Joe's Fishing Hole: Trout coming into the shallows
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Joe’s Fishing Hole

Joe's Fishing Hole: Trout coming into the shallows

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The cooler wetter weather of the past couple of weeks is turning the tide on trout fishing in northeastern Nevada as trout are starting to come into the shallows looking for food and anglers are starting to take advantage of it. The downside is that there is still some “gunk” (love those fancy scientific words!) in the water and this calls for cleaning your gear after a fishing trip to Wildhorse or South Fork Reservoirs.

As the weather gets cooler and many anglers trade their rods for guns, hard core anglers take advantage of some of the best fishing of the year. With water levels lower, fish are often concentrated and with the impending winter they are searching for food and eating a lot of it, fattening up for winter.

Larger fish are often caught this time of year and several state records have been taken between October 1 and March 31, a time of year that most people don’t associate with fishing in northern Nevada.

With daytime highs predicted to be in the 60s, this weekend’s weather is supposed to be perfect for getting out and viewing the fall colors, having a picnic and getting some fishing in. The long range forecast calls for most days to be in the 60s with mostly sunny skies. You have to love fall. Fish ON!

WILDHORSE

Surface water temperatures were in the high 50s and should continue to drop. Great for trout fishing, but bad news for bass anglers, though the perch were being caught regularly the past couple of weeks. Weed beds are breaking up and a couple of good wind events should help break them up for the season. Trout are starting to cruise the The Penrod Arm has been the popular place for anglers as it has been producing trout, perch and a few bass. 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 and fish cleaning station are open and on a first come first served basis.

SOUTH FORK RESERVOIR

The water is still fairly green with algae, but it is starting to die off as the night time temperatures fall below freezing. Surface water temperatures are about 60 degrees and like all area reservoirs is dropping. Trout fishing is still just fair here. Anglers should target the weed beds at the south end of the lake and fish with leech patterns as the weeds start to 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 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 around 20 cfs, though fishing the pools is best. With the predicted rain this weekend, expect increased flows and some turbid water. One wiper or black bass 15 inches or longer may be kept.

JIGGS/ZUNINO RESERVOIR

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 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. 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. 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. 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 and mayflies, but expect that to slow with the colder weather. Anglers should also plan to use the usual small nymphs such as PTs, 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 RESERVOIR

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 expect the weeds to start dying off, and in a few weeks, shore fishing may pick up. Trout fishing has been slow to fair 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.

COLD CREEK RESERVOIR

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. Trout are also hitting small midge dries and emergers. The lake was stocked with approximately 500 trout last week.

CAVE LAKE

The lake was stocked with approximately 5,000 ten-inch trout this 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.

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 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.). 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

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 1,100 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.

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 8,400 feet of elevation and anglers heading there this week should be prepared for snow. The lake has been stocked with approximately 6,500 trout this summer.

ALPINE LAKES

Snow has arrived at some of higher elevation lakes and more is expected this weekend. 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

Believe it or not, there are still some hoppers around in spite of the recent precipitation and cold weather. While the number of hoppers is down, the fish are still used to seeing them and will take them as they prepare for the long winter. 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. 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 should be up. As of October 4, the Bruneau River was flowing at 26 cubic feet/second (cfs), the Jarbidge at 9 cfs, Salmon Falls Creek at 62 cfs, Lamoille Creek at 9 cfs, South Fork of the Humboldt at 19 cfs, Cleve Creek at 8 cfs and Steptoe Creek also at 5.5 cfs.

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