Mason Valley WMA
Map of Mason Valley WMA
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Mason Valley Wildlife Management Area (MVWMA) is located in north Mason Valley in Lyon County, seven miles north of Yerington. The property was purchased by the state in 1955 to develop wetlands for waterfowl. As the wetlands expanded, ponds and sloughs were created and were ideal for warmwater fish such as largemouth bass and catfish. With the completion of the Mason Valley Hatchery in 1990, a constant supply of water was ensured and led to the expansion of the Fish Series ponds.
The Fish Series ponds include Hinkson Slough, Bass Pond, Crappie Pond, and North Pond. The ponds range from 15 to 200 acres and the average depth for most of the ponds is 3 to 4 ft, although North Pond is 13 ft deep. Management emphasis is generally toward quality largemouth bass angling. However, trout are stocked in North Pond and Hinkson Slough. Trout include bowcutt (rainbow trout x cutthroat trout hybrid) and rainbow trout with Hinkson Slough producing trophy-size trout. Channel catfish and bluegill are also present, with bluegill reaching over 1 lb. For Hinkson Slough, anglers generally catch from 3 to 6 fish per trip. Early spring is the best time to catch trout, while late spring and summer are the best time for largemouth bass. Trophy Book entries include an 8 lb 4 oz largemouth bass, an 18 lb channel catfish, and a 5 lb 5 oz rainbow trout. North Pond has an improved boat ramp, outhouses, and paved parking and Bass Pond and Hinson Slough have a padded and gravel boat ramp, respectively. Primitive camping is only allowed at Sandridge Campground.
Hinkson Slough will be stocked with 2,000 rainbow trout in spring and 1,500 rainbow trout in fall. Additionally, tagged rainbow trout were stocked in 2010 and 2011 and anglers catching one should report the tag number and total length to NDOW (phone number is on the tag). North Pond will be stocked with 4,000 9-inch rainbow trout in late winter and early spring and may receive channel catfish in early summer. Warmwater fish are, for the most part, self-sustaining and require only limited stocking when necessary.
The Fishing Series Ponds are open from the second Saturday in February to September 30. There is a largemouth bass possession limit of 2, but bass between 11 to 14 inches must be released. Limit on trout is 5 per day and in possession. Hinkson Slough has a special limit on trout of 2 with a minimum size of 16 inches, artificial lures only. Limit on other warmwater fish (catfish, bluegill, crappie, etc.) is 15 fish per day and in possession. Eastside Waterfowl Series Ponds are open on August 16 through September 30 any hour of the day or night. Limit is 5 trout and 15 warmwater game fish of which not more than 2 may be black bass. It is unlawful to possess black bass between 11 and 14 inches total length. Kuenzli Pond, and Hatchery Outponds 1, 2, and 3 have a one-day fishing season that is open on the first Saturday in May, from sunrise to sunset. The limit is 3 game fish. All other waters of the Mason Valley Wildlife Management Area are closed to fishing.
Vessels must be operated at a speed that leaves a flat wake, but in no case may a vessel be operated at a speed in excess of 5 nautical miles per hour. However, all vessels are prohibited from February 15 through August 15 of each year; except on Hinkson Slough; Bass Pond; Crappie Pond; Beaver Slough; the Walker River; and North Pond. See the ‘Boating Restrictions in Wildlife Management Areas’ section of the ‘Nevada Fishing Seasons and Regulations’ for more information.
Biologist Prediction for 2013
Fishing for trout in Hinkson Slough should be good from late February through June. Fishing at Bass and Crappie Pond will be slow for largemouth bass since in 2011 the ponds were drained, deepened, shoreline vegetation removed, and refilled. Brood stock bass and bluegill were planted; however, it will be a few years before populations increase. Triploid grass carp were planted in North Pond last year to help control some of the vegetation. Kuenzli Pond and Hatchery Outponds 1, 2, and 3 are fishable only on May 4, 2013 and should provide for good angling for largemouth bass and trout.
MVWMA is located 75 miles southeast of Reno and 60 miles south of Carson City off U.S. 95A. The main entrance is located on Miller Lane, 2.5 miles east of U.S. 95A. Follow signs to the pond entrance.