Make it a Wild(life) Summer
Discover the animal side of Nevada from those who know our state’s critters.
BY MEGG MUELLER
While everyone vacations differently, it’s a safe bet that whether you’re a history buff or an adventure seeker, one truth is universal: you want to experience something authentic and particular to your destination. While there are plenty of roadside attractions in Nevada that fit that bill, we had something a little wilder in mind.
NATURE IS CALLING
It’s easy to get lured in by Nevada’s wide-open spaces. Whether camping, hiking, mountain bike riding, climbing, boating, or exploring OHV trails, the Nevada landscape is teeming with activity and with life. That’s where the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) comes in. Wonder what that critter was that scurried by on the trail? Curious what to expect in your campsite? Where’s the best fishing hole? These questions and more can be answered at the NDOW website.
Animal enthusiasts will find more than 160 species-specific information pages, detailing everything from size and coloring to habitat and areas where they reside in the state. Along with gorgeous photos and fun facts, this section of the website alone is a great resource for fauna fans.
The NDOW website is a great pre-trip planner, also. You can check what animals are in the area you’ll be visiting, then use it as an after-trip resource to compare all those great photos you took in the hopes of identifying that beautiful bird or rangy lizard you kept seeing.
THE PERFECT ANGLE
The Silver State is home to 113 lakes and reservoirs and 420 streams and rivers, providing nearly 400,000 surface acres of sport fishing opportunities. If casting a line is on your itinerary, then NDOW should be your first stop.
As all fishermen know, fish are often elusive…so why not increase your odds? Start with a perusal through the many types of fish you’ll find in Nevada, then discover the waters they reside in and the best way to land them. You can even find out when and where the most recent stocking events happen. If you’re not sure where to start, use NDOW’s Fish NV tool to find a map of all the fishable waters in the state. You’ll also find information on what bait to use, regional fishing reports so you can choose where to drop a hook (or cast a line), tips for ice fishing, and information about cold water versus warm water fishing.
If you’re a seasoned angler and have all your info, gear, and secret spots, there’s still a few things the NDOW website offers that are indispensable: the rules, regulations, permits and license information. Read up on where it’s catch-and-release only and learn how to buy your licenses online. You can also view the entire annual fishing regulation guide online or pick up a copy at NDOW’s regional offices or any retail store that sells licenses.
NEVER TOO LATE TO LEARN
NDOW also offers classes on fly fishing, fly tying, ice fishing, wildlife education, and hunter safety. These classes are just a few hours generally, held at various locations and times, and open to anyone who’s looking to learn a new skill or hone an old one. These classes are fun, often free, and a great way to learn tips and tricks from locals.
If you’re looking for boating information across the state—whether it’s safety tips, regulations, or boater education—this is your official source. Anyone born after 1983 is required to pass a boater education class before operating watercraft, and if you think that’s just a suggestion, think again. Nevada’s game wardens—among many other responsibilities—patrol the waterways much like Nevada Highway Patrol watches over the freeways. This isn’t the water version of “Paul Blart: Mall Cop.” They are there to help and there to keep you safe.