Nevada Fly Fishing
“Although Nevada is widely known as a dry state, it has over 200 ponds, lakes and reservoirs which provide nearly 400,000 surface acres of sport-fishing opportunity. Additionally, both Nevada and Arizona share Lake Mead, North America’s largest reservoir which lies along the Colorado River. Add to this total, more than 500 streams and rivers that span nearly 3,000 fishable miles, and the state offers a wide variety of angling possibilities.” – Nevada Department of Wildlife
A collection of some of the best waters Nevada and the Eastern Sierra have to offer. This is by no means a complete list, but the waters listed here will give you a flavor of what its like to fly fish in Nevada. Besides, finding your own spots is half the fun. Remember, always consult your regulations before fishing any water.
East Walker River
One of the region’s, if not the country’s, best trout streams. Rainbows up to 5 lbs, browns even bigger. Lots of good dry-fly water along with tons of nymphing opportunities. Try the Miracle Mile just below the dam for classic tail-water fishing or the Nevada sections for relatively uncrowded opportunities. For a side trip, Twin Lakes has great camping and good fishing, too.
THE place for trophy Lahontan cutthroat trout. 10-14 pound cutts are taken weekly and larger fish are taken every year. Fishing is often done from a ladder so you can reach the drop-off or you can use a float tube in calm conditions. Try the Nets for consistently bigger fish (and bigger crowds), but monsters can be found anywhere. I have even sight fished over 20-inch cutts on the north side of the lake.
The quintessential high desert reservoir. When this place in on, it can kick out some monster rainbow and brown trout and has a sleeper fishery for yellow perch. Most of the action can be had from boats or float tubes using deep water midging techniques or streamers, especially those that resemble juvenile perch. Beware the winds here, though. This place gets blown out regularly. It along way from everywhere, but the quality of the fishery is worth the drive and Bishop and Mammoth are nearby.
A fine trout stream in some beautiful settings. You’ll find browns, rainbows and cutts along with some mountain whitefish (and smallmouth?). A killer Little Yellow Stone hatch in August is my favorite. Fish the trophy section in Verdi, Nevada all year long, and just about anywhere from Lake Tahoe to the state line when the river is open in California.
In the Mason Valley WMA about 10 minutes north of Yerington, this small series of ponds and channels was one of the premier trout fisheries in the area. This is highly productive water and requires skilled presentation to entice strikes. I compare this water to some of the great spring creeks in the west. I have caught more 20-26 inch rainbows here than anywhere else I have fished. And when the trout aren’t in the mood to strike the bass fishing is fun with 20-30 fish days not uncommon.
Frenchman’s and Davis Reservoirs
About 45 minutes and one hour north of Reno, respectively, these large impoundments have some voracious rainbows. A major Damselfly Nymph migration in June is a highlight, though fish can be caught anytime the water is ice-free on dries, nymphs and streamers. Wading the shallow bays can be productive, as can float tubing. Davis gets poisoned every few years to eradicate pike, but always bounces back quickly. One hint: Hold onto your rod tight!
Technical dry fly fishing at its best/worst. These fish are picky but hardly spooky. Stories are told that another fish will sometimes rise between you and the fish you’re trying to catch, they are that brave. Of course, neither will take your fly without a perfect drift. Big fish live in this little creek; I have personally seen (notice I didn’t say caught) a 24 incher! There is some private land so beware.
Knott Creek Reservoir
Knott is in the middle of nowhere north of Winnemucca but well worth the trip. Rainbows in the double digits have been caught and the tiger trout and brook trout aren’t slouches either. The road may be impassable during wet weather and 4WD is recommended. The area also offer great deer, chukar and quail hunting, in season.
East Carson River
Another fine east slope trout stream. Good fishing can be found from the headwaters, through Markleeville and the wild trout section, down to Minden. Much of the river below Markleeville is accessible only on foot or in a raft. No trout are planted here due the wild & scenic designation but the resident trout do quite nicely all alone like that.
About 2-hours north of Elko, Wildhorse is a top-notch high desert reservoir. Trout, bass and panfish can be had at this impoundment, though the trout fishing is the highlight. Some excellent fishing can also be had in the Owyhee River below the dam. Try poppers for the bass at dusk in the warm summer months.
The Reese River is a small stream that originates in the Arc Dome Wilderness at the southern end of the Toiyabe Range in central Nevada. Most of the better water requires a hike but eager, wild trout make it worth the extra trouble. Most of the trail heads leading into the wilderness will get you there but Cow Camp is probably the easiest.
Hobart is a small impoundment in the Carson Range west of Carson City. NDOW plants rainbows and cutthroat spawners up to 5 pounds. Brook trout also inhabit the little lake and are easily taken on dries. Hobart can be fished from shore but a float tube makes it a lot easier. Access Hobart from Ash Canyon Road and the hike about a mile from the parking area, which is 4 miles from Carson City.
A small creek south of Wellington that runs through a deep canyon for most of its length. A dirt road runs along the creek for about a third of it’s length with seven crossing of the creek. Find the open water and you will find fish including rainbows, browns and brook Trout. The fish are both wild and planters and very aggressive. Lots of camping along the creek too.
Lahontan is located about 40 minutes east of Carson City and is primarily a warm-water fishery. Lahontan holds white bass, wipers, walleye, black bass, crappie and NDOW stocks rainbow trout. The wipers can grow in excess of 5 pounds and I have had 50 fish days on white bass. You don’t need a boat or float tube as fish cruise the beaches looking for meals, and it feels so good to wet wade when it’s 100 degrees.
contains links to maps and info for Nevada fishing
The East Walker river flows from Bridgeport Reservoir near the town of Bridgeport, California.
The Desolation Wilderness is a 100 square mile federal “wilderness area” directly to the west of Lake Tahoe.
Located on the Duck Valley Indian Reservation, which straddles the Nevada/Idaho border almost due south of Mountain Home, this rainbow trout reservoir offers excellent prospects for large fish, some e
overview of Nevada fishing locations from Fly Fish Nevada
One of Nevada’s greatest fly fishing opportunities is it’s small creeks
Pyramid Lake is the ancestral home of the Lahontan Cutthroat that used to range up the entire range of the Truckee into LakeTahoe and its tributaries.
by Stephen Trafton
resource for Lake Tahoe fishing
Although there is good fishing in the small upper Truckee above Lake Tahoe near South Lake Tahoe, the major fishing occurs below Lake Tahoe between Tahoe City and Reno.
from Nevada Department of Wildlife
Angel Lake, Crttenden Reservoir, Dorsey Reservoir, Jiggs/ Zunino Reservoir, Ruby Lake Reservoir, South Fork Reservoir, Wildhorse Reservoir, & Wilson Reservoir
Bill Creek Reservoir, Big Springs Reservoir, Boulder Reservoir, Carson River, Catnip Reservoir & tribs, Fort Churchill Cooling Ponds, Hobart Reservoir, Lahontan Reservoir, Lake Tahoe, Liberty Reservoi
Pyramid Lake, Truckee River, Little Truckee, East Carson River, East walker River, Davis Lake, Frenchmans Lake, Eagle Lake
Comins Lake, Eagle Valley Res., Echo Canyon. Lake Mead, Lake Mohave, & Wayne Kirch
294 East Moana Lane, #14, Reno, Nevada 89502; (775) 825-FISH
7520 Washington Ave. Ste 140, Las Vegas, NV 89128; (702) 838-6669