ELKO — The afternoon highs are expected to continue to be around 90 degrees, which means that trout fishing on many of our waters is only fair with streaks of poor. What’s a fishin’ bum to do? Go high young angler, go high. Hit the alpine lakes in the East Humboldt’s and the Ruby Mountains where projected highs this week anywhere from 70 to 80 degrees, 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.
Anglers can use natural bait, spoons, spinners and flies. At several lakes this past week spoons and spinners were working well, as were the tried and true hopper, royal Wulff’s, humpies, Griffith’s gnats, stimulators and mosquito patterns.
If you don’t own a fly rod, use your spinning outfit with a clear bobber filled with a bit of water and about 5 to 6 feet of line behind the bubble. 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. 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 highest elevation lakes in the country that can be reached by a paved road. Fish it the same as you would the other alpine lakes mentioned above.
As with last week’s report, expect to see little change as conditions are very similar.
The water is very green with algae and has dropped about five feet with the irrigation season in full swing. Fishing has been slow for all species. Trollers are having the best luck, but it is still slow for them as well. Fly fishermen are having the best luck with black or olive wooly buggers, leeches, damsel fly nymphs and hares ears. Gear anglers are having success with minnow type imitations in fire tiger, black over white and blue over white. Trout have moved into deeper water with surface water temperatures in the 70’s. Shore anglers should look for shorelines that drop off quickly so they can reach deeper water. Several anglers report good success for catfish ranging in size from five to ten pounds. Anglers may now keep one black bass, 15 inches or longer.
SOUTH FORK RESERVOIR:
Trout fishing has slowed down considerably as the trout have moved deeper. The trick is to fish early and fish deeper. The south end of the lake is seeing a lot of weed growth. Fly rodders continue to have some success with damsel fly nymphs fished along the edges of weed beds and in the backs of the coves early in the day. Of course the usual wooly buggers, seal buggers and leech patterns as well as the more common nymphs are all effective but a fast sinking line is needed to get the flies down to the fish. A few wipers continue to be caught along the no wake buoy line at the south end of the lake and near the spillway on the west side of the dam using black over silver and black over white crank baits, fire tiger minnow imitations and chartreuse crystal buggers and Clouser minnows. Smallmouth bass fishing was good last weekend fishing the rip rap on the dam using soft plastic jigs that were blue with red flecks. Several of the smallmouth were over the fifteen inch minimum. Anglers may now keep one black bass fifteen inches or longer.
Trout fishing has slowed with the warmer temperatures, so like other area reservoirs, fish early and fish deep. The usual PowerBait or worms should work for bait anglers and small spinners are the ticket for spin fishermen. Fly rodders are having luck with dark colored buggers, leeches and nymphs with peacock herl. Much of the algae mats are gone and fishing is tapering off a bit as fish move to the center of the lake where the water is deeper. Expect the same techniques and presentations that work at South Fork, to work here as well. Fish for trout more towards the center of the lake where the water is a bit deeper as the water warms up. Anglers are being asked to return any bass or blue gill they catch to help re-build those populations in the lake.
The road is in good shape and trout fishing has been fair with bass fishing good for numbers but fair for size. Trout were being caught along the north shoreline near the cabin. Trollers have had luck along the western shore around the boat ramp and shore anglers have had some success off the rocky point by the boat ramp. Fly rodders report using soft hackle hare’s ears fished under a slip strike indicator and using bead head flies or split shot to get the flies down. Bass fishing has been good with anglers catching many in the eight to ten inch size, so not many keepers.
RUBY LAKE NWR:
Water levels are dropping and launching anything but a canoe at Narciss is impossible. The main boat ramp is still usable, but boaters should use caution especially on the west side of the dock. Bass fishing is picking up with the warmer weather and anglers report good days for numbers and for keepers. The best time to fish is late in the afternoon as the shadow of the mountain is hitting the water. Anglers report that out of 10 to 15 fish caught, more than half are keepers. Soft plastic worms and grubs in dark greens, purple, blue and motor oil with sparkles in them rigged weedless are the way to fish for bass here. In the collection ditch fishing is fair to good for anglers willing to put the time in and move along it until they get into fish but watch for snakes. Fishing the collection ditch has been good for trout using a variety of flies, spinners and lures. There continues to be a mayfly hatch along the ditch so mayfly emergers and dries should work. Other flies that are working include prince nymphs, frostbite chironomids, black or olive wooly buggers, crystal buggers, PT’s, black callibaetis and mayfly emerger patterns. Dry flies should include Adams, PMD’s small elk hair caddis, damsel fly adults, hoppers, ants and small stimulators. The collection ditch is artificial lures only.
JAKES CREEK/BOIES RESERVOIR:
Fishing has been slow here for trout and good for bass. Bass are averaging 10 to 12 inches and anglers are using small boats and soft plastics to get to the bass. For trout, worms or PowerBait are effective along with black and gold spinners. Fly rodders should be using damsel fly nymphs, prince nymphs, hares ears, pheasant tail (PT) nymphs and wooly buggers in olive or brown. A few catfish continue to be caught. Weed growth is in high gear and shore access is difficult. Anglers will have the best luck using float tubes or small boats.
Fishing has been fair to good for 10 to 13 inch fish using the usual worms and PowerBait. Small Cave Lake specials, wooly buggers and the usual nymphs such as prince, hares ears and pheasant tail nymphs should all work. Damsel fly nymphs in olive or tan are working as well. Spinners in gold, black or dark green with contrasting spots on them have been working as well. Worms under a bobber, or PowerBait floated off of the bottom using a slip sinker are both good ways to fish this lake.
Anglers report fair to good success using a variety of styles, baits and presentations. Expect the usual PowerBait and worms to work well. Fly rodders should plan on damsel fly nymphs, olive or black wooly buggers, prince nymphs and hares ears to all work well. Dry fly patterns such as the Adams, mosquitos, Griffith’s gnats, renegades and hoppers are all worth a try if you see fish rising. Anglers are being asked to return any bass they catch back into the lake to help build up the bass fishery.
Anglers have been having good success fishing for both rainbows and browns at Illipah. Most anglers have been using worms, PowerBait, and spinners. Hares ears, damsel fly nymphs, sheep creek specials, and olive or black wooly buggers are the ticket for fly fishermen.
COLD CREEK RESERVOIR
Fish have been seen dimpling the surface, probably taking midges or mayfly emergers. Fly rodders should use the usual assortment of prince nymphs, PT nymphs, hare’s ears, small buggers, elk hair caddis, Adams and Griffith’s gnats.
With colder water temperatures and lots of hoppers on the hillsides, you would think that the fish would be fairly high up in the water column. But local angling legend Mike Mott, after little success in the top four to eight feet of the water column, finally found them on his fish finder around 15-20 feet deep and had great luck fishing around 15 feet down. The moral of the story is if you aren’t catching fish you either need to change your depth, your location or your presentation. But only change one at a time until something works. The usual worms or PowerBait are both successful here. Small spinners in black and gold, green and gold and black and red are effective. Fly rodders should be using anything olive or with peacock for nymphs and buggers, while red or yellow are the preferred colors for dry flies. If you have a float tube, try to get your flies under the brush on the north and south shorelines.
It is time to hit the high mountain lakes! Anglers report good success at all high mountain lakes. Expect the same flies that work at Angel Lake to work in the most of the high mountain lakes. While dry flies are working, a dry and a dropper is a good starting point. Also sub-surface presentations using nymphs or emerger patterns fished just below the surface have been effective. If you see fish dimpling the surface look to see if there are any bubbles. If there are, they are taking insects off of the surface, if there aren’t any bubbles, they are taking the insects just below the surface. Bait anglers should have success using worms or live grasshoppers that are found along the shorelines of all the lakes. PowerBait can also be effective and of course small spinners work very well.
Streams flows are very fishable. Elk hair caddis, renegades, mosquitos, stimulators, hoppers, ants and just about any good floating dry fly with red or yellow are all good patterns for the streams this time of year. As of Thursday, August 4, the South Fork of the Humboldt was flowing at approximately 10-15 cubic feet a second (cfs), Lamoille Creek at 13 cfs, Bruneau River 12 cfs and the Jarbidge at 10 cfs, and the East Fork of the Owyhee at 50-60 cfs.