Lake Mead is a lake on the Colorado River, about 24 mi (39 km) from the Las Vegas Strip, southeast of the city of Las Vegas, Nevada, in the states of Nevada and Arizona. It is the largest reservoir in the United States in terms of water capacity. Formed by the Hoover Dam, the reservoir serves water to the states of Arizona, California, and Nevada, providing sustenance to nearly 20 million people and large areas of farmland.
Fishing is a favorite pastime here at Lake Mead National Recreation Area. With more than 290 square miles of water surface, you can be sure to find a favorite spot to catch the big one. Popular fish include rainbow trout, catfish, sunfish, largemouth bass, striped bass, smallmouth bass and crappie. Keep in mind that our park lies within two states and each has their own specific fishing regulations. We have all the information you need below to have a fantastic fishing experience.
General Fishing Information
Fishing is allowed 24 hours a day from watercraft, shores or on the park’s three fishing piers located at Hemenway Harbor on Lake Mead and at Willow Beach and Katherine Landing on Lake Mohave. Fishing is not permitted in harbors or from marinas.
To fish within the states of Nevada or Arizona, you must carry with you a valid fishing license. If your license is for Arizona, and you plan to fish from a boat or other craft on lakes Mead and Mohave, or on the shoreline of Nevada, then you must have a “use stamp” from Nevada (and vice-versa).
A trout stamp is required in addition to any other use stamps if you intend to catch trout. You may purchase licenses from the concessioner at the marinas or at local bait and tackle shops.
Largemouth bass, striped bass, channel catfish, crappie and bluegill are found in both lakes Mead and Mohave. Rainbow trout can be found in Lake Mohave. They are released from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service hatchery at Willow Beach every Friday.
Lake Mead has become famous for its striped bass with an occasional catch weighing in at over 40 pounds. Fishing for striped and largemouth bass is good throughout Lake Mead with crappie, bluegill, green sunfish and catfish being more prevalent in the upper Overton Arm of the lake.
Both lakes are home to two endangered fish – the razorback sucker and bonytail chub. Please throw these fish back if you accidentally catch them, and report your catch to the National Park Service by calling 702-293-8950.
Historic Railroad Trail Hiking
The Historic Railroad Trail is an easy, dog-friendly hike along a former railroad grade. It provides panoramic views of Lake Mead, overlooking the Boulder Basin area. As hikers travel through five large tunnels, they will experience a portion of the railroad route that ran from Boulder City to Hoover Dam from 1931 to 1961.
As one of Southern Nevada’s most unique trail experiences, the trail was designated as a national recreation trail on June 4, 2015. It shares the rich history of the construction of the Hoover Dam and the creation of Lake Mead.
In 2017, the Historic Railroad Trail was graded and received a new layer of decomposed granite, improving its accessibility and the overall visitor experience. The trail can be accessed near the Lake Mead Visitor Center or via the Hoover Dam Parking Garage.
The first tunnel is around 1 mile from the trailhead.
The fifth tunnel is around 2.2 miles from the trailhead.
The elevation change from the trailhead to the fifth tunnel is about 11 feet.
After the fifth tunnel, the trail continues another 1.5 miles to the Hoover Dam Parking Garage. The elevation change between these two points is around 445 feet.
Total distance = 7.5 miles (12 kilometers) round trip.