Littlerock Reservoir, California, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - West - California - Los Angeles County -

Also known as:  Littlerock Lake, Little Rock Reservoir, Little Rock Lake

Littlerock Reservoir is a man-made water storage system located in Los Angeles County, California, southeast of Palmdale and about three miles southwest of Littlerock, after which it’s named. In 1924, the Littlerock Dam was constructed to assist the area’s farming communities in maintaining a sufficient supply of water for crop irrigation. This new reservoir served Palmdale and Littlerock, but that job now goes to the California Aqueduct system, whose construction began in 1960. Although both the Littlerock Reservoir and the California Aqueduct are in use today, both built by the Department of Water Resources (DRW) as part of the California State Water Project, Littlerock Reservoir is now a used as a backup storage system. The community of Littlerock proudly proclaims itself “The Fruit Basket of the Antelope Valley” with fruit stands and U-pick orchards lining the highway.

Littlerock Creek feeds into Littlerock Reservoir as its main source of water, coming in from the southern end of the lake. The reservoir rests at an elevation of 3,405 feet. The Littlerock Dam at the northern end controls water outflow into Palmdale Lake. Although Littlerock Reservoir is no longer the primary water supply for the Palmdale area, this 150-acre lake is now a recreational destination enjoyed by area residents when water levels are high. Fishing in Littlerock Reservoir is popular, aided by the stocking that the government sometimes provides. Rainbow trout, brown trout, carp, catfish, largemouth bass and bluegill are all angled for here, usually with good results. Fishing is popular year round, and the reservoir does not freeze over as a rule. Boats must not have engines over 10 horsepower, and speeds cannot exceed 5 mph. The Littlerock Recreation Area provides picnic areas, boat rentals, and a store. Visitors must purchase a National Forest Adventure Pass for day use.

Situated in Antelope Valley near the edge of the Angeles National Forest, the area surrounding Littlerock Reservoir is abundant with wildlife and outdoor adventure opportunities. Deer hunting is popular in the area. Horseback riding is found in the vicinity. Four large camping facilities, which allow recreational vehicles and tents, are located around the lake on the south and southwestern sides. Hiking is popular, and some of the local trails, including the High Desert National Recreation Trail, are popular with locals and vacationers alike.

City dwellers flock to the area for a weekend of recreation and relaxation; it’s located only an hour’s drive from the city of Los Angeles. It’s also popular for year-round activities, as the temperatures here are mild in the winter and allow vacationers to spend a great amount of time outside. Mount Waterman is a favorite skiing area. Southern California’s climate is perfect for outdoor activities in all the seasons. A wide choice of accommodations is available for those wishing to spend some time in the area; similarly, real estate is diverse and likely will provide an option to suit every potential buyer. From weekend tourists to retirees looking for a permanent home to families looking for a vacation cottage, the area’s proximity to larger Southern California towns and cities allows wide variety in style, price range and choices of vacation rentals and real estate for lease or sale.

Littlerock Dam itself is considered an important piece of architectural history. The structure, when originally built, was an Eastwood cement multiple-arch buttress dam, which is much more interesting visually than most other dam construction appearances. The Eastman multiple-arch buttress dam was a design created by John Eastman, an engineer who favored the multiple-arch approach to dam building for its aesthetics, its strength and its lower cost. He built more than 15 dams of this kind in California and the American Southwest; Littlerock Dam was one of the last, constructed the same year of his death. However, not long after its completion, concern arose that the dam’s construction would not withstand a severe earthquake, and demand grew for the dam’s inadequacies to be corrected. Since then, the dam has undergone substantial corrective construction actions and upgrades, the last of which was completed in 1995. Although the dam may be safer and stronger in its new incarnation, those who were familiar with its prior appearance are a bit heartbroken that its unique construction has been replaced with a more traditional gravity dam appearance.

Things to do at Littlerock Reservoir

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Camping
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • National Forest

Fish species found at Littlerock Reservoir

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Brown Trout
  • Carp
  • Catfish
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Sunfish
  • Trout

Littlerock Reservoir Photo Gallery

    Littlerock Reservoir Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

    Water Level Control: Department of Water Resources

    Surface Area: 150 acres

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 3,405 feet

    Average Depth: 28 feet

    Water Volume: 4,200 acre-feet

    Completion Year: 1924

    Lake Area-Population: 12,600

    Trophic State: Eutrophic

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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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