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Collins Lake provides some of the irrigation water to Browns Valley and Loma Rica. It is named for Merle Collins, who lobbied for its creation. It drains an area of 72.3 square miles, and at full capacity, contains 57,000 acre-feet of water. Its normal surface area is 1.5 square miles, and it has 12.5 miles of shoreline. Its elevation is 1,270 feet.
Virginia Ranch Dam was built in 1960-1963 and is owned by the Browns Valley Irrigation District. It is an embankment dam, constructed of rock fill. It is 152 feet high and 2,700 feet long. It is named for a place called Virginia Ranch that the dam was built on, and that is now submerged under the southern end of the reservoir.
The area now submerged under the northern end of Collins Lake was formerly a community known as Oak Grove.
Collins Lake Recreation Area is located on the western shore of Collins Lake, in the Stanfield Hill community. It contains a general store, gas station, playground, and swimming beach. Hookups, hot showers, laundry facilities, picnic tables, and volleyball nets are also provided.
The marina has berths up to 24 feet long and ten feet wide. Outboard fishing boats, paddleboats, ocean kayaks, and one- and two-story party patioboats are available for rent. Water skiing is permitted within designated regulations.
The campground and day use areas are gated but open at dawn year round. The lakeshore campground includes tent sites, RV sites, and group camps. There are 184 sites, including 52 on the lakefront. Cabins and RV trailers are available for rent. The day use area includes picnic tables and barbecue grills.
Fishing is permitted. Intensive habitat areas have been built to support the lake's population of lunker bass, bluegill, catfish, crappie, and trout. The lake is stocked annually with more than 50,000 trout.