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Lake Nacimiento is an 18-mile (29 km) long lake on the Nacimiento River in northern San Luis Obispo County, California. The lake contains many arms including Snake Creek and Dip Creek, nearer the dam, and the central Las Tablas and Franklin Creeks. Because of the dragon-like shape created by the positions of these arms, it is sometimes referred to as Dragon Lake. The lake can fill quickly in the winter from river surges resulting from downpours upstream in the Santa Lucia Range so the level is not usually allowed to capacity until May 1 of each year.
Lake Nacimiento is an excellent fishery, but eating the lake's fish should be done with extreme caution due to high mercury levels. An advisory on consuming certain fish species has been issued. The lake is unique among California reservoirs in that it contains, among other species, introduced white bass, which thrive in the lake and spawn in the river and inflowing creeks in Spring. In fact, the world fly fishing record for a white bass was broken in 1981 at Lake Nacimiento. The fish was caught by Cory Wells, a member of the world famous musical group, Three Dog Night. The record stood for over 27 years. Lake Nacimiento can also produce power from a turbine at the base of the dam.
Lake Nacimiento is also a haven for watersport enthusiasts. The lake provides ample room for waterskiing, wakeboarding, jetskiing, and other water-related activities.
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