Fishing In Las Vegas: The Best Gamble You Could Ever Make
Any mention of the words 'Las Vegas' evokes images of lights, dice, cards, and parties, rightfully earning the nickname of the Entertainment Capital of the World. But if you think Vegas is just for casinos, hotels, and shows, you'd be missing out on the one of the best gambles you could ever make in your life - fishing in Las Vegas.
It may sound absurd, but there's actually some great fishing to be had in and around Sin City. If you're ever in Vegas and feel like dropping a line in the water, try out the fishing spots mentioned below.
Fishing in Lake Mead
Location: 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas
Max Depth: 500 feet
Species: Striped bass, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, black crappie, channel catfish, rainbow trout, walleye, and bluegill.
An aerial shot of Lake Mead. Boulder City can be seen in the foreground next to Las Vegas Bay.Magnus Manske/Wikipedia Commons
If you're not familiar with the surrounding area of Las Vegas, you may be surprise that one of the largest man-made reservoirs in the United States sits just 30 miles from the city. When Lake Mead is at full capacity, it is 112 miles long and contains 550 miles of shoreline.
Though droughts in recent years have brought the water levels down significantly, the fishing is still really good.
Striped Bass Fishing
While Lake Mead offers a decent variety of game species, it's really all about the striped bass fishing here. It stands up to some of the best striper fishing anywhere in the U.S. thanks to an abundance of two-to-three pound fish.
Though it's possible to find stripers over 40 pounds here, it's more about the quantity of fish you can catch on Lake Mead rather than the trophies. If you're the kind of angler that enjoys eating what you catch, keep in mind that there's a limit of 20 fish for stripers over 20 inches in length. There is no limit to what you can keep for anything under that size. You can fish for stripers year-round on Lake Mead. Though the depth they swim at varies by season, the best strategy remains the same no matter the time or temperature find the shad and you'll find striped bass.
Droughts and dry winters have made for low water levels in recent years. U.S. Geological Survey/photo by Alicia Burtner
In warmer months, concentrate on deeper waters. Use live or cut bait such as anchovies (easier to acquire than shad), or jigging spoons up to 80 feet deep. Trolling with spoons works as well.
Stripers migrate towards shallower waters in the spring and fall, meaning crankbaits and swimming spoons become more effective. As baitfish rise close to the surface, topwater plugs can be deadly. Keep your eyes open and you can see when stripers are feeding at the surface. Chumming is allowed on Lake Mead, so long as you don't use game fish parts. Again, anchovies are a favorite choice. When chumming, try to anchor along a steep drop off. If you get no action after an hour, move on to someplace else. For best results, fish at evening and night, when stripers are most active.
Nighttime is a great time for striper fishing.
Note: Nevada shares Lake Mead with Arizona. To fish the full lake from a boat, you will not only need a license but a special stamp ($3) sold specifically for Lake Mead. If you just plan to fish from shore, all you need is a license from the state you're fishing from.
You don't have to travel to Lake Mead to get your fishing fix. Right in the city itself are three urban ponds perfect for a little shore fishing action. Lorenzi Park Pond, Sunset Park Pond, and Floyd Lamb Park (or Tule Springs) are all stocked seasonally with rainbow trout and channel catfish. Other fish like crappie, bluegill, and largemouth bass can be caught in these ponds as well, but bows and cats are the primary targets. A limit of just three total fish, no matter the combination, is set on all three ponds. Live bait is prohibited. Here are some basic facts about each location:
Lorenzi Park Pond
Location: Situated in the northwestern part of the city, just south of North Las Vegas Airport.
Size: About three acres.
Max Depth: 10 feet.
Notes: The best way to catch trout here is with small spinners, plastic salmon egg bait, or flies. There is no fee for park access. The entire shoreline is accessible for angling.
Sunset Park Pond
Sunset Park Pond
Location: Situated in southeastern Las Vegas Valley.
Size: 14 acres.
Max Depth: Between 10-12 feet.
Notes: Entire shoreline is accessible to fishing. Pond is only open during park hours. Rainbow trout stocked weekly from November to March, while channel catfish are stocked monthly from April through October.
Floyd Lamb Park
Tule Springs LakeNeaco/Wikipedia Commons
Location: Situated in northwest part of Las Vegas Valley.
Size: Largest uppermost pond is five acres.
Max Depth: 15 feet.
Notes: Floyd Lamb Park is centered around Tule Springs, an oasis of four ponds that serves as a popular urban getaway. Channel catfish as heavy as 20 pounds have been caught here, and a 10-pound largemouth bass was reeled in as recently as 2011. Floyd Lamb Park is stocked twice monthly with about 22,000 rainbow trout from January until March and November and December, and with nearly 5,000 channel catfish monthly from April through October. Only uppermost pond is stocked, and therefore most popular and rewarding place to fish. For information on other great urban fishing centers, check out the cities below!