Free Fishing Day on June 12 in both Nevada and California

By Don Quilici

OK Gang, draw a great big, red circle around June 12 on your calendar and pay close attention to these words of wisdom:

That day is Free Fishing Day in many states, including our very own Nevada and our neighbor to the west, the Golden State of California.

So, if you have had a desire to fish in either state, but haven't done so for any number of reasons, June 12 will be an opportunity to fish wherever you desire and be able to do it free!

Not too shabby, especially with today's steep prices for fishing licenses and stamps. I should know because when I bought my 2004 California, non-resident, annual fishing license with a Second Rod Stamp, I kissed good-bye to $98.20.

So, if you don't have that kind of money to fish or if you're a part-time, casual angler, then plan to spend that day, fishing free. However, if you do, here's some very important advice:

You can fish, free, on June 12, but you will still need to abide by all of the regular rules and regulations that govern whatever water(s) you'll be fishing.

So, don't be tempted to do something illegal or stupid. If you do and if you're caught, the "friendly old game warden" may not be too friendly and I wouldn't blame him one bit! It could turn out to be a very expensive and embarrassing experience rather than a lot of fun.

If you do something illegal on that date, get caught and get a citation, I, for one, hope the judge throws the book at you when you are sentenced. You will deserve it for being stupid.

On a more pleasant note, by way of some historical background, Nevada lawmakers adopted the necessary legislation, way back in 1987 to create our state's Free Fishing Day.

Nevada's first Free Fishing Day was held on June 11, 1988, and we have had one, every year, since then.

And, in case you didn't know, the State of California has gone one step further.

That state has not one, but two, Free Fishing days each year.

In 2004, California will have a second Free Fishing Day on Sept. 25. Don't forget to also mark that date on your calendar.

In an attempt to make sure that your Free Fishing Day will be a unforgettable experience, the California Department of Fish and Game, various California Counties and the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) will be busy planting thousands of rainbow trout into many of their waters, prior to June 12.

So, now that you know that you can fish at no cost on Free Fishing Day, what if you are new to this area and would like to try your hand at fishing, or perhaps, you have been here for some time, have never fished and would like to do so?

Where can you go?

Heck, don't worry, Don Q is going to come to your rescue. I've compiled a hand-picked listing of selected waters.

Pick one or more (if time permits on that special day), then on June 12, load the entire family, a big picnic lunch, drinks and camera with lots of color film into the family car and then go out somewhere and enjoy the 2004 version of Free Fishing Day.

Here's that listing:



Main Carson, east of Carson City (Very close to home and here's a very sneaky tip: It is always planted byh NDOW from the various bridges, so your best fishing will obviously be downstream from a bridge).

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

Truckee in Washoe County (Be careful, the area upstream from Crystal Peak Park in Verdi has special fishing restrictions).

East Walker in Lyon County (A long drive, but the "Elbow" area contains some nice populations of German brown trout and rainbow trout).


Ash Canyon, west of Carson City (Close to home but very difficult to fish due to a combination of dirt road, steep terrain, willows and brush).

American Flat in Storey County (A small stream, but good for rainbows).

Desert in Douglas County (Another long drive to a remote area. It contains rainbows and browns).

Galena, Jones and Whites, all in Washoe County (All three can be 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 and it has special fishing and camping restrictions).

Lahontan in Churchill and Lyon Counties (An excellent warm water fishery containing all kinds of fish including trout, walleye, striped bass, white bass, channel catfish, crappie, etc.).


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

Topaz and the Topaz Canal (Good for average-sized rainbows).

Virginia in downtown Reno (Contains rainbows but watch out for the duck and goose droppings on the shoreline!).


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

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

Wilson Common in Washoe Valley, southeast of Bowers Mansion. (Another great location for small children).

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



Try the West Carson River anywhere in Hope Valley or along Woodfords Canyon (Remember the sneaky tip to fish downstream from the bridges!).


Robinson Creek, near Lower Twin Lake (West of Bridgeport) is a long drive and is normally crowded with fishermen.

Green Creek, located just west of Bridgeport. It is another long drive, has nice brookies but has lots of mosquitoes.


Indian Creek Reservoir, located between Markleeville and Woodfords, will be planted by both Alpine County and the Calif. Dept. of Fish and Game. A great location to fish for the entire family.

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


A "zillion" of them including: Alpine, Upper and Lower Blue, Caples, Davis, Donner, Eagle, the June Lake Loop (Grant, Gull, June and Silver), Kirman (Carmen), Lundy, Mammoth Lakes Basin (George, Mamie, Mary and Twin), Red, Roosevelt-Lane, Secret, Silver, Upper and Lower Sunset, Tamarack, Upper and Lower Twin, the Virginia Lakes area and Winnemucca, just to name a very few.

• There you have it, all kinds of places to have fun on June 12.

Where will I be? Well, I plan to fish in one of my favorite but secret spots!

• 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 grins and replies, "Oklahoma was the first, back in 1982," you're a loser!


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