NDOW Eastern Fishing Report

Photo Credit: Courtesy of NDOW

by Nevada Department of Wildlife
8-3-2020
Website

The afternoon highs are expected to over 100 degrees for the weekend and mid to high 90’s all next week, which means that trout fishing on many of our lakes is only fair with streaks of poor.  What’s a fishin’ bum to do?  Go high young angler.  Hit the alpine lakes in the East Humboldt’s and the Ruby Mountains where projected highs this week anywhere from 70 to 80 depending upon the elevation.

 While not for the faint of heart, these lakes are underused and provide great fishing.  There are two lakes that are fairly accessible to the average person, Lamoille Lake and Island Lake.  While they do get the most use, fishing can still be good. With a little more effort, lakes such as Liberty, Favre, Overland, Smith,  Hidden and Robinson can be reached in a few hours and the further away you get from the trailhead, the better the fishing..

Anglers can use natural bait, spoons, spinners and flies.  At several lakes this past week small black and gold or dark green and gold spinners were working well as were the tried and true hopper, yellow stimulators, Adams, ants, red or yellow humpies and Griffith’s gnats. 

If you don’t own a fly rod, use your spinning outfit with a clear bobber filled with a bit of water and about 2 to 4 feet of line behind the bubble. You can use a fly with this set up or for natural baits, use worms, grubs and especially grasshoppers you can catch on the hike up.  Put the grasshoppers behind the bubble the same way you would a fly, just make sure to use a light wire hook.  Besides the fishing, you will see some great views and stay cool.

Not able to hike to the higher elevations, but want to visit an alpine lake?  Then head for Angel Lake just outside of Wells, about an hour’s drive from Elko.  This is one of the higher elevation lakes in the country that can be reached by a paved road at approximately 8,400 feet. Fish it the same as you would the other alpine lakes mentioned above. 

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


ANGEL LAKE

Angel lake is fishing like Angel Lake almost always does.  Fishing has been fair to good all summer.  Fair for bait anglers and good for fly rodders.  The usual worms under a bobber or fished off the bottom with a slip sinker should work as should small spinners and rooster tails.  If using a bobber, put your bait at least two to three feet below the bobber. For fly rigging a dry and a dropper is working very well.  Good flies for the dry are hoppers, yellow or royal stimulators and humpies.  When the lighter patterns aren’t working, switch to black gnats, black or olive Adams and elk hair caddis, or Griffith’s gnats. Wet flies to try, include flashback PT nymphs, small black or olive wooly or crystal buggers, olive or peacock soft hackles, hares ears and small leech patterns. 

CAVE LAKE

Fishing at Cave Lake has been fair for 10 inch trout, but the water level is low from a drawdown due to concerns with the dam.  The shorelines are muddy and very soft making walking and fishing difficult. The usual small nymphs and crystal buggers are working for trout, with beadhead pheasant tail nymphs being very effective.  For bait anglers, fishing a worm about four feet below a bobber or using powerbait floated off the bottom with a slip sinker seems to be the best bets. The float tube launching area is closed and anglers should fish at the north end of the lake near the dam and main boat launch area.

COLD CREEK RESERVOIR

Fishing here is slow fair for 10 to 12-inch trout and fair to good for bass. The usual worms, PowerBait, small spinners and flies should all work.  Early morning finds both trout and bass hitting dry flies, while later in the day nymphs and buggers are more effective.  The water level is low right now. 

COMINS LAKE

Comins Lake has water temperatures in the 70’s which is driving the trout deeper and helping the bass bite.  Anglers need to fish full sink lines and get to the lower depths. Trout fishing is best first thing in the morning.  Fly fisherman should use wooly buggers, leech patterns, and nymphs patterns (midges, beaded pheasant tails…etc.) fished under an indicator.  Bass fishing is good and anglers are reporting decent sized bass using soft plastics, crankbaits and poppers on quiet evenings and mornings.  If you catch a pike, please check to see if it has a radio transmitter tag near the tail.  If it does, please return the fish to the water so that NDOW biologists can track its movements.  If it doesn’t have the transmitter tag, please humanely dispatch the fish.  Don’t put it back in the lake.

ILLIPAH

Trout fishing has been fair here but they have moved into deeper water.  The usual flies like wooly buggers, prince nymphs, hares ears and chironomid patterns should all work.  Small spinners, PowerBait and worms should be effective as well.

JAKE'S / BOIES RESERVOIR

The water level is dropping with irrigation, but normal for this time of year and trout fishing is slow to fair while bass fishing is fair to good.  Catfish are also being taken during low light hours.  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. Bass are hitting soft plastics, crankbaits and occasionally poppers first thing in the morning.

JIGGS / ZUNINO RESERVOIR

The water level is very low and warm.  These conditions resulted in a die-off of trout and expect trout fishing to be very poor. However, this combination has made fishing for bluegill good as they do well in warm water and the low level has them concentrated.  If you catch a trout and release it, while it may swim away, chances are it won’t survive the stress of being caught in very warm water, so please keep them.  Anglers have been catching keeper sized bluegill with a small bit of worm on a red hook suspended about 18 inches below the bobber.

MOUNTAIN STREAMS

Streams in the northern part of Elko County are flowing at or near normal flows, while those south of I-80 are well below normal. However, flows in all areas are dropping during the heat of the summer.  Hoppers, caddis and stoneflies are out and about, and trout are hitting dry flies. Fishing has been good at the beaver ponds in Lamoille Canyon and other streams in the area.   As of July 30, the east fork of the Owyhee was flowing at  80 cubic feet/second (cfs), the Bruneau River at 20 cfs, the Jarbidge at 13 cfs., Salmon Falls Creek at 31 cfs, Lamoille Creek flowing at a third of normal at 11 cfs, the South Fork of the Humboldt at a very low 13 cfs, Cleve Creek at 5 cfs, Steptoe Creek at 3.5 cfs and Kingston Creek at 3 cfs.  Lamoille Creek was stocked with approximately 5,000 tiger trout in June.

HIGH ALPINE LAKES

Access to the alpine lakes in the Ruby Mountains and East Humboldt’s is good.  The fish in these high mountain lakes are very cooperative and the further you get from the trailhead the better the fishing.  Bait anglers will find that as a general rule worms and hoppers seem to work better than PowerBait.  So bring a container and as you hike up catch some grasshoppers at the lower elevations and fish them on a light wire hook.  Small spinners in dark colors with light contrasting highlights, as well as small panther Martins and rooster tails also are effective.  For flyrodders small yellow or red dry flies such as stimulators, hoppers, elk hair caddis and humpies with a soft hackle or other nymph dropper is the way to go.  In low light conditions darker colored flies such as black gnats, ants, beetles and Griffith’s gnats should be used.

RUBY LAKE NWR

Bass fishing is good for numbers andt fair to good for keepers. Surface water temperatures are in the high 60’s into the low 70’s.  The best tactic seems to be four-inch soft plastic jigs rigged weedless.  Dark colors such as black, blue, motor oil and guacamole with flashy flakes in them seem to work the best. Poppers on a quiet evening with no wind as the shadows are hitting the water along the cattail edges are also working.   Fishing is fair at the collection ditch for 13 to 18-inch trout with the occasional large trout being taken. Fishing in the ditch seems to improve on cloudy or windy days.  Small brightly colored spinners were doing well. Trout are taking dries including hoppers, yellow stimulators and yellow elk hair caddis.  Yellow seems to be the key.  Other flies working include the usual small nymphs such as PT’s, hares ears, olive soft hackles, red or blue copper Johns and prince nymphs.  Wooly and crystal buggers in black, purple or olive are also working.  In the crystal, clear water of the collection ditch, if you can see the fish, they can see you.  Go low, slow and wear drab clothing.

SOUTH FORK RESERVOIRThis reservoir is full and fishing for trout has been slow to fair and bass has been fair to good.  Surface water temperatures in the 70’s which is helping the bass bite but causing the trout to move into deeper water. Weeds are growing though there are lots of holes and channels providing great edges to fish.  Fly fishermen fishing chironomids (midge larvae) or balanced leeches under an indicator are finding some success.  Fishing snow cones and midge larva a foot off the bottom in about 10 feet of water seems to be the ticket, especially around the edges of weed beds. Also using a full sink line in the same depths with a black/red wooly buggers or leeches has also been productive.  Most of the trout being caught from shore have been in the backs of deeper coves, along Jet Ski Beach, Coyote Cove and by the dam.  Catfish are being caught near the northwest corner by the dam, the west side flats and at the south end of reservoir by old ranger station. Bass fishing has been good for both smallmouth and largemouth using soft plastic baits in darker colors and expect the bass fishing to improve with warmer temperatures. Fishing below the dam in the river has been slow to fair. Some smallmouth bass have moved into the river upstream of the reservoir and they can be taken with crankbaits, soft plastics and dry flies like hoppers, Chernobyl ants and yellow stimulators.  South Fork was recently stocked with approximately 3,000 rainbow trout.  Anglers may now keep one black bass 15” or longer.  The state park campground is open at 50% of capacity.

 

WILDHORSE RESERVOIR

Surface water temperatures are above 70 degrees  here driving trout deeper into the water column.  Fishing for and perch ranges from good to very good, both from shore and from boats, while fishing for trout is slow to fair. Bass fishing is good for numbers but fair for size. The usual PowerBait and worms for bait anglers have been working for trout.  For fly fishermen midge larva, hares ears, and PT nymphs are good patterns to use.  Black or olive wooly and crystal buggers are taking fish as well if you can get them deep enough.  Most anglers are fishing Penrod and Hendricks Arms as well as the south end of the lake.  Perch fishing has been good using small brightly colored jigs tipped with a piece of worm or just a piece of worm on a small hook fished under a bobber. The Hendricks Arm has been very good for perch. Also target perch in just about any cove with some vegetation. With the lake spilling earlier this spring, fishing below the dam has been fair to good for reservoir sized fish using streamers or hopper patterns. This lake was recently stocked with 7,300 tiger trout and 8,600 rainbows.  One black bass 15 inches or longer may now be kept. The campground is open and is on a first come first served basis but is limited to 50% of capacity.  Tribal land around the lake is open to camping.

WILLOW CREEK RESERVOIR

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.  Bass will be stocked sometime in July and more crappie will be planted in the fall.

WILSON RESERVOIR

The water level is good but weeds and algae have arrived.  However, the boat ramp is mostly clear of growth right now.  Fishing is slow to fair for 12 to 15-inch trout and good for bass.  Just like other reservoirs, the trout have moved into deeper water. Black leeches have been working for trout, but also have been very good for bass.  Best time for bass seems to be from sunup to about 10:30 am and late evenings.  Trout fishing in deeper water seems to pick up about the time the bass bite starts dying.  Go figure. Wilson was stocked with just under 10,000 trout a few weeks ago.  Please pack your garbage out.

 



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