Wildhorse Reservoir

Map of Wildhorse Reservoir

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Wildhorse Reservoir was constructed in 1937 and reconstructed in 1970. It is used primarily for irrigation storage and, therefore, can have a large seasonal drawdown. Most of the surrounding land is administered by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, but is leased to the Duck Valley Indian Reservation (Sho-Pai). Wildhorse is open to the public, but fees are usually charged for overnight camping. Additionally, Wildhorse State Park and some private property surround the reservoir.

Pertinent Information

At maximum capacity, the reservoir covers 2,830 acres, has a maximum depth of 70 feet, an average depth of 40 feet, and stores a volume of 73,500 acre-feet. It has a coldwater, put-grow-take trout fishery and a self-sustaining warmwater fishery. Game species include rainbow trout, brown trout, bowcutt trout (rainbow x cutthroat hybrid), tiger trout, smallmouth bass, some largemouth bass, channel catfish, wipers (white bass x striper hybrid), and yellow perch. Average angler harvest rates for trout in 2011 were 0.7 fish per hour and 1.8 fish per angler day. Harvest lengths averaged 16.1 inches for rainbow, 18.1 inches for bowcutt, 14-24 inches for wipers, 10-28 inches for channel catfish, and 11 inches for yellow perch. Trout from 3 to 5 pounds and larger were common in 2011. Bass typically range from 8 to 17 inches and channel catfish from 3 to 20 pounds. Lures are best for trout from May through June and mid-September through October, and worms, eggs, corn, and Power Bait during December through February when ice fishing. Fly-fishing is best in early spring and late fall. Shore and still fishing from a boat is successful, however, trolling is more productive in summer. Spring and early summer are best for bass and catfish, crank baits and rubber worms for bass and stink baits and liver for catfish. Yellow perch fishing has been slow (use jigs and worms) and large ones (10+ inches) are becoming rare. Record fish from Wildhorse Reservoir include a 5-lb 5-oz smallmouth caught in 2001, a 19-lb 3-oz channel catfish in 2002, several 1-lb yellow perch in 2010, a 12-lb 9-oz brown trout in 1986, a 4-lb 2-oz cutthroat trout in 1994, an 8-lb rainbow trout in 1979, a 10-lb 4-oz bowcutt in 1977, and a 7-lb 8-oz wiper caught in 2009. Wildhorse State Park has day use, camping, and a boat ramp. Additionally, BLM has a day use and campground area. Wildhorse Resort has a motel, full RV hookup, restaurant, bar, and a convenience store that sells fishing licenses. Sho-Pai provides campsites and a boat launch. There is additional lakeside, primitive camping around the reservoir.


58,000 rainbow trout are scheduled for stocking in spring and 39,000 in fall. An additional 50,000 fingerling brown trout, 30,000 bowcutt, and 8,500 tiger trout will be stocked.


Wildhorse Reservoir and its inlet and outlet rivers and streams including Penrod Creek up to the bridge below the Gold Creek Ranger Station in Elko County: Open year around, any hour of the day or night. The limits are 5 trout, unlimited yellow perch, 10 mountain whitefish and 15 warmwater game fish of which not more than 1 may be black bass and 1 may be a white bass hybrid (wiper) and 5 may be channel catfish. Minimum size for black bass and white bass hybrids (wiper) is 15 inches, except from March 1 through June 30 when only catch and release fishing is allowed for the black bass. The possession while fishing or use of the fish as bait, whether dead or alive, or parts thereof, except preserved salmon eggs, is prohibited.

Boating Regulations

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 Vessels are prohibited in areas designated by signs or buoys at the dam.


Travel north from Elko on State Route 225 for 65 miles to the reservoir.


  • Rainbow Trout
  • Brown Trout
  • Rainbow Cutthroat Hybrid
  • Tiger Trout
  • Channel Catfish
  • Yellow Perch
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Wiper

  • Regions

  • Eastern Nevada

  • Counties

  • Elko County