Joe's Fishing Hole: Keep those guides ice-free
Joe’s Fishing Hole

Joe's Fishing Hole: Keep those guides ice-free

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Fishing at Angel Lake

Battle Mountain angler Anna Reeves fishes from a float tube during NDOW’s Introduction to Float Tube Fly Fishing clinic last Saturday at Angel Lake. Fishing at Angel Lake is good right now as the fish are trying to fatten up to prepare for the long winter under the ice.

Earlier this week saw the overnight lows dipping into the teens and several anglers have asked me how to keep the ice from forming in the guides of their fly rods and fishing poles.

Most were breaking the ice off the guides with their fingers. Please don’t do this. You can easily break or bend the guides as well as having the ice nick your rod, causing a weak spot where it might break when casting or fighting a fish. Just put the guides under water for a couple of minutes and the ice will melt off since the temperature of the water is obviously above freezing.

One of the home remedies that many anglers swear by is cooking spray. Spray this on the guides while they are dry. This will keep much of the ice buildup from happening. Make sure to take the can with you as you will need to reapply it several times throughout the day. Just make sure to dry the guides off each time before applying.

Another solution is to use chap stick or lip balm. This appears to work as well, though there are some concerns as to whether some of the ingredients may be harmful to fly lines. Unless you are a hardcore fly rodder fishing this way a lot, it probably won’t do much harm. As for monofilament lines, chances are it is fine.

Fly floatant paste is basically silicone, and I have used this to varying degrees of success depending upon the brand and whether I was smart enough to dry off the guides before applying. LOL.

Finally, Loon makes Stanley Ice Off Paste specifically for winter fly fishing to keep the guides ice free. Since it is made for fly fishing, one would assume that it is safe for fly lines. As far as it’s effectiveness, I have never used it so couldn’t say but would suspect it does the trick as well or better than the home remedies previously mentioned.

WILDHORSE

Surface water temperatures were in the mid to high 50s earlier this week and should be a bit cooler by the weekend. Great for trout fishing, but bad news for bass anglers. Weed beds are dying and a couple of good wind events should help break them up for the season. Trout are starting to cruise the shallows making shore fishing more productive. The Penrod Arm has been the popular place for anglers as it has been producing trout, perch and a few bass. However, trout are being caught in many areas, so if you have a favorite spot, try it first. This is also the time of year when midges become one of the few invertebrates that are hatching, so fly rodders should enjoy some success fishing chironomid patterns. Of course the standby wooly buggers, leech patterns, hares ears, prince nymphs and copper Johns should all work as well. One wiper or black bass 15 inches or longer may be kept. Fishing in the stream below the dam is still good. The campground is open and on a first come first served basis. Over the past ten days, Wildhorse was stocked with approximately 36,000 eight-inch trout.

SOUTH FORK RESERVOIR

Earlier this week there was still a surprising amount of algae in the lake. Should start disappearing with the hard freezes at night. Surface water temperatures are in the mid to high 50s and like all area reservoirs is dropping. Trout fishing is still slow to fair. Hopefully it will pick up soon. Anglers should target the weed beds at the south end of the lake and fish with leech patterns as the weeds die off, the leeches will be swimming around looking for new places to live. Chironomids should start working in parts of the lake with muddy bottoms. Other flies to try include wooly buggers, hares ears, prince nymphs, Carrie specials, balanced leeches and copper Johns. Bass fishing has slowed considerably. Not as many being caught and they are moving into deeper water. Fishing below the dam in the river has been good with fishable flows around 20 cfs, though fishing the pools is best. One wiper or black bass 15 inches or longer may be kept.

JIGGS/ZUNINO

The water level is down and the boat ramp is no longer useable. Fishing for trout has been fair to good while fishing for blue gill has been slow to fair. Weeds are starting to die off though with still weedy shorelines in many areas a small boat, float tube or kick boat make fishing easier though as the water cools the weeds will die back. The same presentations as at South Fork should also work well here.

WILSON RESERVOIR

Very little change here as fishing continues to be fair to good for 13- to 16-inch trout that are in good body condition. The water level, while down, is in great shape with less weeds and algae than other lakes in our area. The same presentations, flies, baits and lures as used at South Fork or Wildhorse, should also work well here. Shore anglers should start seeing more success as the surface water temperatures cool down. Bass fishing is fair.

RUBY LAKE NWR

Bass fishing in the south marsh is slowing considerably with the cooler temperatures and is close to being done for the season. Water levels are low in both the south marsh and the collection ditch. Dark four to six-inch soft plastic grubs hooked weedless are the best bet for bass. Good colors include dark green, brown, purple or blue. Fishing the collection ditch for trout is fair to good depending upon the day. The water is low, with little flow, and very clear. This is making fishing difficult. Anglers would do well to target areas where springs flow into the ditch or around culverts that create some flow between the ditch and the units. Small dark flies fished dry or just under the surface have worked as have streamers and spinners. There is still some dry fly action, mostly terrestrials, mayflies and midges, but expect that to slow with the colder weather. Anglers should also plan to use the usual small nymphs such as PT’s, hares ears, olive soft hackles, red or blue copper Johns and prince nymphs. Wooly and crystal buggers in black, purple or olive are also working.

JAKES CREEK/BOIES

With low water levels and lots of weeds, shore fishing is still extremely difficult. Best fishing is from a float tube or small boat. With the colder weather the weeds are dying off, and in a few weeks, shore fishing may pick up. Trout and bass fishing have been slow to fair. 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. For bass dark soft plastic baits with sparkles are working as are minnow type imitations.

COLD CREEK RESERVOIR

Fishing here is fair to good for 10 to 12-inch trout and slow to fair for small bass. The usual worms, PowerBait, small spinners and flies should all work. Trout are also hitting small midge dries and emergers. The lake was stocked with approximately 500 trout two weeks ago.

CAVE LAKE

The lake was stocked with approximately 10,000 ten-inch trout last week. Fishing for nine to 12-inch fish continues to be fair to good at Cave Lake. 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. Small Adams, black ants, Griffith’s gnats, renegades and red or yellow humpies should all work. Due to work that needs to be done on the dam, the water level will be dropping over the next few weeks. During construction, Cave Lake State Park will remain open to the public, and visitors can continue to enjoy kayaking, fishing, swimming, and other recreational activities. The lake will remain easy to access, and the health of area fish and wildlife will not be impacted. The fish will occupy a smaller area within the lake, potentially improving catch rates. The boat dock, however, will be closed for the duration of the project. Expect the shorelines to be muddy as the lake recedes leaving the old saturated bottom behind.

COMINS LAKE:

Trout fishing is picking back up with cooler surface water temperatures. Boaters are having the best luck. Shore fishing should pick up though as the fish start moving into the shallow water with cooler temperatures. Bass fishing is slow to fair using minnow imitations and soft plastic grubs. For trout, anglers should try Panther Martins, spoons, PowerBait, salmon eggs, and night crawlers. Fly fisherman should use wooly buggers, leech patterns, and nymphs patterns (midges, beaded pheasant tails…etc.). It is also the time to start using chironomid patterns under an indicator.

ILLIPAH

Trout fishing has picked up with anglers doing well near the inlet of the lake for both browns and rainbows. Brown trout are on the move as they get ready for the spawn. The usual flies of wooly buggers, prince nymphs, hares ears and chironomid patterns would be your best bet. Small spinners, PowerBait and worms should be effective as well.

WILLOW CREEK RESERVOIR

The lake level has dropped over the past few weeks and it is difficult for anglers to get to the shoreline as it is very muddy. Not worth the trip for catfish.

ANGEL LAKE

The lake level is down, but fishing has been good here as the fish prepare for the long winter under the ice by trying to eat every bit of food they can find. Worms or PowerBait fished just off the bottom should work. Flies to try include beetles, ants, black Adams, Griffith’s gnats, yellow or red humpies, yellow or red stimulators and small crystal buggers. With the cooler temperatures anglers may start moving to more subsurface flies, though the fish are still used to seeing some dries. Small spinners or spoons in green and gold, black and gold or red and gold should be tried. This lake is at 8400 feet of elevation and anglers heading there this week, should be prepared for snow. The lake has been stocked with approximately 6500 trout this summer.

ALPINE LAKES

Snow has arrived at some of higher elevation lakes and skim ice is forming on the shorelines in some places. Anglers, hunters and hikers need to go prepared for winter conditions. The flies used at Angel Lake should all work at all the alpine lakes. Spin anglers should try small worms or pieces of nightcrawler on a small hook fished below a clear bobber. Small spinners and even small plastic grubs on a jig head should all work.

STREAMS

This last cold spell probably did the grasshoppers in but they are still used to seeing them so some may take a hopper pattern. Fly rodders can still fish dry flies including yellow Sally’s, elk hair caddis, hoppers, ants, beetles, yellow or royal stimulators, red or yellow humpies and just about anything in red or yellow. Nymphs and small streamers should work as well. Soft hackles swung through runs and riffles could be very effective. Fishing the tailwaters below both Wildhorse and South Fork dams has been good for reservoir sized fish though flows below South Fork Reservoir are low. With vegetation going dormant for the winter and using less water, flows in some areas are up from August lows, but little change over last week. As of October 10, the Bruneau River was flowing at 26 cubic feet/second (cfs), the Jarbidge at 7 cfs, Salmon Falls Creek at 61 cfs, Lamoille Creek at 9 cfs, South Fork of the Humboldt at 19 cfs, Cleve Creek at 9 cfs and Steptoe Creek also at 5.5 cfs.

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