man fishing off the back of a boat at sunrise

Guide to Fishing at Lake Mead

A trip to Lake Mead often demands at least some time spent fishing. It is one of the most enjoyed pastimes on the lake. For those who are looking to reel in large striped bass, perhaps one weighing in at 35 pounds, Lake Mead is the place to go. You’ll find a wide selection of fish here and the waters are generally teeming with opportunity. If you are thinking about fishing here, our team at Callville Bay is happy to help you make the experience enjoyable.

What Type of Fish Can You Find at Lake Mead?

Lake Mead National Recreation Area offers a wide range of opportunities to catch fish. This area has 290 square miles of water surface to explore – you can count on finding a quiet spot to fish without having to worry about too many people crowding your area.

Lake Mead is most well known for its striped bass. Some of these can be as large as 35 to 40 pounds. However, there are other fish you look for here as well. That includes rainbow trout, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, catfish and crappie. You may also find sunfish and striped bass.

The park service releases rainbow trout on a routine basis along Willow Beach. This tends to happen on Fridays before the weekend visitors arrive.

Do You Need a License to Fish at Lake Mead?

There are several regulations to follow when fishing on Lake Mead. The most important thing to know is that the park itself is in two states. Each state has its own regulations for fishing on the waterways.

In all situations, you need a license. Check out the Lake Mead National Park Service website to learn more about those licenses, how to get what, and what to expect when you do. All people fishing on the lake need to have a valid Nevada or Arizona fishing license (for both Lake Mead and Lake Mohave). You can purchase these easily at most of the marinas as well as at some nearby town shops. The costs range but most fishing licenses are very affordable overall.

Where Can I Fish on Lake Mead?

Fishing is present in various areas in the park system. For those who want to fish off the pier, there are some great locations for this including:

  • Hemenway Fishing Pier near Boulder Beach and just to the north of Hemenway Launch Ramp
  • Willow Beach Fishing Pier on Lake Mohave just to the north of Willow Beach Marina
  • Katherine Landing Fishing Pier (this pier was waiting for repairs as of March of 2020) located near Katherine Landing Marina

Of course, many people fishing here either charter a boat to do so or use their own watercraft. Getting out into the water is a great way to fish and provides a larger opportunity to catch some of the best fish in the region. You can always rent a houseboat or one of our boats to take out onto the waterfront as well.

What Is the Best Time to Fish at Lake Mead?

There is plenty of fish available no matter what time you head out. However, there are a few things that may make this experience a bit better for you:

  • After largemouth bass? Plan to fish from May to September for them
  • Bluegill fish are best available from May to June
  • Catfish are easier to catch from April through September

When it comes to what time of the day to fish, that somewhat depends on what you plan to catch. For example, the best time to catch bass is in the early morning hours and then again in the early evening. You may also find this is a good time to fish for catfish.

Tips and Strategies for Success at Lake Mead

There are a few more things you should know about fishing at Lake Mead.  These tips may help you make the best of your experience.

  • You can fish 24 hours a day from watercraft at Lake Mead. The early bird really does catch the world for many people here.
  • You can also fish off the shore or any of the three fishing piers at any time. Try both types of experiences (on a boat and on a pier) if you love to fish as this can give you a completely different experience.
  • You cannot fish where posted not to do so. This is usually around the boundaries of the hatcheries and the area immediately below and above Hoover Dam. You can also not fish in the flake wake buoys located around the harbor or the marinas.
  • Did you want to prep your fish after a catch? You can do that at the fish cleaning stations provided to you and managed by the park system. They are located at Willow Beach, Cottonwood Cove, Callville Bay, Hemenway Harbor and Echo Bay.

There are some protected species of fish in the waterways of the Colorado River System. You cannot fish these. There are two that are commonly found in the lake – the razorback sucker and the bonytail chub. If you happen to catch one of these fish, you need to return them to the water. You also should report that catch to the National Park Service Resource Management Office. You can contact them at 702-293-8950.

If you have any problems or concerns, reach out to the Arizona Game & Fish Department or the Nevada Department of Wildlife for help. These organizations are responsible for the waters in the park system. You can also purchase a license and learn about other regulations that may apply at their websites.

Are you ready to learn more about the local fishing reports available so you can start planning your fishing trip to Lake Mead? You can check out the weekly fishing reports that are put out by the wildlife departments to get more insight into what you can expect. Check out the Arizona Game & Fish Department Reports and the Nevada Department of Wildlife Reports.

At Callville Bay, we recognize that many people come to the area to fish and have some fun. If you have questions or concerns, reach out to us to learn more about the fishing experiences you’ll have here. With over 550 miles of shoreline and incredible natural wildlife around it, there is no doubt this area is one worth exploring from a casted line. Even if you’ve come to have some fun but did not bring your fishing gear with you, we can help you find just what you need to really have a good experience out on the water.

POSTED IN: Fishing, Things To Do