Topaz Lake, California & Nevada, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - West - California - High Sierra - Nevada - Renoe-Tahoe Territory -

Also known as:  Topaz Reservoir

Topaz Lake is a man-made reservoir located on the border of Nevada and California, about 75 miles south of Reno, Nevada. The reservoir was built on the site of a natural lake by diverting water from the West Walker River in 1922. An additional levee built in 1937 increased Topaz Lake to its present size. The reservoir is owned and operated by the Walker River Irrigation District, which supplies water to its members for agricultural irrigation. Because of the lake’s turquoise water and its stunning views of the eastern Sierra Mountains, it is also a popular recreation area, offering fishing, boating, camping, and even gambling.

Fishing is available at Topaz Reservoir from January to September. The lake is regularly stocked with trout by both the Nevada Department of Wildlife and the California Department of Fish and Game. Topaz Lake is especially known for its rainbow trout, but brown trout, bowcutt trout, largemouth bass, and bullhead catfish can also be found in the lake. Boat access to the lake is available at the Topaz Lake Marina on the northwest side of the lake, or at Topaz Lake Recreation Area on the northeast side of the lake. Because there are no motor restrictions on the lake, water skiing and jet skiing are popular activities at the lake when the weather is warm.

Camping is available just steps from Topaz Lake. Topaz Lake Recreation Area, operated by Douglas County, Nevada, offers both RV campsites and tent sites, along with showers and restrooms. Topaz Lake RV Park, on the California side of the lake, offers RV hook-ups, along with restrooms, showers, and laundry facilities. In addition, primitive camping is also allowed in undeveloped areas around the lake. However, campers are cautioned that some portions of the lake’s shoreline, especially on the west and south sides, are privately owned.

Nature lovers will find plenty to do at Topaz Lake. Birdwatching is a popular pastime, and orioles, swallows, and yellow warblers can be found in the woodlands surrounding the lake. Bald eagles have been known to nest near the lake, and ospreys can often be spotted as well. During periods of migration, birdwatching is particularly good, as many different species travel through the area on their way to breeding grounds or overwintering sites. Because of Topaz Reservoir’s location in the Sierra Mountains and its proximity to both the Eldorado National Forest and the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, nature lovers have multiple options for hiking and wildlife observation nearby. Other popular excursions available near the lake include horseback riding in the Sierra Mountains and fly fishing and rafting trips on the West Walker River.

When you are ready for some indoor fun, Topaz Lake has that too. After all, this is Nevada, and Topaz Lake has its own casino right on the lake shore. The casino and attached hotel offer gambling, dining, and accommodations with spectacular views of Lake Topaz and the Sierra Mountains.

No matter what your pleasure, Topaz Lake offers something for everyone. Whether you choose to fish the lake or play the slots, you won’t be disappointed. Topaz Lake offers a perfect place for relaxation and recreation.

Things to do at Topaz Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • National Forest
  • Casino Gambling

Fish species found at Topaz Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Brown Trout
  • Bullhead Catfish
  • Catfish
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Trout

Topaz Lake Photo Gallery

Topaz Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: Walker River Irrigation District

Surface Area: 2,410 acres

Shoreline Length: 25 miles

Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 0 feet

Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 5,005 feet

Maximum Depth: 92 feet

Water Volume: 59,440 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1937

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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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