NDOW Eastern Fishing Report

Photo Credit: Courtesy of NDOW

by Nevada Department of Wildlife

Mother Nature gave a big shot in the arm to our snowpack last week dropping snow that raised them from the low 60 percent to approximately 80 percent in most basins.  The Upper Humboldt Basin, which includes the Ruby Mountains went from 61% to 85% of average and a year to date precipitation up to 79%. 

However, most of northeastern Nevada is designated as in moderate to extreme drought, as of Feb. 9th.  It is going to take a lot of precipitation over the next few months, and good summer monsoonal moisture, to get us out of the drought.  With the La Nina that is in place over the Pacific Ocean, that is highly unlikely. 

That being said, 80% is obviously better than 60% and with a forecast of some unsettled weather we may even add a bit.   Just keep those snow and rain dances going.

Despite the weather President Day Weekend’s Wild Horse Trout Derby was a big success, especially with the addition of a perch payout.  More than 650 people showed up over the two days and quite a few quality trout were caught.

Saturday’s winners were:  1st Place – Justin Pete took home $1895 with a fish measuring in at 22 3/8” and a fat 4 pounds,  2nd Place – Kelly Branstrom at 22 3/8” weighing in at 3.15 lbs., and 3rd place was taken by Tyler Larson at 22 ¼”.  This year’s longest perch category winner was Marty Friez who took home a whopping $3,150 for a 12 1/8” perch! 

Sunday saw Kevin Hull taking first place and $1365 with the longest fish of the day at 23 ¾”, Brian McIntosh came in second with a 22 3/8” fish,  and Cory Turner took 3rd with a 22” trout.  Sunday’s perch winner was Brian McIntosh with a 12 1/8” fish and who took home a healthy $2,280.  The winner take all perch payout on both days paid more than the first place trout on each day!


The road is closed, and the lake is ice covered.  There will be no fishing reports for this lake until late spring or early summer depending upon the winter.


Cave Lake is sitting approximately 15 feet below normal water levels and is fluctuating.  While there is approximately 8 to 10 inches of safe ice, anglers are encouraged to use caution and drill test holes.  If the ice is not in contact with the surface water of the lake, access on the ice is discouraged.  Fishing has been fair to good for trout.  The best method is a hook with worm or PowerBait three to four feet underneath a bobber or below the surface of the water.


Cold Creek Reservoir is now at minimum pool due to outlet structure repair being done by Kinross.  There is very little water and it is covered in unsafe ice.  It’s not worth the trip.  Once repairs are complete, pray for the rest of the winter to bring precipitation to help fill the lake. 


Comins Lake is starting to open  up a bit in the north lake and in portions of the south.  Anglers can still access safe ice but need to be extremely careful and drill test holes. With the forecast warmer temperatures, it won’t be long before ice fishing is done here.   Fishing has been good for 14-to-18 inch trout and northern pike.  Worms seem to work best, though just about anything has been working.  Jigging with minnow imitations has been productive for both trout and pike.  Anglers, please note that NDOW has placed radio tags in several Northern Pike.  These pike will have an orange floy tag near their dorsal fin and a small antenna coming from their stomach. Please return these fish to the water for research purposes.  If it doesn’t have the transmitter tag, please humanely dispatch the fish.  Don’t put it back in the lake.  


As of last week, Illipah has approximately 10 to 12 inches of ice and fishing had been fair to good.  Temperatures in the area are forecast to be in the 40’s off and on over the next 10 days, so expect the ice to start degrading.    Black or olive jigs tipped with worms jigged slowly have been working as have just hooks with a worm or PowerBait.  


At last report, there was 10 inches of ice, but with the warming trend anglers may find the water level rising a bit creating a ring of water around the lake.  As we are nearing the end of the ice fishing season, drilling test holes is advised as you venture upon the ice. Two weeks ago anglers had good results for 10-to-15-inch trout using worms through the ice. 


The lake is iced over with unsafe ice, except where the aerator is. Due to the aerator and the size of the lake, ice is generally never safe for ice fishing.  The water level is very low so pray for a good winter to fill this reservoir up. 


Snow, ice, and muddy bank conditions are making fishing difficult.  With the winter temperatures, stream fishing is slow to fair.  Expect the fish to be sluggish and anglers will need to put their presentations right in front of the fish and work them slowly.  Stream flows have changed little in the last week and are still very low. As of February 18, the East Fork of the Owyhee has very low flows and is showing ice at the gauging station, the Bruneau River also showing ice and travel is not recommended here, the Jarbidge also showing ice(access through Idaho), Salmon Falls Creek at 66 cfs, Lamoille Creek showing ice, the South Fork at a low 10 cfs, Cleve Creek showing ice, Steptoe Creek at 3 cfs and Kingston Creek at 2 cfs.


With snow on the mountains only the most experienced backcountry travelers should attempt to reach the lakes. The lakes are frozen, and fishing is done for the winter.  There will be no more fishing reports for the high alpine lakes until late spring or early summer depending upon the winter.


Little or no change here as the collection ditch has plenty of open water for fishing, but travel is through Secret Pass.  Water level in the collection ditch is up, especially as you get closer to Brown Dike, which is good news for anglers.   The water clarity is variable, being murky in some parts and clear in others.  Anglers report catching fish averaging 12 to 16 inches at the collection ditch using egg patterns, balanced leeches, crystal buggers, #14 hare’s ears, and #16-18 PT nymphs.  Other flies working include the usual small nymphs, olive soft hackles, red or blue copper Johns, and prince nymphs. Small brightly colored spinners were doing well for spin fishermen.


The wind and warmer temperatures have opened up a large amount of water and there is now more open water than ice.  There is also a ring of water around the ice in the north end of the lake and the ice is gray and rotten.  Stay off the ice! Anglers are having success with both worms and PowerBait with fish averaging 15 to 18 inches and a few over 20, though the catch rate is slow. Fish have moved closer to shore, so don’t fish too far out.  Flies that have caught fish include leech patterns, wooly buggers, hares ears and midge patterns.  Fishing at Jet Ski Beach has been fair to good depending upon the day.  Cloudy, windy days seem to be best for catching, while calm, bluebird days seem to be the best for fishing.  Fishing below the dam in the river has been slow with very low flows. It looks like we are in for an early spring and unless things change drastically, this lake may be ice free within a couple of weeks.


The ice is approximately 12 to 15 inches as of Thursday with several inches of snow on top.  With the warming trend projected over the next 10 days, anglers may find some slush pockets in places, so wear good boots.  Continue to use caution around the pressure ridges. However, there is very little change in fishing conditions as anglers are doing well for both perch and trout.  Perch were being caught in 25 to 35 feet of water using small plastic grubs or lures tipped with a bit of worm right off the bottom.  Trout were being caught in shallower water, 10 to 12 feet, fishing about halfway up the water column.  Both Penrod and Hendricks Arms were fishing well.  Worms were working for trout.  Many perch between eight and 11 inches are being caught, though if you start catching a lot of small ones, you may need to move to catch keepers.  Trout were averaging between 15 and 20 inches.  The river below the dam has low flows and the shorelines are icy but fishing the pools has been fair to good using streamer patterns and nymphs for fly fishermen and minnow imitation lures for spin fishermen. 


No fish


Wilson is approximately 50% open water and very thin, unsafe ice on the rest of the lake.  Expect 4WD conditions with the weather we have had.  No recent report from any anglers here.  Anglers should expect similar fishing conditions as at South Fork and should use the same presentations.  Like South Fork, with the predicted warm weather it won’t be long before this lake is ice free.

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More Reports

Nevada Department of Wildlife Reports
for Wednesday, February 17th

Lake Mead: High Winds Have Kept Many Anglers Off The Lake
Lake Mohave: Boaters Are Catching Large Stripers
Colorado River - Laughlin: Colorado River Laughlin Report
Kirch Wildlife Management Area: Ice Has Thawed Across The Reservoir
Eagle Valley Reservoir: Ice Fishing Has Been Good
Echo Canyon Reservoir: Echo Canyon Reservoir Fishing Report
: NDOW Southern Fishing Report

Nevada Department of Wildlife Reports
for Friday, February 12th
: NDOW Eastern Fishing Report
Angel Lake: Road is Closed and The Lake is Covered in Ice
Cave Lake: Approximately 10 Inches of Safe Ice
Cold Creek Reservoir: Now at Minimum Pool Due to Outlet Structure Repair
Comins Lake: Still Some Soft Spots on The Lake
Illipah Reservoir: Edges & Surface Are Soft
Jakes Creek Reservoir (Boies Reservoir): Anglers Have Been Fishing Through The Ice With Good Results
Jiggs Reservoir (Zunino Reservoir): Lake is Iced Over With Unsafe Ice
Ruby Lake NWR: Anglers Report Catching Fish 12 to 16 Inches
South Fork Reservoir: South Fork Reservoir Report
Wild Horse Reservoir: Anglers Are Doing Well For Both Perch & Trout
Wilson Reservoir: 50 % Open Water