Willow Creek Reservoir
Map of Willow Creek Reservoir
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Willow Creek Reservoir was constructed in 1884, reconstructed in 1921, and restored in 1999. It is privately owned by Barrick Goldstrike. It serves as an agricultural irrigation impoundment with large drawdowns occurring seasonally. There is open access to the public for fishing, hunting, boating, and camping.
At maximum capacity, Willow Creek stores 10,000 acre-feet, covers 640 surface acres, and has a maximum depth of 40 feet. Angler use averages 2,500 to 3,500 days per year when fully functional. It is known primarily for white crappie that range from 8 to 12 inches. The best time to catch crappie is from May through July. Boat fishing is best, but shore fishing along deep, drop-off areas is also productive. Brightly colored jigs work well as do trolling small spinners and crank baits. The reservoir also offers opportunity for black bass from 8 to 14 inches, channel catfish up to 12 lbs, and cutthroat trout from 12 to 16 inches. Fly-fishing is less productive since the water is always cloudy. Rubber worms, jigs, and crank baits work well for bass in the spring. Stink baits, liver, worms, and shrimp work well for catfish throughout spring and summer. Trout fishing is generally poor, but with persistence you may hook a native cutthroat trout. Trophy fish entries include a 3 lb 5 oz largemouth bass caught in 1996, a 14 lb 3 oz channel catfish in 2002, and a 1 lb 1 oz white crappie in 1998. There is primitive camping for small RVs and tents, but bring your own water and firewood. There is a gravel boat ramp.
The fishery is managed as wild, which is supported by natural reproduction. However, catfish will be stocked for the fifth consecutive year.
Season is open year around, any hour of the day or night. The limits are 5 trout and 15 warm water game fish of which not more than 10 may be black bass and 5 may be channel catfish. Minimum size for black bass is 10 inches. The possession of bait while fishing or use of fish as bait, whether dead or alive, or parts thereof, except preserved salmon eggs, are prohibited. No restrictions on boats.
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.