from 40ºF in February to
100ºF in the summer. During times when
the power plant is shutdown, the ambient water temperature is similar to other
ponds in the area, with ice forming in winter and 75°F temperatures in summer. Fishing is only allowed from shore. This is a warmwater fishery with self-sustaining
largemouth bass, bluegill, and channel catfish populations; however, trout are
stocked during the winter when power plant operations are suspended. Bass range between 11 and 16 inches, while
channel catfish range between 10 and 13 inches.
For bass, use plastic worms, spinner baits, or top-water lures. In order to increase the amount of protective
cover and improve production of young-of-the-year largemouth bass and bluegill,
109 artificial habitat structures occur along the center dike. Catfish anglers find the best luck using
nightcrawlers, chicken liver, and cut shrimp.
There is an outhouse at the parking area. Camping is only available in the Mason Valley
Wildlife Management Area at Sandhill Campground.
Wading or the use of boats and other floating devices is prohibited. Please see the ‘Boating Restrictions in Wildlife Management Areas’ section of the ‘Nevada Fishing Seasons and Regulations’ for more details.
The Cooling Pond is located 70 miles southeast of Reno of U.S. 95A and 11 miles north of Yerington. The pond has two entrances: off Sierra Way, two miles south of Wabuska and off Miller Lane. Both take you through the Mason Valley Wildlife Management Area (MVWMA). For the Sierra Way access, drive east for two miles to the WVWMA turnoff and remain on the main gravel road. From Miller Lane (off U.S. 95A) continue 2.5 miles east to the main entrance to MVWMA at Lux Lane. Follow Lux Lane north 4 miles to the smokestack of the power plant. Parking is available at the southwest quadrant and the southeast quadrant near the iron gate.