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Elko Ice Fishing

Activities in Elko, Nevada

There are plenty of things to do in Elko during the winter, including ice fishing. Ice fishing is popular with Eastern Nevada anglers looking to catch trout. Be sure to pick up a Nevada State Fishing License in Elko before visiting any of the ice fishing spots listed below. Many retailers such as Ace Hardware, Big 5 Sporting Goods, and Wal-Mart can provide you with the right license. Enjoy a comfortable and affordable stay close to all of the outdoor activities when you stay at the Ramada Elko Hotel and Casino. 

South Fork State Recreation Area

Just about half an hour away from the casino is the 1,650-acre South Fork Recreation Area. This reservoir freezes later in the season but is a great spot for large trout. There are park entrance fees at this fishing area, with fees posted at the self-pay stations.

Wildhorse Reservoir

Just over an hour away from the Ramada Elko Hotel and Casino is the Wildhorse Reservoir, a popular year-round fishing destination. At the reservoir, you’ll find rainbow trout, brown trout, bowcutt trout, tiger trout, smallmouth bass, a few largemouth bass, channel catfish, wipers, and yellow perch. Wildhorse is open year-round and free for the public, but fees apply for camping overnight.

Check posted signs and with local guides for current limitations, catch and release dates and more.

Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Ruby Lake is about an hour and a half away from Elko and is another ice fishing spot for trout. The refuge does warn that the ice can be hazardous due to groundwater inflow, so take caution if visiting Ruby Lake.

Ice fishing basics

  • Always drill a test hole near the shore to ensure the ice is thick enough to be safe.
  • You’ll use most of the same gear as you do during the summer: Rod, reel, and tackle, but you’ll also need equipment to drill through the ice, like an ice auger.
  • The maximum size hole allowed in Nevada is 10 inches.
  • Dress for warmth! Hypothermia is a risk with many cold-weathered activities so pack waterproof boots, a warm coat, and gloves. Wool is highly recommended as it’ll retain its warmth, even when wet. You may also want to bring a portable ice shelter.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for tips on where to drill your hole.
  • Take your Nevada State Fishing License. A license is required for anglers aged 12 and older.