Map of Carson River
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The main Carson River begins near the town of
Genoa where the east and west forks merge and it ends at the Carson Sink beyond
Fallon. Pioneers (mid- to late 1800’s)
originally fished for native trout, however, Comstock mining activities,
channelization, water diversions, introduction of other fishes, and
overharvesting caused the demise of cutthroat trout and limited the range of mountain
The Carson River
fishery primarily begins at Mexican Dam (adjacent to Carson City) and ends in
Dayton. Some fishing does occur in the
river upstream of Ft. Churchill, but it depends on the flow and water
conditions. The river is considered
navigable, making it accessible to the public below the average high water
line. However, land upstream of Mexican
Dam is mostly private and it is difficult to find public access to the river. Entrance to the river, however, occurs
frequently from Carson City to Dayton with Dayton State Park being about the lower
end of easily accessible public land. A
put and take trout fishery occurs in these areas along with large- and
smallmouth bass. Channel catfish and
bullheads are caught more in the lower reaches near Ft. Churchill. A canoe/raft launch site along with a
handicap access-fishing platform can be found at Camp Carson Park near Lloyd’s
Bridge (Carson City). There is an
additional boat launch/takeout at Morgan Mill Park near the BLM office.
Snowpack for the Carson River Drainage is below average this year and expect flows from spring runoff to be moderate. Summer and fall should see limited flows. Trout fishing should be best when temperatures are low and stocking begins. Large- and smallmouth bass may be caught throughout the river, but catfish and bullhead are more common downstream of Dayton.
Due to elevated methylmercury levels, the Nevada State Health Division has issued a health advisory that recommends no consumption of fish from the Carson River from Dayton downstream to Lahontan Reservoir.
There are no special boating regulations for the Carson River. Rafters may frequent the river, but it is highly important to portage around dangerous diversion dams. Do not forget to acquire permission to access private property.
From Highway 50, at the east end of Carson City, turn south on Deer Run Road and travel approximately one mile to access Deer Run Bridge. Drive downstream (about a mile) on a gravel road to reach Spring Hole. However, from Deer Run Bridge, you can continue south several miles to Lloyd’s Bridge (Camp Carson Park). Fish here or continue south on the road paralleling the east side of the river to the Mexican Dam area. Most all sites can be accessed with a 2-wheel drive vehicle. While in Dayton, you can access the river from Dayton State Park (look for signs along Highway 50 at the east end of town) or, at the only traffic light in town, drive south on Dayton Valley Road to Dayton Bridge, which is located within a short distance.