Frenchman Lake (California)

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Frenchman Lake
Location Plumas County, California
Coordinates 39°53′38″N 120°11′24″W / 39.89389°N 120.19000°W / 39.89389; -120.19000Coordinates: 39°53′38″N 120°11′24″W / 39.89389°N 120.19000°W / 39.89389; -120.19000
Type reservoir
Primary inflows Little Last Chance Creek
Primary outflows Little Last Chance Creek
Basin countries United States
Surface area 1,580 acres (6 km2)
Average depth 35 ft (11 m)
Max. depth 101 ft (31 m)
Surface elevation 5,588 ft (1,703 m)

Frenchman Lake (a.k.a. Frenchmen's Reservoir and several derivations thereof) is located in Southeastern Plumas County, California and was created by the damming of Little Last Chance Creek. Named after Claude Francois Seltier, a French immigrant who settled in the area in 1858.

Frenchman Dam[edit]

Frenchman Dam was completed in 1961 as an irrigation project of the California Department of Water Resources, a rock-fill and earthen dam 129 feet high, with a length of 720 feet at its crest. Normal water storage in the reservoir is 55,477 acre-feet.


The Frenchman Lake's elevation when full is 5,588 feet (1,703 m) above sea level. The surface area of Frenchman Lake is 1,580 acres (6 km2). The shoreline length is 21 miles (34 km), the maximum depth reaches 101 feet (31 m), averaging 35 feet (11 m). The nearest community is Chilcoot-Vinton, California which is approximately 8 miles (13 km) south.

National Forest Recreation Area[edit]

The Plumas National Forest administers Frenchman Lake as a National Forest Recreation Area for United States Forest Service. It is locally managed by the Beckwourth Ranger District. The Frenchman Lake Recreation Area offers a wide variety of summer outdoor experiences including: camping, picnicking, fishing, hunting, boating, jet skiing, mountain biking, swimming and water-skiing. In the winter, ice fishing, snowmobiling and cross-country skiing are favored activities.

Public campgrounds are located on the south shore at Cottonwood Springs, Frenchman, Spring Creek and Big Cove. Additionally there is another campground located below the dam along Little Last Chance Creek.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]