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Lake Isabella (also called Isabella Lake) is a reservoir in Kern County, California created by the earthen Isabella Dam. It was formed in 1953 when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dammed the Kern River at the junction of its two forks at Whiskey Flat. At 11,000 acres (45 km²), it is one of the larger reservoirs in California. The area is in the southern end of the Sierra Nevada range and the lake itself is located in low mountains at an elevation of approximately 2,500 feet (760 m) where summer temperatures reach over 100 degrees (°F) but low enough to avoid winter snows on the surrounding ridges.
Lake Isabella is located about 40 miles (65 km) northeast of Bakersfield, and is the main water supply for that city. Lake Isabella can be reached by car from Bakersfield via state Highway 178 and from Delano via Highway 155. The former towns of Isabella and Kernville were flooded by the newly created reservoir. The lake is a dividing point. Upper Kern River flows into Lake Isabella, Lower Kern River flows out of the dam and toward Bakersfield.
Sport fish include Bass, Crappie, Bluegill, Trout, Carp, Suckers and Perch. Water contact sports are permitted. For decades, windsurfers have come to Lake Isabella to enjoy the great winds.
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