Humboldt River

The Humboldt River is the longest river in the continental United States that begins and ends within the boundaries of one state. It was historically a cutthroat trout stream that produced, especially in the upper reaches, excellent fishing in the 1840s. However, the portion of the river occurring in Humboldt County was never considered “good” for trout fishing. Many early accounts describe the Humboldt River as muddy with a distinct lack of fish. Poor water quality, resulting from high temperatures and muddy flows in the lower river keeps trout confined to the headwaters near Elko. Additionally, poor watershed and irrigation practices have eliminated trout from the mid- and lower sections of the Humboldt River. Stocking of warmwater species such as catfish, bluegill, white bass, and crappie began in the late 1940s.

Type of water
Fishing Report

Stocking – Fish in the Humboldt River are self-sustaining and stocking is not necessary. Regulations – Limit is 5 trout and 15 warmwater game fish of which not more than 5 may be largemouth bass and 5 may be walleye. For the Humboldt River from Stahl Diversion Dam (near Golconda) to the downstream border of Humboldt County, live baitfish and aquatic bait from the Humboldt River Basin may be used. Commercially prepared and preserved baitfish or their parts may be used as bait.


Pertinent Information

Flows in the river fluctuate between 13 and 700 cubic feet per second. The primary species found in this section of river include white crappie, wipers (white bass x striper hybrid), channel catfish, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, walleye, brown bullhead, bluegill, green sunfish, and yellow perch. The best time for fishing has proven to be from early May through early July. The effective fishing methods include bottom fishing with nightcrawlers and live bait as well as using small crappie jigs fished around structure. Camping on the lower Humboldt River is primitive. Much of the lower river flows through private property and anglers should contact the landowner for permission to access the river or to camp.