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Fishing opportunities abundant in Southern Nevada

Through the years, I have spoken to many newcomers to Southern Nevada who are surprised to learn their new home is less than an hour drive from Lake Mead and Lake Mohave, two of America’s largest recreational waterways. Some had even gone so far as to sell off their fishing gear before their big move to the Mojave Desert because they were unaware that we have excellent fishing just over the hill.

Not a good move.

Together, the two reservoirs stretch for nearly 140 miles along the historic Colorado River channel and offer recreational boaters and anglers about 290 square miles of water to explore. Lake Mead alone boasts more than 550 miles of shoreline that weaves in and out of coves and along steep cliff faces.

Though they are sister reservoirs, Mead and Mohave each have their own personality. One might even say personalities because they are both so large and their shorelines so varied.

For instance, Lake Mohave is narrow for most of its length with a couple of relatively small basins thrown in the mix. Lake Mead, on the other hand, is composed of four large, deep basins connected by somewhat narrow canyons.

For boat owners who love to explore and see new places, these reservoirs are a vast playground that is readily accessible if they are willing to pay for the gas. The winter months can be a good time for exploring because daytime temperatures are relatively mild, winds are often calm and boat traffic is minimal.

For anglers and others who do not own a boat, however, access to these large reservoirs is a challenge. Not only is the terrain that surrounds Mead and Mohave rugged, but access roads are few. That means the locations at the end of those roads quickly fill with people during the busy months.

Some anglers have turned to paddle craft such as canoes or kayaks to expand their fishing horizons on Mead and Mohave, but they also have limitations. After all, you can only cover so much water with a paddle. For some that limitation simply gives them an opportunity to focus their efforts on those places they can reach rather than feeling the need to cover as much water as possible.

Another option available to anglers, as well as those who simply want to see more of what the reservoirs have to offer, is a rental boat. Three or four people can share the cost of a rental and by so doing make a periodic day outing an affordable option.

Lake Mead is home to four marinas that offer livery services and Lake Mohave is home to three. The marinas are in different areas of the reservoir so you can rent something close to your intended destination, reducing both travel time and gas consumption.

Rental options are fairly standard across the seven liveries, though there are some variations. Generally, you will find ski boats, pontoon-style boats and fishing boats. Paddle craft also are an option along with personal watercraft.

While you are evaluating rental options, however, keep in mind your intended use as well as your possible destinations and travel distance. On one outing I opted for a small fishing boat with an equally small motor. My top speed was so slow that by the time I arrived at my intended destination it was time to go back to the marina. Paying a little more for something with a little more get up and go would have been the better choice.

Generally, rentals are available on an hourly or daily basis, though some are available on weekly terms. Due to COVID-19, some marinas may not currently offer hourly rates.

Freelance writer Doug Nielsen is a conservation educator for the Nevada Department of Wildlife. His “In the Outdoors” column is not affiliated with or endorsed by the NDOW. Any opinions he states in his column are his own. Find him on Facebook at @dougwritesoutdoors. He can be reached at intheoutdoorslv@gmail.com

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