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Joe's Fishing Hole: Fishing near the weeds

The Elko Daily Free Press
6/29/18

With warmer weather and sunny skies, weed growth is picking up at most of the area reservoirs. While aquatic weeds are a hindrance to anglers, they can also help you find fish. Weeds have aquatic insects associated with them, which are trout food, and the weed banks can also act as structure. The downside is that weeds grow in the warmer water of the lake while trout like the colder, oxygen-rich water.

But early in the morning and late in the evening as the water is cooler, the trout will often patrol the weed edges looking for food. Bass will also use the weed beds as ambush cover while waiting for bait fish to come by. A favorite tactic of fly rodders during the early summer is to fish the tops of the weed beds using a damselfly or mayfly nymph with an intermediate sink or sink tip line.

If fishing for bass, cast along the edges with crankbaits, spinner baits or soft plastics covering lots of territory quickly. Anglers can also set up soft plastic grubs weedless and toss them directly into open pockets in the weed beds where bass often hang out.

The Angel Lake Kids Fishing Derby is coming up on July 21. As the name implies it is held at beautiful Angel Lake just a few miles out of Wells is about an hour drive from Elko. Besides good fishing, there will be educational booths that include casting, fish ID/cleaning, boating safety, fly tying and a hatchery fish truck filled with fish. Rumor has it that Smokey Bear will also be there.

Each participant will receive a free goody bag and there are lots of great prizes to be given away at the end of the morning, along with a free chilidog lunch for everyone. To top it all off, it is generally 10 degrees cooler than here in Elko. Registration will start at 7:30 a.m. and the fishing begins at 8:30. So, beat the heat and bring the kids out to Angel Lake on July 21.

WILDHORSE

While surface water temperatures have climbed into the high 60s and flirting with the low 70s, fishing continues to be good for trout, though they have moved into deeper water. Bass fishing is fair to good and continuing to improve. There is some algae growth, but considering we are at the end of June, the water quality is still pretty good. Trout are averaging 14 to 17 inches with the occasional 20+ inch fish being taken. 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. Boaters are doing well on the southeast shore between Hot Creek and Goose Island trolling crankbaits. Sherbet and rainbow PowerBait seems to be working well, but anglers report catching trout on worms, spinners, small spoons and crankbaits. For fly rodders should be using most common nymph patterns such as hares ears, prince, PT’s and damselfly nymphs. Starting Sunday, July 1, one black bass 15 inches or larger may be kept.

SOUTH FORK RESERVOIR

Fishing for trout at South Fork continues to be just fair. Float tubers are catching some trout by the willows at the south end of the lake and shore anglers are catching a few along Jet Ski Beach and in the coves near the dam. Bass fishing has been good. Fishing for wipers has been fair to good with the south end still producing wipers. Some nice catfish have also been showing up in the creel. Surface water temperatures have climbed into the 70s. 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, flash back PT nymphs, prince nymphs, balanced leeches and buggers. Starting Sunday, July 1 one black bass 15 inches or longer may be kept. One wiper 15 inches or longer may be kept.

JIGGS/ZUNINO RESERVOIR

Fishing for both bass and trout is fair to good at Zunino. The water level is low, which have the fish concentrated. PowerBait, nightcrawlers, and dark spinners with some red or yellow accents seem to be working.

WILSON RESERVOIR

The road to Wilson has dried and the county section has been graded, though at last report, the BLM part was still rough. The surface water temperature is in the mid to high 60’s, and fishing for trout is fair to good. Best time seems to be early morning or late evening when the trout move into shore to feed. During midday the bite really slows down. Late morning and afternoons they are being caught in 8 to 12 feet of water. Trout are averaging 14 to 16 inches with an occasional 18 to 19 inch fish being taken.

RUBY LAKE NWR

The first two weeks of boat season at the Refuge have been good to bass anglers and as the weather warms it should only get better. On top of catching fish, the keeper ratio was good. Those anglers who knew how to fish the marsh were getting a 10 inch or larger bass for every two fish caught. Even those who were new to the marsh or bass fishing were catching a 10 inch keeper for every four to five fish caught. Dark soft plastics with some flash were the presentation of choice. Best colors seemed to be purple, motor oil and dark green. Fishing continues to be good at the collection ditch for 12 to 16 inch trout. 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. One angler reported catching a number of fish with a dry blue damselfly.

JAKES CREEK/BOIES RESERVOIR

The lake is full and fishing has been good the past couple of weeks. Weeds are coming on and fishing from shore, while doable, is getting more difficult. 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.

COLD CREEK RESERVOIR

Little to no change here as fishing has been good for trout. Anglers should do well on Power Bait, Mepps, Panther Martins, and nightcrawlers. Flyfishers will do well on nymphs and emerger patterns, though with the warmer temperatures, dry fly fishing is picking up.

CAVE LAKE

With surface water temperatures in the mid 60s, 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. Fly fishermen have been doing well with dry flies with elk hair caddis, red ants, small stimulators and Adams all working well.

COMINS LAKE

The lake is starting to drop abut anglers continue to catch quality rainbow trout over 16 inches off a variety of bait, lures, and flies. Boaters and float tubers are able to access most of the lake easily.

ILLIPAH

Water levels continue to drop and surface water temperatures are climbing into the mid 60s.

ANGEL LAKE

Fishing has been good for fly fishermen using beadhead hares ears and small black crystal buggers. Small worms seem to work better than PowerBait here. Also small spinners in black and gold or dark green and gold are also effective at Angel Lake.

ALPINE LAKES

Trails are opening up quickly with the warm weather, though hikers can still expect some wet trail conditions and will encounter snow especially on north facing slopes and shady areas. Expect fishing to be good after a long winter under the ice and snow. Island and Lamoille Lakes have open water and fishing has been fair to good with fly fishermen doing better than bait anglers. Worms seem to produce better than PowerBait at the higher elevations and small spinners and rooster tails are also effective. Fly fishermen will want to use small nymphs sized 12 – 18 such as hares ears, PTs, prince nymphs, copper Johns as well as black or olive wooly buggers sized 10 and 12. Dry flies to try include Griffith’s gnats, small stimulators, elk hair caddis, small black Adams, humpies, flying ants and beetles.

STREAMS

Stream flows are well below normal for this time of year which makes most of them very fishable. Howver, as fast as the flows are falling, anglers may want to take advantage of them now as many will be very low later in the summer. As of Thursday, Lamoille Creek was flowing at 49 cfs, the South Fork of the Humboldt above and below the reservoir approximately 42 cfs, the East Fork of the Owyhee below Wildhorse was flowing at 99 cfs, the Bruneau at 25 cfs, the Jarbidge at 19 cfs, Cleve Creek around 5 cfs and Steptoe Creek at just below 4 cfs. Swinging small spinners or streamers, Nymphing or dead drifting a worm are your best bets in the streams. Dry fly fishing is coming on though there aren’t many hoppers out yet. Try floating small elk hair caddis, small stimulators, royal trudes, renegades and of course terrestrials, especially ants and beetles.

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