South Fork Reservoir, Nevada, USA

Welcome to the ultimate guide to South Fork Reservoir — things to do, where to stay, fun facts, history, stats and more. Let’s dive in!

Topics we cover in this article:

Looking for South Fork Reservoir cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore our comprehensive list of favorite travel partners.

All About South Fork Reservoir

Lake Locations: USA - US West Region - Nevada - Cowboy Country, NV -

South Fork Reservoir is located on the south fork of the Humboldt River about 16 miles south of Elko in northern Nevada. Although the South Fork Dam was completed in 1988, the reservoir was not completely filled until 1995, making the reservoir the newest one in the state as of this writing. The reservoir was built primarily for recreation, but it also stores excess flow from the Upper Humboldt River drainage area. The reservoir is built entirely on public land, and over 100,000 visitors a year enjoy fishing, boating, and camping at South Fork.

The first white settlers arrived in the area in 1867 and made their home in the fertile South Fork Valley, using the grassy meadows to graze their livestock and grow hay. South Fork Reservoir was built on the site of three ranch complexes dating back to the 1860s: the Porter Ranch, Landa Ranch, and Reinhart Ranch. In 1983, the Tomera family of the Reinhart Ranch, the last of the three still in operation, sold their property to the state of Nevada, paving the way for the construction of South Fork Reservoir. The reservoir measures three miles long and one and a half miles wide at its widest point. The normal pool capacity of the reservoir is 40,000 acre-feet.

The stable water levels at South Fork Reservoir have helped the fish population to flourish. The reservoir is known for its trout, and it is stocked spring and fall with rainbow trout and bowcutt trout by the Nevada Division of Wildlife. The lake is also home to cutthroat trout, smallmouth black bass, largemouth black bass, and channel catfish. Fishing is allowed year-round, twenty-four hours a day. Ice fishing for trout is especially popular in the winter months, when temperatures below zero are common. Anglers can fish from shore in most places around the lake, with the best access being near South Fork Dam and on the southwest shores of the reservoir.

Recreational boating is another popular activity at South Fork Reservoir. Boating is allowed everywhere on the lake with the exception of buoyed areas near South Fork Dam. Two boat launches and ample parking provide easy access for your day at the lake. There are no motor restrictions on boats at South Fork Reservoir, and on a warm day you will find water skiers, jet skiers, and even windsurfers equally at home on the cool waters.

The reservoir adjoins South Fork State Recreation Area, a 2,200 acre park that offers an ideal spot for camping and enjoying nature, all set against the stunning backdrop of the nearby Ruby Mountains. The park is open year-round, but access in the winter may be limited by weather conditions. The park has 25 campsites, each equipped with tables and grills and also accessible to restrooms and showers. The campground is open from May to November. Primitive camping is also available on the west shore of the reservoir. Visitors to South Fork can enjoy observing a variety of wildlife in the park. The lake is home to waterfowl including mallard ducks, pintail ducks, white pelicans, common loons, great blue heron, and Canada geese. Raptors such as golden eagles, bald eagles, hawks, and falcons can also be spotted in the meadows surrounding the reservoir. Visitors might even catch a glimpse of some of the park’s four-legged inhabitants, including mule deer, coyote, fox, and even the occasional antelope.

South Fork Reservoir and the rolling hills that surround it are a perfect place to enjoy the natural beauty of northern Nevada. It is easy to see why so many people take advantage of this newest addition to Nevada’s state park system.

Things to Do at South Fork Reservoir

  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Park

Fish Species Found at South Fork Reservoir

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Catfish
  • Channel Catfish
  • Cutthroat Trout
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Trout
divider

Find Places to Stay at South Fork Reservoir

If you’re considering a South Fork Reservoir lake house rental or hotel, we’ve made it super easy to find the best rates and compare vacation accommodations at a glance. Save time using this interactive map below.

Recommended Sites to Book a South Fork Reservoir Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite South Fork Reservoir lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • Booking.com – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, Booking.com connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • Hotels.com – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, Hotels.com is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.
ALL TRAVEL RESOURCES

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

South Fork Reservoir Statistics & Helpful Links

divider

Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: Nevada Division of Water Resources

Surface Area: 1,640 acres

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 5,229 feet

Average Depth: 30 feet

Maximum Depth: 67 feet

Completion Year: 1995

We strive to keep the information on LakeLubbers as accurate as possible. However, if you’ve found something in this article that needs updating, we’d certainly love to hear from you! Please fill out our Content Correction form.

Shop South Fork Reservoir Gifts

Custom Lake Tumblers

Captain / First Mate Custom 20 oz Tumbler

SHOP NOW
Custom Lake T Shirt

Personalized My Boat My Rules Unisex T-Shirt

SHOP NOW
Custom Lake Coffee Mug - On Lake Time

On Lake Time Custom Coffee Mug – 11oz or 15oz

SHOP NOW
VIEW ALL CUSTOM LAKE PRODUCTS

Advertise Your South Fork Reservoir Business or Vacation Rental

LakeLubbers will soon offer businesses the opportunity to advertise and homeowners and property managers the ability to showcase their vacation rentals to the thousands of lake lovers searching our site daily. If you would like additional details, please contact our advertising team.

divider

Looking for the South Fork Reservoir Forum?

LakeLubbers previously offered visitors the ability to create accounts and participate in lake forums. When we overhauled the site’s content management system in 2021 we had to disable those features. We’re evaluating options and welcome your comments and feedback here. We also encourage you to join our lake-lovin’ community on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest!

South Fork Reservoir Photo Gallery

New photos coming soon!

Spread the word! Share our South Fork Reservoir article with your fellow Lake Lubbers!