Fishing hot spots abound in Northern Nevada

by Sara Angelopoulos, Outpost staff

Where are the best fishing holes in Northern Nevada? The fish on the map mark the spot. Pick a fish, click and find out about the fishing in the state. Editor's note: Most of the information on this page was provided by the Department of Wildlife's fishing seasons and regulations book.

In this package
Fishing links

Fishing stories

Catnip Reservoir

Catnip Reservoir is located on the Sheldon Wildlife Refuge in Humboldt County and is only open for catch and release fishing Sept. 1 through Nov. 15. It has Lahonton cutthroat trout that average from 13 inches to 19 inches. Artificial lures are allowed only and all fish must be returned back to the lake because the water is a brood stock source for NDOW.

Cave Lake

Cave Lake is 14 miles southeast of Ely on State Route 486. The season is open year round, any hour of the day or night. It has excellent facilities, beautiful scenery and a full reservoir. It is stocked with planter trout April through October and contains rainbow, brook and wild brown trout. The limit is five trout. On Cave Lake boats must be operated at a speed which leaves a flat wake and in no case exceeds 5 nautical miles per hour.

Crittenden Reservoir

Crittenden Reservoir is located 18 miles north of Montello off State Highway 233. The season is open year around, one hour before sunrise to two hours after sunset. The limit is one trout and five black bass. It is unlawful to possess black bass between 10 and 13 inches total length. The minimum size for trout is 17 inches, and only artificial lures may be used. This reservoir is managed primarily for trophy trout with size and limit restrictions. Rainbow trout longer than 20 inches are available. Largemouth bass are present and are quality size as a result of a restricted slot size limit. Fall fishing is limited in this reservoir due to low water levels and weedy conditions.

Groves Lake

Groves Lake is in Lander County. The season is open year round, any hour of day or night. The limit is five trout, and only boats without motors and boats with electric motors are permitted.

Illipah Reservoir

Illipah Reservoir is located 30 miles west of Ely of Highway 50. The season is open year around, any hour of the day or night. The limit is five trout and there are flat wake restrictions for boats. It has excellent water levels throughout the summer, and lower than normal angler use has led to the holdover of many nice trout. Twelve inch to 15 inch trout are the norm, with fish 16 inches to 18 inches common. A BLM campground is available.

 Knott Creek Reservoir

Knott Creek Reservoir is in Humboldt County. The season begins any hour of the day or night from the second Saturday in May through the second Friday in June. During this time, it is catch and release only. On the second Saturday in June through Nov. 15 the limit is one trout with the minimum size 18 inches. The hours are anytime of the day or night. Artificial lures should be used with single barbless hooks. Boats can be used but they must be operated at a speed that leaves a flat wake. This is a trophy trout lake that produces catch and release fish for trophy trout on nymphs.

Lahonton Reservoir

When the water begins to cool down, there will be walleye and wipers. September has the high angler success of the year. The average walleye at Lahontan Reservoir is 20 inches. Wipers most commonly run four to five pounds with a few fish available in the six to eight pound range. These fish feed heavily on the yearly production of fish fry and any bait that imitates a minnow will be effective.

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe is in Washoe, Douglass and Carson City counties. The season is open year round, one hour before sunrise until two hours after sunset. There are limits of five coldwater game fish of which not more than two may by mackinaw.

Onion Valley Reservoir

Onion Valley Reservoir is in Humboldt County. Its season starts June 12 through Nov. 15. The limit is two trout, 15 warmwater game fish, of which not more than two may be black bass.

Pyramid Lake

Pyramid Lake is located 36 miles north of Reno on Route 445. Pyramid Lake closes to fishing from June 30 through Sept. 30.

Ruby Lake

Ruby Lake is located 68 miles southeast of Elko in the Ruby Valley. This natural marsh is famous for its largemouth bass fishing and trophy size rainbow trout. Fall fishing produces an increased trout fishing success over the summer months, but a decrease in the bass success. Best success for both bass and trout is by boat in the South Lake portion, however, some fishing success is available from shore on the North Dikes. The spring fed Collection ditch is a trophy water for brook, brown and rainbow trout. Fair largemouth bass action is expected in the Ruby Marshes, while lunker brown and rainbows, along with some brook and tiger trout, are caught on bait and spinners.

Rye Patch Reservoir

Rye Patch Reservoir is in Pershing county. The season is open all year around, at any hour. The limit is 25 game fish so which not more than five may be trout, five may be walleye, five may be black bass and five may be white bass or white bass hybrids over 14 inches. White bass or white bass hybrids under 14 inches may be included in the 25 game fish limit. These fish can be caught on jigs, crankbaits or live minnows.

South Fork Reservoir

South Fork Reservoir is located 10 miles southwest of Elko off State Highway 228, South Fork is northeastern Nevada's newest reservoir. Fall fishing produces rainbow trout in the 12 to 18 inch ranges with the opportunity of catching one in the 20-inch plus category. Brown trout are also available and become more active during their fall spawning migration to the river. This reservoir also provides smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, and channel catfish with their activity slowing down in the fall and winter months.

Topaz Lake

Topaz Lake is in Douglas County. It straddles the California and Nevada border. A fishing license from either state is honored there. Its season opens in January 1 through September 30, one hour before sunrise to 2 hours after sunset. The limit is five trout, 10 mountain whitefish and 15 warmwater game fish of which not more than five may be black bass. It is known for its trophy trout. It is popular with boaters and water skiers who generally keep their distance from the anglers.

Truckee River

Above the Interstate 80 bridge, upstream from Crystal Peak Park in Verdi, to California state line in Washoe County: The season is open year around, any hour of the day or night. The limit is two trout and 10 mountain whitefish. The minimum size for trout is 14 inches. Only artificial lures with barbless hoods may be used.

Below the Interstate-80 bridge upstream from Crystal Peak Park in Verdi in Washoe and Storey counties: The season is open year round, any hour of the day or night except for the area within 1,000 feet downstream of Derby Dam which closed to fishing. The limit is five trout, 10 mountain whitefish, and 15 warmwater gamefish of which no more than five may be black bass.

Walker Lake

At Walker Lake cutthroat trout that average 17 inches are available for anglers willing to fish deep with downriggers. After the middle of September these fish will move into shallow water and will be available for all anglers.

Wildhorse Reservoir

Wildhorse Reservoir is located 65 miles north of Elko on State Route 225. Premier stocked trout fishery in the area returning 13 to 17 inch rainbow, browns and bowcutt hybrid with an occasional larger trophy size. The illegally introduced yellow perch are plentiful with no limits and anglers are encouraged to take bucket loads of this fine eating fish. Channel catfish are showing up with several in the 10 pound range and larger. A good population of smallmouth bass are being caught which currently have an 11 inch minimum size limit. A boat is best for bass fishing and fall trout fishing, however, shore fishing is productive. Best fishing is in May through mid July and mid September through October. For best fishing . anglers use fishing flies and spinners from float tubes.

Willow Creek Reservoir

Willow Creek Reservoir is located 15 miles east of Midas on dirt road. Known primarily for white crappie at eight to 12 inches and some largemouth bass. The best time to fish is May and June, and fishing is fair in July. Fall fishing for crappie becomes very difficult but can produce fish in the deeper water. Boat fishing is best, but shore fishing deeper, drop off areas is productive. Trout fishing is very slow, but persistence may hook a nice native Lahontan cutthroat trout. Channel catfish are showing up commonly in the three to eight pound range.

Wilson Reservoir

Wilson Reservoir is located 67 miles northwest of Elko by State Routes 225 and 226 and 15 miles of improved dirt road. It is stocked with rainbow trout from 12 to 16 inches and wild largemouth bass fishery. Fishing in the fall is good from both shore and boat. Bass fishing is best in May through July but can extend into early fall and a boat is recommended.

Posted Dec. 10, 1998
Copyright 1998 Nevada Outpost