Fishing FAQ

Why can't I use live bait?

Research has shown that intentionally or accidentally introduced non-native species of fish, animals, and plants can have very serious negative impacts on native species. In fact, many native fish species in federally and state managed areas are now threatened by introduced invasive species.

Fishing with live bait is prohibited to prevent accidental introductions of non-native aquatic organisms. Anglers often release unused bait at the end of a day of fishing without realizing that their bait may be filled with invasive organisms that may harm native fish or their habitat.

Why aren’t fish stocked?

National Park Service policies state that in natural areas like the Snake Range, stocking is only permitted to re-establish native species. While the Nevada Department of Wildlife stocks fish in many other local waters including Cave Lake, Comins Lake, Illipah Reservoir, and Silver Creek Reservoir, the only stocking practiced today in Great Basin National Park is to restore sensitive species like the Bonneville cutthroat trout to waters where they once thrived.

Fisheries monitoring activities in the park have clearly shown that stocking is not needed. Most Snake Range streams harbor self-sustaining trout populations that replenish themselves through natural reproduction. Survey information shows that many streams contain an average of 1,000-2,000 trout per mile. Many of these are 4”-8” brook trout, but in some lower areas of streams brown trout 8”-20” are commonly found.

Where’s the best place to fish?

The Snake Range offers a variety of angling experiences from remote headwater streams to alpine lakes. Most coldwater streams remain at or near their carrying capacity of trout and offer a great opportunity to catch a variety of species throughout the year. So the reality is that the best place to fish depends on the type of experience each angler desires. Remember, fishing pressure tends to be highest nearest the roads.

A warm water fishery exists in Pruess Lake (Garrison Reservoir), located two miles south of the town of Garrison, Utah. A Utah fishing license is required to fish in this body of water and can be obtained in Delta or Milford, Utah. Fish in Pruess Lake include channel catfish, common carp, Sacramento perch, Utah chub, and Utah sucker. Some winters are cold enough that the lake freezes over with several inches of ice, providing an angling opportunity for ice fishermen.

Why don’t I catch anything?

Many factors determine an angler’s success: the season of the year, time of day, skill level, type of lure, and weather conditions. And sometimes, the fish don’t cooperate.

How do I measure a fish?

Lay fish on a level surface with nose against a flat block. Measure from the block to the furthest point of the tail.

How do I release a fish?

  1. Play a fish as rapidly as possible. Do not play to total exhaustion.
  2. Keep fish in water as much as possible when handling.
  3. Handle a fish with a wet hand, even when using a mesh landing net.
  4. Remove hook gently; do not squeeze fish or put fingers in gills. Use long-nosed pliers to back the hook out gently. Use of barbless hooks is encouraged.
  5. If deeply hooked, cut the line, do not pull the hook out.
  6. Gently hold fish upright facing upstream and move slowly back and forth in the water.
  7. Release fish in quiet water.
  8. Remember, if a fish is bleeding from its gills, it is always best to keep it. Chances of survival are very low.

Last updated: March 31, 2012

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Great Basin National Park
100 Great Basin National Park

Baker, NV 89311


(775) 234-7331
Available 8:00 am - 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Closed on Federal holidays.

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