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Joe's Fishing Hole: Ice is melting away

The Elko Daily Free Press

The majority of northeastern Nevada lakes are ice free and those that aren’t have open water for fishing. With the storm that moved through on Thursday, the wind may have busted up ice at lakes like Illipah and Wildhorse. But even if there is still ice on these lakes, there is enough open water to fish.

Wednesday, April 4, Nevada Department of Wildlife will be hosting a Big Game Tag Application Seminar at the NDOW office at 60 Youth Center Road starting at 6 p.m.

The seminar will explain how tag quotas are set, provide information on hunter resources, and how to apply for the big game tag draw. Space is limited to about 40 people so register early. To register for the seminar go to Select “Get Certified” at the top of the page. Then scroll down until you see the tab for “Advanced Hunter Education”. Select it and scroll down until you get to the April 4th Seminar which you select to register for it.

The Ruby Mountain Fly Fishers, with the sponsorship of Kinross, is hosting the Fly Fishing Film Tour. It will be held next Friday, March 30 at the Great Basin College Theater. The doors open at 6 p.m. for appetizers and socializing with the show starting at 7:00. There will also be a no-host bar.

The show features a number of films featuring fishing adventures around the world. There will be great door prizes including a Yeti bucket and Oakley sunglasses. They will also be giving away hats, T-shirts, water bottles and other items to some lucky folks who attend. RMFF will also be holding a free drawing for a Sage Approach fly rod with a Sage 2250 reel and flyline donated by the Elko Fly Shop.

Tickets are $15 each and can be purchased from club members or at the Elko Fly Shop and children under 12 are free. However, there is a little “salty” language in a few of the videos and it does show some drinking so it may not be appropriate for some of the really young crowd. If you don’t know a member you can contact me at 775-777-2305 or at


At last report, the ice was receding providing open water for fishing, but the majority of the lake was still ice covered. Fishing the open water had been productive for fly fishermen using nymphs, chironomids and stripping buggers. No report of bait or spin anglers hitting the water, though right after ice out fishing can be good for all types of gear.


South Fork is now ice free and fishing has started to pick up. Last weekend several anglers reported good luck both on the west side at Jet Ski Beach and in the main boat ramp cove on the east side of the lake. The fish being caught were averaging between 16 and 20 inches with a number of them coming in over 20 inches. Most anglers are having some success with PowerBait or worms, while fly rodders should be using chironomids, hares ears, prince nymphs and buggers. Sherbet PowerBait fished using a slip sinker off of the bottom about 25-30 feet from shore seemed to work the best.


Zunino Reservoir has open water for fishing, but no recent word on fishing success. Expect it to be fair to good using the usual PowerBait or worms.


The road to Wilson is rutted and the lake is approximately 50% of capacity and ice free. No recent word on angling success.


Fishing has been fair to good at the collection ditch depending upon the day and the experience of the angler. The water is turbid, so for the most part sight fishing is out. 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, eggs and egg sucking leeches. The fish are moving, so if you don’t have much luck in one area, pack up and hit another. Harrison Pass was open on Wednesday, but who knows what Thursday’s storm did to the pass.


Jakes Creek is ice free and now is the time to fish it from shore before the weed growth kicks in. It is generally pretty good for trout right after ice out using a variety of presentations including worms, PowerBait, spinners and flies.


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


Cave Lake still has unsafe ice, but if it isn’t gone by this weekend, it should be gone by next. There is open water at the Cave Creek inlet just past the float tube launch. The usual PowerBait or worms as well as small spinners, panther Martins or rooster tails should all work.


The majority of the north portion of Comins Lake is open to shoreline and boat fishing. There is still some ice in the south portion of Comins Lake but it should be gone soon. There is access in the south lake from the float tube launch. Anglers should do well on Power Bait, Mepps, Panther Martians, and nightcrawlers. Fly fishers will do well on smaller nymphs and emerger patterns. With recent warm temperatures, ice should be considered unsafe.


As of last week Illipah Reservoir was starting to open up with open water along the western and eastern shorelines. With the warmer temperatures and the wind on Thursday, it should have opened up quite a bit more. The best angling opportunities are going to be from the western shoreline. Fishing off the receding ice edge could produce quality trout. The reservoir is sitting at approximately 95% of capacity.

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