Lake Mead - The Blue Oasis
- Destinations, Things to Do
Lake Mead - The Blue Oasis
Lake Mead National Recreation Area (NRA) is the largest reservoir in the United States, measured by water capacity. It is located on the Colorado River about 24 miles from the Las Vegas Strip southeast of the city of Las Vegas, Nevada. Formed by the Hoover Dam, Lake Mead is 112 miles long when the lake is full, has 759 miles of shoreline is 532 feet at its greatest depth and has a total of 1.5 million acres, making it twice the size of Rhode Island.
Lake Mead caters to boaters, swimmers, sunbathers, scuba divers, kayakers and fishermen while its desert serves hikers, wildlife photographers and roadside sightseers. Three of America's four desert ecosystems; The Mojave, the Great Basin and the Sonoran Deserts meet in Lake Mead NRA making this seemingly infertile precinct a melting pot for a variety of plants and animals, some that may be found nowhere else in the world. Fully functioning year round, Lake Mead is usually sunny and hot, up to 110 degrees Fahrenheit in midsummer bringing the lake water to mid 80’s. Lake Mead boasts impressive scenery; the clearest blue waters one can imagine, coves, canyons, secluded beaches, and much more.
Lake Mead flooded a larger area of desert when it was dammed to create Lake Mead over 70 years ago. This flood covered many canyons, several small towns and many relics of ancient settlements creating a major Southwest attraction which now brings hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. Although the lake has reached an all time low due to the drought, it has surfaced the old town of St.Thomas Nevada, now referred to as the “Ghost Town.” This small town emerged as the water recessed allowing visitors to take go back in time and view a town that was originally founded as a Mormon settlement in 1865. The functioning town of St.Thomas had 6 business by 1918 and was said to have at least 500 settlers at one point. The National Park Service has opened up a pathway from a parking area down to to the view site where you can witness all of the ruins and artifacts; including old bottles, shells, remains of a schoolhouse, building foundations, tree stumps meticulously places as mile markers, and a preserved anchor.
Lake Mead is often highlighted as one of the top freshwater lakes in the world for scuba diving. Depths range allowing diving for both novice and intermediate divers. Here are some of the top dive spots at Lake Mead:
Kingman Wash: Gentle slope, perfect for beginning divers, occasional heavy boat traffic. Accessed by boat.
Black Canyon in Boulder Basin: Sheer wall diving, perfect for beginning divers. Accessed by boat.
Gypsum Reefs-Virgin Basin: Extensive white gypsum reef area with irregular underwater erosion. *Eroded formations may present unstable overhangs. Accessed by boat.
Cathedral Cove: About 5 miles South of Echo Bay, protected water, interesting underwater formations. Accessed by boat.
B-29: Submerged in the Overton Arm, the B-29 Superfortress Bomber may only be accessed through a guided dive provided by Scuba Training and Technology.
If you have come to catch fish at Lake Mead, you are in luck! Multiple species including both native and introduced fish are prevalent in this lake such as; Rainbow trout, Largemouth bass, Channel catfish, Striped bass, Bullhead catfish, Crappie, Green sunfish, Bluegill sunfish, Carp and Tilapia. *Possession and transport of live Tilapia in Nevada is illegal and can only be possessed if dead. These fish are classified as a nuisance species, which can cause serious damage to sport and native fisheries. If not to be kept for consumption, Tilapia should be killed immediately and disposed of properly. Protected fish at Lake Mead include; the Humpback chub, Razorback sucker, Bonytail chub, and the Colorado squawfish. Here is a seasonal breakdown of lucrative catches throughout the year:
Winter: November-February. Crappie and bass fishing at depths of 25-40 feet. Fishing is at it’s peak this time of year. Fishing in coves is found to be effective.
Spring: March-May. Waters start to warm up and the bass and Striped bass tend to migrate towards coves at depths of 10-25 feet. Bluegill also flourishes during these months. *Stripers love Anchovys!
Summer: June-August. Bass and catfish are prime targets. Bluegill are also biting (perfect catches for kids!). Stripers are still viable but at much deeper depths where the water is colder.
Fall: September-November. As the water starts to cool down you find stripers and crappie in shallow depths of 10-20 feet. Bass fishing is good through October but dies off until Spring.
Lake Mead has become famous for its Striped bass with an occasional catch weighing in at over 40 pounds. Striped and Largemouth bass have been caught throughout Lake Mead, and Overton Arm has been plentiful for catches such as; Crappie, bluegill, Green sunfish, and catfish. To fish within the states of Nevada or Arizona, you must carry with you a valid fishing license. If your license is for Arizona, and you plan to fish from a boat or other craft on the lake or shoreline of Nevada, then you must have a “use stamp” from Nevada (and vise-versa). A trout stamp will be required in addition to any other use stamps if you intend to catch trout. You can purchase licenses from the marina, online or at a local bait and tackle shop.
Lets not forget the main reason we go to Lake Mead! Houseboating! Callville Bay marina will have everything you need to make this vacation the best ever. With 6 different models of houseboats to choose from ranging in size from the 50’ Forever (6 sleeper) Houseboat to the 75’ Extreme (14 sleeper) Houseboat. Ski boats, deck cruisers, waverunners and water toys are also available for the adventurer looking to have as much fun as possible! Rent a kayak for a private escape and just listen. Listen to the celebration of the trickling water. Listen to the singing whispers of the wind. Listen to absolute silence as your day to day hectic life becomes a distant memory fading away and leaving nothing but a smile; as you peacefully unwind on your kayak!
If you are ready to stretch your legs and get your blood flowing so to speak; consider hiking some of Lake Mead's diverse ecosystem, traveling across open expanses of rock formations that contain multi facets of color that will awe your eyes.
Whether you are looking for a weekend getaway or a week long stay, you have come to the right place. With crystal clear aquamarine waters, white sandy beaches, hiking, boating, kayaking and fishing….what is not to love? Give us a call and we will be happy to help you plan the perfect getaway to the Blue Oasis, Lake Mead.