Bucks Lake, California, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - West - California - Shasta Cascade -

A peregrine falcon, perched in the top of a silvery, windswept pine, watches a sailboat tack back and forth across the clear cool water of Bucks Lake. Set against the backdrop of the Plumas National Forest and rimmed with tall straight pine trees, Bucks Lake in the Shasta Cascade region of northern California is a favorite with birds and boaters alike.

Originally called the Bucks Creek Project, Bucks Lake is an impoundment of Bucks Creek. Construction on the 122-foot high rock-filled dam was started in 1926 by the Feather River Power Company, which was owned by R. C. Storrie and Robert Muir. The project ran into financial difficulty and was sold to the Great Western Power Company, which completed the dam in 1928. Today the dam is operated by the Pacific Gas and Electric Company.

About half the shoreline of Bucks Lake is owned by the Pacific Gas and Electric Company, and the other half is managed by the Forest Service. Houses on Pacific Gas and Electric Company lots are not supposed to be rented as vacation rentals, but there are lake view rentals and a few waterfront resorts. The Forest Service runs four campgrounds with room for trailers but no hookups, and the Pacific Gas and Electric Company also runs a campground on the south side of Bucks Lake. Four public boat launch ramps provide access to the lake. There are also privately run marinas for supplies and boat rentals.

With almost 2,000 acres of water, Bucks Lake is a very popular boating lake and has even been called a “boating Mecca.” There is plenty of room for ski boats, jet skis and waterskiing along with sailboats and pontoon boats. The pine-rimmed shoreline is a great place to explore by canoe or kayak to see the bald eagles, osprey and Canada geese that make their home at Bucks Lake.

Lake fishing, particularly in Lower Bucks Lake, is very good. The California Department of Fish and Game stocks the lake with rainbow trout annually, and there are abundant fish to challenge anglers. Healthy populations of German brown trout, brook trout, and kokanee salmon all make their homes in Bucks Lake. Along with the fishery, the California Department of Fish and Game also manages some hunting nearby.

Bucks Lake, located in Plumas County, was named after one of the first white settlers in the area. In 1850, Horace “Buck” Bucklin moved from New York to the valley that became known as Bucks Ranch. The land is now part of the Bucks Lake Wilderness Area in the Plumas National Forest. Established by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1905, the forest occupies 1,146,000 acres of mountain land in the northern Sierra Nevada. The Plumas National Forest is a collection of canyons, valleys, meadows, and peaks just to the south of the Cascade Range.

The Bucks Lake Wilderness Area includes 23,958 acres, but Bucks Lake is just outside its boundaries. It is home to black bear, coyote, mountain lion, and black-tailed and mule deer. Hiking and horseback riding trails in the area offer visitors a chance to see wildlife. A section of the Pacific Crest Trail, which runs from Mexico to Canada, is just three miles from Bucks Lake and crosses Bucks Summit.

Recreation at Bucks Lake is not limited to summer months, however. The area receives heavy snowfall every year, and in the winter there are miles of trails for cross-country skiing as well as trails for snow mobiles.

Bucks Lake has the beauty and remoteness of the surrounding wilderness and the convenience of amenities nearby. There are bed and breakfasts, motels and resorts, and after a day on the water dinner is just moments away at a waterfront restaurant. The lake is only 15 miles from Quincy and any thing a visitor might need. For visitors wanting to extend their stay, there is real estate for sale near Bucks Lake and in the surrounding area.

In the shadow of the Sierra Nevada, with cross-country skiing and snowmobiling in the winter and fishing and boating in the summer, Bucks Lake is a four-season recreation area that is sure to become your favorite.

Things to do at Bucks Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Hiking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • National Forest

Fish species found at Bucks Lake

  • Brook Trout
  • Brown Trout
  • Kokanee Salmon
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Salmon
  • Trout

Bucks Lake Photo Gallery

Bucks Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: Paciic Gas & Electric

Surface Area: 1,827 acres

Shoreline Length: 14 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 5,155 feet

Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 0 feet

Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 5,157 feet

Average Depth: 56 feet

Maximum Depth: 90 feet

Water Volume: 101,926 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1929

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Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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