Joe's Fishing Hole: Change strategy along with the weather
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Joe’s Fishing Hole

Joe's Fishing Hole: Change strategy along with the weather

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Hard to believe that just a few weeks ago there were daytime highs around 90 and then Thursday night it got down to freezing in many areas. Changing weather conditions can have a major effect on fishing and with all the weather apps out there anglers should be able to keep up with the changes.

Surface water temperatures at area reservoirs were in the 70s just a few weeks ago, and are starting to drop into the high 50s in some areas, due to the rain and colder air temperatures.

With the shorter days and cooler temperatures aquatic vegetation will be dying just like our home gardens. The invertebrates that live in the aquatic vegetation will soon be homeless and start moving out of the dying weed beds in search of better digs. One such invertebrate that fish love to eat is the leech.

A great tactic at South Fork and Wildhorse Reservoirs is to fish the edges of the dying weed beds with a leech pattern in black, blood or wine color. Anglers can either strip the leech alongside the weed bed, or if there is a chop on the water fish it vertically under a strike indicator.

Spin fishermen can take advantage of this by fishing a small plastic grub in the same colors and in the same way. Retrieve the grub along the edges of the weed beds, or if there is a chop on the water, suspend it under a bobber along the weed edges.

NDOW will be holding a free Introduction to Fly Fishing clinic the weekend of Sept. 28. It is a two-part class with casting lessons in the Elko City Park on Friday evening (Sept. 27) from 6-7:30 p.m., then on the water fishing Saturday morning, Sept. 28 from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.

NDOW does have equipment for those participants who don’t have any. This will be a float tube class at Angel Lake. For more information or to sign up for the class go


No recent report on surface water temperatures, but expect them to be in the mid 50s to maybe 60 degrees. Great for trout fishing, but bad news for bass anglers. Over the past two weeks, trout have moved up in the water column being caught between five and 10 feet below the surface. With the surface water temperatures dropping so far, expect them to move up even more and shore anglers should start having good success as the trout move into the shallows. 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. Fishing for bass and perch has been good for numbers and fair for size but expect bass fishing to slow down. One wiper or black bass 15 inches or longer may be kept. Fishing in the stream below the dam is still good. The campground and fish cleaning station are open and on a first come first served basis.

South Fork Reservoir

Surface water temperatures are also dropping and expect them to be in the high 50s to low 60s. For whatever reason even though the water temperature is prime for trout, fishing continues to be slow for them. Anglers should target the weed beds at the south end of the lake and fish with leech patterns. 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 anglers were having luck with soft plastic baits, minnow imitation lures and using drop shot rigs but expect some slow down as the waters cool. Fishing below the dam in the river has been good with fishable flows, though fishing the pools is best. With the recent rain, expect increased flows and some turbid water this weekend. One wiper or black bass 15 inches or longer may be kept.

Jiggs/Zunino Reservoir

No recent report, but expect trout fishing to pick up and bass and blue gill fishing to slow down. Small jigs tipped with a piece of worm were working for the bluegill. With weedy shorelines in many areas a small boat, float tube or kick boat make fishing easier. The same presentations as at South Fork should also work well here.


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.


Bass fishing in the south marsh is slowing considerably with the cooler temperatures. Earlier this week, anglers reported good numbers of bass, but expect that to slow down with the change in weather. There is approximately one keeper bass (10 inches or larger) for about every six to ten fish, though the further you get from the main channel, the more keeper sized fish you will catch. 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. Some anglers like a contrasting colored tail such as chartreuse, yellow or white. Fishing the collection ditch for trout is fair to good depending upon the day. Small dark flies fished dry or just under the surface have worked as have streamers and spinners. Mayfly nymphs, emergers and dries should work. These include 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.


With low water levels and lots of weeds, shore fishing is extremely difficult. Best fishing is from a float tube or small boat. With the colder weather expect the weeds to start dying off, and in a few weeks, shore fishing may pick up. Trout fishing has been slow while bass fishing has been fair to good though that should flip with the colder weather. 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.


Fishing here is fair to good for 10 to 12-inch trout and fair for small bass. The usual worms, PowerBait, small spinners and flies should all work.


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.


Trout fishing is starting to pick 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 fair to good 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.).


Trout fishing has been slow to fair, though with surface water temperatures dropping, it should start to pick up. 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

NDOW and Barrick planted the reservoir with 5,000 five to six-inch catfish and 5,000 15-inch catfish in May. Expect the fishing for catfish to pick up as the water temperature is in the mid to high 60s. Approximately 1100 crappie from Chimney Creek Reservoir were stocked, but anglers are being asked to return any crappie they catch back to the lake for a couple of years while the fishery rebuilds. NDOW recently planted some black bass in the lake, with more augmentation expected this month.


The lake level is down a bit, but fishing has been fair to good. 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 with the cooler weather fishing should pick up. The lake has been stocked with approximately 6500 trout this summer.


High mountain lakes fishing is good though there was some snow here this week. Just a sign of things to come 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.


With the rain and snow that fell earlier this week, expect flows up a bit and some turbid water in spots. Hoppers have been out but with the precipitation and cold nights, they will disappear quickly. However, the fish are still used to seeing them so hopper patterns will still work. Bait anglers should try small worms or a live hopper (if you are in an area where you can find them) on a light wire hook dead drifted through pools, runs and riffles. 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. All of Lamoille 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. Fishing above South Fork in the state park is slow for trout but fair for smallmouth bass. As of September 19, the Bruneau River was flowing at 21 cubic feet/second (cfs), the Jarbidge at 9 cfs, Salmon Falls Creek is up 10 cfs at 45 cfs, Lamoille Creek at 9 cfs, South Fork of the Humboldt at 18 cfs, Cleve Creek at 9 cfs and Steptoe Creek also at 6 cfs.


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