Wild Horse Trout Derby

Gary Snyder took first place at the Wild Horse Trout Derby on Saturday with a 22 7/8-inch fish while Tina Shea took first place on Sunday with the largest fish of the weekend that came in at 23 1/2 inches and weighed in at 4.0 pounds.

Last weekend’s Wildhorse Trout Derby was a big success in spite of the weather. Several hundred registered contestants showed up over the two days and quite a few fish were caught including a perch that tied the Nevada state record for perch even though the contest wasn’t for perch.

Saturday’s winners were: first place – Gary Snyder with a fish measuring in at 22 7/8 inches and a fat 4.15 pounds; second place – Shelby Harkness also at 22 7/8 but weighing in at 3.85 pounds; and third place was taken by Carter Stephens at 22 3/4.

Sunday saw Tina Shea taking first place with the longest and heaviest fish of the weekend at 23 1/2 inches and 4.9 pounds. Gary Snyder came in second with a 22 1/2-inch fish with a weight of 4.6 pounds, and Jody Rooney took third place with a 22 1/4-inch fish with a weight of 3.15 pounds.

Next weekend is the fourth annual Elko Sportsman’s Expo at the Conference Center behind the Elko Civic Center. Say that three times really fast! This is the second year hosted by the Nevada Department of Wildlife, and the Ruby Mountain Rios of the National Wild Turkey Federation has joined as a co-host.

There are a record number of vendors that cover interests from conservation, camo, boats, cars and trucks, campers, guns and a whole lot more. For the youngsters there is the very popular NDOW Kids Activity Room. There they will learn about Nevada’s wildlife, shoot archery or LaserShot, tie a fly, and while supplies last decorate a wildlife t-shirt.

In addition there are several food vendors including food trucks outside and one vendor selling food and beverages inside. Unlike most outdoor shows around the West, this one doesn’t charge an entry fee, so come on down and check everything out at the Elko Sportsman’s Expo March 2 and 3.


Wildhorse is covered with 16 to 29 inches of ice with a fair amount of snow on top. Last weekend there was also some slush between the ice and the snow so good boots are called for. One young man actually went through the ice near the culvert by the highway. There is a current there and just 10 feet away from him there were 20 inches of ice. Take care where ever there might be a current or a spring when ice fishing and carry the correct safety equipment. Fishing for both trout and perch continue to be good. Congratulations to John Shorter III who caught what appears to be a state record tying yellow perch which weighed in at 1 pound, 8 ounces. Trout are still being caught in fairly shallow water (eight to 12 feet deep) 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 near the warm spring. 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 was about 50 percent open water last weekend and then froze over earlier this week. All ice at South Fork should be considered unsafe. With the return of daytime highs in the mid 40s and overnight lows around or slightly above freezing, expect the south end of the lake to re-open.


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.


The road is 4WD only and with the weather late this week, the trip is not recommended. There was about five and a half inches of ice at the boat ramp and more than likely there is a fair amount of snow on top now. However ice anglers should have some luck with garlic PowerEggs or worms for trout.


Roads are snow packed, and while there was plenty of drifting, the plow has cleared the drifts. Care must be taken when driving into Ruby Valley and make sure to not try to get too far over as the borrow ditches are notorious for eating trucks and cars. Much of the ditch will be ice covered due to the colder temperatures, but with warmer temperatures forecast for next week, expect it to start opening up. Fishing continues to be good at the collection ditch for 12 to 16 inch trout with the occasional large trout being taken. With windy conditions, spin fishermen were doing better than fly rodders. 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 PTs, 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 Refuge will be dredging parts of the collection ditch once the weather allows and this will cause turbid conditions and may make fishing difficult. If you come across the dredging, please don’t fish in the area that the work is going on. Harrison Pass is closed so you need to go through Secret Pass to get there.


Jakes Creek has about 12 inches of good ice with snow on top. Fishing has been fair to good. Expect poor driving conditions this weekend once you leave US 93.


Cold Creek Reservoir is about one-third open water with unsafe ice. Some fish have been seen rising but expect it to be a bit slow. Expect 4WD winter driving conditions this weekend.


Cave Lake is covered with 10 to 12 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.


Ice depths are highly variable on Comins Lake, with portions of open water on the south and north areas of the lake. Yet portions of the lake were covered with 10 to 14 inches of ice. Anglers should be very cautious when navigating the ice on the lake, particularly in the north lake area. Anglers may want to drill some test holes before venturing too far onto the lake. Ice anglers have been catching quality trout in the 16 to 20 inch range. Anglers should do well fishing with power bait, night crawlers, meal worms, and flashy spoons.


The ice at Illipah Reservoir is approximately 9 to 10 inches on both sides of the old dam. Lots of snow on the gravel road once you leave the highway, so 4WD only to the lake and stay on the gravel road. 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. Stay on the gravel road please.


With the snow and cold, expect to find very icy and snowy conditions along the shorelines so take care when walking the streams. It might be wise to wait for the current weather pattern to work its way out of the area before venturing to most of our streams. Expect turbid conditions. 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 including snowmobiling, hiking and cross country skiing up the canyon. Fish will be moving very slow due to cold water temperatures so slow down the presentations. Expect fishing to be slow in the streams.

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