Emigrant Lake, Oregon, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - West - Oregon - Southern -

The children giggle and squeal sliding like seals down the waterslide at Emigrant Lake and landing with a splash in the water. A few quick strokes to the shore and they climb out to do it again chasing each other to the bottom of the slide. On the opposite end of the lake, anglers cast their rods hoping this trip will be the time they bring home the big one – a monster largemouth bass they can tell stories about when they are back at work. Both of these experiences and many more are available at Emigrant Lake in the southern region of Oregon. Nestled between two mountain ranges and two national forests, Emigrant Lake is surrounded by some of Oregon’s most beautiful scenery.

Emigrant Reservoir, in Jackson County, is an impoundment of Emigrant Creek which makes up the lake’s primary inflow and outflow. Emigrant Dam was built in 1924 by the Talent Irrigation District to create a water storage reservoir for irrigation. Between 1958 and 1960 the US Bureau of Reclamation built a new dam and enlarged the reservoir so it could be used for flood control. The resulting reservoir is also used to regulate discharges from the Green Springs Power Plant. The lake is part of the Talent Division of the Rogue River Basin Project. The reservoirs in the project store flood waters when necessary and provide water to irrigate about 15,000 acres of farmland used to grow pears, hay and grain. Water levels on Emigrant Lake fluctuate significantly over the course of the year; water levels can drop from 800+ acres down to 250 acres by the end of September.

The Bureau of Reclamation owns about 600 acres of land around Emigrant Lake. In 1968 it leased the land around the lake to Jackson County to be used as a park. Emigrant Lake Recreation Area rings the horseshoe shaped lake. The more developed area near the dam is known as the North End Park. The recreation area includes a campground with sites for RV’s and a 280 foot twin flume waterslide with showers and a concession stand. There is also a large picnic area suitable for outdoor weddings and family reunions. Emigrant Lake is a popular place to swim, and there is more than enough room to canoe, kayak, boat and water ski. Anglers can test themselves against the lake’s abundant populations of crappie, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and brown bullhead. Occasionally the lake is stocked with rainbow trout, steelhead and Chinook salmon.

Emigrant Lake is a short drive from the city of Medford and just eight miles from Ashland. There are a few vacation rentals on the lake and more in Ashland which also has real estate available for sale. Ashland is a charming small town with restaurants, shops and various accommodations. It is also the home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, drawing thousands of people to the area every year. Emigrant Lake lies between the two sections of the Ashland Ranger District. Part of the 1.8 million acre Rogue River -Siskiyou National Forest, the district includes 98,695 acres split between the Southern Cascade Mountains in the east and the Siskiyou Mountains in the west. There are trails for hiking and biking, and in the winter there is cross-country skiing and downhill skiing nearby.

The Klamath National Forest is slightly west of Emigrant Lake. The almost two million acre forest spans parts of California and Oregon and includes elevations from 450 feet to 8,900 feet above sea level. From the hot dry south to the cold wet north, it is an incredibly diverse forest with over 400 species of animals including wild horses, elk, eagles and mountain lions. It is also the only place where the Siskiyou Mariposa Lily grows.

Seated at the foot of the Siskiyou Mountains surrounded by not one – but two- national forests, Emigrant Lake is in some of the most beautiful countryside in southern Oregon. With is abundant fish and wildlife and hundred of acres of parks it has almost limitless recreation opportunities. Add the amenities and culture of nearby Ashland and there is sure to be something to please everyone at Emigrant Lake.

Things to do at Emigrant Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Water Skiing
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Downhill Skiing
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Horseback Riding
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • National Forest

Fish species found at Emigrant Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Brown Bullhead
  • Chinook Salmon
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Salmon
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Steelhead Trout
  • Trout

Emigrant Lake Photo Gallery

Emigrant Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Not Known

Water Level Control: US Bureau of Reclamation

Surface Area: 806 acres

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 2,241 feet

Water Volume: 39,000 acre-feet

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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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