Minersville Reservoir, Utah, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - West - Utah - Color Country -

Also known as:  Rocky Ford Reservoir

Beaver County, in southwestern Utah, has a landscape characterized by breathtaking canyons, meandering rivers that flow through granite mountains, thick, green forests, deserts, historic mines, farm valleys, and peaceful meadows. Here in this diverse county is where you will find Minersville Reservoir lying in the low and arid valley of a desert.

Between the cities of Beaver to the east and Minersville to the west, Minersville Reservoir is in a region of Utah called Color Country. Appropriately named, the region has a rich and intriguing history that offers color and nuance to any history buff. Beaver is the birthplace of both Philo T. Farnsworth, the inventor of television, and Butch Cassidy, the infamous western outlaw. The area was also a magnet in the era of the California Gold Rush and fortune-seeking forty-niners. The discovery of rich repositories of silver in the mountains surrounding Minersville Reservoir helped create booming mining towns. Minersville, from where the reservoir takes its name, was called such out of respect to all the mine laborers that came to work in the area.

Once synonymous with the name Rocky Ford Reservoir, Minersville Reservoir was created as early as 1914 by an impoundment on Beaver River. The river flows from the magnificent heights of the Tushar Mountains, strengthened as it descends through various mountain tributaries. The river had several dams constructed by Mormon settlers; but none of these dams were as permanent a construction as the Rocky Ford Dam, which today stops the waters of the reservoir.

Since the lake is used to irrigate nearby farmlands, the water level varies throughout the year. Utah is a land of extremes, experiencing flood and droughts rather often. Multi-year, state-wide droughts occur about every 10 to 20 years. As a result of a state-wide drought that lasted from 1999 to 2004, Minersville Reservoir was completely drained by September of 2004. By October, the lake began to refill and trout and bass stockings were added to the rising water. Today the 990-acre Minersville Reservoir is considered a trophy trout fishery.

Rocky Ford Reservoir supports populations of rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, smallmouth bass and Utah chub. Brown trout may also be in the reservoir, since stockings of brown trout are planted in the drainage above the reservoir. There is a fishing restriction on the lake that allows the harvest of only one trout over 22 inches long, a rule established in the early 90s when the trout population was threatened by competing chubs and fish-eating birds. Another rule warns fishers to use only artificial flies or lures when fishing. Shore fishing and float tube fishing are just as popular and successful as boat fishing, particularly for trout, since the spawning adults are attracted to the shoreline when looking for the best locations to deposit their eggs.

In addition to great fishing, the reservoir also supports waterskiing and swimming. On 207 acres of land by the reservoir, there is a campground, paved boat ramp, sandy beach, flush toilets, hot showers, and picnic areas. Formerly Minersville State Park, the campground is now owned by Beaver County.

There are wonderful year-round birding opportunities around the Minersville Reservoir. Bird lovers can expect to catch sight of osprey, caspian tern, common loon, great-tailed grackle, and, during the winter, bald eagle. Flocks of swallows use the reservoir in the fall. For hunting, the irrigated farmland near Minersville and Milford to the north is good for pheasant and sage hen game.

Beaver County’s friendly and welcoming residents, plus varied sightseeing and vibrant history, might tempt you to stray from the lake. The surrounding mountain ranges are known for fishing, hiking, and mule deer and elk hunting. To complement ice fishing on Minersville Reservoir in the winter, you might also want to check out one of the ski resorts in the mountains.

The Mineral Mountains appeal to rockhounds who can dig up all kinds of great finds in the rich deposits of the alpines: amethyst, smoky quartz crystals, obsidian, garnet, hematite and agate – stones popularly used in jewelry crafting – are just a few examples. Don’t leave Beaver County without visiting Frisco, one of the most popular ghost towns in Utah. In its time, it had the richest silver mine in the country, saloons, hotels, gambling halls, its own newspaper, a popular red light district, and a few shoot-outs every day. Other attractions in Beaver County include horse racing, the Beaver Cheese Factory and the annual Butch Cassidy Festival.

If Beaver County has charmed you, vacation rentals and real estate options are available in the towns around Minersville Reservoir. Among the gorgeous scenery, high mountains, low deserts, wide valleys and farming communities, you can carve out a little peace of paradise for yourself. Take to the lake, throw a line into the teeming waters, and breathe in the solace of the desert’s deep silence.

Things to do at Minersville Reservoir

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Water Skiing
  • Tubing
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Park

Fish species found at Minersville Reservoir

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Brown Trout
  • Carp
  • Cutthroat Trout
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Trout

Minersville Reservoir Photo Gallery

    Minersville Reservoir Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

    Surface Area: 990 acres

    Shoreline Length: 8 miles

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 5,503 feet

    Average Depth: 27 feet

    Maximum Depth: 44 feet

    Water Volume: 26,500 acre-feet

    Completion Year: 1914

    Water Residence Time: .88 years

    Drainage Area: 531 sq. miles

    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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