With the first big holiday weekend of the summer upon us next week, many of us will head to local waters with our boats for a few days of rest and relaxation. This means that boat ramps will be busy, especially first thing in the morning as everyone is trying to get their boat launched. If you are new to boating there are some simple rules to follow to help make this quick and courteous for other boaters.
The boat landing is divided into three areas. First, there is the pre-launch area or the ready lane. This is where you should prepare your boat for launching. Next is the ramp, where the boat is actually launched into or retrieved from the water. Finally there is the parking area where the boat and trailer are stored while boaters are on the water.
The pre-launch or ready lane is where you prepare your boat for the water so that a minimum of time is spent launching the boat into the water. Remove tie-downs and the engine support. This is also a good place to disconnect the trailer lights. Now is the time to load and stow any gear that will be taken onto the water. Check your boating systems such as the bilge pumps, lights, horn, tilt motor and steering. Make ready any docklines and fenders and of course don’t forget to install the drain plug!
Once you are ready and it is your turn at the launch ramp, get the vehicle and trailer lined up and back down the ramp far enough that the inlet for the engine cooling water is covered so that when the motor is started, the engine is getting cooled.
Disconnect the safety chain and winch hook, lower the motor into the water and start the engine, letting it warm up a bit and back the boat off of the trailer. If you are launching the boat by yourself, obviously set the parking brake before leaving the vehicle and getting into the boat. Tie the boat up at the end of the dock and park your vehicle and trailer, returning directly to the boat.
If you have help, the person driving the boat should take the vessel a short way from the launch ramp to allow others to launch their boats and the driver should go park the rig. Once the driver returns to the dock, the boat may approach the dock allowing the person to board.
Reverse this process as you load the boat back onto the trailer taking care to not set the trailer too deep into the water. Line up the bow of the boat with the center of the trailer, driving the boat onto it slowly and letting the boat settle before winching it further.
Attach the bow strap and safety chain, make sure to raise the outboard up before driving up the ramp and clear the ramp areas as quickly as possible. Once up in the parking lot, reconnect the trailer lights, attach the tie down straps and remove any gear that isn’t stowed away on the boat. Remove the drain plug to allow the boat to drain. Finally clean, drain and dry the boat, as well as flush the engine with fresh water to help prevent the spread of invasive species. If you are a new boater, practice this at the lake during the week when it isn’t as busy, if you are able.
The lake is ice covered and the road to Angel Lake is closed. NDOT plans to start working on clearing the road next week, but workers may be pulled off for other jobs depending upon priority. Their goal is to have it open by Memorial Day Weekend..
Cave Lake continues to fish well for 9 to 11inch trout. The usual PowerBait or worms as well as small spinners, panther Martins or rooster tails should all work. Approximately 4500 trout were stocked here last week, for a total of more than 12,000 fish so far this spring.
COLD CREEK RESERVOIR
Cold Creek is ice free and fishing should be good. Anglers should do well on Power Bait, Mepps, Panther Martins, and nightcrawlers. Flyfishers will do well on nymphs and emerger patterns. Cold Creek has been stocked with approximately 2100 trout this spring.
The reservoir is sitting at approximately 95% of capacity. Anglers should do well on Power Bait, Mepps, Panther Martins, and nightcrawlers. This time of year fly rodders should be using black or olive wooly buggers as well as chironomids, hare’s ears, leech patterns and PT nymphs.
JAKE'S / BOIES RESERVOIR
No significant weed growth yet and fishing has been good the past couple of weeks. Anglers can use a variety of presentations including worms, PowerBait, spinners and flies. Chironomids, wooly buggers, hares ears, prince nymphs and damselfly nymphs are recommended. The lake was stocked with approximately 3,000 eight inch fish two weeks ago.
JIGGS / ZUNINO RESERVOIR
Fishing is slow to fair at Zunino. The water level is low, which should have the fish concentrated, though anglers may have to walk through some mud in areas to reach the shoreline especially after Thursday’s thunderstorms. PowerBait, nightcrawlers, and dark spinners with some red or yellow accents seem to be working. Brown or olive nymphs as well as red copper Johns and blood worm patterns for fly fishermen are good choices. Jiggs was stocked with approximately 3100 eight to ten inch trout three weeks ago.
Stream flows are high, but for the most part well below normal for this time of year due to lack of snowpck. There was a spike in flows across Elko County Thursday and Friday with turbid water due to the thunderstorms that dropped a fair amount of rain Thursday afternoon . Anglers should be aware that as you approach the streams, the roads often become quite soft and it is easy to get stuck. Expect fishing to be slow this weekend due to that. However, the snow pack is below average and flows will be coming down and should be fishable much earlier than normal. Nymphing and small spinners or dead drifting a worm are your best bets in the streams.
HIGH ALPINE LAKES
Most of the lakes are iced up and due to snow pack, travel is not recommended in the higher elevations at this time. However, with the light snow pack and warmer weather, trails may start opening up in late May.
RUBY LAKE NWR
Fishing continues to be good at the collection ditch. The water is clear and levels are good. Small spinners and minnow imitations were producing some fish for spin fishermen, but fly rodders were doing better. Fly rodders should be using hare’s ears, pheasant tails, prince nymphs, midge patterns, leeches, and wooly buggers. On the warmer afternoons, there have been some small mayfly and midge hatches so blue winged olives, Griffith’s gnats, and small Adams are all worth a try. Remember, if you can see the fish, they can see you. Go low, slow and wear drab clothing.
SOUTH FORK RESERVOIR
Fishing for trout at South Fork has been slow, fishing for wipers is good at the south end and fishing for black bass is picking up. While fishing is slow to fair for trout, anglers report catching some trout along the northeast side of the lake between the campground and the dam. The south end of the lake is producing wipers and some bass as the surface water temperatures climb into the high 50’s. This was before the storms that moved in on Thursday that probably dropped the surface water temperatures a few degrees. Most bait anglers are having some success for trout with PowerBait or worms floated off of the bottom, while fly rodders should be using chironomids, hares ears, prince nymphs, balanced leeches and buggers. Damselfly nymphs are on the move so those patterns should also be tried. Small dark spinners and minnow imitating lures with some red in them have produced a few fish. Black bass may not be kept until July 1. One wiper 15 inches or longer may be kept now.
Very little change here as fishing continues to be good at Wildhorse, with fish averaging 14 to 18 inches with the occasional 20+ inch fish coming in from both shore and boats. Anglers report success all along the state park shoreline, Hendricks arm, Penrod and north to the last cove before the canyon to the dam, though the Hendricks Arm east of the highway has been producing limits of fish regularly. On the west side of the lake fishing has been good near the warm springs. Sherbet and rainbow PowerBait seems to be working well, but anglers report catching trout on worms, spinners, small spoons and evens small minnow imitations. For fly rodders should be using most common nymph patterns such as hares ears, prince, PT’s and damselfly nymphs. Other flies to try include leeches, balanced leeches, and wooly buggers. Approximately 58,000 eight inch fish were stocked in Wildhorse last week. The dock is in the water for boaters to use at the State Park boat ramp. No black bass may be kept until July 1.
WILLOW CREEK RESERVOIR
Due to a damaged outflow structure, the lake has completely drained. Barrick Gold is in the process of wrapping up the work on the dam. Unfortunately, with a mild winter, the snow pack isn’t enough to allow the capture of water this summer. NDOW will be performing some habitat improvements to the bottom of the lake later this summer while the lake is empty to provide cover for crappie and other fish.
The road to Wilson is very rough, so take it slow. The lake is spilling, barely, but it is spilling. There is not much snow pack in the mountains, so don’t expect it to spill very long and there won’t be many fish going over to the pools below the spillway. The surface water temperature is in the mid to high 50’s, clearing up, and fishing for trout has been good in the lake itself. Several anglers report not only good numbers of fish but even a few fish over 20 inches, which is rare for Wilson. The same techniques and presentations that work at South Fork should work here.
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