Nevada may be known for its deserts and casinos, but it also offers exceptional fly fishing opportunities. From pristine rivers to picturesque reservoirs, the Silver State boasts an array of fishing destinations that will delight both beginners and experienced anglers. Here are the top 20 places to fly fish in Nevada:
Best Fly Fishing locations in Nevada
1. Beaver Dam State Park
Located in eastern Nevada, this park offers excellent trout fishing in its clear waters, making it a popular spot for fly fishing enthusiasts. Beaver Dam State Park is home to various species, including rainbow and cutthroat trout.
Recommended fly patterns for the Beaver Dam State Park, Nevada:
2. Carson River – East Fork
The East Fork of Carson River is located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains near Carson City. This river is known for its healthy rainbow trout, brown trout, and mountain whitefish population, and its stunning scenery adds to the allure of fly fishing here.
Carson River East Fork, Nevada:
3. Cave Lake, Ely
Situated in the beautiful Schell Creek Range, Cave Lake provides a serene setting for fly fishing. Anglers can expect to catch rainbow trout and tiger trout.
Cave Lake Ely, Nevada:
4.Crittenden Reservoir, Elko
Crittenden Reservoir is a peaceful fishing spot with beautiful scenery in northeastern Nevada, just 50 miles from Wells in Elko. It is known for its large trout and offers a variety of fish, including largemouth bass, rainbow trout, and panfish. The reservoir is stocked yearly and is loaded with big brown, rainbow, and tiger trout.
Crittenden Reservoir Elko, Nevada:
5. Eagle Valley Reservoir
Eagle Valley Reservoir in Nevada's Spring Valley State Park is a great spot for fly fishing. You can catch rainbow and tiger trout in its peaceful waters. The reservoir, located in the state's southeastern part, is a put-and-take fishery that gets stocked every year with 40,000+ rainbow, brown, and tiger trout. This makes it easy for anglers to catch fish and fill their creel daily.
Eagle Valley Reservoir, Nevada:
6. Great Basin National Park
Fly fishing in Great Basin National Park is a memorable experience for anglers. The park's alpine lakes and streams offer pristine fishing conditions, where trout species like rainbow and brook trout thrive. Surrounded by breathtaking landscapes, fly fishermen can enjoy casting their lines in this tranquil, scenic wilderness setting. Baker Lake and Lehman Creek are popular choices for anglers.
The Nevada national park houses the Bonneville cutthroat trout as its only native fish species. However, it is also stocked with Lahontan cutthroat, rainbows, brookies, and brown trout. You can set up a basecamp at the Wheeler Peak Campground, located at an elevation of 10,000 feet. This will give you easy access to attractions like the Alpine Lakes Loop hiking trail, ancient bristlecone pines, and the last active glacier in Nevada.
Great Basin National Park, Nevada:
- Parachute Adams Indicator - Size 14
- Flashback Hare's Ear in Natural - Size 18
- Zebra Midge Curved Red - Size 18
7. Hobart Creek Reservoir, Carson City
Hobart Creek Reservoir, located in Carson City, Nevada, is a scenic destination for fly fishing. Surrounded by the majestic Sierra Nevada Mountains, the reservoir is known for its rainbow and brown trout. Anglers can enjoy the tranquility of the area while casting their lines in this beautiful alpine setting. Expect to catch rainbow trout and brown trout.
Hobart Creek Reservoir Carson City, Nevada:
8. Jarbidge River
Flowing through the remote Jarbidge Wilderness, this river is renowned for its wild trout population. It provides a true backcountry fly fishing experience. One of the best fishing spots in the state is along the Jarbidge River, where you can catch olive green fish using dry flies in the summer and fall. However, these fish are catch-and-release only. If you don't catch the olive green fish, plenty of red bands, brook, and rainbow trout are still in the wild streams to keep you busy.
Jarbidge River, Nevada:
9. Knott Creek Reservoir, Denio Junction
The Knott Creek Reservoir can be found in northwestern Humboldt County, specifically in the Pine Forest Mountains. It has a total surface area of 216 acres and can store up to 2,700 acre-feet of water. The maximum depth of the reservoir is 24 feet. Visitors can look forward to fishing rainbow trout, bowcutt trout (a hybrid of the rainbow and cutthroat trout), and Lahontan speckled dace.
Knott Creek Reservoir Denio Junction, Nevada:
10. Lake Mead
As one of the largest reservoirs in the United States, Lake Mead offers diverse fly fishing opportunities. Lake Mead offers over 290 square miles of water surface, providing ample opportunities to catch a variety of fish, including striped bass, with some weighing over 40 pounds. Other popular fish species include rainbow trout, catfish, sunfish, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and crappie. On Fridays, rainbow trout are released near Willow Beach on a routine basis.
Lake Mead, Nevada:
11. Lamoille Canyon Beaver Ponds & the Ruby Mountains
The beaver ponds in Lamoille Canyon, combined with the majestic Ruby Mountains, create an idyllic setting for fly fishing. Brook trout and cutthroat trout are abundant here.
Lamoille Canyon Beaver Ponds & the Ruby Mountains, Nevada:
12. Little Truckee River, Reno
The Little Truckee River is a river that is 30.6 miles long and is a tributary to the Truckee River. It is a freestone and a tailwater fishery. Its source is at Webber Lake in the Tahoe National Forest. The River flows southeast until it reaches the Stampede Reservoir and joins the Truckee River. The best area to fish the Little Truckee is the section below Stampede Reservoir. This area is a three-mile-long habitat for wild trout, but it is catch-and-release only. Additionally, you can only use barbless hooks and artificial lures.
Little Truckee River Reno, Nevada:
13. Mason Valley Wildlife Management Area, Yerington
This expansive area includes reservoirs, canals, and rivers that provide excellent fly fishing opportunities. Expect to catch bass, catfish, and trout.
Mason Valley Wildlife Management Area Yerington, Nevada:
14. Pyramid Lake
Pyramid Lake is situated in western Nevada's southeastern Washoe County. Pyramid Lake receives water from the Truckee River, which primarily flows out of Lake Tahoe. The southern end of Pyramid Lake is where the Truckee River connects, and this lake is well-known amongst fly fishing enthusiasts because of its famous Lahontan cutthroat trout, which are renowned for their enormous size. Pyramid Lake is home to the world's largest cutthroat trout, averaging a length of 19-24 inches, but up to 50-inch-long cutthroats have been spotted.
Pyramid Lake, Nevada:
- Double Bunny Black and Olive - Size 6
- Copper John Hot Wire in Red and Gold - Size 12
- Beetle - Black - Size 18
15. Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge
Situated in northeastern Nevada, Ruby Lake is renowned for its large trout and scenic surroundings. Fly fishing in this tranquil oasis is a true pleasure. Here, you can catch rainbow trout, brown trout, and tiger trout. As the fish in this lake tend to be small, anglers bring lightweight gear and use light tippets.
Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Nevada:
- Zebra Midge Red - Size 16
- Barbless Flashback Hare's Ear - Size 14
- Double Bunny Black and Olive - Size 6
16. South Fork of the Humboldt River
The South Fork Humboldt River begins on the western side of the Ruby Mountains in Elko County and provides excellent fly fishing chances in northeast Nevada. Trout fishing, particularly brown and rainbow trout, is especially popular here.
South Fork of the Humboldt River, Nevada:
17. Topaz Lake
Topaz Lake is a man-made reservoir situated on the California-Nevada border, approximately 75 miles south of Reno. The area of Topaz Lake in Nevada, which is recognized by the census, is positioned on its northwest shore. The larger lake was formed by redirecting the West Walker River's water into a basin close by that previously held a smaller natural lake. Rainbow trout is the most common fish caught by trout fishermen, although Bowcutt trout, brown trout, and tiger trout are also stocked.
Topaz Lake, Nevada:
18. Truckee River
Flowing through Reno, the Truckee River offers year-round fly fishing opportunities. It is home to rainbow trout, brown trout, and the occasional trophy-sized fish.
Truckee River, Nevada:
19. Walker River State Recreation Area
Fly fishing enthusiasts will find a paradise in this beautiful area, especially at the East Walker River, known for its large trout. Along the Walker River, you can find trophy fisheries, such as the renowned "Elbow" at Nine Mile Ranch. The river corridor boasts several locations for world-class angling.
Walker River State Recreation Area, Nevada:
20. Wild Horse Reservoir, Elko
Wild Horse State Recreation Area, which is open year-round, is a remote and striking destination. The park features a reservoir that is a well-liked fishing spot where anglers can catch rainbow and German brown trout, small mouth bass, yellow perch, and catfish. The beautiful scenery and diverse wildlife also enhance the appeal of the fishing adventure, making it an outstanding spot for fly fishing for trout and bass.
Wild Horse Reservoir Elko, Nevada:
What Gear Do I Need to Fly Fish in Nevada?
When fly fishing in Nevada, having the right gear to maximize your experience is essential. Here is a list of gear you will need:
- Fly Rod: A versatile fly rod with a weight range of 4-6 is suitable for most Nevada fishing locations.
- Leaders and Tippets: Carry a selection of leaders and tippets in various lengths and weights to accommodate different fishing conditions.
- Flies: Pack a range of dry flies, nymphs, and streamers to cover a variety of fishing scenarios.
- Waders and Wading Boots: Invest in a good pair of breathable waders and sturdy wading boots for comfort and safety while fishing in rivers and streams.
- Fishing Vest or Pack: A vest or pack with multiple pockets will keep your gear organized and easily accessible.
- Polarized Sunglasses: These sunglasses reduce glare from the water's surface, allowing you to spot fish more easily.
Additional Facts about Fly Fishing in Nevada
Nevada offers a wide range of fishing opportunities beyond trout. Warmwater species such as bass, catfish, and crappie can be found in many reservoirs and lakes.
The best time to fly fish in Nevada is typically during spring and fall when the water temperatures are optimal and fish are more active. However, fishing can still be productive year-round in certain locations.
Nevada requires a fishing license for anglers aged 12 and above. Licenses can be purchased online or from authorized vendors throughout the state. Catch-and-release practices are encouraged to preserve fish populations and ensure sustainable fishing for future generations.
It's important to respect private property and obtain the necessary permits or permissions when fishing on private lands or in areas that require special access. Nevada's fishing regulations can vary by location and species. Familiarize yourself with the specific regulations of the waters you plan to fish to ensure compliance.
Where is the best place to fly fish in Nevada?
Determining the best place to fly fish in Nevada ultimately depends on personal preferences and the specific fishing experience you seek. However, Pyramid Lake, the East Walker River, and the Ruby Mountains are often regarded as top destinations due to their stunning scenery and abundant fish populations.
Where is the best trout fishing in Nevada?
Nevada offers excellent trout fishing opportunities, but some of the best trout fishing locations include Pyramid Lake, the East Walker River, Lamoille Canyon Beaver Ponds, and the Ruby Mountains. These areas are renowned for their sizable trout populations and the quality of their fishing experiences.
Where is the biggest trout in Nevada?
If you're targeting the biggest trout in Nevada, Pyramid Lake is the place to be. Lahontan cutthroat trout, known for their impressive size, can be found in the lake. Anglers have the opportunity to catch trophy-sized trout weighing over 20 pounds, making Pyramid Lake a dream destination for trophy trout hunters.