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Collins Lake
Virginia Ranch Reservoir
Collins Lake.jpg
View from the Hillside
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Location Yuba County, California,
United States
Coordinates 39°20′15.44″N 121°19′37.64″W / 39.3376222°N 121.3271222°W / 39.3376222; -121.3271222
Lake type Reservoir
Primary inflows Dry Creek, runoff
Primary outflows Dry Creek, irrigation
Basin countries United States
Max. length 4.60 km (2.86 mi)
Max. width 1.85 km (1.15 mi)
Surface area 3.55 km2 (1.37 sq mi)
Max. depth 40 m (130 ft)
Water volume 57,000 acre⋅ft (70,000,000 m3)
Surface elevation 361 m (1,184 ft)

Collins Lake, previously known as Virginia Ranch Reservoir during its construction, is a freshwater man-made lake with 1,009 acres (4.08 km2) located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains north of Sacramento, California. The lake was originally created to provide additional irrigation water to Browns Valley and Loma Rica. It still serves that purpose as well as a recreation and fishing lake.


Collins Lake's founding organization, Browns Valley Irrigation District (BVID), was established in 1888. Demand for irrigation water in the area quickly exceeded availability. As early as 1919 BVID began exploring the idea of damming the water flowing through Virginia Ranch in order to satisfy Browns Valley and Loma Rica. In 1950 a permit was issued for a 105-foot (32 m) high dam which would have created a 35,000 acre feet (43,000,000 m3) reservoir. Lack of funds for the five year, 1.36 million dollar project prevented it from being started. Ten years later a 4.8 million dollar loan was approved for a 152-foot (46 m) high embankment dam which would create a lake with 57,000 acre feet (70,000,000 m3) of capacity. Virginia Ranch Dam was completed in 3 years, creating Collins Lake, named for Merle Collins who played a significant role in promoting the project.

In 1967 Pineland Development started a concession for recreation and camping on the lakefront. Since 1972 the concession has been family run and has expanded to include 109 RV hookup campsites as well as tent camping sites. The campground and day use areas are gated but open at dawn year round.

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