Joe's Fishing Hole: Willow Creek restocked with fish
Joe’s Fishing Hole

Joe's Fishing Hole: Willow Creek restocked with fish

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May is going down as one of the wettest May’s for Elko. All of the precipitation we received should make for some great fishing throughout the summer in both our reservoirs and streams.

It also means that any reservoirs that were low are now at capacity. This includes Willow Creek Reservoir, owned by Barrick, which spent a lot of money and did a dam overhaul after outflow tube failures caused the lake to drain dry.

On May 31, Nevada Department of Wildlife and Barrick stocked the lake with catfish to start the process of rebuilding this popular fishery. While NDOW stocked 5,000 five- to six-inch channel catfish, Barrick donated money for 5,000 15-inch catchable catfish so anglers would be able to utilize the reservoir this summer.

In addition, NDOW will transplant white crappie from Chimney Creek Reservoir to Willow Creek sometime in June and largemouth bass from South Fork Reservoir in July and August.

NDOW advises anglers that it will take three to five years before the crappie and bass fisheries are viable and is asking anglers to release crappie and bass that they catch back into the reservoir to help the fishery along.

Next Saturday, June 8, is Free Fishing Day. This is the one day of the year that anglers may fish without a license, though all regulations and limits apply. NDOW will be hosting a non-competitive kids fishing derby on that day at the Chinese Gardens Nature Study Area in Carlin. The event is open to children 15 or younger, though the whole family is encouraged to fish. Fishing and activities starts at 8:30 and ends at 11:30, though you can continue to fish after the event is over. Contestants must be accompanied by an adult.

There will be volunteers to help participants fish if needed, a t-shirt decorating booth and the Ruby Mountain Fly Fishers will be there to show kids how to tie flies. All of this is free. In addition, every child who participates will receive a free fishing rod and reel, while supplies last.


Very little change here as the lake is still spilling and the water is slightly stained from runoff due to all the recent rain. Surface water temperatures are in the high 50s to low 60s. Depending upon the day and the weather, fishing ranges from good to excellent. The usual PowerBait and worms for bait anglers have been working. For fly fishermen midge larva and emerger patterns as well as hares ears, and PT nymphs are good patterns to use. Black or olive wooly buggers were taking fish as well, though black is better as trout are eating black leeches. Anglers should be aware that many of the shorelines are still soft and vehicles should stay away from the shoreline. The water is clearing and most anglers are fishing Penrod and Hendricks Arms as well as the beach in front of the State Park. Many fish are being caught from shore so be careful not to cast too far out and go past the fish. With the lake spilling, fishing below the dam has been good for reservoir sized fish. The lake was stocked with approximately 6,000 tiger trout averaging just over eight inches in length last week. No black bass may be kept until July 1. The campground is open and is on a first come first served basis.


Fishing is starting to pick up a bit, though it is still just fair for trout. Surface water temperatures are starting to move into the low 60s which will also help the bass bite. Over the past few weeks SF has been stocked with approximately 44,000 rainbow trout. Fly fishermen fishing chironomids (midge larvae) are having the best luck. Most of the trout being caught from shore have been in the backs of coves, along Jet Ski Beach and Coyote Cove and by the dam, especially on the spillway side. Fishing small PTs, hares ears or chironomid emergers just under the surface has worked. Blood midges fished just off the bottom are also worth a try. Red copper Johns have been working near the dam for fish averaging 18 to 20 inches over the past week. Boaters were finding fish on the graph on the west side of the lake between the dam, Jet Ski Beach and Fisherman’s Point. Catfish have become active and anglers may want to try raw shrimp fished in low light conditions or at night. Fishing below the dam in the river has been good. No black bass may be kept until July 1.


Jiggs was stocked three weeks ago with approximately 2300 trout, 300 of which are surplus brood stock averaging around 12 inches. The same presentations as at South Fork should work well here. Trout fishing has been fair to good. Bait anglers are doing best with worms under a bobber.


The lake is spilling hard and the water temperature is in the low 60’s and turbid. Hopefully the water will start to clear soon. Expect it to continue to spill for a while. Fishing is good for 12 to 15-inch fish that are in good shape. The same presentations, flies, baits and lures as used at South Fork, should also work well here. Fishing below the spillway has been good. This lake will be stocked once it stops spilling. The road is rutted due to the wet weather but should be drying out this week.


Not much has changed here as fishing continues to be good at the collection ditch for 13 to 18 inch trout with the occasional large trout being taken. Fishing seems to improve on rainy or windy days. 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. The South Marsh was recently stocked and fishing at the boat ramp has been good for stockers with an occasional larger fish as well as a few bass. Unit 21 is also producing some bass using olive soft plastic grubs or olive wooly buggers. The water temperature here is in the mid to high-50’s. While boats aren’t allowed on the South Marsh until June 15, float tubes are. Fishing should be good from a float tube as you head down the main channel.


Very little change here as fishing continues to be fair to good. Trout fishing is fair to good, bass fishing is slow to fair, and fishing for catfish has been fair. Some catfish in the one to three pound class (great eating size) have shown up in the creel. The preferred bait for them here appears to be shrimp. 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.


Fishing here is fair to good for 10 to 12 inch trout and fair for bass. 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 is ice free and fishing for nine to 12 inch fish has been fair to good. Surface water temperatures are in the mid to high 50s and will move into the 60s soon if they haven’t already done so by the time you are reading this. The lake has been stocked with approximately 8000 fish between 10 and 11 inches being stocked over the past few weeks. Most anglers are having luck with small worms, though PowerBait is also catching fish. Fly rodders should be using small olive or black bead head crystal buggers, small olive wooly worms, hares ears and prince nymphs. On warmer afternoons if a hatch is seen, small Adams, black ants, Griffith’s gnats, and red or yellow humpies should all work.


Comins Lake continues to fish well with surface water temperatures start climbing into the low 60s. Anglers are catching trout averaging 16 to 20 inches on a variety of tackle. Panther Martins, spoons, PowerBait, salmon eggs, and night crawlers should all do well for the majority of bait fisherman. Fly fisherman should use wooly buggers, leech patterns, and nymphs patterns (midges, beaded pheasant tails … etc.). Comins was recently stocked with approximately 5,000 rainbow trout averaging just over 8-inches.


The reservoir is full and fishing has been good, though the water is stained due to all the runoff from recent rain and snow. The usual spring time flies of wooly buggers, prince nymphs, hares ears and chironomid patterns should all work. Small spinners, PowerBait and worms should be effective as well. Since the lake is turbid fishermen may want to use flashy lures. The roads around the reservoir are soft and muddy due to the wet winter and recent snow, so any anglers attempting to access the reservoir should be mindful of these conditions and stay on the gravel. Illipah was stocked with 7500 trout a couple of weeks ago.


The reservoir is full! NDOW and Barrick planted the reservoir with 5,000 five to six-inch catfish and 5,000 15-inch catfish on Friday, May 31.


The road to Angel Lake is open! However, no report on how much ice is still left on the lake. There is probably plenty of snow still around the lake. Fishing is generally good as soon as the ice starts coming off.


High mountain lakes are still inaccessible due to snow and ice. With the wet winter and spring some of the higher elevation lakes may not be accessible until July.


With all the precipitation, and the heavy mountain snowpack melting, stream flows have increased dramatically in eastern Nevada. Expect well above normal flows for much of the early summer until the snow finally comes off the mountains. The water is turbid and difficult to fish. Shorelines are soft due to this week’s rain so please travel with caution. Expect fishing to be slow in the streams though the E. Fork of the Owyhee below Wildhorse Reservoir has been fishing well for reservoir sized fish that have gone over the spillway. To get to the Bruneau or the Jarbidge, you still need to drive into Idaho first. The USFS has opened the road into Lamoille Canyon to the public. As of May 31, the Bruneau River was at flood stage and flowing at 1,070 cubic feet/second (cfs), the Jarbidge at 270 cfs, Salmon Falls Creek at 936 cfs, Lamoille Creek at 165 cfs, the South Fork of the Humboldt at between 1,000 and 1,100 cfs, Cleve Creek at 40 cfs and Steptoe Creek at 21 cfs. Steptoe Creek was stocked with 1000 rainbow trout this week.


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