While visiting with ice anglers on area reservoirs, one of the things I have noticed is that those who are more active with their presentation seem to do a bit better. By active, I mean that those who move more often when the hole they are fishing isn’t producing or actually jigging their presentation instead of just letting it set.
Many trout anglers just put a worm or some PowerBait on their hook and sit around enjoying the outdoors and often the beautiful weather. There is nothing wrong with that, especially if you are catching the occasional fish. However, by adding a rubber jig, a jigging spoon or even a fly to the setup and occasionally lifting it up a few inches and letting it settle back down, your odds of catching a fish can be greatly increased.
The other common mistake is not being close to your fishing rod or not paying attention to it. When fishing is slow, it’s hard to concentrate on just fishing. It’s human nature. We’ll start watching some birds, maybe swap a few fishing lies with our friends or just grab a bite to eat.
However, when it is slow is the time you do need to pay attention. That one or two tugs on your line may be the only ones you get all day. If you aren’t there to react, you take the chance of losing the fish.
There are times when one hole produces fish and another just a few feet away doesn’t. It may be the presentation or it may be something as simple as a bit of structure on the bottom. If several holes in an area don’t produce, then you may want to change spots.
Of course, some days it doesn’t seem to matter what you do, fish just aren’t biting. Then sit back, enjoy the scenery and the company. That’s why they call it fishing instead of catching.
Wildhorse was covered with nine to 12 inches of ice as of Wednesday. With the warmer weather expect some slush on top of the ice, especially in the afternoons. Some anglers were complaining about it being slow while other anglers were catching limits of 16 to 19 inch trout. The trick seems to be in fairly shallow water close to shore. Areas that have been producing trout lately include both Penrod and Hendricks Arms as well as the west side of the lake. Some eight to 11 inch perch have been showing up in the creel as well. 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 has about seven inches of ice though with the warmer weather there may be some soft spots, so tread lightly if you go too far from shore. Fishing has been fair to slow. Good areas to try include the cove at the main boat ramp, Tomera Cove and Jet Ski Beach.
Jiggs is covered with unsafe ice. NDOW will be operating an aerator to try to keep the lake from winterkill so the ice will be unsafe all winter. No report until ice off next spring.
At last report the ice was about 5 inches but that was a few weeks ago. Expect conditions similar to South Fork with maybe seven or eight inches of ice. With the recent storms system that blew through the area chances are the road is 4WD only. No reports from anglers fishing the lake. However ice anglers should have some luck with garlic PowerEggs or worms for trout.
RUBY LAKE NWR
Very little change here as much of the south marsh and units are covered in ice. There are even a few ice anglers at the main boat ramp. The collection ditch has a fair amount of ice on it but there are still spots of open water for fishing. With the warmer weather chances are there is even more open water than a few days ago. Fishing continues to be good at the collection ditch for 12 to 16 inch trout with the occasional large trout being taken. Small spinners and minnow imitations were producing some fish for spin fishermen, but fly rodders were doing better. Blue winged Olives, ants, beetles, and Griffith’s gnats, are all good choices for dry flies. However, wet flies will probably outperform 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. 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. Harrison Pass is closed so you need to go through Secret Pass to get there.
JAKES CREEK/BOIES RESERVOIR
No recent report, but expect safe ice with some slush on top and fair fishing.
COLD CREEK RESERVOIR
No recent report, but expect ice to be borderline safe, so drill some test holes before venturing too far out.
Cave Lake is covered with eight to 10 inches of ice and fishing has been fair to good for nine to 13 inch trout. Anglers should do well using beadhead flies, worms, meal worms, PowerBait, and flashy jigs tipped with worms. The Ely Rotary Club Ice Fishing Derby will be held here January 26 with pre-registration on Friday, January 25. Go to https://elynevada.net/event/rotary-club-ice-fishing-derby/ for more information.
Ice depths are 10 to 12 inches on Comins Lake, with some open water on north part of the lake. Portions of the north lake had some open water so keep clear of those areas. Anglers might want to drill some test holes before venturing too far onto the lake at the north end. Early ice fishing has produced quality trout in the 16 to 20 inch range. Anglers should do well fishing with power bait, night crawlers, meal worms, and flashy jigs.
The ice at Illipah Reservoir has increased recently to approximately 9 to 11 inches on both sides of the old dam. Fishing has been fair to good for 10 to 15 inch trout. Anglers should do well fishing with power bait, night crawlers, meal worms, and flashy jigs.
WILLOW CREEK RESERVOIR
Barrick has completed the work on the dam making some major improvements and last weekend Barrick employees and community volunteers worked with Barrick and NDOW to install fish habitat structures in the bottom of the lake while it is empty. All we need now is a good winter to help fill it and stocking may begin next spring and summer.
The road to Angel Lake is now closed and there will be no fishing report here until late spring or early summer depending upon how the winter snows are.
High mountain lakes should all be frozen over and there won’t be a fishing report here until late next spring or early summer depending upon the winter.
With the cold nights and snow, expect to find very slippery conditions along the shorelines so take care when walking the streams. Lamoille Canyon is still closed to automobile traffic due to dangerous conditions from the Range 2 Fire, though the public is now allowed access to the Power House Picnic Ground, the Talbot Canyon Trailhead and a lower section of the canyon up to the road barrier. Fish will be moving very slow due to cold water temperatures so slow down the presentations. As of Thursday, Janurary 10, Cleve Creek was flowing at approximately 6 cfs (cubic feet per second); Steptoe at 2 cfs; South Fork of the Humboldt below the reservoir was flowing at about 8cfs, the Bruneau no reading due to ice; Jarbidge at 6cfs; and Salmon Falls Creek at 62 cfs. Fishing below the dam at South Fork Reservoir was fair to good last weekend, drifting nymphs or leeches below an indicator. To get to both the Bruneau and Jarbidge systems anglers will need to go into Idaho. Expect 4WD conditions getting there.