Discover the Deepest Lake in Nevada

Lake Tahoe in Zephyr Cove, Nevada.
© Trevor Fairbank/

Written by Cindy Rasmussen

Updated: August 2, 2023

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Much of Nevada is arid desert land, dry and hot, but a few oases of crystal blue lakes pop up here and there. On the far southeast corner is the massive Lake Mead. Out west on the California border is the beautiful Lake Tahoe and just northeast of Tahoe is the lucky fishing lake, Pyramid Lake. A couple other lakes like the Honey Lake northwest of Pyramid and Mono Lake in the Sierra Nevada’s are good sized but not nearly as big as Lake Mead. But which one of these lakes is the deepest? Are the bigger lakes the deepest lakes as well? Read on to find out all about the deepest lake in Nevada.

Infographic for Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Lake Tahoe is bordered by both California and Nevada and is the deepest lake in both states.

What Is the Deepest Lake in Nevada?

The deepest lake in Nevada is Lake Tahoe on the Nevada/California border. In fact, Lake Tahoe is the second deepest lake in the U.S. Not only is it deep but it is extremely clear, nearly as pure as drinking water. One-third of Lake Tahoe is in Nevada while the other two-thirds are in California. It is a popular destination for tourists and hosts resorts, campgrounds and vacation rentals.

Lake Tahoe is the deepest lake in Nevada.

The deepest lake in Nevada is Lake Tahoe on the Nevada/California border with a depth of 1,645 feet.

©Madhu Gopal/

How Deep Is the Deepest Lake in Nevada?

The deepest lake in Nevada is 1,645 feet deep. Lake Tahoe is known for its cool deep blue waters and picturesque setting. If you took the STRAT Hotel, Casino & SkyPod, the tallest building in Vegas, and dipped it in the lake it would be completely underwater. The STRAT is only 1,149 feet. That is a pretty deep lake!

Where Is Lake Tahoe Located on a Map?

Lake Tahoe covers several counties, with three in Nevada. 13% of the lake is in Douglas County, 11% is in Washoe County, and 6% is in Carson City. The biggest city on the lake’s shore is South Lake Tahoe, California, on the south shore near the town of Stateline, Nevada. Incline Village, Nevada, is on the north shore. Lake Tahoe is around 55 minutes from Reno/Tahoe International and about two hours from Sacramento International Airport in California.

Is Lake Tahoe the Biggest Lake in Nevada?

No, Lake Tahoe may be the deepest but Lake Mead is the biggest lake in Nevada. Lake Mead is actually the biggest reservoir in the US and is located at the famous Hoover Dam. The lake is on the border between Nevada and Arizona with each claiming fame to the biggest reservoir. The manmade reservoir was created along the Colorado River when Hoover Dam was built between 1930 and 1936.

How Deep Is Lake Mead?

Lake Mead is 558 feet deep at the deepest point. However due to the drought and climate change causing water levels to reach unprecedented low levels, the lake is down 404.05 feet (as of August 2022). Lake Powell, Lake Mohave, and many of the lakes along the Colorado have been affected by the lack of snow melt and the drought conditions. There is a Drought Contingency Plan that includes releasing water from the Flaming Gorge Reservoir from Utah to help the water level remain high enough to keep the Hoover Dam running. But much work still needs to be done to solve the water level issue.

Lake Mead reservoir on the Colorado River in Nevada

Lake Mead is the biggest lake in Nevada and the biggest reservoir in the US, located at the famous Hoover Dam.


What Kinds of Fish Are in Lake Tahoe and Lake Mead?

Lake Tahoe and Lake Mead are popular recreational lakes with some of the best fishing in the state. Lake Tahoe is known for its lake trout or Macks (Mackinaw trout). Kokanee salmon are also a sought-after fish from the clean deep waters of Lake Tahoe.

Lake Mead is the go-to place for striped bass (commonly called stripers). Rainbow trout is also a good catch with weekly stocking occurring at Willow Beach from the fish hatchery. Other catches include largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, crappie and catfish.

What Fishing Records Have Been Caught on Lake Tahoe?

There are two state record breaking fish pulled from Lake Tahoe and it won’t be surprising to find out they are for Macks and Kokanee salmon! The biggest Mackinaw trout in Nevada was caught on Lake Tahoe on June 21, 1974 by Robert Aronsen. The biggest Kokanee salmon was caught the year before on July 31, 1973 by Dick Bournique.

What Fishing Records Have Been Caught on Lake Mead?

There are three Nevada state fishing records on Lake Mead. Two of the records were set in the same year, just five months apart … and it was the same species! A silver salmon weighing in at 8 pounds 12 ounces was caught by Willian Musson on May 9, 1974. On October 25, 1974, a silver salmon was caught by Charles W. Caskey on Lake Mead, and guess how much it weighed?  8 pounds 12 ounces! The record is now a tie.

The other Nevada state record was for a largemouth bass that was caught on Lake Mead on March 8, 1999 by Michael R. Geary. The state rod and reel record for largemouth bass is 12 pounds. How does that compare to neighboring Arizona? The largest largemouth bass ever caught in Arizona was a bass weighing 16 pounds 7.68 ounces caught by Randall E. White. His lucky catch was not from Lake Mead but from Canyon Lake, a reservoir 45 minutes east of Phoenix, AZ. The average depth of Canyon Lake is 130 feet.

What About Pyramid Lake?

Pyramid Lake is another large lake in Nevada. It is entirely in the borders of Nevada and is located just northeast of Lake Tahoe. The Pyramid Lake Paiute Reservation is located on the lake 35-40 miles northeast of Reno. The lake is 30 miles long and 7-9 miles wide. The lake is what is left from the ancient Lake Lahontan and it was named after a large pyramid shaped island that is frequently photographed by visitors.

Pyramid Lake Nevada

Pyramid Lake is another large lake in Nevada named after its large pyramid shaped island.


What Kinds of Fish Are in Pyramid Lake?

Pyramid Lake is known for its cutthroat (or Lahontan cutthroat) trout. Due to the longevity of the Lahontan cutthroats some of the older ones in the lake are getting to be trophy sized catches. You will also find rainbow trout, Sacramento perch, and Tui chub. An ancient fish that is now endangered can be found in Pyramid Lake. Cui-ui are a large sucker fish that were one of the main fish that the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe depended on.

Is There a World Record Fish from Pyramid Lake?

Yes! Can you believe in the whole world the largest cutthroat trout was caught in Pyramid Lake in Nevada? The record dates way back to December 1, 1925 when John Skimmerhorn pulled a 41 pound cutthroat from Pyramid Lake.

The All-Tackle Length World Record for cutthroat trout was also from Pyramid Lake! This one is a very recent record, so you know the big ones are still out there. On November 11, 2013, Adam Garcia caught a cutthroat measuring 2.8 feet. Now there is both a weight and length record just waiting to be beat!

How Does the Deepest Lake in Nevada Compare to the Deepest Lake in the U.S.?

The deepest lake in Nevada, Lake Tahoe, is 1,645 feet deep. The deepest lake in the US is 1,949 feet deep, Crater Lake in Oregon. With Tahoe being about 300 feet deeper, Lake Tahoe takes the second place spot as the second deepest lake in the US.

Crater Lake form the top of Watchman's Peak

Crater Lake, Oregon is the deepest lake in the United States, measuring 1,949 feet in depth.


How Does This Compare to the Deepest Lakes in the World?

According to the National Park Service Crater Lake is the ninth deepest lake in the world and Lake Tahoe is the sixteenth deepest lake. Lake Baikal in Russia is the deepest lake in the world with a maximum depth of 5,369 feet! It contains one-fifth of the freshwater on the planet’s surface, making it the world’s largest freshwater lake by volume. There is a variety of fish that live in Lake Baikal with some species being only found in the unique habitat. You can find omul salmon (commonly fished), lake whitefish, sturgeon and graylings. At the bottom of Lake Baikal you might find tiny amphipods, shrimp-like creatures that have adapted to the cold dark waters. Due to the dark water and water pressure levels it is difficult to study life at the bottom, but you can imagine there is a lot more out there for us to discover!

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About the Author

I'm a Wildlife Conservation Author and Journalist, raising awareness about conservation by teaching others about the amazing animals we share the planet with. I graduated from the University of Minnesota-Morris with a degree in Elementary Education and I am a former teacher. When I am not writing I love going to my kids' soccer games, watching movies, taking on DIY projects and running with our giant Labradoodle "Tango".

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