Logo

General Statewide Regulations

Fishing Regulations Nevada Freshwater Fishing

Fishing regulations are effective January 1, 2020 – December 31, 2021.

All Regulations are applicable to CR 20-01.

License Requirements

All persons fishing are subject to the license requirements listed be­low. Except for some “interstate waters” (Lake Tahoe, Topaz Lake, Lake Mead, Lake Mohave, Colorado River), anglers 12 years of age and older are required to obtain and possess a license or permit to fish. Nonresident anglers under 12 years of age are not required to have a license, but the number of fish taken by such nonresident anglers must not exceed 50 percent of the limit as provided by law. (For instance, if the limit is five, these young anglers may take only two fish.) Fishing license and permit requirements also apply to persons taking fish by means of spear or bow and arrow. (Refer to NRS 502.010)

Limits

“Limit” means the maximum number of game fish that may be lawfully taken and reduced to possession by a person. The “Limit” includes fish caught in Nevada which have been processed or preserved and are stored at any location. Fish that are caught and immediately released back to the water alive are not considered to be reduced to possession or part of the limit. Limits for individual counties are specified under each Region’s General Regulations. Limits for waters, which have special limits or restrictions, are listed under each Region’s Special Regulations. (Refer to CR 18-01)

Possession Limit vs. Daily Limit

In this state, there is no distinction between a “daily” limit and a “possession” limit. There is simply a “limit.” An angler may not have more than one limit in possession. For example, if an angler fishes one body of water where the limit is four trout and takes his limit, he may not then move to a body of water where the limit is two trout and keep any more fish.

Size Limit

Unless otherwise noted under Region General Regulations or Region Special Regulations, there is no size limit. Where size limits do apply, this shall mean the total length of the fish including the head and tail, measured as illustrated in the diagram. (Refer to NAC 503.500)

Seasons and Hours

Unless otherwise noted under Region Special Regulations, the season is open year around and fishing hours are any time of the day or night. Where specified, “open season” includes the first and last day designated. (Refer to NRS 501.065)

“Fishes,” “fishing,” “fished” and “to fish” defined

The words “to fish” and their derivatives, “fishes,” “fishing” and “fished,” mean catching, taking, capturing, killing, injuring or crippling of a fish and every attempt to do so. (Refer to NRS 501.030)

Filleting Fish

Where size limits apply, fish may be filleted before transport if the remainder of the carcass of each fish filleted is kept in one piece so size and possession limits can be immediately determined. It is unlawful for any person to cause through carelessness, neglect or otherwise any edible portion of any game fish to go to waste needlessly. In the case of game fish, the fillet meat from the operculum (gill plate) to the caudal fin (tail fin). (Refer to NRS 503.586)

Methods of Fishing

Fish may be taken only with hook and line attached to rod or reel and closely attended in the manner known as angling. No more than three baited hooks, nor more than three fly hooks, or two lures or plugs irrespective of the number of hooks or attractor blades attached thereto, may be attached to the line. Some waters have further restrictions. No more than two lines may be used (Except as noted under “Spearfishing /Bowfishing” and “Unprotected Fish”). (Refer to NRS 503.290)

Spearfishing/Bowfishing

Persons may spearfish for unprotected fish in all Nevada waters except Lake Tahoe and Topaz Lake. Persons may spearfish for striped bass in Lake Mead and Lake Mohave from Cottonwood Cove to the cable below Hoover Dam. Spearfishing for striped bass is prohibited in that portion of Lake Mohave from Cottonwood Cove to Davis Dam and from Davis Dam down river to the Nevada state line. In Lakes Mead and Mohave and the Colorado River system, spearfishing is prohibited within 1/2 mile of any dock or swimming area. When spearfishing, a person must display, within 100 feet, an appropriate diver’s flag. A mechanical spearing device may be used only under the surface of the water, and the spear must be attached to the device by a lanyard. Fishing license regulations apply to persons taking fish by means of spear or bow and arrow. (Refer to NAC 503.590-592) Only unprotected fish may be taken with a bow and arrow except where prohibited (Refer to NAC 503.580) Please contact the county you’ll be fishing in prior to assure you are in compliance with county regulations.

General Statewide Bait Use

Any person possessing a fishing license or permit, or otherwise exempted from such licenses, may capture, transport and use live baitfish, aquatic bait, or commercially prepared and preserved baitfish for fishing or personal consumption where specified by Region.

Live baitfish means live, unprotected species of freshwater fish.

Aquatic bait means live, unprotected amphibians (such as salamanders, waterdogs, and frogs), crustaceans (such as crayfish), mollusks (such as clams and snails), insects (such as grasshoppers), or worms (such as natural earthworms or purchased nightcrawlers or redworms).

The use of any game fish or protected species  as bait and parts thereof is prohibited, except preserved salmon eggs.

Commercially Prepared and Preserved bait means dead dried, frozen, or liquid (such as in mineral oil, isopropyl alcohol, or ethyl alcohol), dry (such as in salt or borax), or other proprietary preserved or cured fish or their parts or aquatic bait.

Any bait obtained from a licensed dealer of live bait fish must be accompanied by a current dated receipt by that dealer. See Fishing With Bait Fish for regulations for bait fishing by region.

Chumming

“Chumming” means placing fish, parts of fish or other material upon which fish feed, in the water for the purpose of attracting fish to a particu­lar area so that they may be taken. Chumming is prohibited in Lake Tahoe, Topaz Lake, Spooner Lake and the entire Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge. (Refer to NRS 501.013)

Unprotected Fish

Unprotected fish are all species not classified as game or protected. Unprotected fish may be taken by bow and arrow, hook and line, dipnet, cast net, minnow seine or minnow trap, and, except where prohibited, by spear. In the Colorado River and Lakes Mead and Mohave, the taking of fish by bow and arrow is prohibited within 1/2 mile of any dock or swimming area. Fishing license regulations apply to persons taking unprotected fish by means of hook and line, bow and arrow or spear.

Ice Fishing

For the purposes of ice fishing, holes cut through the ice must not exceed 10 inches in diameter. (Refer to NAC 503.583)

Artificial Lures

“Artificial Lures” means any device with a hook or hooks attached which is made partly or entirely of rubber, wood, metal, glass, plastic or feathers. (Please note: PowerBait® or similar products are not considered artificial lures.) (Refer to NAC 503.500)

Artificial Lures with Single Barbless Hooks

A “single barbless hook” means a fish hook having one point, manufactured without barbs or on which the barbs have been bent com­pletely closed or filed off. Double or treble hooks having a common shank are not a single barbless hook even when the barbs are closed or filed off. When single barbless hooks are required, only one single b­arbless hook­ may be attached to each hook eye or ring of the lure. (Refer to NAC 503.500)

Northern Pike

Northern pike are not classified as game fish; they are a prohibited species. Anglers wishing to keep northern pike to eat are required to kill them upon capture. There is no limit for northern pike, and anglers who wish to assist in the removal of northern pike from the waters of the state and who wish to dispose of them may do so without regard for Nevada’s wanton waste laws. The importation, transportation or possession of live northern pike is prohibited (Refer to NAC 503.110).

Game Fish Transportation

Game fish taken under the authority of a fishing license or fishing permit may not be transported alive from the body of water where the game fish is taken. It is not illegal to keep game fish alive and in a live well, net or on a stringer while at the body of water from which they are caught. Anglers must kill fish to be transported away from the body of water. Under no circumstances can game fish be transported in a manner which would allow for their release alive at another body of water. The transport and release of live wildlife without a permit is illegal. (Refer to NAC 503.115)

Bullfrogs

There is no license requirement or limit on bullfrogs if they are taken by gig, spear, bow and arrow or by hand. However, a license is required to take bullfrogs by hook and line. Season is open year around anytime of the day or night in waters that are open to fishing or f­rogging. Bullfrogs are a non-indigenous species that may not be transported alive from the body of water where taken. (Refer to 503.580 and 503.100)

Crayfish

A fishing license is not required to capture crayfish for personal consumption or use as bait. When used as bait, crayfish may only be used in the water where captured and other bait restrictions apply (see Fishing With Bait Fish). There is no limit on crayfish. A license is required to take crayfish by hook and line. A permit is required to take crayfish for commercial purposes at Lake Tahoe (crayfish may not be taken for commercial purposes from any other Nevada water.) (Refer to 503.100)

Coldwater Game Fish

Coldwater game fish are: Bonneville cutthroat trout, Lahontan cutthroat trout, Snake River (Yellowstone) cutthroat trout, Kokanee salmon, brook trout, brown trout, bull trout, lake trout (Mackinaw), rainbow trout, redband trout, mountain whitefish and any hybrid thereof. (Refer to NAC 503.060)

Warmwater Game Fish

Warmwater game fish are: black bullhead, brown bullhead, channel catfish, white catfish, striped bass, white bass, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, spotted bass, black crappie, white crappie, yellow perch, Sacramento perch, bluegill sunfish, pumpkinseed sunfish, green sunfish, redear sunfish, walleye and any hybrid thereof. (Refer to NAC 503.060)

Protected Fish and Amphibians

Protected fish and amphibians are those species listed in NAC 503.065, 503.075 and 503.067. ­There is no open season on fish or amphibians classified as protected.

NOTE: Artificial lure-only waters are listed below. Fishing with Bait Fish table on Fishing With Bait Fish.

Artificial Lure Regulations by Location

Only artificial lures may be used in the following waters:

  1. The Collection Ditch at Ruby Lake NWR in Elko County.
  2. Dacey Reservoir on the Kirch WMA in Nye County.
  3. Hinkson Slough on the Mason Valley WMA in Lyon County
  4. Tonkin Springs Reservoir in Eureka County.

Only artificial lures with single barbless hooks may be used in these waters:

  • Knott Creek Reservoir including inlet and outlet streams in Humboldt County.
  • Hobart Reservoir (Washoe County), its tributaries and Franktown Creek downstream to Red House.
  • Catnip Reservoir in Washoe County.
  • South Fork of the Humboldt River (Elko County) from the access causeway for the Lucky Nugget subdivision upstream to Lee.
  • East Walker River (Lyon County) from 1/4 mile above the confluence of the East Walker River and Sweetwater Creek downstream to 1/2 mile below the confluence of the East Walker River and Red Wash Creek.
  • Marlette Lake including tributaries and outlet stream in Washoe County.
  • Smith Creek Reservoir in Lander County.
  • Truckee River (Washoe and Storey County) in that portion from the East Mustang Road bridge downstream to the Pyramid Lake Paiute Reservation boundary.

Please see Regional Regulations for more information on special regulations in the eastern, southern, and western regions.