NDOW Eastern Fishing Report

Photo Credit: Courtesy of NDOW

by Nevada Department of Wildlife
10-2-2020
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October is here, but you would never know it by the daytime highs.  It’s supposed to be in the 80’s for much of the week, though next weekend is forecast for more seasonal temps in the 70’s and then in the 60’s starting on Sunday.

There’s a high pressure system that has been hanging over the Great Basin for a while and combined with a beautiful full harvest moon, fishing during the day has been spotty.  Best times for fishing appear to be first thing in the morning and late in the evening.  Except for perch.  They’ve been very cooperative throughout the day at Wildhorse.

Anglers need to wash their cars, windows and do a rain dance.  We have had an extremely dry hot summer that has streams flowing below normal and it appears above average evaporation takin water out of our reservoirs. We need some moisture.

With the fall comes the brown and brook trout spawns.  Now is the time to hit waters that hold these fish as they become more active and aggressive.  

Look for the feeder streams that lead into the reservoirs and larger creeks that hold these fish.  They often head up into the skinnier water looking for gravel beds to spawn in.  Target the confluence of the smaller tributaries and the main water.  These fish will often be found here. 

They may also be found holding on structures such as fallen trees, large rocks and undercut banks as they prepare for that final push to procreate.  If they aren’t taking the normal dries and nymphs then switch to a small ugly streamer, put it in front of them and they may strike out of annoyance.

Fall planting of trout in area reservoirs is scheduled to start next week with Wildhorse and South Fork getting the first fish.

ANGEL LAKE

Fishing has been fair to good all summer.  Fair for bait anglers and good for fly rodders.  It is picking up as the trout prepare for the long cold winter under the ice.  The usual worms under a bobber or fished off the bottom with a slip sinker should work as should small spinners and rooster tails. Give the spinners and rooster tails a few seconds to sink before starting to reel them in.  If using a bobber, put your bait about 18-inches to two feet below the bobber. For fly rigging a dry and a dropper is working very well.  Good flies for the dry are hoppers, yellow stimulators and humpies.  Yellow or red seem to be the colors that work best for dries and olive or peacock for the droppers.  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, red/silver zebra midges, hares ears and small leech patterns.  Angel Lake was stocked with approximately 2,100 rainbow trout the first week of September.  

CAVE LAKE

Very little change here as fishing at Cave Lake has been fair to good for eight to 10-inch trout, with very low water levels due to a drawdown due to concerns with the dam.  The shorelines are still muddy and 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

The water level is very low but fishing is fair to good for both trout and bass.  Best times seem to be early morning here as the trout can be seen taking insects off the surface.  Worms, PowerBait, small spinners and flies should all work if the fish are cooperating. Small dark colored dry flies first thing in the morning are working.  Griffith’s gnats, black gnats, black Adams and ant patterns should be tried.  

COMINS LAKE

Comins Lake has water temperatures in the high 50’s to low 60’s  and both trout and bass fishing are fair to good.  Fly fisherman should use wooly buggers, leech patterns, and nymphs patterns (midges, beaded pheasant tails…etc.) fished under an indicator.  Bass fishing is still 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

Water surface temperatures are dropping into the high 50’s and trout fishing is good.  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. The brown trout in the lake will start heading into the stream for the fall spawn over the next few weeks, so anglers may want to target the south end of the lake where the stream enters the lake.  

JAKE'S / BOIES RESERVOIR

Little or no change here.  The water level is down due to irrigation, but normal for this time of year and with the weed growth, fishing from shore is still difficult.  Anglers should plan on fishing from a small boat or float tube and cast back towards the weeds for bass but hit the deeper water for trout. Trout fishing is slow while bass fishing is fair to good.  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 or late in the evening.

JIGGS / ZUNINO RESERVOIR

The water level is very low and fishing is fair to poor.  Due to low hot water this summer there was a trout die-off so trout fishing is nonexistent at this time. NDOW is not planning on planting trout here this fall due to the low water levels.  Bluegill and bass fishing are just fair. 

MOUNTAIN STREAMS

Hoppers, caddis and stoneflies are still out and about, but in much smaller numbers. While trout are still taking dries, be ready to switch to sub-surface flies if these aren’t working.  Fishing continues to be good at the beaver ponds in Lamoille Canyon and other streams in the area.  Most streams in eastern Nevada have below average flows so anglers will want to target beaver ponds and plunge pools when fishing them. Brown and brook trout are on the move and this is the time to target these fish.  As of October 3, the East Fork of the Owyhee flowing at half of normal at 15 cubic feet/second (cfs), the Bruneau River at 9 cfs, the Jarbidge at 5 cfs, Salmon Falls Creek at 41 cfs, Lamoille Creek flowing at a very low 2 cfs, the South Fork of the Humboldt at 6 cfs, Cleve Creek at 5.5 cfs, Steptoe Creek at 3.5 cfs and Kingston Creek well below normal at 2.5 cfs.  

HIGH ALPINE LAKES

With the hot dry weather, 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. With shorter days the fish are putting on the feedbag anticipating the long winter ahead. Bait anglers will find that, as a general rule, worms and hoppers seem to work better than PowerBait. 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.  Be prepared for nights well below freezing if camping at these elevations.

RUBY LAKE NWR

The water level is very low and weeds are thick, but you can still launch a boat at the main boat landing.  However, launching anything but a canoe or kayak at the Narciss boat launch is not recommended. Bass fishing is dropping off with the cooler water and with next weekend’s forecast highs of mid 60’s it will slow down considerably.  Get out for bass fishing here while you can.  The best tactic continues 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 or morning with no wind as the shadows are hitting the water along the cattail edges are also working.  Fishing is picking up at the collection ditch for 13 to 18-inch trout, with the occasional large trout being taken. Small brightly colored spinners were doing well. Trout are still taking dries including damselfly adults, hoppers, yellow stimulators and elk hair caddis though starting to hit subsurface flies more.  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 RESERVOIR

Fishing for trout has been fair, while bass fishing has been fair to good.  Surface water temperatures are around 60 degrees and dropping. Algae still stains the water but is starting to clear. Aquatic plants should start receding as the weather cools.  Fly fishermen fishing chironomids (midge larvae) or small nymphs in black or red under an indicator are finding success.  Fishing snow cones and midge larva a foot off the bottom in four to 10 feet of water is working well. Fishing mud bottoms with these presentations on the northwest side of the lake has been effective. Trout have also been caught along the weed beds south of the buoy line at Jet Ski Beach using brown or black leech patterns.  Trout are moving into the coves as the water cools and fishing from shore has definitely improved. Bait anglers have had success using nightcrawlers with a bit of PowerBait or a marshmallow to help them float off of the bottom. Bass fishing has been good for both smallmouth and largemouth using soft plastic baits in dark colors near structure. Fishing below the dam in the river has been slow with very low flows. The state park campground is open at 50% of capacity.  

WILDHORSE RESERVOIR

Surface water temperatures have dropped into the high 50’s to low 60’s depending upon location and time of day.  The algae is starting to clear with the colder temperatures and it won’t be long before the weeds start to go.  Trout fishing is picking up for shore anglers as they move into shallower water.   Fishing for perch is very good for numbers and fair to good for size.  Fishing for trout is fair to good though some anglers are complaining about catching more perch than trout. Bass fishing is still good but starting to slow.  Find the perch and you will find the bass.  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 under an indicator.  Black or olive wooly and crystal buggers are taking fish as well if you can get them deep enough. Balanced leeches under an indicator have also been effective, especially if there is a chop on the water.  Most anglers are fishing Penrod and Hendricks arms.  Target perch in just about any cove with some vegetation. Fishing below the dam is still good using hoppers and other dry fly patterns though as the weather cools they will become less effective.  Anglers may keep one black bass 15-inches or longer. 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 water level is average for this time of year and cooling into the low 60’s.  Fishing is fair to good for 12 to 15-inch trout and for bass.  Just like other reservoirs, the trout are starting to move up a bit in the water column and into shallower water.  Black leeches have been working for both trout and bass along the weed beds.  Chironomid patterns are also working for trout.  For the most part, the same presentations that are used at South Fork, should work here.  

WILSON RESERVOIR

The water level is average for this time of year and surface water temperatures are hovering around 60 degrees.  Fishing is picking up for chunky 12 to 15-inch trout and for bass.  Just like other reservoirs, the trout are moving up in the water column and into shallower water.  Black leeches have been working for both trout and bass along the weed beds.  Chironomid patterns are also working for trout. Black or dark green spinners with contrasting spots are working for spin fishermen.  For the most part, the same presentations that are used at South Fork, should work here.  



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