Lake Mead was impounded in 1935, but prior to this, the Colorado River had carp, channel catfish, and four native species. Threadfin shad were introduced in 1954 allowing largemouth bass to flourish. When fishing waned in 1969, striped bass and trout were introduced. By 1974, striped bass dominated and trout fishing declined and stocking occurred sporadically since 1983. The final stocking was in 2011 due to the closure of Lake Mead Hatchery from a declining lake level and infestation of quagga mussels. Smallmouth bass and tilapia were discovered in 1999 and gizzard shad in 2007.
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Anglers have been heading out to the Overton Arm to chase crappie and black bass and finding success. Smallmouth and largemouth bass are getting ready for the spawn throughout the Boulder Basin. Casting Rat-L-Traps and jigs into shallows has proven successful for some fishermen. Stripers are actively chasing swimbaits and anchovies in Government Wash.03-15-2023
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Lake Mead has a maximum depth of 465 feet when full and covers 150,000 acres over a 110-mile length. Primary game fish include striped bass, large- and smallmouth bass, channel catfish, bluegill, green sunfish, and black crappie. The best time for largemouth bass is May-September, fishing during early morning and evening. Bluegill fishing is best from May – June. Channel catfish are typically caught on the bottom with beef/chicken liver, shrimp, or prepared baits from April-September. Striped bass are caught all year, being most productive from May-December. From November-March, bait and top water lures work great. Live shad is the best bait for stripers, but store-bought anchovies also work. Chumming is allowed, using anything except game fish or parts of game fish. Anchovies and corn are a favorite chum. Fish over chum at least an hour then move to a different spot. Kast-Masters or swim baits can be jigged over schools as well as using top-water lures on “boils” (stripers voraciously feed on shad at the surface). Use corn, peas, or hot dogs, to catch tilapia in the Overton Arm and Boulder Basin. These can weigh up to 5 pounds and taste excellent. Camping by boat on beaches is allowed lake-wide and developed campgrounds occur at Boulder Beach, Callville Bay, and Echo Bay. Camping with full RV hookups is available at Boulder Beach. Floating restrooms occur in several coves around the lake. Summer temperatures can reach 115°F, so carry plenty of water. The lake can get very windy and rough, so listen to the weather forecast before boating.