Carson River

Renowned for its excellent fly fishing and spin fishing, the Carson River beckons anglers from all over the West to cast a line into these legendary rapids. Home to large, natural populations of large and smallmouth bass along with channel and bullhead catfish—and stocked annually with rainbow trout—angling here is the main draw, though the Carson River is a mecca for all kinds of outdoor recreation. Flowing from the Sierra Nevada mountains to the verdant Carson Valley below, the Carson River begins near Genoa, where the east and west forks merge, and ends in Dayton, offering up plenty of opportunities for kayaking, rafting, hiking, and kicking back on the shoreline beneath a canopy of cottonwoods. 

Whether you’re kayaking, rafting, hiking, or casting a line into these flowing waters, there’s no better way to get a taste of the unblemished outdoor recreation scene awaiting your discovery in Nevada’s Capital City than the Carson River.

woods near carson river

Visit Carson City

canoe in carson river

Visit Carson City

Carson River Fishing Opportunities

The West Fork of the Carson River flows through idyllic Hope Valley and cascades to the Carson Valley before merging with the East Fork Carson River, which originates in the Sierra Nevada range in California at an elevation above 10,000 feet (and ends at the Carson Sink near Fallon). Both forks are teeming with rainbow trout and brown trout, and on a beautiful, sunny weekend, you’ll have plenty of competition from other anglers—so head out early to catch a big one! Make sure to check the fishing report for tips, tricks, and information before fishing the Carson River.

Getting to the Carson River Info to Know Before You Go

The Carson River fishery begins in the waters at Mexican Dam, though there are a handful of other access points, including the Carson River Park in downtown Carson City and via the Dayton State Park downstream. At Carson River Park, take advantage of a handicap-accessible fishing pier, walking paths, a river access area, trailhead, and an established parking area. An additional boat launch exists in Morgan Mill Park, also in Carson City. Beyond Dayton State Park, more access points await at Fort Churchill State Historic Park, which is also the easiest place to launch a canoe or raft.

Before casting into any bodies of water in the Silver State, be sure to get yourself legal with a proper Nevada Fishing License. Grab one in advance on the Nevada Department of Wildlife’s website, and if you’re already here, get yours at one of the state’s many license agents. For the most up-to-date info on the Carson River fishing regulations and a current fishing report, click here before you hit the water.


Carson River is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The only thing preventing you from getting outside here would be a seasonal, weather-related closure. For more info on the Carson River and to check conditions before heading out, get in touch with the Nevada Department of Wildlife at (775) 688-1506.


Carson River is managed by the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW), making free public access available to all.

This Location:

Northwestern, Nevada