Joe Duckett Elko Fly Shop
With the warmer weather forecast for the next week, plenty of boaters will be taking to the water. Expected winds can also cause problems for boat riders, especially those who are inexperienced. Please wear a personal flotation device (PFD). Statistics show that year after year, approximately 75-80% of boat sinking deaths were not wearing PFDs.
Like a seat belt in a car, if you don’t wear a seat belt when getting into the water, it’s too late. Fishermen in float tubes, kick boats, kayaks, or on motor-powered vessels should wear air pressure gauges. Modern PFDs are slimmer, more comfortable, and more stylish than they were just a few years ago.
Boats often come with big, ugly orange life jackets that no one wants to wear. Ditch these and spend a few bucks to get comfortable, convenient PFD eyebrows that you and your passengers will wear at all times. After all, what is the value of life? Children under the age of 14 are required by law to wear a windbreaker while riding on a boat.
Last week’s “Take a Kid Fishing” day was a hit despite the weather as nearly 75 youngsters braved the weather and went out fishing in Spring Creek Marina. They often ask me how the fishing was, and while the fishing this day was good, the fishing left much to be desired as few fish were caught. It is a testament to the children that many of them wanted to keep hunting through the cold and wind, while it was the parents, for the most part, who wanted to go home.
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Thanks to some generous benefactors such as the Spring Creek Association, Khoury’s Market Place, Elko Fly Shop, Brent Stokes State Farm, and Ruby Mountain-Spring Creek Lions Club, each child walked out with a prize and a wonderful lunch was served to the participants.
Surface water temperatures dip into the high 40s as the weather cools and rains. Fishing continues to be good with most anglers enjoying good luck in both Penrod and Hendricks Arms. Fishing in bays as well as in Hendricks and Penrod’s arms from shore was beneficial to trout. Bass fishing is still very slow with cooler water temperatures. Perch fishing is also slow. The same fly patterns continue to operate as flycatchers had good luck with wine-colored leech patterns as well as wine or red chironomid. It also produced olive fish, wine, and black/blood leeches. For bait fishermen, try poaching a blowworm a few feet from the bottom using a gliding sinker in water four to 10 feet deep. Do not fish too far from the bank, 20 to 30 feet at most. Another option might be to wrap some PowerBait to make a bell shape and fish it in a similar way to overgrown worms using a slip sinker and it will float about two feet above the bottom. Be sure to dip the PowerBait in water for a few seconds after placing it on the hook to “lock” it so it doesn’t come off the hook when pouring. The Wildhorse was stocked with 10,000 trout in early April and 500 mops this week. Black Bass may not be kept until July 1. Please return all the black buses to the lake once you catch them.
Surface water temperatures fell back to 50 degrees this week as the weather cooled and it rained. Fishing was fair to good depending on the day you use your spinning rods, bait and flies. Lure anglers seem to have the best luck with the worms floating from the bottom about 20-30 feet offshore in six to 10 feet of water. Spin hunters continue to report good luck with golden Kastmasters and gold-colored deer. Fly catchers report that fishing has also been beneficial for trout in the 15 to 20 inch range. Most of them are hunted using chironomid patterns (midge larvae) under the pointer. Black or legible snow cones with a white bead and contrasting red or black ribbing work well. Black, olive, or purple leech patterns also catch fish. A few small mouth, scapula and spaces appeared in the drum however. Male sea bass move from deep water to suspended spawning ponds in about 15 to 20 feet of water and switch to warmer shallow waters to feed. With warmer weather, the expected sea bass catch may rise. Use a thermometer to find the warmest water for the dress. If you are targeting these warm water fish, slow down the recovery process because the water is still well below their comfort zone and they are moving slower. Chartreuse was running in the spaces and the chart or light olive seemed to work with the black bass. 500 mops and 10,000 catfish were stocked on the South Fork this week. 38,000 trout were also stocked this spring. Black Bass may not be kept until July 1. Return them to the water as soon as you catch them.
Fishing was useful to fishermen with leech, woolly, and chironomids. There is no report of any bass. Anglers must use the same presentations, colors, and techniques as the South Fork Reservoir. Since the big question every spring is when the lake will spill, with lower water levels and less snowpack, it probably won’t spill this year because peak snowmelt runoff has already occurred. Wilson planted nearly 12,000 trout on April 1. The boat ramp remains unusable due to water levels.
Not much has changed in terms of fishing conditions as the catch was fair to good for fish between 13 and 18 inches depending on the day and the location on the trench. The wind also plays a role in hunting. The best days seem to be when there are light to moderate winds to break the surface but not so strong as to interfere with the casting process. Chironomid patterns like zebra midges, yankee whistles, chrome and ice cream cones should work. Other types of flies are recommended such as leech patterns, balanced leeches, crystal leeches, bunny ears #14-16, and PT #16-18 nymphs caught under a pointer. Very small dry flies were also effective on warmer afternoons. All packs of 16-20 sized elk hair, blue winged olive, ant, and Griffith animal should all be effective. Spinners should use small deer in black or olive with yellow or red color variations. Few fish are caught near the main boat ramp and in unit 21. Still a bit chilly for bass. Approximately 6,600 trout were stocked in the main boat ramp and 6,100 trout in the collection pit.
Jacks Creek / Tank Boys
The lake is full, surface water temperatures have cooled to the low 50s, and anglers are catching trout. Worms seem to be the preferred presentation, although the little spinners should also work for those who like to throw some devices. Rods of flies should use chironomids, PT nymphs, bunny ears, and small black or olive leeches. Nearly 3,000 trout were stocked in the lake in the last week of April.
Winter repairs to the outlet hull and tank bottom were completed thanks to Kinross Gold. The tank is filling well and has stocked nearly 8,000 trout so far this spring. Expect a good catch of 10 to 12 inch fish using the same methods and presentations as on the South Fork. NDOW will begin rebuilding the Largemouth Bass fishery with increases this summer.
Cave Lake has been reduced to a minimum and indestructible. Fish stocking will resume once the dam repairs are completed. Cave Lake is closed to fishing due to the soft beaches and very dangerous due to the complete saturation of the soil as the lake is draining. By draining the lake, it should cut a few years off rebuilding the dam and cut costs dramatically. It will also make the project safer for those doing the work. For more information on Cave Lake, please contact the NDOW Ely field office.
Surface water temperatures were low in the 1950s and fishing is still beneficial for trout. The Night Hunters were working even though the Hunters were doing quite well with PowerBait. For fly rods, chironomid patterns are recommended at this time of year because they can make up up to 80% of trout’s diet in the spring in our high desert tanks. Black or olive trout species and black, olive, or wine-colored leech patterns may attract. Bass fishing is slow, but it will start to pick up as the water warms up. It still isn’t worth a bass fishing trip just yet. Give it a few weeks. Pike anglers have had some success using artificial minnows or spoons for fish between 12 and 18 inches in diameter although pike fishing has been slow. Anglers, please note that NDOW has placed radio cards in many of the North Pike. This spear will have an orange fluy mark near the dorsal fin and a small antenna (about 7 inches) coming from the stomach. Please return these fish to the water for research purposes. Every other spear must be sent in a humane manner. There is no limit on the shaft. The lake is full of plenty of trout this spring.
Surface water temperatures still hover around 50 degrees and the catch was fair to good. Water levels continue to slowly improve. Hunters will do well with a variety of nocturnal crawlers, PowerBait, and deer. Bait anglers’ best bet for night fishing and rainbow PowerBait. Small spinners, spoons, and Kastmasters should work in gold for those throwing devices. For fly rods, chironomid (midge larva) patterns are recommended at this time of year because they can make up up to 80% of trout’s diet in spring in our high desert tanks. Black or olive trout and black, olive, or wine-colored leech patterns should also be caught. Spring stocking is complete here as Illipah stocked nearly 10,000 trout.
The road to Angel Lake is closed for the winter and the lake is covered in ice and there will be no further fishing reports until late spring or early summer depending on what snowfalls this winter. As a rule, the NDOT tries to have the road cleared by Memorial Day. It all depends on snow conditions.
The alpine lakes are still frozen and there will be no more fishing reports until late spring or early summer depending on the snowfall. It is not recommended to travel to the high mountains at this time due to winter travel conditions.
Stream flows have increased slightly over the past week with rain and thaw although they are still well below average for this time of year. With warmer weather, we expect flows to continue to increase. The East Fork of the Owyhee just below the Wildhorse Dam flows sparingly with very little water coming out of the dam. However, this is normal at this time of year when the tank has a large capacity and the snow pack is below average. As you advance in more streams downstream, it increases exponentially and by the time you approach Mountain City, it improves dramatically even though it is still half average. It becomes brittle about a mile from the dam. As of May 13, the East Fork of the Owyhee near the Mountain City metering station was flowing at 145 cubic feet, the Bruneau River was flowing at 125 cubic feet, Garridge was flowing at 45 feet, Salmon Falls Creek at 237 feet, and Lamuel Creek at 53 cfs, the South Fork of the Humboldt at 50 cfs is very perishable but well below the average of 350 cfs for this time of year, Cleve Creek at 5.5 cfs, Steptoe Creek at 2.2 cfs and Kingston Creek at 2.8 cfs.