Fishing in Nevada
Nevada is not just a desert state, but also a fishing paradise. The state has more than 200 lakes and reservoirs and 600 streams and rivers, which provide nearly 400,000 surface acres of sport fishing opportunity³. Fishing in Nevada offers a variety of freshwater species, such as trout, bass, salmon, catfish, and more¹. Whether you are looking for a relaxing day on the water, a challenging fly fishing adventure, or a winter ice fishing escapade, Nevada has something for every angler. Here are some of the things you need to know before you go fishing in Nevada.
Types of Fish Species
Nevada has a diverse fish fauna, with more than 60 native and introduced species. Some of the most popular and sought-after fish species in Nevada are:
- Trout: These are cold-water fish that belong to the salmon family. Trout are prized for their beauty, fight, and taste. Nevada has several types of trout, including rainbow, brown, brook, cutthroat, tiger, and bull trout. Trout can be found in many lakes and streams throughout the state, especially in the high elevation areas. Nevada is one of the few places where you can catch all seven fish on the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) Trout Royal Slam², which is a feat that requires landing each of seven coveted trout species.
- Bass: These are warm-water fish that belong to the sunfish family. Bass are known for their aggressive strikes, acrobatic jumps, and large sizes. Nevada has several types of bass, including largemouth, smallmouth, striped, and white bass. Bass can be found in many lakes and reservoirs throughout the state, especially in the low elevation areas. Nevada has some of the best bass fishing in the West, with world-class fisheries like Lake Mead and the Colorado River.
- Salmon: These are anadromous fish that migrate from saltwater to freshwater to spawn. Salmon are valued for their strength, speed, and flavor. Nevada has one type of salmon, which is the kokanee salmon. Kokanee salmon are landlocked sockeye salmon that live in deep lakes and reservoirs. Kokanee salmon can be found in a few places in Nevada, such as Lake Tahoe and Wild Horse Reservoir.
- Catfish: These are bottom-dwelling fish that have whisker-like barbels around their mouths. Catfish are appreciated for their hardiness, adaptability, and meatiness. Nevada has several types of catfish, including channel, blue, flathead, and bullhead catfish. Catfish can be found in many lakes and reservoirs throughout the state, especially in the warmer waters. Catfish can grow very large in Nevada, with some specimens exceeding 50 pounds.
- Other species: Besides the above-mentioned fish species, Nevada also has many other fish species that can provide fun and variety for anglers. Some of these species include crappie, bluegill, walleye, northern pike, carp, sturgeon, and more. These fish can be found in various lakes and reservoirs throughout the state.
License Fees and Regulations
To fish in Nevada, you need to buy a fishing license and a trout stamp if you want to catch trout or salmon³. A fishing license gives you the ability to fish for any legal species during the open seasons. The license fees vary depending on your residency status, age and the duration of the license. You can buy a fishing license for a day or a year, and you can buy it online, by phone, or at a licensed agent. You can find the current license fees on the NDOW website.
Fishing in Nevada also requires following the rules and regulations set by the NDOW. These rules and regulations include the fishing seasons, bag and possession limits, size limits, gear restrictions, special regulations, and more. You should check the regulations booklet for each waterbody before you fish, as some waters may have different or additional rules. You should also respect the fish and wildlife resources, practice catch and release when possible, and report any violations to the NDOW.
Best Fishing Spots in Nevada
Nevada has many fishing spots that can cater to different preferences, skill levels, and fishing styles. Some of the best fishing spots in Nevada include:
- Pyramid Lake: This is a large saline lake on the Pyramid Lake Paiute Reservation, about 40 miles north of Reno. Pyramid Lake is famous for its trophy Lahontan cutthroat trout, which can grow up to 40 pounds or more. Pyramid Lake is also home to other fish species, such as cui-ui and tui chub. Pyramid Lake is open for fishing from October 1 to June 30, and requires a tribal fishing permit and a Nevada fishing license. Pyramid Lake is a popular destination for fly fishing, especially from ladders that allow anglers to cast into deeper waters.
- Lake Mead: This is a huge reservoir on the Colorado River, formed by the Hoover Dam. Lake Mead is one of the best bass fishing lakes in the country, with largemouth, smallmouth, and striped bass. Lake Mead also has other fish species, such as catfish, crappie, bluegill, walleye, and more. Lake Mead is open for fishing year-round, and requires a Nevada or Arizona fishing license with a use stamp. Lake Mead is a great place for boat fishing, shore fishing, or kayak fishing.
- Colorado River: This is a major river that flows through Nevada, Arizona, and California. The Colorado River offers excellent fishing opportunities for various fish species, such as striped bass, catfish, rainbow trout, carp, and more. The Colorado River is open for fishing year-round, and requires a Nevada or Arizona fishing license with a use stamp. The Colorado River is ideal for boat fishing, shore fishing, or fly fishing.
- East Walker River: This is a scenic river that flows from California to Nevada, near Bridgeport Reservoir. The East Walker River is renowned for its fly fishing opportunities for wild brown and rainbow trout. The East Walker River has a section called “The Elbow”, which is one of the best fly fishing spots in the state. The East Walker River is open for fishing year-round, and requires a Nevada fishing license and a trout stamp. The East Walker River is a catch and release water, and has special regulations for gear and bait.
- Lake Tahoe: This is a large alpine lake that straddles the border between Nevada and California. Lake Tahoe is known for its clear blue water, stunning scenery, and diverse fishery. Lake Tahoe has several fish species, such as mackinaw (lake trout), kokanee salmon, rainbow trout, brown trout, and more. Lake Tahoe is open for fishing year-round, and requires a Nevada or California fishing license. Lake Tahoe is a popular spot for boat fishing, shore fishing, or ice fishing.
Fishing in Nevada is a fun and rewarding activity that can be enjoyed by anyone. Nevada has a variety of fish species, waterbodies, and fishing methods to suit any angler’s taste. Fishing in Nevada also requires buying a fishing license and following the rules and regulations set by the NDOW. Fishing in Nevada is a great way to explore the state’s natural beauty, relax and unwind, or challenge yourself and improve your skills. If you are ready to go fishing in Nevada, you can start by visiting the NDOW website and buying your fishing license today. Tight lines!
(1) Apply & Buy – Nevada Fishing – NDOW. https://www.ndow.org/apply-buy/fishing-licenses/.
(2) Places To Fish In Nevada | Line & Fly Fishing Nevada – Travel Nevada. https://travelnevada.com/fishing/places-to-fish-in-nevada/.
(3) Top Fishing Spots In Nevada | Places To Go Fishing | Travel Nevada. https://travelnevada.com/fishing/.