Nelson Reservoir

Nelson Reservoir

Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests Springerville, Arizona 85938

Tips for Birding

Pullouts at either end provide an opportunity to scan the reservoir for waterbirds. The north end has deeper water for ducks, while the south end has a marsh with dabbling ducks, waders, and rails. This is also a good place to look and listen for Pinyon Jay and Eastern Meadowlark.

About this Location

Nelson Reservoir is situated at 7,412 feet on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests. It is easily accessed by driving south on US-180/US-191 about 7 miles from Eagar. The lake sometimes freezes for short periods during the winter, but typically is open to fishing year-round.

Nelson Reservoir is located on Nutrioso Creek. It has 90 surface acres with a maximum depth of 24 feet and an average depth of 8 feet. When the lake stops spilling in the spring, it is stocked with up to 20,000 catchable-sized rainbow trout until Labor Day. Stocking may end sooner if water quality conditions become unfavorable. Nelson Reservoir is subject to algae blooms and excessive weed growth as summer progresses. The lake contains native bluehead suckers and illegally introduced black crappie and green sunfish. The lake once contained brown, cutthroat, and brook trout, but none remain today.

Content from Northern Arizona Audubon Society and Nelson Reservoir fact sheet