Map of Lahontan Reservoir
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Lahontan Reservoir is situated in west central Nevada, approximately 50 miles southeast of the Reno/Sparks area. It is part of the Bureau of Reclamation’s Newland’s Irrigation Project that stores water from the Carson River and Truckee River (via a canal) to be used for irrigating Lahontan Valley. The quality of fishing depends on water levels, which relies on snow pack and runoff from the Sierra Nevada’s to the west. Additionally, a reduced volume of water is being transferred from the Truckee basin to Lahontan Reservoir over concern for the structural integrity of the Truckee Canal. This, along with reduced snow pack, contributed to the low water level over the last several years.
At maximum storage, Lahontan Reservoir contains 320,000 acre-feet of water with a maximum depth of 85 feet near the dam. There are approximately 10,600 surface acres and nearly 65 miles of shoreline to fish. The length of the reservoir is slightly more than 17 miles with a maximum width of 2.5 miles. The reservoir contains sandy beaches and rock outcroppings, flooded woody debris, a flooded river channel, and various islands composed of rock and sand. The water is constantly turbid in the upper basin and dense algae blooms occur in summer. Water quality appears better near the dam. It is popular for boaters, skiers, personal watercraft, and fishing. Primary game fish include wipers (white bass x striper hybrid), white bass, walleye, channel catfish, white catfish, largemouth bass, spotted bass, and crappie. The best fishing occurs from April through July and October. Recent Angler Questionnaire Survey data from showed anglers averaged 2.2-fish per angler day. In 2009, the state record wiper was caught weighing 25 lbs 9 oz, beating the previous record only by 3 ounces. Walleye are caught mostly in spring with the usual gear; jigs, worms trolled in a harness behind flashers, and live minnows. Wipers are captured with crank baits and live minnows. White bass are caught on spinners (Mepps) and live minnows. Use dead minnows, worms, prawns, liver, and worms fished off the bottom for catfish. Lahontan Reservoir is entirely located within Lahontan State Park, where fees are charged to enter. Camping, restrooms, showers, picnic tables, and boat launching facilities are available. The town of Silver Springs is only a few miles from away with gasoline and groceries available.
Lahontan Reservoir is stocked with walleye fry and fingerling wipers nearly every year.
Due to elevated mercury levels in fish, the Nevada State Health Division has issued a health advisory recommending no consumption of fish from Lahontan Reservoir and the Carson River from Dayton downstream to the reservoir.
Season is open year around, any hour of the day or night except for the Lahontan Dam spilling pool (bowl) which is closed to fishing. Limit is 15 warmwater game fish of which not more than 5 may be black bass, 5 may be walleye, and 2 may be white bass or white bass hybrids (wiper) longer than 15 inches total length.
No boating is allowed within the buoys located in front of the dam. Churchill Beach and North Shore Marina in Churchill County, Silver Springs Beach in Lyon County, and all boat harbors and other areas designated by buoys are zones which vessels must be operated at a speed that leaves a flat wake, but in no case may be operated at a speed in excess of 5 nautical miles per hour.
Travel 35 miles east from Reno on Interstate 80, turning off at Fernley onto Highway 50 for 20 miles to the turnoff to Lahontan Reservoir (south). Another 8 miles will get you to the north entrance to the State Park.