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Joe's Fishing Hole: Warm winter cuts into ice fishing

The Elko Daily Free Press

Unlike February of 2017, the only place to go ice fishing right now is Wildhorse Reservoir and expect that to end in a week or two. We are expecting some cooler temperatures over the weekend, which should stabilize the ice a bit, but then it is expected to warm back up a bit.

Area water temperatures are ranging from the mid to high 30’s into the low 40’s, which has the bite off a bit. Once it starts to warm up into the mid-40s it should start picking up a bit.

The bad news is that the snow pack is well below normal and this will impact stream flows later in the summer. In northern and eastern Nevada snow packs are averaging 30-50 percent of average for this time of year.

Area lakes and reservoirs should be going into the spring in good shape, but if the dry weather continues, those irrigation impoundments we love to fish will start to drop.

While the weather has been awesome for fishing right now, we all need to pray for precipitation so that the streams will be in good shape this summer.


Wildhorse has approximately seven to eight inches of slick ice making for difficult walking. There is open water around pressure ridges. Please stay away from them. There is also open water near rock faces, Hot Creek, and the Hendricks Bridge Fishing has been slow. As a general rule, anglers should find trout in six to 10 feet of water. For the most part, the fish are averaging 15 to 20 inches in length. Garlic flavored PowerBait or PowerEggs have been working well. Jigging should improve the odds of catching a fish.


South Fork is 98% ice free with some ice at the back of coves and along the face of the dam. Water temperature earlier this week was 42 degrees. Fishing has been just fair, but those fish being caught ranged from 18 to 22 inches with the occasional 25 inch fish being reported. 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.


Open water at Jiggs Reservoir and fishing is slow to fair. Use the same presentations at Jiggs as you would at South Fork.


The road to Wilson is rutted though the lake is ice free. Water temperature was at 38 degrees earlier this week. The water level is approximately 50% of capacity with lite flow at the inlet to the lake. Fishing has been fair to good for 14 to 19 inch fish. No report on what anglers are using.


Fishing has been fair to good at the collection ditch depending upon the day and the experience of the angler. 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. Earlier in the week, Harrison Pass was open, and should be, though you may need 4WD in a few places.


Jakes Creek was about 60% open water at last report with fair fishing. As the ice comes off expect the fishing to pick up. The usual PowerBait or worms for bait anglers and small dark spinners for spin fishermen. Fly rodders should be using chironomids, hares ears, prince nymphs and olive or black wooly buggers.


Cold Creek was about 50% open water and expect fishing to be fair to good though there is no recent report of anglers fishing here.


Unsafe ice with some open water for fishing. No recent report of anglers fishing, but generally it can be good right as the ice is coming off for 10 to 12 inch trout. The usual worms or PowerBait should work as well as small spinners.


Unsafe ice with open water that is fishable. Anglers report catching limits in the open water using worms, though PowerBait should also work. Fly fishermen should be using wooly buggers, prince nymphs, damsel fly nymphs, hares ears and pheasant tail nymphs.

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