Fishing with Bait Fish: Regulations and Guidelines

Eastern Region Restrictions

In the Eastern Region, strict regulations govern the use of bait fish. Generally, the capture, possession, or use of fish as bait, whether dead or alive, is prohibited except for preserved salmon eggs. Additionally, aquatic bait may only be utilized in the water body from which it is extracted.

Bait Regulations in the Southern and Western Regions

Southern Region

In Lake Mead, Lake Mohave, and the Colorado River, specific bait fish species are allowed for use:

Species Approved for Use as Live Bait (Taken Only):

  • Mosquitofish
  • Carp
  • Gizzard Shad

Species Approved for Use as Live Bait (Taken or Purchased):

  • Fathead Minnow
  • Golden Shiner
  • Threadfin Shad
  • Goldfish

In these waters, live bait fish can be taken for personal use using specific methods such as dipnets, cast nets, seines, or minnow traps. Additionally, commercially prepared and preserved baitfish or their parts may be used as bait.

For all other waters in the Southern Region, the capture, possession, or use of baitfish, other than preserved salmon eggs and commercially prepared and preserved baitfish, is prohibited. Aquatic bait may only be used in the water from which it is taken.

Western Region

Where Live Bait Fish May Be Used

  • Carson River Basin:

    • Live bait fish and aquatic bait may be used only in the river basin from which it is taken. Commercially prepared and preserved baitfish or their parts may be used as bait.
  • Humboldt River Basin:

    • Live bait fish and aquatic bait may be used within the Humboldt River from Stall Diversion Dam downstream, including in Rye Patch Reservoir, Pitt-Taylor, and Chimney reservoirs, as well as all waters of the Lovelock Valley and the Little Humboldt River downstream of Chimney Reservoir.
  • Lake Tahoe Basin:

    • Located in Carson City and Douglas and Washoe Counties.
  • Truckee River Basin:

    • Except in the Truckee River from the E Mustang Road bridge downstream to the Pyramid Lake Paiute Reservation boundary.
  • Walker River:

    • From the railroad bridge near Wabuska downstream to and including Walker Lake, excluding waters on the Walker River Paiute Tribe Reservation.

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The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.