By Charlie Johnston
Topaz Lake reservoir, on the Nevada-California border 21 miles south of Gardnerville, was created in the early 1920s when the West Walker River was diverted to an Antelope Valley basin that previously held a smaller natural lake. In 1937, the Army Corp of Engineers built a new levee, nearly tripling the lake’s volume and bringing it to its current capacity of 126,000 acre feet.
While the reservoir’s primary purpose has always been to serve the irrigation needs of the downstream agricultural regions of Smith and Mason Valleys, the lake is also a favorite Douglas County recreation spot, popular among bird-watchers, boaters, campers, fishermen, picnickers, and water-skiers. During the January 1 through September 30 fishing season, the lake has been known to produce many trophy-quality rainbow trout above eight pounds.
Topaz Lake Park includes 15 sites with RV hookups, electricity, water, and restrooms and 40 developed dry campsites and many undeveloped tent campsites along the lakeshore. For a higher standard of comfort, Topaz Lodge offers a full-service casino, 100 hotel rooms, a coffee shop and steakhouse, its own RV park, panoramic views of Topaz, and many of the aforementioned trophy trout pulled from the lake.
Topaz Lake Park
775-782-9835 (camping reservations)
1979 U.S. Hwy 395 S.,
Gardnerville, NV 89410