Fishing With Kids in Reno and Sparks

Truckee River fishing
Stan White

Opportunities abound for fishing with your family around the Reno and Tahoe area, so grab your fishing equipment, load up the kids, and head out for a day of fishing our local waters.

These two cities have a variety of urban fishing holes suitable for everyone, and there are more challenging angling waters in lakes and streams throughout northern Nevada and the Lake Tahoe region.

Fishing is regulated by the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW), with just about everything you need to know at Fishing in Nevada. The NDOW Nevada Fishing Report has the latest information on angling action in the Silver State, and you can click on the region of interest to find out where the fish are biting.

Family Fishing in the Reno and Sparks Area

The Truckee Meadows and immediate vicinity have several small lakes and ponds suitable for fishing with kids:

  • Virginia Lake Park in Reno is an urban park that offers an oasis in the middle of the city. Virginia Lake Park features a new dock that you can fish off of as well as landscaped paths for walking and biking.
  • Paradise Park Ponds in Teglia's Paradise Park is located between Reno and Sparks and cover about 24 acres. The four ponds in Paradise Park have been structured as ideal fish habitats and stocked with rainbow and brown trout, bluegill, and channel catfish. Nightcrawlers, Power Bait, spinners, and spoons are all great ways to catch these breeds of fish.
  • Rancho San Rafael Park is located on the northern border of the city of Reno and offers a large pond for fishing. You can cast your lure in right off one of the multiple viewing docks or fish right on the shore. Although the website does not list fish varieties found here, you can expect local breeds of trout and catfish.
  • Sparks Marina Park Lake in Sparks is well-known as a popular local spot for swimming, boating, and fishing. The Nevada Department of Wildlife routinely stocks the lake with rainbow trout, channel catfish, and brown trout. Whether you're out on the 81-acre lake on a boat or casting off from one of the many piers, you're sure to reel in something.
  • Idlewild Park is located just west of downtown Reno and features a nice stretch of the Truckee River and several stocked ponds where you can fish. There's also a swimming pool, walking and biking paths, a miniature train ride, a rose garden, a memorial, and several public art pieces.
  • Galena Creek Regional Park is located just south of Reno off the Mt. Rose Highway. Here, you can fish for rainbow and eastern brook trout in the stocked Marilyn's Pond, Thomas Creek, and White Creek. The Galena Creek Visitor Center also offers a number of educational nature programs for children and families, and there are several hiking trails and special events to discover here as well.
  • Davis Creek Regional Park in Washoe Valley offers camping, hiking and nature trails, biking and equestrian access, picnic areas, and a small fishing lake. Use small worms or Power Bait to catch trout from the put-and-take fishery Davis Creek Pond, but keep in mind it's better to go just after the pond's been restocked as this pond is often over-fished.
  • Bower's Mansion Regional Park is also located in Washoe Valley, and just one mile south you'll find Wilson Common Pond, which is stocked with rainbow and Bowcutt trout. This small one-acre pond is 15 feet deep and is fed by the Franktown Creek. This is a great place for kids to fish as there's plenty of room around the pond to play.
  • The Truckee River offers numerous spots for fishing access along its course through Reno and Sparks. The river is not, however, nearly as suitable for fishing with kids as the bodies of water mentioned above.

Remember, everyone wetting a line must have a valid fishing license if they are over 12 years old, with an exception for Free Fishing Day, which is held every year in late spring.

Other Spots and Licensing Information

Even though Nevada is the driest state in the United States, there are still plenty of lakes, streams, and reservoirs open to the public for sport fishing. NDOW has an alphabetical listing of Nevada fishing spots, and you can click a name to learn more about that body of water and what species of fish might be waiting for you to catch.

An annual Nevada fishing license for those 16 and older is $29, and trout stamps are an additional $10 while a junior fishing license (ages 12 through 15) is $13. One-day, short-term licenses are $9 and $3 per additional day, and licenses for seniors 65 and older, with five years of continuous Nevada residency, are $13.

There are numerous other options and a separate fee structure for non-residents, and the complete NDOW fishing license information is available online. You should also check out information on license fees and how to buy a fishing license online, or you can head to the NDOW Western Regional Office in Reno.