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Joe's Fishing Hole: Last chance for ice fishing
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Joe’s Fishing Hole

Joe's Fishing Hole: Last chance for ice fishing

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The only lake left with safe ice in eastern Nevada is Wildhorse Reservoir. All ice on other lakes should be considered unsafe. While the ice at Wildhorse is safe right now, this will probably be the last weekend of ice fishing there with the forecast next week calling for highs in the 50s with lows, most nights, above freezing.

Water temperatures at area reservoirs range from the mid to high 30s into the low 40s. Ideal trout water temperatures are between 56 and 63 degrees, but the trout will start to get more active in open water when the temperature starts to move into the mid to high 40s.

However, different parts of the lake will have different water temperatures depending upon local conditions. Is the water shallow with a dark bottom? If so, water temperatures early in the year can be as much as 10 degrees warmer here. That is where you want to fish in the spring when most of the lake is well below ideal temperatures for trout.

Is there a spring at the bottom of the lake? That would be a great place to fish as spring water in our area comes out of the ground at approximately 51 to 53 degrees, which is very close to ideal trout temperatures.

Dead wood, submerged logs, rocks and stumps will often be areas where you may find warmer water as well as they absorb the heat from the sun. They also provide cover from predators which makes these areas even more appealing to fish.

The Ruby Mountain Fly Fishers, Trout Unlimited and Kinross Gold are once again sponsoring the Fly Fishing Film Tour next Friday, April 5, at the Great Basin College Theatre. Doors open for happy hour at 5:30 and the movies will start at 6:30. Free appetizers while they last and lots of great prizes given away just for showing up.

There was a great turnout last year and everyone had a good time. Tickets are $15 and available from any RMFF club member, the Elko Fly Shop or online at All proceeds will be used to bring the event back next year.


With the warmer temperatures the ice is starting to thin a bit, with thicknesses averaging around a foot, and the edges are getting soft and porous. ATV’s should not be driven on the ice. Anglers report drilling through some ice, hitting a layer of water and then another layer of ice. The surface was quite slick earlier this week with rain that froze and then a light dusting of snow overnight. Fishing for trout and perch has slowed and continues to be just fair. Some trout can still be caught in fairly shallow water (eight to 12 feet deep) close to shore. A few trout have been caught off the rock face just south of the state park boat ramp as well as in Penrod and Hendricks Arms. Perch are found in deeper water so fish water that is 25 to 30 feet deep and put your presentation less than a foot off of the bottom. Most of the perch reported being caught were by the island off of the state park boat ramp.

South Fork Reservoir

South Fork is completely ice free and fishing has been slow to fair, though occasionally anglers report catching a half dozen fish in shallow (3 feet deep) water near shore. When anglers do report catching trout, they are averaging 14 to 18 inches and fat with an occasional 20 incher being taken. Fly fishermen fishing chironomids (midge larvae) are having the best luck. Most of the trout being caught have been in the backs of coves and along Jet Ski Beach and Coyote Cove. Fishing small PT’s, hares ears or chironomid emergers just under the surface has worked. Blood midges fished just off the bottom are also worth a try. Some redds are showing up in the river above the reservoir, though fishing has been very slow here. Water temperatures are in the high 30’s to low 4’s and fishing will probably continue to be slow until it gets into the mid to high 40s.


Jiggs is now ice free and there has been a winter kill observed here with dead bass and bluegill seen floating in the water. Hopefully it was a small one. NDOW will be performing a fish survey here over the next couple of weeks, when shore conditions improve enough to launch a boat, in order to try to determine the extent of fish mortality. The lake will be stocked with trout sometime over the next few weeks when the shoreline dries out enough for the stocking truck. No report of anyone fishing here.


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The road is still 4WD, especially on rainy/snowy days No recent report, but expect the lake to be ice free.


The collection ditch is ice free with the warmer temperatures and fishing continues to be good at the collection ditch for 13 to 18 inch trout with the occasional large trout being taken. Small brightly colored spinners were doing well. Wet flies have been performing better than the dries right now. These include the usual small nymphs such as PT’s, hares ears, olive soft hackles, BWO emergers, red or blue copper Johns and prince nymphs as well as egg patterns in orange or pink. 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. Most of the dredging is completed, though there are a few wide spots that need to be done. Dredging the ditch is almost complete except for a small portion near Brown Dike. Fish upstream of the dredging for best results. Obviously Harrison Pass is closed so you need to go through Secret Pass to get there.


Jake Creek is mostly covered in very unsafe ice. More of the lake is starting to open up with the warmer temperatures and there is open water for fishing, though there is no recent report on fishing conditions. Expect 4WD conditions to the reservoir once you left US 93 due to mud.


The lake is ice free and fishing has been fair. The lake was recently stocked with 2,000 rainbow trout averaging 11 inches. The usual worms, PowerBait, small spinners and flies should all work. Expect muddy road conditions to get here.


Cave Lake has unsafe ice conditions and anglers are warned to stay off. There is some open water at the inlet end of the lake for fishing.


Lots of open water for fishing and what remains of the ice is very unsafe. Recent angler contacts have shown that 16 to 20 inches rainbow trout are being caught at Comins Lake on a variety tackle including; flies, spinners, and worms.


The reservoir continues to rebound from irrigation and summer evaporation and is sitting at approximately 60% of capacity with some open water and unsafe ice. The roads around the reservoir are very muddy due to snow melt, so any anglers attempting to access the reservoir should be mindful of these conditions. Give it some time for the roads to dry before going here.


Expect to find very icy, snowy and muddy conditions along the shorelines so take care when walking the streams. Getting to many of our local streams will be difficult due to the muddy/snowy conditions so expect 4WD travel and take precautions. Due to the snow melt from warmer conditions anglers can expect turbid conditions especially on warmer afternoons. Fish will be moving very slow due to cold water temperatures so slow down the presentations. Expect fishing to be slow in the streams.


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