Fishing the Fifty

My Quest to Fish All 50 States


April 21st, 2007 marked the start of my quest to fish the 50 states.  I discovered Lake Mead fishing when trying to find activities around Las Vegas for me to do instead of spending all day gambling or sitting by a pool.  This was my first time fishing with a guide in any state, including Virginia, as I had always fished on my own or with my dad.  I was struck by how unique Lake Mead is, with its blue water contrasting sharply with the beige of the surrounding desert mountains.


The 50-state quest itself began rather inauspiciously.  I caught and released many stripers, but most were very small.  Striper fishing in Nevada, like on many Western reservoirs, is simply very different from the striper fishing people know in the South and the East.  A trophy striper in Nevada has to be 20 pounds, the same as in Virginia.  However, only two trophy stripers were registered statewide in Nevada in 2012, and only 181 statewide between 1968 and 2012, an average of just over four per year.  (Virginia, on the other hand, has averaged over 90 freshwater striper citations per year since 2006.)  Moreover, Lake Mead accounts for just 102 of the 181 Nevada trophy stripers, or a little over two trophy stripers per year for that time period.


By comparison, 1,435 trophy cutthroat trout, 691 trophy rainbow trout, 558 trophy largemouth bass, 418 trophy brown trout, and 359 trophy walleye were caught statewide in Nevada from 1968 to 2012, so obviously fishing for striped bass in Nevada was a rookie mistake.  (As a numbers guy, I really appreciate how thorough Nevada’s Department of Wildlife site is.  It is easily the most detailed of any state’s Fish and Game sites that I have closely examined.)  If I make it back to Nevada to fish, I will probably try Lake Tahoe and the surrounding waters for trophy trout, or maybe I would fish Lake Mead again but for largemouth bass.


However, in spite of my not catching much of anything picture-worthy, I have nothing but good memories of my first state trip.  The weather was gorgeous and the fishing action was constant.  Most importantly, I dreamed of all of the places my journey would take me.  I had no idea then how big a part of my life this quest would be for the next eight years, and it all began with my trip to Lake Mead.


The guide I fished with is an excellent guide and a very nice person, but I will not mention his name because he does catch larger fish and I doubt he would want to be associated with the small fish in these pictures.

Welcome to Nevada

My first Nevada fish, and the fish that started my 50-state quest

Feeding the marina's pets

One of the lions at MGM Grand

Beautiful morning on Lake Mead

Another Nevada striper

Overlooking Lake Mead

Shark reef at Mandalay Bay