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Nevada: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Following are some of the questions the Public Lands Information Center has recently received from the public about recreation in Nevada.

Fishing NW Nevada with Kids
Hiking to Overland Lake in Ruby Mountains
Catching Crawfish
Do`s and Don`ts on BLM Lands
Opal Mines
Hot Springs in Northern Nevada
Mountain Biking Austin
FLMPA, NEPA, and other Environmental Legislation
Homesteading on BLM Land
Are There Any Public Lands For Sale
Township and Range Finder

Fishing NW Nevada with Kids

Question: I am bringing two Grandkids fishing in the Northwest part of Nevada tomorrow. I am trying to find information on license fees and where to go.

Answer: There are a number of great fishing areas in northwest Nevada. Here are a few:
  • Indian Creek
  • Lake Tahoe-Nevada State Park
  • Pine Forest Recreation Area
  • Pyramid Lake Scenic Byway
  • Rye Patch State Recreation Area
  • Scripps Wildlife Management Area
  • Sheldon National Wildlife Range
  • South Fork State Recreation Area
  • Walker Lake Recreation Area
  • Washoe Lake State Park
Most of these are lake fishing, and some areas offer boat rentals. Most of these places you can fish off the dock. I would encourage you to check the PLIC website for complete details on these areas. Licensing information is as follows:
  • A General Fishing License (if you or your granchildren are 16-64 years old) is $21.00
  • A Junior Fishing License (if your granchildren are 12- 15) is $5.00
  • A Senior Fishing License (if you are 65 or older and are a NV resident) is $5.00
  • A Trout Stamp is $5.00 (if you are trout fishing, you need a stamp)
Here is the link for the list of all the places you can buy these licenses and stamps:www.state.nv.us/cnr/nvwildlife/100/agntlist1.htm. The cities are listed in alphabetical order, so you can probably get one where you are going or in your town.

Hiking to Overland Lake in Ruby Mountains

Question: I want to hike to Overland Lake in the Ruby Mountains ascending from the Ruby Valley in the vicinity of the Rock House. Is the trail from that area well maintained? Are special permits required? Is fishing permitted at the lake? Do any of the ranchers pack supplies in for hikers? (7/22/99)

Answer: The trail to Overland Lake is in good condition right now and in fact crews are out this week doing spring cleaning on all the trails. If you choose to continue your hike on the Ruby Crest National Recreation Trail you might run into some patchy snow. You will not need any permits to hike and camp here, although it is always a good idea to let the Forest Service or a friend know where you are going and when you expect to be back, as a safety precaution. Also, the Forest Service is recommending reservations for the campgrounds north of where you will be (Thomas Canyon, Terraces, Roads End, and Changing Canyon campgrounds). From your question it does not seem like you will be anywhere in the area, but who knows? If you do think you will end up in a campground, you can call in advance, toll-free (877) 444-6777.

As for fishing, you can absolutely fish wherever you see fit in the forest as long as you have a valid Nevada fishing license. If you need information on where to get one, you can look here: www.state.nv.us/cnr/nvwildlife/100/agntlist1.htm. You will have to pack in whatever you need yourself -- horses and pack animals are permitted, but there is no formal arrangement for bringing in supplies. Remember that you will be in a wilderness, and no mechanized vehicles are permitted: bikes, carts, etc.

Catching Crawfish

Question: We live in Pahrump, and we were wondering if there is any crawfish in Crystal Lake, and if so, are we allowed to fish for them, and are we required to have a Nevada State Fishing License?

Answer: You are welcome to try fishing for crawfish on any public lands, with no permit necessary, no limit, and no fee, as long as they are for your personal use. That is, you cannot harvest them to sell for bait without a permit from the agency that manages the lands, but as long as you are fishing for your own enjoyment, there are virtually no restrictions.

As for fishing in Crystal Lake, fishing per se is prohibited in Ash Meadows Wildlife Refuge but they have a crawfish problem, so the Game and Fish man thought they might be really happy for you to go and harvest them. He also suggested you try in Lake Mead, Las Vegas Wash, Muddy River, and Amagosa River, near Beatty. Apparently all those places have out of control crawfish populations, since they stocked Lake Mead with crawfish for bait, and they have spread from there. If you wish to contact the refuge, the number is (775) 372-5435.

Do`s and Don`ts on BLM Lands

Question: I am looking for information on the do`s and dont`s reagarding BLM land. Questions such as hunting, shooting, hiking, camping etc...


An old Utah cowboy we met a few years back answered your question this way: "That`s where you go hunting or camping or picking wildflowers, and ain`t nobody can tell you what to do. Because that`s land that belongs to me, and to you, and to everyone else."

WELL, IT`S NOT QUITE LIKE THAT ANYMORE; there are a few rules, or as you put it, do`s and dont`s.

  • HUNTING/FISHING are regulated by the AZ Department of Game and Fish, check the hunting or fishing proclamations for species, seasons and other regulations.
  • TARGET SHOOTING is ok as long as you make sure you have an embankment or hill behind your target so that your bullets don`t go flying all over the place. Make sure you are not disturbing wildlife or domestic animals with your shooting. And please pick up your spent cartridges or shotgun shells--it`s your land, after all, you don`t want to mess it up now, do you?
  • CAMPING: unless you are in a special management area, you can camp pretty much anywhere you want as long as you stay on established roads while getting there and stay at least 1/4 mile from stock tanks and other water sources. Pack out all trash, please. Camping in washes may be hazardous to your health during the summer monsoon season.
  • HIKING: again, unless posted otherwise, go where you please.
  • CAMP FIRES: ok, unless fire danger is high or posted otherwise. A shallow trench which can be filled when you leave is preferable to fire rings. Please be careful and make sure your fire is dead and out before you move on. Check the news section for updated fire information.
  • DRIVING: unless you are in a special OHV management area, please stay on established roads or OHV trails. Much of BLM-managed public lands are leased for grazing, please leave gates as you find them (if closed, close after crossing, if open, leave open. If locked, turn around). Do not disturb livestock.
  • MORE DRIVING: wilderness areas and wilderness study areas are closed to all mechanized modes of travel including mountain bikes and roller blades.
  • WHEN NATURE CALLS: bury human waste at least 6 inches deep, pack out toilet paper and feminine hygiene items with your trash.
  • ARCHAEOLOGICAL OR HISTORICAL SITES: enjoy looking, photographing, and exploring these remnants of the past but take away nothing but photographs and memories.
  • COLLECTING: Generally, collecting of rocks, harvesting plant food, etc is permitted for your personal use, and collecting for commercial use (e.g. for resale) requires a permit. Exceptions include collecting endangered, threatened or otherwise protected species, or collecting withing areas of critical environmental concern or other special management areas. If you are unsure about the rules for a specific area, please feel free to contact us.

MORE INFORMATION: if you have a specific are in mind, you can always contact the AZ PLIC or the nearest BLM office. THE BOTTOM LINE is that on BLM-administered lands you can come closer to experiencing the freedom and adventure our west-bound ancestors knew than on any other public land. Remember, these are your lands--take good care of them. Have fun!

Opal Mines

Question: I heard of an opal mine west of Denio along RT 140, open between memorial and labor day. Can you give me more information?

Answer: You probably heard of the Virgin Valley opal mines approximately 15-20 miles west of Denio on Rt. 140. These mines are well signed so you won`t miss them. Open to the public on a "pay to dig" basis, not sure of the fee but it is somewhere around $60/day. Good luck.

Hot Springs in Northern Nevada

Question: I read an article describing a hiking trail in northern Nevada that lead to a hot spring. I am interested in that location for my next vacation, but can not find the article.

Answer: I dug up all the hot springs I could find. I don`t think these are what you are looking for, because you don`t hike to any of them, but if you can give me a general idea of the area (if you remember), then I can probably find the exact place you want.
  • Bruneau River Hot Springs
    Humboldt National Forest/Mountain City Ranger District
    From Elko, go about 50 miles north-south of Wild Horse State Park, take a right (east) on County Road 746 and go about 20 miles east to Charlston Reservoir at the intersection of County Road 748. Go left (north) on 748 about 12.5 miles to Forest Road 067 -- this road is pretty rough, so if your car is not geared for 4wd, then go about 5 miles into the forest (it is all private land up to this point) and park. Otherwise, it is a total of about 17 miles (12 from the forest boundary) in on FR 067. The hot springs is on the west side of the river, so you will have to ford it. The map you will need is the Mountain City and Jarbidge Ranger District Map ($6).

  • Spencer Hot Springs
    From Eureka, go 50 miles west on US 50. Past Hickson Summit, your first road on your left (south) is Forest Road 282 -- go south about 8.5 miles through the forest and out again into BLM land. The hot springs are pretty near the forest boundary, but the roads are a wee bit complicated at the intersection, so bring a map. The one for these is the Toiyabe/Austin Ranger District map -- it is a FS map, but it shows the surrounding BLM land, and is easier to read than the BLM maps.

  • 12 Mile Hot Springs
    From Wells, go north on Upper Metropolis road, left onto Lower Metropolis Road to the ghost town of Metropolis. Past Metropolis, (about 3 miles) take a left onto a dirt road, and there should be a sign for 12 Mile Hot Springs that says `use at your own risk.` This is on private land, but apparently they don`t mind people using the springs as long as they do not get sued. That info is from the Forest Service lady at the Ruby Mountains Ranger District, so if you want more info, you can call her at (775) 752-3357.

    Mountain Biking Austin

    Question: Am interested in opportunities for mountain biking, preferably on sigletrack trail, in the area near Austin,NV. I would appreciate any information on trails that would be suitable in that area, and what maps would be helpful. Thanks for your assistance.

    Answer: Looks like you`re in luck-- almost all the public lands around Austin are open to mountain bikes, although you might have a tricky time finding single track trails.

    First: the map you want is the Humboldt-Toiyabe/Austin Ranger District map. This map shows trails, roads, management status (private, BLM or Forest Service), and restricted areas. Most of the areas in the forest are restricted only to ATVs or other off-road MOTOR vehicles-- the only areas closed to mountain bikes are the wilderness areas-- Alta Toquima, Arc Dome, and Table Mountain, & a very few scattered trails which are restricted due to erosion problems.

    None of the BLM land is restricted, and there is a ride you can take right out of town, from Stokes Castle. The trail heads west, across BLM lands, to the old railroad grade/overland road/Pony Express route, which you can ride north or south. You can get to another single track ride nearby by taking US 50 east past Austin Pass, go north on Grass Valley Road (NV 21), then east on Forest Road 228 and north on FR 496 (both dirt). Where Forest Road 496 starts to branch out, there is a trailhead for a branching trail (both branches head south). You can do this as a loop by returning on the dirt road, FR 489. Not much of a ride, though- I would guess approximately 4 miles round trip, 600 feet change in elevation..

    So, the upshot is that if you are not picky about finding single track, you can go pretty much anywhere your little heart wishes, as long as it`s neither private nor wilderness. For single track trails, you will have to get a little more creative. Frankly, if I were you, I would head south (about 20 miles) on NV 376 and spend some time poking around the hot springs on BLM land in the Big Smoky Valley & in the Monitor Valley.

    FLMPA, NEPA, and other Environmental Legislation

    Question: I was reading a news story about the BLM that mentioned FLMPA and NEPA. What are they?

    Answer: They are government acronmyms for laws which govern the land management policies for the BLM (Federal Land Policy and Management Act), and other Department of Interior and other agencies (National Environmental Policy Act).

    If you are interested in other environmental legislation still in the news, you might also want to check out the Endangered Species Act. the National Forest Management Act, the National Antiquities Act of 1906 (a favorite invocation of President Clinton), and the Organic Act.

    And when you get really curious, try:
    Department of Interior Legislative Links
    Forest Service Directives

    Homesteading on BLM Land

    Question: I am trying to find information regarding public land in the state of Nevada that I may or file a claim (homestead) for the purpose of building a home on...It is my understanding that there is land available to citizens of the USA. Please advise me so I may contiue my search. Thank you.

    Answer: In 1976 Congress repealed the Homestead Act and established as policy to keep what remained of the Public Domain in public ownership. Although homesteading is a thing of the past, the Bureau of Land Management does, occasionally, have some lands suitable for purchase by private citizens. These are lands that have been identified as unneeded by the Federal Government or as better utilized in private ownership. By law, these lands are made available for sale at no less than fair market value. Several thousand acres around the Las Vegas area have been identified for sale. To find out what lands the BLM may have listed for sale in Nevada, please contact:
    BLM Nevada State Office
    1340 Financial Blvd
    Reno, NV 89502
    phone: (775) 861-6400

    Are There Any Public Lands For Sale

    Question: I heard about a place where you could buy plots of public land from the goverment. The web site was publicland.com is this a true thing or a scam? thank you for your time

    Answer: There isn`t much public land for sale because of a congressional mandate in 1976 to generally retain public lands in public ownership. The Bureau of Land Management does, however, occasionally sell parcels of land where their land use planning finds that disposal is appropriate.

    The BLM can select lands for sale if, through land use planning, they are found to meet one of three criteria: 1/ they are scattered, isolated tracts, difficult or uneconomic to manage; 2/ they were acquired for a specific purpose and are no longer needed for that purpose; 3/disposal of the land will serve important public objectives, such as community expansion and economic development.

    The BLM has three options for selling land: modified competitive bidding where some preference to adjoining landowners are recognized, direct sale to one party where circumstances warrant, and competitive bidding at public auction.

    Your best bet is to contact the specific BLM state office with jurisdiction over the area you are interested in.

    "Are There Public Lands For Sale?" is a free brochure produced by the BLM. It lists all the BLM state offices and answers frequently asked questions regarding land sales. We will be happy to send you a copy if you email us your address.

    Township and Range Finder

    Question: I would like map software that I can search by Range, Township, and Section. Does such a CD/DVD exist?

    Answer: For questions of this nature, you can refer to the BLM`s PLSS (public land survey system). You can zoom in on an area & ID it by Township & Range, or do a search for a specific township. Very handy! And it`s free!! It`s designed for downloading GIS shapefiles (for use with ESRI software), but once you identify the correct township, we`re happy to help you find the correct paper map to go with it, if you need one.

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