Description - This lake was created in 1962 for recreational opportunities.
The drive from Highway #70 to Frenchman Lake takes you through the beautiful canyon of Little Last Chance Creek. This canyon was formed as the result of several geologic events. Several million years ago, volcanic eruptions flowed over the underlying granite rock, completely blocking an filling the then existing streams and canyons. Water and debris from the surrounding hills washed into the low catch basin behind the flows and partly filled it. The entrapped water overflowed, perhaps along a minor fault in the volcanic rock, and the water and rock debris cut and scoured the stream bed to form the sharp canyon walls.
Camping is permitted in Chilcoot, Cottonwood Springs, Frenchman, Spring Creek and Big Cove Campgrounds. The Frenchman Lake has a four-lane concrete launching ramp with two floating boat docks. Lunker Point Launch has a two lane concrete ramp available for car top launching. Fishing in the lake includes Rainbow and German Brown trout. There is a 0.25 mile trail connecting the Frenchman and the Spring Creek Campgrounds. There is also a 0.75 mile trail connecting the Spring Creek and Big Cove Campgrounds.
The summer range of the locate mule deer herd includes the Frenchman Lake Recreation Area. Historically, this has been a prime deer hunting area.
Recreation - The Frenchman Lake offers a variety of summer outdoor experiences including. camping, picnicking, fishing, water skiing, swimming, boating, hiking and hunting. In the winter, ice fishing cross-country skiing and snowmobiling are the favored activities.
Climate - The Plumas generally experiences warm, dry summers and cold, wet winters. Weather can change rapidly during all seasons of the year. Elevation plays a major role in temperature and precipitation. This precipitation falls mainly from October through April. At higher elevations, it comes mostly in the form of snow. Clouds can build up during the summer to produce thunderstorm activity. It is wise to pack for any season with clothing that can be "layered", ready to peel off or add on as the thermometer dictates. Always include some kind of rain gear.
Frenchman Lake is located at the headwaters of the Feather River, 18 miles northeast of Portola, or 30 miles northwest of Reno, Nevada.