Free Fishing Day on Saturday in Nevada and California

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So, if you have had a desire to fish in Nevada or California but haven't done so for any number of reasons, Saturday will your golden opportunity to fish wherever you desire in this area.

You will be able to fish, free, in Nevada or California or even both states on that day. Free! Not too shabby.

However, here is one very important piece of advice from Don Q:

You can fish free but you will need to abide by all of the regular rules and regulations that govern whatever water(s) you will be fishing.

So don't go fishing somewhere and be tempted to do something illegal or stupid. If you do and if you are caught, the "friendly old game warden" may not be too friendly. It could turn out to be a very expensive experience rather than a lot of fun. Just remember to carefully obey the rules and regulations.

By way of background, Nevada lawmakers adopted the necessary legislation, way back in 1987, creating our state's first Free Fishing Day.

That first day was held on June 11, 1988. We have had a Free Fishing Day, every year, since then.

And to further insure that your free fishing day will be a memorable experience, the California Department of Fish and Game, various California Counties and the Nevada Division of Wildlife have been busy planting many thousands of trout into many of their waters.

So, now that you know that you can fish at no cost on Saturday, what if you are new to this area or perhaps, you have never fished in this area?

Where to go? Don't worry, Don Q is coming to your rescue.

Here's a sampling of selected waters that you can fish in nearby areas of Nevada and California.

Pick one or more (if time permits).

Then on Saturday, load the entire family (and a big picnic lunch!) into the car and go out and enjoy the 2002 version of Free Fishing Day:



Main Carson, east of Carson City (It is always planted from the various bridges, so the best fishing will obviously be downstream from any bridge).

East Carson in Douglas County (It is planted downstream from the old, broken dam, just out of Gardnerville).

West Carson in Douglas County (Has limited access to the river due to private land ownership).

Truckee in Washoe County and in California (Be careful, some areas have special fishing restrictions).

East Walker in Lyon County (The "Elbow" area contains nice populations of German brown and rainbow trout).

West Walker in Lyon County (Has limited access to the river due to private land ownership).


Ash Canyon, west of Carson City (Very close to home but is difficult to fish due to the combination of steep terrain, thick trees, willows and brush).

Clear, south of Carson City, on the countyline (Has limited access due to private land ownership).

American Flat in Storey County (Good for rainbows).

Desert in Douglas County (Contains rainbows and German browns).

Galena, Jones and Whites, all in Washoe County (Good for rainbows and Eastern brook trout).


Hobart, west of Carson City (You will need four-wheel drive, plus have to walk the last mile).

Lahontan in Churchill and Lyon Counties (An excellent warm water fishery which contains trout, walleye, striped bass, white bass, chnnel catfish, crappie, etc.).

Rye Patch in Pershing County (East of Lovelock. A long drive of about 125 miles from Carson City).

Squaw Valley in Washoe County (Just north of Gerlach in Washoe County. Another long drive).


Tahoe (For best results, you need a boat with specialized equipment to fish its deep waters).

Topaz and the Topaz Canal (Both are good for average-sized rainbows).

Virginia in downtown Reno (Watch out for the duck and goose droppings! They are everywhere).

Walker, north of Hawthorne (A long drive and it has been very slow).


Davis Creek Park, north of Bowers Mansion, in Washoe Valley (A great location for small children).

North Pond at the Mason Valley Wildlife Management Area, near Yerington (Has been slow).

Paradise in Northern Reno/Sparks (Same advice about bird droppings as for Virginia Lake).

Wilson Common in Washoe Valley (Another great location for children).

Mt. View Park in Yerington (About 70 miles from Carson City).

Note: Your best bet for fishing in Nevada with children in an enjoyable setting will probably be at either Virginia Lake, Paradise Pond, Davis Creek Park, Wilson Common or some combination of those four waters.



East Carson, West Carson, Feather, Sacramento, Susan, Truckee, Little Truckee, Upper Truckee, East Walker, West Walker, Little Walker.

Note: Try the West Carson River anywhere in Hope Valley or along Woodfords Canyon. This river is normally planted with rainbow trout from the bridges, so fish just downstream.


Buckeye, Convict, Green, Markleeville, Red, Robinson, Rush, Silver, Virginia, Wolf.

Note: Robinson Creek, near Lower Twin Lake (West of Bridgeport) can produce some huge trout but it will be crowded with fishermen.

Note: Go prepared for lots of fierce mosquitoes at Green Creek, which is located just west of Bridgeport.


Boca, Bridgeport, Frenchmen's, Indian Creek, Kinney, Stampede.

Note: Indian Creek Reservoir, located between Markleeville and Woodfords, will be planted with many hundreds of pounds of rainbow trout by both Alpine County and the Calif. Dept. of Fish and Game. A great location to fish in California for the entire family.

Note: Kinney Reservoir, located at an elevation of more than 8,000 feet near the top of Ebbett's Pass on S.R. 4, is always a delightfully cool location to spend a hot summer day.


Alpine, Upper and Lower Blue, Bucks, Caples, Convict, Crater, Crowley, Davis, Donner, Eagle, Frog, the June Lake Loop (Grant, Gull, June and Silver), Kirman (Carmen), Lobdell, Lundy, Mammoth Lakes Basin (George, Mamie, Mary and Twin), North, Poore, Red, Roosevelt-Lane, Sabrina, Secret, Scott, Silver, South, Upper and Lower Sunset, Tahoe, Tamarack, Upper and Lower Twin, the Virginia Lakes area, Winnemucca, etc.

Note: Lundy Lake, at the south foot of Conway Summit on U.S. 395, can be a real sleeper. The good news is that it is in a spectacular setting, is reached by a paved road, can produce nice-sized rainbow trout and may not be crowded.

The bad news is that it is about 115 miles south of Carson City.

-- There you have it, all kinds of places for you and your entire family to have fun on Free Fishing Day.

Pick one or more of those choices and go enjoy a day of free fishing.

Most importantly, no matter where you decide to go fishing, plan to spend this Saturday enjoying one of America's top three most popular outdoor sports. The other two are swimming (No. 1) and bicycling (No. 2)).

You can do it and it's absolutely free for the entire day. Heck of a deal!

Free Fishing Day.

-- Bet Your Favorite Pigeon

Bet your favorite pigeon that he can't tell you which of the 50 states adopted the first free fishing day.

If he replies, "Oklahoma was the first, back in 1982," you lose.


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