Fishing Western Nevada’s Four Seasons
Nevada Freshwater Fishing
From our winter’s tormenting cold to the summer’s blistering heat, there’s always remove a fishing to be found in Western Nevada. As diverse as the surrounding landscapes, the gamefish of Western Nevada help provide anglers with year-round fishing opportunities. Nevada’s eastern Sierra slope offers three individual watersheds within an hour of each other, all unique in their own way. The Truckee, East Walker, and Carson Rivers begin high in the Sierras, draining east into the naturally protected valleys below. Although, we may be the driest state in the nation, our fertile desert reservoirs are well known for their trophy trout and warmwater gamefish.
As brutal winter storms pound the Northern Sierras and California, Nevada is protected by the Sierra’s crest and natural rain shadowing that occurs. The rain shadow leaves our valleys much warmer and dry, prime for winter fishing. Winter dry fly fishing on the Truckee River east of Reno can provide anglers with some of the best surface activity the state has to offer. Swarms of hatching little olive mayflies and skwala stoneflies bring even the largest trout up to feed on the surface.
When the spring snowmelt begins in the Sierras, the Truckee and Carson Rivers are susceptible to dangerously high flows. Depending on snowpack and temperatures, runoff can extend into June following big winters. When spring flows do spike, the East Walker often remains fishable due to the highly regulated flows out of Bridgeport Reservoir. The tail-water fishery offers exceptional spring streamer fly fishing and is well known for its healthy brown trout population. The Walker River State Park offers several new amenities including improved campsites at the famous “elbow” East Walker River access.
Early spring is also an excellent time to fish many of Nevada’s high Sierra lakes as they begin to thaw. Hungry trout in late spring can be seen patrolling the shoreline of Spooner Lake at ice-out. These holdover trout stocked the previous season are hungry and eager to eat small baits, spinners, or flies above and below the surface. Spooner Lake can remain productive until shoreline vegetation takes hold as summer approaches.
Whether you choose to embrace summer, or run from it, there’s always an option when the serious heat sets in. If you like bass by the hundreds, or truly do love the desert heat, Lahontan Reservoir is the place for you. In fact, the hotter the better. White and hybrid wiper bass can provide warm-water spin and fly fisherman with plenty of action along the sandy beaches during the hottest times of the year. Bait fisherman find bass, walleye, and carp all summer long. Bright spoons and streamer flies are productive for white bass, wipers, walleye, and the occasional large carp.
If the heat isn’t your thing, there’s an oasis just above Carson City waiting for you. Hobart Reservoir rests at 7650 feet and can be quite the walk without a suitable four wheel drive vehicle. Surrounded by granite and tall pines, the special regulated water is primarily utilized as a catch and release fishery. Anglers using small spinners or flies along the shoreline are rarely unsuccessful. As summer finally starts to lose its hold, it’s time to start thinking about heading north.
Just south of the Oregon border you’ll find Onion Valley and Knott Creek Reservoirs nestled high in the Pine Forest Range. Onion Valley is far easier to access and better known for its plentiful trout populations. Tough access and picturesque fly fishing draw anglers to Knott Creek Reservoir. Whether you’re the angler seeking an adventure in solitude, or the car camping family, Nevada’s fishing is always on.