Among its many recreational attributes, Carson Valley is renowned for water activities such as boating, water-skiing, jet-skiing, swimming, and fishing. Topaz Lake at the southern end of the valley hosts all of these activities and more. The lake is a popular spot among anglers, who pursue the wily rainbow, tiger, and brown trout as well as largemouth bass, bullhead catfish, and mountain whitefish from January 1 through September. Holders of both Nevada and California fishing licenses may fish in Topaz during the season. No license is required by persons under 16 years of age. Topaz is fed by the Walker River, another popular fishing venue from late April through the end of October. Fishing licenses, boat rentals, tackle, and supplies are also available nearby. The limit in all Nevada fishing waters is five trout, 10 whitefish, and 15 warm water game fish, of which no more than five can be black bass. Boaters, water skiers, and jet skiers share Topaz Lake with fishermen, and courtesy among the different groups makes it a pleasant experience for all. There is camping for both RVs and tents at the northeast end of the lake, and visitors can partake of Nevada-style gaming and other amenities on the western shore.
The East Fork of the Carson River also provides excellent trout fishing, with information, bait, tackle, and fishing advice available at Woodford’s Station on Highway 88. However, the river’s main claim to fame is the opportunity for rafting, paddling, and kayaking. The 20-mile Hangman’s Bridge to Gardnerville section is a series of Class I and Class II rapids, navigable by both expert and recreational rafters and kayakers.
Swimmers can take advantage of the Carson Valley Swim Center in Minden. The facility boasts both indoor and outdoor competition pools, one-meter and three-meter diving boards, waterslides, an indoor kiddy pool, and a therapy pool.