Yes, most of Nevada is covered by desert landscapes. However, this semi-arid state that is so well known for those lonely highways, red rocks, expansive stretches of sand (and sparkly casinos) also offers beautiful National Parks and State Parks, the Grand Canyon and some spectacular waterways. You’ll find world-famous Lake Tahoe here, where you can launch a boat, get a little wet and enjoy a day on the water in Nevada!
So whether you plan on visiting the glittering Las Vegas strip or a city like Reno, or maybe you plan on visiting a small, cozy town like Virginia City or Elko, known for being on the doorstep of Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest and the Ruby Mountains, Nevada has a place and a water venue for everybody! So get out there and take it all in!
BEST BOATING LAKES
Where you should plan to launch your boat and hit the water in Nevada really depends on what area of this state you plan on visiting. But to get you started, we thought we’d name just a few of our favorite places to hit the water to go boating or paddling in Nevada. They’re popular for a reason!
Our list of Nevada’s best boating lakes includes: Lake Mead, Lake Tahoe, Marlette Lake (paddlers only!), Lake Mohave and the Lahontan Reservoir.
Boat, hike, cycle, camp and fish at America’s most diverse national recreation area. With striking landscapes and brilliant blue waters, this year-round playground spreads across 1.5 million acres of mountains, canyons, valleys and two vast lakes. See the Hoover Dam from the waters of Lake Mead or Lake Mohave, or find solitude in one of the park’s nine wilderness areas.
Boating on lakes Mead and Mohave is one of the more popular activities here. With more than 290 square miles of waterway to navigate, boaters can enjoy the thrill of open water or relax in a private cove. But boating also has it’s rules and regulations and here we cover everything you’ll need to know to have a fun and safe time at the Lake Mead National Recreation Area.
Lake Tahoe is considered one of the oldest lakes in the world and attracts over 2.7 million visitors per year. If offers an array of outdoor adventures and sports like hiking, biking, boating, fishing, golfing, skiing, river rafting and more.
It’s popularity is due to the beautiful scenery including views of the 7000+ foot mountain and stunning lake featuring postcard perfect shorelines. Visitors to Lake Tahoe say that the water is bluer than the sky and rave about the stunning surrounding hills and forests.
Lake Tahoe has a marina where boat rentals are available. Take the scenery and experience in from the lake itself, whether out for a cruise, paddle or trying out the boat tours to Emerald Bay. Crystal clear water and vistas abound!
Marlette Lake was constructed in 1873 when a small earthen dam was erected at the outlet of a broad glaciated-basin that naturally drained into Lake Tahoe. Marlette lake covers 381 surface acres and has a maximum depth of 45 feet.
The State of Nevada purchased Marlette Lake and the surrounding land in 1963, allowing for backcountry recreation. Fishing was then allowed in 2006. Finally, the lake is used as a brood lake for rainbow and cutthroat trout where spawning operations occur annually and offspring are used to stock waterbodies around the state. Rainbow trout range between 12 and 18 inches, cutthroat trout between 12 and 20 inches, and brook trout between 10 and 18 inches.
Marlette Lake is closed to vehicles and anglers must walk, mountain bike, or ride horseback about of 5 miles (from Spooner Lake, the most popular route) to reach the lake. Nevada State Parks allows backcountry camping at nearby Marlette Peak, which has water, a restroom, tables, fire rings, and bear resistant storage boxes.
Lake Mohave is a reservoir on the Colorado River created in 1951 following the completion of Davis Dam near present-day Laughlin, Nevada, and Bullhead City, Arizona. Named for the Mohave Indians who previously inhabited this region of the Colorado River valley, Lake Mohave extends approximately 67 miles along the valley from Hoover Dam to Davis Dam straddling the southern Nevada and northwestern Arizona border, which follows the original river channel.
Lake Mohave provides a variety of recreational opportunities, including boating, fishing, and scuba diving. Three marinas with launch ramps are located on Lake Mohave, two in Arizona (Willow Beach and Katherine Landing) and one in Nevada (Cottonwood Cove). An additional launch ramp is located at Princess Cove on the Arizona side near Katherine Landing. Lake Mohave provides aquatic and riparian habitat for native fish and a variety of introduced game fish, desert wildlife and plants.
With willows and cottonwoods scattered along 69 miles of shoreline, the Lahontan Reservoir is one of most popular places in Nevada to boat, fish, water-ski, horseback ride, camp and enjoy the outdoors year-round. Canoeing from Fort Churchill to the lake makes for a great day trip when conditions allow. Wild horses, bobcat, fox and deer share the park with a variety of birds, including migratory waterfowl, pelicans, herons, egrets and hawks. Lahontan is also a nesting site for bald eagles.
NATIONAL & STATE PARKS
Nevada’s National and State Parks offer outdoor enthusiasts great places to go exploring in both the Northern and Southern Regions of the state. You can go sight-seeing, hiking, boating, climbing – there’s lots to see and do in Nevada. Better get started now!
Some of Nevada’s most popular parks include Death Valley National Park and it’s dauntingly parched landscape, Cathedral Gorge State Park and it’s amazing canyons and of course, Lake Tahoe-Nevada State Park with it’s awesome boating and beaches. Visit Nevada State Parks for more information about boating opportunities or restrictions.
FISHING IN NEVADA
With over 600 rivers and streams and over 200 lakes and reservoirs, there’s no risk of running out of sport fishing locations in Nevada! So grab your gear, put some fuel in the boat and hit the water!
Nevada’s sport fishing lakes are home to redband trout, mountain whitefish, bonneville cutthroat, bull trout and striped bass, among other fish species that can be found in the state.
Before you go fishing in Nevada, find out everything you need to know about the state fishing regulations, fishing license requirements, local fishing reports and Nevada’s boating license requirements. Visit the Nevada Department of Wildlife website for more information.