Map of Carson River
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The main Carson River begins near the town of Genoa when the east and west forks merge. The river ends at the Carson Sink near Fallon. Pioneering anglers (mid- to late 1800’s) originally fished for Lahontan cutthroat trout and mountain whitefish. However, Comstock mining activities, channelization, water diversions, introduction of other fishes, and overharvesting caused the demise of cutthroat trout and limited the range of whitefish. Rainbow trout are stocked annually, but there are natural populations of large- and smallmouth bass, catfish, and bullhead catfish.
The Carson River fishery primarily begins at Mexican Dam (adjacent to Carson City) and ends in the town of Dayton. Some fishing does occur in the river upstream of Ft. Churchill. Land adjacent to the river and upstream of Mexican Dam is mostly private. However, the State of Nevada owns the river channel, which is open to the public, but be aware not to trespass on private property to access the river. Public access to the river occurs in many places down to Dayton with Dayton State Park being about the lower end of easily accessible public land for a while. Trout are stocked at Lloyds Bridge, Deer Run Bridge, and downtown Dayton. Additionally, large- and smallmouth bass are becoming more frequent, while channel catfish, and brown or black bullheads are caught 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. There is an additional boat launch/takeout at Morgan Mill Park near the BLM office.
Approximately 6,500 rainbow trout will be stocked during the spring, and 7,000 brown trout will be stocked based on fish availability. In the fall, an additional 3,000 rainbow trout are scheduled for planting. Trout are stocked at Lloyd’s Bridge, Deer Run Bridge, and downtown Dayton. Flow velocities generally determine when stocking occurs, but during normal water flow years, fish planting begins in March and continues through early summer.
The Carson River has general fishing regulations, with fishing permitted any hour of the day or night and open all year. Daily and possession limits are 5 trout, 10 mountain whitefish, and 15 warmwater game fish of which not more than 5 may be black bass.
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.