New Bullards Bar Reservoir, California, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - West - California - Gold Country -

Also known as:  Bullards Bar Reservoir

New Bullards Bar Reservoir is located on the west side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Yuba County, California, surrounded by the Tahoe and Plumas National Forests. This 4700-acre lake was created by the Yuba County Water Agency by impounding the North Fork of the Yuba River for flood control, irrigation water storage, hydroelectric power generation, and recreation. Construction of the 635-foot high concrete dam was completed in 1970. Water levels fluctuate about 150 feet a year.

Water Ski Magazine rated Bullards Bar Reservoir as one of the best recreation lakes in the nation. With its spectacular vistas of Tahoe and Plumas National Forests, 55 miles of explorable shoreline, and deep, cool waters, it’s not hard to understand why.

Two boat launch facilities provide public access to New Bullards Bar Reservoir. Begin your trip with a jaunt in a power boat and get acquainted with your new surroundings. Mosey on over to the 635-foot New Bullards Bar Dam, California’s second tallest dam, and stretch your neck as you gaze at the tumbling and steep dam wall. Investigate inlets and make your way to the feeder rivers, watching water tumble over boulders. Watch as wakeboarders and waterskiers speed across the glassy surface, jumping wakes and performing gravity-defying tricks. Find a new favorite spot, cut the motor, and drift along as you enjoy a picnic lunch under the warmth of the California sun. With that first water adventure, you’ll know why so many Bullards Bar Reservoir visitors become quick and lifelong devotees. Keep in mind that high speed boat operation is prohibited within 200 feet of the shoreline.

If you really enjoy spending time on the water, consider a houseboat rental. Ranging from 45 to 60 feet, houseboat rentals are a popular way to spend your time at the lake. Imagine cooking a meal and eating on your own waterfront deck, diving into the cool Bullards Bar Reservoir waters off your own platform, and having the reflection of the moon as your nightlight.

Year-round fishing options abound at the lake, featuring both warmwater and coldwater species such as Alabama spotted bass, bluegill, catfish, German browns, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, Kokanee salmon, redear sunfish, and rainbow trout. The primary angling treasure is the salmon, as Bullards Bar is home to the primary Kokanee fishery in California. Since the lake’s shoreline tumbles steeply into the water, shore fishing is all but impossible, making fishing from your boat the best option. As always, make sure you have a valid California fishing permit before you arrive.

For the nature enthusiast, almost 20 miles of trails await you at New Bullards Bar Reservoir. Bullards Bar Trail, 7 Ball Trail, 8 Ball Trail, Rebel Ridge Trail, and Schoolhouse Trail offer you upfront looks at thick conifer forest, incredible aerial views of the lake, area wildlife, dazzling sunsets, and the beautiful flora that cover the Plumas and Tahoe National Forests.

If nature hikes don’t quench your thirst for some one-on-one times with the great outdoors, consider spending a night or two under the constellations, camping at one of the New Bullards Bar Reservoir’s five campgrounds: Dark Day, Garden Point, Hornswoggle, Madrone, and Schoolhouse. Enjoy primitive campsites with onsite toilets, fire pits, and thousands of little night lights dancing above your head.

Things to do at New Bullards Bar Reservoir

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Water Skiing
  • Wakeboarding
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • National Forest

Fish species found at New Bullards Bar Reservoir

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Catfish
  • Kokanee Salmon
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Redear Sunfish (Shellcracker)
  • Salmon
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Spotted Bass
  • Sunfish
  • Trout

New Bullards Bar Reservoir Photo Gallery

New Bullards Bar Reservoir Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: Yuba County Water Agency

Surface Area: 4,700 acres

Shoreline Length: 55 miles

Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 1,732 feet

Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 1,956 feet

Water Volume: 969,000 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1970

Drainage Area: 489 sq. miles

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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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