NDOW Eastern Fishing Report

Battle Mountain angler Jeremy Lutz (also a NDOW habitat biologist) went night fishing for catfish. The photo above shows Lutz with a 16 lb. catfish.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of NDOW

by Nevada Department of Wildlife

In our larger high desert reservoirs there is a layer of colder, denser water that exists below the less dense warm water higher up in the water column.  Where the two layers meet is called the thermocline.  The thermocline generally exists where the water temperature changes by three to six degrees in a matter of just a few feet. 

In both South Fork and Wild Horse reservoirs, this normally occurs between 15 and 20 feet below the surface of the lake.  Obviously, the shallower ends of the lakes are lacking the thermocline.

Below the thermocline, the water is denser, has less oxygen and little sunlight reaches it.  Above, the water is “lighter”, has more oxygen and food.  However, as the water reaches the mid 60’s and into 70 degree water, the trout’s metabolism becomes less efficient and they become stressed.

As insects die and sink through the water column, the denser water below the thermocline actually stops them from sinking.   A virtual Vegas style buffet for trout. 

Guess where the trout hang out?  You got it, just above the thermocline.  The water is cooler than the surface, has more oxygen than the deeper water and there is easy food for the picking.  So where should you fish in a lake during the heat of the summer?  Right again.  Just above the thermocline. 

Expect very few changes to this week’s fishing report and few changes over the next few weeks as we hit the heat of summer.


The lake is full and fishing for tiger trout has been fair to good.  Worms or PowerBait fished just off the bottom should work.  Flies to try include beetles, ants, black Adams, Griffith’s gnats, yellow or red humpies, yellow or red stimulators and small crystal buggers.  The lake was stocked with 3400 trout July 11 and about 2000 tiger trout a week later.


Fishing for nine to 12-inch fish has been fair to good at Cave Lake.  Most anglers are having luck with small worms, though PowerBait is also catching fish.  Fly rodders should be using small olive or black bead head crystal buggers, small olive wooly worms, hares ears and prince nymphs.  On warmer afternoons if a hatch is seen, small Adams, black ants, Griffith’s gnats, renegades and red or yellow humpies should all work.


Fishing here is fair for 10 to 12-inch trout and fair to good for bass. The usual worms, PowerBait, small spinners and flies should all work.  


Trout fishing is slowing with the warmer water temperatures as the fish head to the deeper water in the middle of the lake making shore fishing slow.  Bass fishing is fair to good using minnow imitations and soft plastic grubs.  For trout, anglers should try Panther Martins, spoons, PowerBait, salmon eggs, and night crawlers. Fly fisherman should use wooly buggers, leech patterns, and nymphs patterns (midges, beaded pheasant tails…etc.). 


Trout fishing has been fair to good, though mid to late in the day is slow due to warmer surface temperatures.   The usual flies of wooly buggers, prince nymphs, hares ears and chironomid patterns should all work.  When hatches are seen fly rodders should try BWO’s, PMD’s, Adams, renegades, damselfly dries and terrestrials. Small spinners, PowerBait and worms should be effective as well.


Very little change here as fishing continues to be fair for trout and fair to good bass.. The usual PowerBait and worms as well as small spinners are working for trout.  Fly rodders should be using chironomids, hares ears, PT nymphs, copper Johns, and black or olive wooly buggers.  For bass dark soft plastic baits with sparkles are working as are minnow type imitations.  The lake is full and with the warmer weather weeds are growing and shore fishing is difficult. Best bet is with a float tube or small cartopper boat.  Bass fishing is pretty good  along the weed edges using soft plastic grubs hooked weedless.  


Bass fishing has been fair to good, while trout fishing is fair. Blue gill are being caught with a piece of worm about three feet under a bobber from shore.  Best tactic for fly fishermen seems to be using a sink tip or intermediate sink line with a brown or black leech pattern and fishing the deeper water in the center of the lake by the dam from a float tube or small boat.  The same presentations as at South Fork should work well here.  


With the recent warm spell, a lot of snow has come off the mountains and flows are subsiding substantially, and many are near normal ranges.  The water is clear in most streams and fishing has been good.  The upper third of Lamoille Creek by the beaver ponds has fishable flows and was stocked with approximately 2,000 tiger trout on July 11.  Fishing below both Wildhorse and South Fork dams has been good for reservoir sized fish.  Fishing above South Fork in the state park is fair for trout with a few smallmouth bass starting to show up.  Cleve Creek was stocked with approximately 1,000 rainbow trout averaging almost 10 inches in size two weeks ago.  As of July 31, the Bruneau River continues to drop and flows at a very fishable 30 cubic feet/second (cfs), the Jarbidge is 35 cfs and fishing has been good, Salmon Falls Creek at 36 cfs, Lamoille Creek still five times normal at 151cfs below Thomas Creek Campground (normally 33 cfs), South Fork of the Humboldt  between 75 and 100 cfs, Cleve at 10 cfs  and Steptoe Creek at 10 cfs.  


High mountain lakes have open water and access is greatly improved.   Fishing should be good and the flies used at Angel Lake should all work here.  Spin anglers should try small worms or pieces of nightcrawler on a small hook fished below a clear bobber.  Small spinners and even small plastic grubs on a jig head should all work.


Bass fishing in the south marsh has been good for numbers with anglers regularly catching 20 to 30 fish for a morning or afternoon’s worth of effort. There is approximately one keeper bass (10 inches or larger) for about every six to eight fish.  Unit 21 is producing bass from the dikes using olive soft plastic grubs or olive wooly buggers and spinners.  The water temperature here is in the mid-70’s. Dark four to six-inch soft plastic grubs hooked weedless are the best bet for bass.  Good colors include dark green, brown, purple or blue.  Some anglers like a contrasting colored tail such as chartreuse, yellow or white.  If you are new to the marsh, stay on the main channel where there are marker poles.  However, some of the marker poles have fallen, so if you have a GPS, consider taking it and using the tracker feature so that you can follow your path back to the boat ramp.  Fishing the collection ditch for trout continues to be good though it is starting to slow.  Small dark flies fished dry or just under the surface have worked as have streamers and spinners.  There has been a Mayfly hatch going on so Mayfly nymphs, emergers and dries should work.  These include the usual small nymphs such as PT’s, hares ears, olive soft hackles, BWO emergers, red or blue copper Johns and prince nymphs. Wooly and crystal buggers in black, purple or olive are also working. Damselfly dries have also produced fish both in the ditch and the south marsh.


Very little change here as surface water temperatures are now in the 70’s and aquatic vegetation is growing quickly making some areas of the lake difficult for shore fishermen.  With the warmer surface water temperatures, trout are moving into deeper water and the bass fishing has been good. Early morning shore fishing for trout is slow to fair and fishing from a boat is fair. Bass fishing around structure, including weed beds, has been good.  Bass anglers are having luck with soft plastic baits, minnow imitation lures and using drop shot rigs.  Fishing small PT’s, hares ears or chironomids under a strike indicator have produced a few fish.  Black leeches with some red flash should also be effective.  Like most of our high desert reservoirs, damselflies are hatching so damselfly nymph and dry patterns are worth a try.   Fishing below the dam in the river has been good with now fishable flows.  Fishing above the reservoir in the river is fair. One smallmouth or largemouth bass 15 inches or longer may be kept now. 


Surface water temperatures are in the 70’s now driving trout deeper into the lake during the day.  Fishing for trout is still fairly good though shore anglers are having a tougher time.   First thing in the morning they can still be caught fairly close to shore, but by about 9:00 am they start heading to deeper cooler water. The canyon by the dam is producing some nice trout as are the deeper sections of Hendricks and Penrod arms. Bass and perch fishing is fair to good with perch anglers doing well at the south end of the lake in about 15 feet of water using small plastic grubs on a jighead, small crystal buggers on a full sink line or small pieces of worm on a hook or jighead fished between 10 and 15 feet deep.  Perch are also being caught in coves in the Hendricks Arm and in the canyon by the dam.  For fly fishermen changing over to wooly and crystal buggers on a full sink line is a good tactic as the trout head deeper.  With Mayflies hatching anglers will also do well with hares ears and PT nymphs. Damselflies are hatching so damselfly nymph fly patterns should be working.  One smallmouth bass 15 inches or longer may be kept now. The campground and fish cleaning station is open and is on a first come first served basis.  


The reservoir is full!  NDOW and Barrick planted the reservoir with 5,000 five to six-inch catfish and 5,000 15-inch catfish on Friday, May 31. Expect the fishing for catfish to pick up as the water temperature is in the mid to  high 60’s. Approximately 1100 crappie from Chimney Creek Reservoir were stocked, but anglers are being asked to return any crappie they catch back to the lake for a couple of years while the fishery rebuilds.  NDOW is in the process of transplanting black bass to the lake.


The lake is no longer spilling and NDOW stocked approximately 28,000 trout in the lake in early July.  Fishing is good for 13 to 16-inch trout that are in good body condition. The same presentations, flies, baits and lures as used at South Fork, should also work well here. The northeast corner of the lake and the south end of the lake have been producing nice trout where the water is averaging eight feet deep. Shore anglers should do well in the canyon by the dam and on the north shore. Bass fishing is good for eight to 10 inch bass with a few over 10 being caught once in a while.  Soft plastic baits are working.  Best colors seem to be dark olive, brown or purple. On still evenings fishing the edges of the willows with poppers may be worth a try. Fishing below the spillway is slow.

More Reports

Nevada Department of Wildlife Reports
for Wednesday, July 31st, 2019

Lake Mead: Black Bass Are Hiding in The Vegetation
Lake Mohave: Fishing Has Been Hit or Miss
Colorado River - Laughlin: Striper Action is Steady
Las Vegas Urban Ponds: Action For Bigger Fish Has Been Slow
Kirch Wildlife Management Area: Fishing Has Been Steady in The Mornings
Eagle Valley Reservoir: Best Fishing is Still in The Mornings
Echo Canyon Reservoir: Water Levels Remain Low
: NDOW Southern Fishing Report
Wilson Reservoir: Fishing is Good for 13 to 16 inch Trout
Willow Creek Reservoir: The Reservoir is Full!
Wild Horse Reservoir: Fishing For Trout Has Still Been Good
South Fork Reservoir: Bass Fishing Has Been Good
Ruby Lake NWR: Bass Fishing in South Marsh Has Been Good
Jiggs Reservoir (Zunino Reservoir): Trout Fishing Has Been Fair
Jakes Creek Reservoir (Boies Reservoir): Fishing Continues to Be Fair to Good
Illipah Reservoir: Trout Fishing Has Been Fair to Good
Comins Lake: Trout Fishing is Slowing
Cold Creek Reservoir: Fishing Has Been Fair
Cave Lake: Cave Lake Fishing Report
Angel Lake: The Lake Full

LAS VEGAS, NEV. - After 50 years at its Vegas Drive address, the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) is relocating...... Read More