And the hits (snow) just keep on coming. Continued good news for area waters, though my snow blower is getting a good workout. Thank goodness it got a tune up last month.
The big thing for anglers to take into account is that roads going to many of our favorite waters may not be good for traveling right now. Earlier this week Conservation Educator Julie Gabrielson went to Ruby Valley to get trout eggs for the Trout in the Classroom program. First thing in the morning, the roads were drifting and not in very good shape. They were definitely 4WD.
If you do decide to brave the roads to go fishing remember to leave a trip plan. You need to include the 3 “W’s”, Who, Where and When.
Who is going, and include a description of the vehicle, the name of each person going and a contact number back home for each. A truck, car or SUV is much easier to find than a person.
Where you are going. Be specific. Name the lake or stream and include the route you plan to drive. Finally, When you will be back. Make sure you are either back by this time or contact the person you gave the trip plan to by that time.
If you get stuck, stay with your vehicle. As stated earlier it is much easier to find than a person. It will also provide shelter from the elements. As a general rule, if a trip plan is given and followed, people are generally found within 24 hours of the authorities being notified.
If you are looking for something to do this weekend, the Annual Wildhorse Trout Derby will be taking place at Wildhorse Reservoir. The event takes place Saturday and Sunday and each day is a separate contest.
There is $10 per day entry fee with 100% payout to the people that catch the longest three fish for each day. There is also a raffle with lots of great prizes and good food. The raffle is to raise money for road maintenance for the Wild Horse Estates.
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.
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.
COLD CREEK RESERVOIR
Cold Creek Reservoir is about 1/3 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.
The ice at Illipah Reservoir is approximately 9 to 10 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. The road from US 50 to the lake was snow covered and very muddy last weekend. With this week’s weather it is probably much worse. Stay on the gravel road please.
JAKE'S / BOIES RESERVOIR
Jakes Creek has about 12 inches of good ice with some snow on top. Fishing has been fair to good. Expect very poor driving conditions this weekend once you leave US 93.
JIGGS / ZUNINO RESERVOIR
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.
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.
HIGH ALPINE LAKES
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.
RUBY LAKE NWR
Roads are snow packed, there is plenty of drifting and care must be taken when driving into Ruby Valley. Much of the ditch will be ice covered due to the colder temperatures, but areas with springs should be open and the pond behind the hatchery is also be open. 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 PT’s, 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.
SOUTH FORK RESERVOIR
South Fork was about 50% open water earlier in the week. All remaining ice at South Fork should be considered unsafe. Several hardy fly fishermen found fishing very slow earlier in the week and fishing will probably be slow until the water temperature starts to move up into the mid 40’s.
Wildhorse is covered with 14 to 16 inches of ice with a crust of snow on top. There are a very few areas with just a bit of slush, but not enough to worry about. Fishing for both trout and perch the past week has been good with limits of 14 to 19 inch trout being taken and plenty of keeper perch reported in the creel. The trick for trout seems to be 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. When the perch are biting, which appears to be best on cloudy days, anglers report catching decent numbers of eight to eleven inch perch with a few 12 inch fish being taken.
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. It looks like the winter we needed to fill it is becoming a reality.
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.
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