Shaver Lake, California, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - West - California - High Sierra -

Also known as:  Shaver Reservoir

Sixty miles east of Fresno, hidden in the High Sierra Region, Shaver Lake is one of California’s favorite recreation destinations. There have been many changes at Shaver Lake over the past century: the former small Stevenson Creek was first dammed in 1893 to provide power for a sawmill. In fact, Shaver Lake is named for lumberman C.B. Shaver, a logger in the area around the turn of the century. For many years the only year-round residents were a couple of hardy families who provided supplies and ‘town’ amenities to seasonal loggers, rangers and high country cattle ranchers. Early records of the small settlement talk of the summer visitors and the hardships of the long, isolated winters. Eventually the timber was all harvested and the lumbermen moved on. In their place came summer residents who built cottages, hunted the surrounding forest and fished the productive lake. The small local store soon adapted to the changing population, providing meals, dances and other resort-style entertainment. Services were still hard to access in these mountains; local legend tells of the cottage-owning dentist that provided needed dental services in a battered dentist’s chair bolted to a wooden platform in his dirt-floored garage. A local fishing club traces its history at Shaver Lake since 1902 and is still very active.

In 1927, the dam was replaced by much a larger dam to be used as water storage for the Big Creek Power Project. Most of the Stevenson Creek outflow was diverted to a conduit directing the water into the Big Creek system. The lake was expanded to cover 2,177 acres, greatly increasing its attractiveness as a recreational and boating destination. By 1935, summer visitors were coming to Shaver Lake in increasing numbers. Summer visitors kept the lake busy with boat races and recreational activities. Shaver Lake Village consisted of a dance hall, post office, trading post and elementary school along with some summer cabins. A hand-made ski run occupied the locals after the summer visitors and deer hunters left for the season. Southern California Edison, current operators of the Big Creek system, have carefully expanded recreational facilities in the area, making Shaver Lake a popular winter destination. In addition to the cross-country ski trails managed by SCE, snow parks and snowmobile routes have been developed which draw winter visitors. Shaver Lake is as busy now in winter as in summer.

Two concession-operated marina locations accommodate boaters. Shaver Lake is a popular spot for water skiing, tubing, power boating, wind surfing and personal watercraft. House boaters float the coves and enjoy the birds and animals that inhabit the shoreline. Canoeing and kayaking are enjoyed by nature enthusiasts as well, who often look for nesting and wintering bald eagles around the lake. There are several swim areas and a Fresno County boat launch at the north end of the lake. If the visitor doesn’t bring their own boat to the lake, the marinas rent most watercraft. Two campgrounds can accommodate both RV’s and tent campers. Riding stables in the area provide for horseback riding in some of the most beautiful areas of Sierra National Forest. Mountain bike trails, hiking, rock climbing and jeep trails are available nearby. Only a half hour away, a ski resort makes Shaver Lake the best of all worlds; visitors here can engage in all of these activities within a few miles. It’s the perfect spot for an activity and fun-filled vacation.

Fishing is still a favored activity at Shaver Lake. The lake holds a good population of catfish, brook and rainbow trout, kokanee salmon, largemouth bass and smallmouth bass. Managed stocking has resulted in a population of triploid rainbow trout. The triploids – sterile and with an extra chromosome – grow larger faster and live longer than regular rainbows. Since they do not spawn, they present less competition to other indigenous species in the fishery. The lake is stocked with 50,000 kokanee fingerlings every year. Several fishing tournaments are held here annually and draw large numbers of serious fishermen. Shaver Lake Village, just west of the lake, is still small but is now transformed into a tourism-focused town with small gift shops and craft galleries, restaurants, motels and all necessities. The village has become home to a large number of upscale ski condos and cabins, many of which are available as vacation rentals year round.

The Central Sierra Historical Society, located at Shaver Lake, provides a wealth of information and history of the area. Society staff have provided oral histories from early pioneers, steam-powered logging equipment, railroading equipment from the San Joaquin and Eastern Railroad, and a newly-built working replica of a hydroelectric plant. Activities are planned for the public to take part in year round.

Shaver Lake, nearby Big Creek, Huntington Lake, and Dinkey Creek provide a variety of vacation rentals to suit every visitor’s desires and budget. Some private residences exist along the lakeshore, but most vacation rentals are located near Shaver Lake Village. Bed-and-breakfasts are located in the area as are inns and resort-style hotels. Real estate is available both as existing housing and in new developments being built on the slopes surrounding the lake. At only 60 miles from Fresno, Shaver Lake is an ideal spot for a weekend getaway or as a jumping off point for forays into the Sierra National Forest. So pack the skis and spend a week at Shaver Lake, either on the water or on the slopes. Both snow and water await your enjoyment.

Things to do at Shaver Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Fishing Tournaments
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Water Skiing
  • Wind Surfing
  • Tubing
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Rock Climbing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • National Forest

Fish species found at Shaver Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Catfish
  • Kokanee Salmon
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Salmon
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Trout

Shaver Lake Photo Gallery

    Shaver Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Not Known

    Water Level Control: Southern California Edison

    Surface Area: 2,177 acres

    Shoreline Length: 17 miles

    Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 5,225 feet

    Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 5,370 feet

    Water Volume: 135,283 acre-feet

    Completion Year: 1927

    Drainage Area: 29 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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