State Recreation Area

Located 16 miles south of Elko. To reach to area, travel 7 miles south of Elko on State Route 227 also known as Lamoille Highway, (to Spring Creek) 5.5 miles south on State Route 228, and 3.5 miles southwest on Lower South Fork Road.

The Park encompasses about 3924 managed acres of pinyon-juniper woodlands, sagebrush-rabbit brush uplands, and canyon land riparian areas. A 1650 acre reservoir provides for many different types of water based recreation and fishing, and wild life viewing. Equestrian access is provided to the South Fork River Canyon.

The area is home to Mule Deer, occasional Antelope, Beaver, Otter, Mink, Badger and Porcupine, as well as a wealth of bird species. Just a few of the wide variety of resident and migratory birds you may see around the reservoir include: Golden and Bald Eagles, Osprey, Red Tail Hawks, Prairie Falcons, Great Horned Owls, Burrowing Owls, Western and Clarke's Grebes, Common Loons, Sandhill Cranes, Great Blue Herons, and White Pelicans. There have also been sightings of uncommon birds such as Old Squaw and Peregrine Falcons.

CLIMATE: Winter brings snow and ice to our area, but with it comes other recreational opportunities! Roads are usually maintained all winter.

CAMPING: 25 sites each contain a picnic table and campfire pit/four restrooms/two showers/tents & trailers/modified for physical impairments/RV dump station. Primitive camping is also allowed around most of the reservoir.

OFF ROAD VEHICLES: The majority of Elko County is classified as "open" to off-road vehicle use. Opportunities vary from well maintained gravel roads to hundreds of miles of primitive, back country "two-tracks". There are some Wilderness Study Areas and the areas within the Special Recreation Management Areas have a "limited" ORV (Off Road Vehicle) designation and all vehicles are required to stay on existing roads and two-track routes-in these areas NO cross country travel is permitted.

BOATING: Although the reservoir is small it does offer significant boating/water-skiing/skidoo/ windsurfing opportunities without having to go too far from Elko. Be aware that you may encounter water hazards in the form of floating debris, particularly early in the year. Changing water levels can also bring reefs close to the surface. Smaller boats containing fishermen will be found around the edges and in the shallower areas. Please give them a wide berth as a matter of courtesy and safety.

Launch: A developed fee boat launch is located on the North end of the Reservoir. The facility currently has 48 paved parking spots. Restroom facilities.

FISHING: South Fork Dam is entirely public, built entirely for recreation. The dam was completed and the reservoir began filling in 1989. The lake has 1650 surface acres, with a depth of 67ft at normal pool elevation. The entire parameter of the lake is fishable, however, the easiest access is provided near the dam on the northeast side and along the shore of the southwest side. Many different types of game fish have been introduced including Trout, Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass, and Channel Catfish.

For Trout, bait fishing with bobbers and corn, worms, marshmallows, or power bait will work well. Casting or trolling lures are also effective. Fly fishermen may want to try the trophy stream just above the reservoir. Trout fishing can also be good in the river below the dam.

Smallmouth Bass fishermen concentrate their efforts on the rocks near the dam. Most successful Smallmouth fishermen are using plastic worms or plastic grubs. People fishing for Largemouth generally use Mepps or surface lures and fish around the willows and banks at the south end of the reservoir.

Catfish were just barely reaching catchable size in 1993. They should provide some excellent sport for people who will adapt their fishing techniques. Try bottom fishing in the evening with night crawlers or stink baits in the dam area.

ICE FISHING: for Trout in January or February can be excellent, the average stringer of fish weighs in about 2 to 2 1/2 lbs per fish! You'll need 12 to 18 inches of ice to be safe so check first with a Park Ranger or Game Warden for current ice thickness. For safety make your ice holes no larger than 10" (to prevent others from falling through the holes!) and then fish with salmon, eggs, corn or power bait.

HUNTING: This location provides a convenient camping location for hunters in Area 10 and southern portion of Area 6.


South Fork State Recreation Area, HC-30 353-8 Elko, Nv 89801 (775)744-4346.

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