NDOW Eastern Fishing Report

Photo Credit: Courtesy of NDOW

by Nevada Department of Wildlife
10-9-2020
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The weather is slowly getting cooler and is turning the tide on trout fishing in northeastern Nevada.  As surface water temperatures cool into the high 50’s trout are coming into the shallows looking for food and anglers are starting to take advantage of it.  The downside is that there is still lots of “gunk” in the water and this calls for cleaning your gear after a fishing trip to Wildhorse or South Fork Reservoirs.

As the weather gets cooler and many anglers trade their rods for guns, hard core anglers take advantage of some of the best fishing of the year.  With water levels lower at irrigation impoundments, fish are often concentrated and with the impending winter they are searching for food and eating a lot of it, fattening up for winter.

Larger fish are often caught this time of year and several state records have been taken between October 1 and March 31, a time of year that most people don’t associate with fishing in northern Nevada. 

Even with a slight chance of precipitation on Saturday evening, this weekend’s weather is supposed to be perfect for getting out and viewing the fall colors, having a picnic and getting some fishing in.  The forecast for the next 10 days calls for daytime highs in the high 60’s to low 70’s, and  overnight lows hovering around the freezing mark.

ANGEL LAKE

Fishing has been fair to good all summer and should be good as the trout start to prepare for the long winter under the ice.  The usual worms under a bobber or  PowerBait fished off the bottom with a slip sinker are working as are 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 1,000 rainbow trout this week bringing the total stocking this fall to around 3,200.  

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 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

The colder water temperatures and nights below freezing have shut off most hatches in area streams, but still some small caddis and stonefly hatches here and there. While trout are still taking a few 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, especially those that hold tiger, brook or brown trout.  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 9, the East Fork of the Owyhee flowing at a low 18 cubic feet/second (cfs), the Bruneau River at 10 cfs, the Jarbidge at 5 cfs, Salmon Falls Creek at 43 cfs, Lamoille Creek flowing at a very low 1.6 cfs, the South Fork of the Humboldt at 7 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. However, with below freezing temperatures at night expect skim ice first thing in the morning.  As we get closer to November these lakes should start freezing over. 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 just fair with the cooler weather and water.  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 good for 10 to 13-inch trout at the collection ditch which has been planted with these fish a few times over the past couple of weeks. 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 is picking up with anglers reporting productive mornings on the lake.  Bass fishing is slowing down a bit but anglers continue to catch nice sized bass.  Surface water temperatures are starting to drop into the high 50’s and algae still stains the water but is starting to clear. Aquatic plants should start receding as the weather cools.  Fly fishermen are catching fish at the south end of the lake along the dying weed beds using black or brown leech patterns with an intermediate sink line.  They also continue to have success fishing chironomids (midge larvae) or small nymphs in black or red under an indicator.  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 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 fair to 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.  South Fork is scheduled to be stocked with trout next week

WILDHORSE RESERVOIR

Surface water temperatures have dropped into the high 50’s but there is still a fair amount of algae that is being blown to leeward shores on windy days. With overnight lows below freezing, the algae and weeds should start disappearing. Trout fishing has been spotty, with anglers having both good and bad days.  Fishing for perch is still good for numbers and fair to good for size.  Bass fishing is fair.  Find the perch and you should find the bass as they fatten up for winter.  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.  However, when fishing is slow in the arms, anglers should move out to the main body of the lake, especially the south end.  Target perch in just about any cove with some vegetation. Fishing below the dam is fair using hoppers and other dry fly patterns but as the weather cools they will become less effective and anglers will need to switch to streamers and nymphs.  Silver or white minnow imitations have been working in the stream for bait anglers, but with shallow water fish the deeper pools and runs.  Anglers may keep one black bass 15-inches or longer.  The lake has been stocked with 8 to 10 inch rainbow trout several times this week and brown trout are scheduled to be stocked next week. 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

No fish

WILSON RESERVOIR

The water level is average for this time of year and surface water temperatures have dropped into the high 50’s.  Fishing is picking up for chunky 12 to 15-inch trout and bass fishing is fair to good.  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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