NDOW Eastern Fishing Report

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 during the summer.  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 surface 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. 

Since fish can see up set your depth to 12 to 15 feet so that you are just above the thermocline.  Start at about 12 feet and move it down a foot about every half hour until you start catching trout.

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.


Fishing is good with warming surface water temperatures.  Worms or PowerBait fished off the bottom using a slip sinker have been working.  Bobber fishing is picking up as the surface water continues to warm.  Good flies for stripping include small leeches, crystal buggers, slumpbusters and wooly buggers.  Nymphs such as PT’s, hares ears, zebra midges, soft hackles and chironomids fished under an indicator should be productive. Dry flies are starting to produce fish.  This lake has been stocked with approximately 4,000 trout last week. 


Cave Lake is sitting approximately 15 feet below normal water level.  Fishing has been good here using worms, PowerBait or small spinners.  Fly rodders should be using small nymphs, chironomids or buggers.  Cave Lake was stocked with approximately 5,000 rainbow trout this spring.     


The work on the dam is complete here and the water level has come back up.  Cold Creek was stocked with approximately 2,400 trout a few of weeks ago. No word on how the bass fared during the water draw down. 


 It has been busy at Comins Lake, with folks catching 16 to 20 inch trout.  Bass fishing has been consistent through June with people hooking into 10 to 12 inch Largemouth with the occasional 16 inch fish.   Anglers shouldn’t be surprised if they catch a Bluegill from time to time but we are asking that those fish not be harvested since they are the founder population of what could be a fun pan fishery.  Anglers will catch trout on nightcrawlers, spinners, wet flies behind a bubble, and wooly buggers. Bass have been hitting on spin baits, crank baits, and poppers. Minnow imitations and large streamer patterns have been working for northern 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 the pike doesn’t have the transmitter tag, please humanely dispatch the fish.  Do not put it back in the lake.  Comins Lake has been stocked with approximately 17,500 trout this spring.


Water levels have remained relatively stable this year allowing anglers to have pretty good fishing, though expect it to start dropping once haying is done and the fields are being irrigated.  There are large vegetation mats on the south end of the reservoir that are producing sizable insect hatches. Fish the edges from a boat or float tube.  Rainbow Trout will be the dominant species to catch at Illipah Creek with the occasional Brown Trout being caught. Anglers will do well on beadhead pheasant tails, wooly buggers, and parachute Adams.  Spinners, PowerBait, and nightcrawlers will do well for the spincasting crowd.Illipah has been stocked with approximately 24,000 rainbow trout this spring..


The water level is still dropping as irrigation continues.  his is normal.  Aquatic vegetation is building so shore fishing is becoming more difficult. Best results are from a float tube or small cartop boat.  Expect good fishing for both trout and bass though trout fishing will be slowing with the warmer temperatures.  The usual worms and PowerBait, as well as small spinners, rooster tails, and panther Martins should work. Fly rodders should be using black or olive wooly buggers or leech patterns, hares ears, PT nymphs and chironomid patterns.  The same soft plastics that work at Ruby Lake NWR should work here. 


The lake has very low water levels and there was a trout die off last summer, so no trout in this lake.   NDOW salvaged approximately 3,000 blue gill and several hundred black bass that were taken to other appropriate waters in the state. Expect this small impoundment to dry up this summer. 


Flows are very low and many are only 10 to 20% of normal for this time of year. Some, like the Bruneau are so low that the pools and deeper runs are the only place holding fish.  This means trouble for them later this summer.  Tabor Creek was recently stocked with approximately 1,500 Tiger Trout. Kingston, Steptoe and Cleve Creeks were stocked with approximately 1,000 Rainbow Trout each and Lamoille Creek was stocked with approximately 4,000 tiger trout last week. As of July 9, the East Fork of the Owyhee was flowing at 100 cfs, the Bruneau River down to 6.2 cfs, the Jarbidge at 9.7 cfs, Salmon Falls Creek at 47 cfs, Lamoille Creek at 16 cfs, the South Fork at 14-20 cfs, Cleve Creek at 3.9 cfs, Steptoe Creek at 2.4 cfs and Kingston Creek at 6.4 cfs. 


Access is good and fishing the high alpine lakes is a great way to beat the heat.  The same tactics at Angel lake should work here.


No change here as trout fishing in the collection ditch continues to be fair to good depending upon the day and location.  Bass fishing is starting to pick up.  Trout are being caught with leech patterns, balanced leeches, crystal buggers, #14-16 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. With the warmer  weather the usual assortment of dry flies including hoppers, damsels, elk hair caddis or yellow stimulators are working. Small brightly colored spinners were doing fair to good for spin fishermen. Anglers may now fish the water behind and downstream of the hatchery.  Please follow the signs for access and don’t walk through the hatchery itself. Boats with electric motors are now allowed on the south marsh. Dark colored soft plastic grubs and worms with contrasting sparkle flakes rigged weedless should work for bass.  Colors include dark green, motor oil, black, purple and blue. Casting into the tules/cattails or into the shadows caused by them is your best bet.  Expect to lose some tackle.


Fishing for bass continues to be good while fishing for trout is fair for numbers and good for size.  Algae and aquatic plants are coming on strong.  Surface water temperatures are in the mid 70’s.  The warmer temperatures is helping the bass bite, but slowing the trout.  Fish deeper water for trout and structure for bass.  Spinner baits, blade baits, soft plastics have all been working for bass. In low light conditions, topwater action has been good.  Anglers are also having some success with both worms and PowerBait catching trout averaging 15 to 18 inches and a few over 20.  Flies that have caught fish include leech patterns, red copper Johns, wooly buggers, hares ears and chironomids (midge larva) patterns. Ice cream cones, red butt buzzers, red and silver zebra midges, red brassies and frostbite chironomids are all working.  Fishing at Jet Ski Beach has been fair for trout. Fishing on either side of the dam has been fair to good.  The boat ramp at Jet Ski Beach is not useable due to a drop off at the end of the ramp which will get your trailer tires stuck.  They must be released immediately after being caught. South Fork Reservoir has been stocked with approximately 58,000 trout this spring. Anglers may now keep one black bass 15 inches or longer.


The outflow continues to be about 100 cfs and the water level is dropping almost a foot a week.  Prop rock (in the canyon by the dam), Hendricks Arm rocky shoal and the submerged island off of the state park are getting close enough to the surface to start causing problems. So boat carefully around these submerged hazards.  With surface water temperatures in the mid 70’s the trout have moved down into the water column.  This time of year, a thermocline starts to form at approximately 15 to 18 feet down, and the trout will stage just above that. Trout anglers will need to get their presentations down to about 12 to 15 feet to have the best chance of catching them.  Leech patterns and the usual nymph assortment of copper Johns, hares ears, pheasant tails and chironomids should all be working.  Bait anglers should be using worms fished off the bottom or suspended below a bobber.  Small spinners should also be effective. The warm water has kicked bass fishing into high gear.  Bass anglers have had success with orange pumpkin and green pumpkin soft plastics as well as perch-colored crankbaits. Orange or gold has also been a good color for perch, bass and trout. Expect to catch several perch between bass and trout hookups. Wildhorse was stocked with approximately 41,500 trout this spring.  Anglers may now keep one black bass 15 inches or longer.  


No fish


With surface water temperatures low 70’s, fishing has been slow to fair for trout and fair to good for bass. Fair for numbers of bass but good for quality.  Big damselflies and midges are hatching in the morning so Bass were hitting  appropriate colored soft plastics; Junebug, green pumpkin and light blue/bluegill sparkly have been working.  Also blue bladed jigs and Ned rig finesse tactic is working.

 For the bait anglers, worms seem to be working better than PowerBait for trout.  Spin fishermen should be using blue or green spinners with silver blades.  Fly rodders were having good luck with purple, black or olive wooly buggers. Nymphs include blue copper Johns, hares ears, PT’s and damselfly nymphs. With the midge hatch bring the chironomid patterns. There is still about three feet of water on the boat ramp so it is useable.  Wilson received some of the blue gill that were salvaged from Jiggs Reservoir. Wilson has been stocked with approximately 30,500 trout this spring.

More Reports

Nevada Department of Wildlife Reports
for Wednesday, July 7th, 2021

Lake Mead: Striper Boils Are Popping up in Late Afternoon
Lake Mohave: Good Action Over The Holiday Weekend
Colorado River - Laughlin: Catfish Are Biting Near The State Line
Las Vegas Urban Ponds: Sunfish Action Continues to Be Good
Kirch Wildlife Management Area: Area reservoirs continue to produce bass and crappies
Eagle Valley Reservoir: Small crappies have been hitting off the dam as well
Echo Canyon Reservoir: Boaters Continue to Do Well For Rainbow Trout
: NDOW Southern Fishing Report

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