Willow Creek Reservoir
Map of Willow Creek Reservoir
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Willow Creek Reservoir was constructed in 1884,
reconstructed in 1921, restored in 1999, and again in 2005. Finally, the reservoir was drained in 2007 to
repair the headgate and dam. Barrick
Gold Corporation, Goldstrike Complex privately owns the reservoir and
surrounding land. It serves as an
agricultural irrigation impoundment with large drawdowns occurring seasonally. It is open to the public for fishing,
hunting, boating, and camping.
At maximum capacity, Willow Creek covers 640 surface
acres and has a maximum depth of 40 feet.
It is known primarily for white crappie; which generally range in size between
6 and 10 inches. The best time to catch crappie
is from May through July and boat fishing is best, but shore fishing along deep
drop-offs is also productive. Brightly
colored jigs work well as does trolling small spinners and crankbaits. The reservoir also offers the opportunity to
catch largemouth bass ranging in size from 8 to 12 inches and channel catfish
up to 12 lbs. Fly-fishing is less
productive since the water is always cloudy.
Rubber worms, jigs, and crankbaits work well for bass in the
spring. Stink baits, liver, nightcrawlers,
and shrimp work well for catfish during spring and summer. There is primitive camping for small RVs and tents,
but bring your own water and firewood. Car-topper
boats, canoes, or float tubes are recommended.
It is difficult to launch trailered boats when the water level is low in
summer; however, a gravel boat ramp is usable during high water.
No special boating regulations.
From the west, turn off Interstate 80 at Golconda, follow signs 44 miles to Midas on State Route 789 (some paved highway and mostly compacted surface gravel), travel past Midas turnoff 15 miles on gravel road to the reservoir. From the east, travel 27 miles north from Elko on State Route 225, turn onto State Route 226 for 18 miles to Tuscarora turnoff (just past Taylor Canyon Resort), turn left onto the dirt road to Tuscarora and travel 27 miles to the reservoir. The dirt road past Tuscarora is normally closed in the winter due to snow and will have some rough areas at other times.