Among California's largest lakes are the Salton Sea, located in the state's Imperial and Riverside counties; Lake Tahoe, located in the Sierra Nevada; and Lake Shasta, a man-made reservoir located in Shasta County. The top 10 largest lakes in the state have surface areas of more than 20,000 acres.
The size of a lake is determined by both the surface area it covers and the volume of water it holds. These two measurements are important when deciding which of California's lakes is largest.
The Salton Sea is regarded as California's largest lake with a surface area of more than 350 square miles. A saltwater lake, the Salton Sea boasts a biodiversity in avian species.
Lake Tahoe is a body of water shared by California and neighboring state Nevada. The lake holds 36 cubic miles of freshwater, making it the largest lake in the state based on volume.
Lake Shasta is an artificial lake created in the mid-1940s as a result of the nearby Shasta Dam. Lake Shasta is the largest reservoir in the state.
A complete list of California's lakes can be found through the Geographic Names Information System, a service of the United States Geological Survey. The online database can be queried based on the type of geological feature and the state in which that feature is located. According to the database, California has more than 3,000 lakes, reservoirs and dry lake beds.