Calaveras Lake, Texas, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Southwest - Texas - South Texas Plains -

Also known as:  Calaveras Reservoir

Created in 1969 to be a power plant cooling pond, Calaveras Reservoir has developed into one of Texas’ premiere bass lakes. The manmade jewel is 20 miles southeast of downtown San Antonio in the South Texas Plains tourism region of Texas. It is known for its trophy-sized fish catches, great boating, and water sport opportunities.

Calaveras Reservoir and the smaller Victor Braunig Lake were one of the first projects in the nation to use treated wastewater for cooling power plants. Calaveras is filled in part with wastewater that has undergone treatment at a San Antonio Water System treatment plant. The City Public Service Board of San Antonio is in charge of the lake and the dam. The CPS Energy plant is still a major feature on the shore of Calaveras Lake.

The San Antonio River Authority manages Calaveras Lake Park, a public park that offers visitors picnicking, hiking trails, primitive camp sites and public boat launches. The 146-acre park is also a great place to bird watch. The 3600-plus acre lake attracts the great egret, double-crested cormorant, American white pelican, osprey, common moorhen, American coot, and pied-billed grebe. In the reeds along the lake, bird enthusiasts will see marsh wrens, swamp and Lincoln sparrows as well as common yellowthroats.

The spring is a great time to hike Calaveras Park — the nature trail is one of the newest attractions at Calaveras Park. Nature decorates the park with wildflowers like Indian paintbrush, Siberian wallflowers and Texas bluebonnet, making a hike pleasant and scenic. The 2000-foot stroll meanders along the northern part of the recreational shoreline where well-placed benches offer a place to rest or take in the beautiful views.

Anglers head to Calaveras Lake to fish the well-stocked pond. Red drum, hybrid striped bass, catfish and largemouth bass are plentiful in the lake; the Calaveras Lake record largemouth bass weighed in at a whopping 13 pounds, a blue catfish tipped the scales at 31 pounds, and the record red drum weighed and impressive 30 pounds. Spring — March through May — is the best time to catch largemouth bass, which can be found in the bulrush and along the rip-rap near the dam and intake point. March through May is also the best time to reel in channel catfish, though they can be caught year-round.

March through August is a good time to hunt for red drum in Calaveras Lake. The first eight months of the year are good for reeling in hybrid striped bass; though the peak season for the hybrid stripped bass runs from March to May. Anglers can reel in the big one from a boat or one of the park’s lighted fishing piers. Once caught, anglers may use the fish cleaning station to ready it for the trip to the fire or the ride home.

Water sports are a big draw to Calaveras Lake. Motor boats, personal watercraft and waterskiing are favorite pastimes at Calaveras. Self-propelled canoes and kayaks are also favorites on the lake’s blue waters. It is important to note that sailboats are not permitted on the lake.

After a day on the water, you may want to make a trip to San Antonio for nightlife or culture. History lovers should also schedule a trip to the Alamo, where part of the original fort remains and is open to visitors. Bexar County surrounds Calaveras Lake and the county boasts more than 650 registered historical sites. There are museums in the county and San Antonio area, such as the Briscoe Western Art Museum, The Pioneer Trail Drivers Texas Ranger Museum and The San Antonio Museum of Art, just to name a few.

The San Antonio River Walk is located just below the City’s downtown streets. Hotels, art galleries, gift shops, restaurants and cafes line the River Walk. Guests are treated to live music while visiting unique boutiques. San Antonio also has a zoo and several amusement parks. You can find vacation rentals and real estate in San Antonio or closer to Calaveras Lake in the towns of Floresville and Elmendorf, Texas.

Calaveras Lake was built to cool a power plant that provides electricity to San Antonio but is now known now for its excellent fishing, water recreation and peaceful hiking trails. Its proximity to historical sites, amusement parks and the night life of San Antonio make it a destination that suits many tastes.

Things to do at Calaveras Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Water Skiing
  • Camping
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Hunting
  • Birding
  • Museum
  • Amusement Park

Fish species found at Calaveras Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Blue Catfish
  • Catfish
  • Channel Catfish
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Striped Bass

Calaveras Lake Photo Gallery

  • R: 145 G: 255 B: 159 X:54188 Y: 0 S: 0 Z: 144 F: 132

  • R: 156 G: 255 B: 163 X:54188 Y: 1892 S: 0 Z: 313 F: 46

  • R: 138 G: 255 B: 165 X:54188 Y: 0 S: 0 Z: 313 F: 44

  • R: 145 G: 255 B: 162 X:54188 Y: 1892 S: 0 Z: 313 F: 48

  • R: 144 G: 255 B: 159 X:54188 Y: 0 S: 0 Z: 143 F: 124

  • R: 128 G: 255 B: 191 X:54188 Y: 0 S: 193 Z: 54 F: 172

  • R: 128 G: 255 B: 191 X:54188 Y: 0 S: 470 Z: 54 F: 162

Calaveras Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: City Public Service Board of San Antonio

Surface Area: 3,624 acres

Shoreline Length: 50 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 485 feet

Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 484 feet

Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 491 feet

Average Depth: 18 feet

Maximum Depth: 45 feet

Completion Year: 1969

Drainage Area: 65 sq. miles

Trophic State: Mesotrophic

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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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