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South Fork State Recreation Area

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South Fork Reservoir covers 1,650 acres and is surrounded by 2,200 acres of wildlife-filled meadow lands and rolling hills. It is popular for hunting, camping, boating, picnicking, winter sports and wildlife viewing. The park is best known for its trophy-class trout and bass fishery. Facilities include a boat launch, campground, trailer dump station and picnic area. South Fork State Reservoir is located by traveling seven miles south of Elko on State route 227, 5.5 miles south on State route 228, and 3.5 miles southwest on Lower South Fork Road.

The South Fork of the Humboldt River is a main tributary to the Humboldt River drainage basin. and originates along the west slope of the Ruby Mountains, approximately 40 miles south of Elko, Nevada.

The history of the South Fork Dam project goes back to the 1938 Flood Control Act, when the U.S. Congress authorized feasibility studies for building dams and reservoirs on rivers such as the Humboldt. In 1983, the Nevada State Legislature passed Senate Bill 153, which allowed the State to issue State Revenue bonds for the construction of South Fork Dam. The Dam was completed in 1988 using funding from the State of Nevada and Elko County residents.

The South Fork Reservoir operation adopted a "flow-in, flow-out" concept, thus protecting downstream water rights and minimizing the impacts to wildlife habitat in the Humboldt Sink.

South Fork Dam is designed as a rolled, earth filled embankment approximately 1,650 feet long, 90 feet high, with a 30-foot crest. A primary and secondary spillway regulates overflow. South Fork Reservoir is approximately three miles long and one to one-half miles wide. The average depth is 30 to 35 feet. Storage capacity is 40,000 acre-feet.

The basic premise of South Fork Reservoir is storage of excess flows of the Upper Humboldt Drainage system to provide a recreational reservoir for water based recreation.

With constant water levels, South Fork Reservoir has become a highly productive fishery. Trophy size Rainbow and Brown Trout, Cutt-bow Trout, Small mouth and Largemouth Black Bass, Wiper hybrid Bass and Channel Catfish are the dominant game fish species in South Fork Reservoir. These species are thriving in what were productive and densely vegetated meadows. Most fish caught are of exceptional girth compared to length. The Nevada Division of State Parks, Nevada Division of Wildlife and Nevada Division of Water Resources share the operations and management of South Fork Reservoir.

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