South Fork Reservoir
South Fork Reservoir
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South Fork Reservoir was built in 1988 with recreation specifically in mind. It is the newest reservoir in the state and lies entirely on public land managed by Nevada Division of State Parks.
South Fork Reservoir comprises 1,640 surface acres with a maximum depth of 67 feet at normal pool. Storage capacity is approximately 40,000 acre-feet, however, deeded water rights allow for a maximum of 5,190 acre-feet of storage per year. The reservoir contains rainbow, brown, cutthroat, and bowcutt trout (rainbow x cutthroat hybrid) along with small- and largemouth bass, wipers, and channel catfish. Native, non-game fish include tui chub, Tahoe sucker, redside shiner, and speckled dace. In 2011, angler success averaged 0.4 fish per hour and 1.1 fish per angler, and the average size rainbow trout was 16 inches. Bowcutt trout showed a nice return to the angler, having excellent growth at an average harvest size of 18.2 inches. The average size black bass was 16 inches and wipers 17.1 inches. Most baits such as worms, salmon eggs, Power Bait, etc. are successful for trout, along with lures and flies. Typical bass fishing techniques are successful for small- and largemouth bass, however, the great abundance of natural feed make angling success low. Catfish are caught using the typical baits such as chicken livers, worms, large shrimp, etc. Spring through early summer and during the winter ice period are most productive for trout; however, in summer, trout are caught during early morning hours. The best bass fishing is in late spring, but anglers must release all bass caught prior to July 1. The entire perimeter of the reservoir is fishable with numerous access points available, but float tubing is also very popular. Trophy Book entries include an 8 lb 2 oz largemouth bass caught in 1999, a 5 lb 7 oz smallmouth bass in 2001, a 32 lb 7 oz channel catfish in 2011, an 11 lb 3 oz brown trout in 1995, a 9 lb 2 oz rainbow trout in 1995, 6 lb 5 oz wiper in 2008, and a 6 lb 14 oz bowcutt in 2005. South Fork State Park has a campground facility, along with a few primitive camping spaces around the reservoir.
During the spring, 52,000 8-inch rainbow trout are scheduled for stocking. An additional 15,000 bowcutt trout and 10,000 fingerling brown trout will be stocked this fall. Over 115,000 trout have been stocked annually since 2009.
Season is open year around, any hour of the day or night. Limits are 5 trout and 15 warmwater game fish of which not more than 1 may be black bass, 1 may be white bass hybrid (wiper), and 5 may be channel catfish. Minimum size for black bass and white bass hybrids (wipers) is 15 inches, except for March 1 through June 30 when only catch and release fishing is allowed for black bass.
Boating is permitted throughout South Fork Reservoir except the buoyed area of the spillway. Reduced speed areas occur at all boat harbors and other areas designated by buoys are zones in which 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.
The reservoir is located 10 miles southwest of Elko, off state Highway 228. There is paved access to the main boat ramp and improved campground area. The west side facilities have a new campground with a gravel road that leads there.