Catnip Reservoir

Map of Catnip Reservoir

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Catnip Reservoir is located in northern Washoe County on the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  It was constructed in 1910 and was used to irrigate the IXL Ranch.  It also provided nesting for waterfowl.  Lahontan cutthroat trout were first stocked in 1947 with the intent of creating a brood stock to be artificially spawned, with the first event occurring in 1959.  Over the years, the need to use Catnip Reservoir as a broodstock diminished and, in 1998, it was opened to fishing.  Since then, the reservoir has been managed as a recreational fishery.

Pertinent Information

This 22 surface acre impoundment has a depth of less than 10 feet.  The only fish species present in the lake is Lahontan cutthroat trout, which receives little pressure due to the short fishing season and the lake’s remoteness.  Anglers generally catch fish between 12 and 18 inches.  Primitive camping is allowed at the lake.


Stocking Updates


Nevada Fishing Regulations

Boating Regulations

Federal regulations for the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge apply, with anglers only allowed to fish from the bank, wade, or use non-motorized boats, boats with electric motors, float tubes, and similar flotation devices.


Catnip Reservoir can be accessed by two routes; through Gerlach, travel north and take State Route 34 for 85 miles to Vya and continue north for 20 miles to Alternate 34, travel east for 15 miles to Catnip Reservoir. From Winnemucca, travel north on US Route 95 for 32 miles, then turn west on State Route 140. Travel 64 miles to Denio Junction and turn west, which is a continuation of SR 140. Drive 36 miles to Alternate 34 and follow the dirt road for 14 miles to Catnip Reservoir.


  • Cutthroat Trout

  • Regions

  • Western Nevada

  • Counties

  • Washoe