Eastern Nevada Fishing Report
This lake is frozen and the road is snow covered. Travel isn’t recommended and there will not be a report on this lake until next spring.
The east end of Cave Lake now has 14 inches of ice and the west end of the lake has approximately 16 inches of ice. Angling has been mediocre, with the best fishing coming in the morning hours and slowing down around 11 am. Fish quality is better than it has been in years with many of the trout being harvested are 10 inches to 12 inches in length. Most fish are being caught using worms or PowerBait suspended several feet below the ice using a bobber.
CCR should still be approximately 50% open water and trout have been seen surfacing and actively feeding. More than likely a midge hatch going on. The ice covered portion of the reservoir was not sampled for ice thickness and should be considered unsafe. Spinners and spoons as well as wooly buggers, crystal buggers, seal buggers and leech patterns should all work here. Anglers should also try suspending, hare’s ears, PT nymphs, copper Johns or chironomid patterns under an indicator.
Ice is still 13 to 16 inches thick throughout the reservoir. Fishing has picked up with most fish being harvested around 13 inches to 14 inches. Most anglers report catching fish and many of those are taking limits home. Best time seems to be first thing in the morning or late in the afternoon. With the freeze thaw cycle, the road in and out of Illipah can be muddy and treacherous. Going in the morning isn’t bad because it is frozen, but getting out in the afternoon can be difficult.
Approximately 9 inches of safe hard ice and anglers are catching 12 to 14 inch fish using worms or PowerBait. With the inflow and now irrigation taking place this reservoir is starting to rise a bit. Chances are, like other area reservoirs, this one received rain instead of snow and the surface of the ice may be very slick.
Unfortunately, Jiggs has dried up.
Stream flows have improved and fishing has been fair to good, especially in brookie waters. Go-to baits or flies should be nymphs, very small buggers, and worms. Dry fly season is over so turn to nymphs such as hare’s ears, PT, prince and zug bugs.
HIGH ALPINE LAKES
Expect the high mountain lakes to be iced over and with the recent snow, travel isn’t recommended to the elevations. Expect a new fishing report in late spring or early summer when they open back up.
Little or no change here with Harrison Pass being closed, use Secret Pass to access the Refuge. There is approximately seven inches of ice at the boat ramp and much of the collection ditch is iced over, though as the days are warming up, more of it will open. There is open water in the pond behind the hatchery and down to Brown Dike. Passey Springhole has open water and there is some open water at Bressman Cabin. With the warm afternoons, expect some of the ditch to start opening up a bit more. Water levels are low, the water is clear and the fish are very spooky. There are some nice fish being seen, but they are wary and hard to catch. The fish are finicky and on any given day it seems to be something different that works. Again fishing is a bit slow, but when caught, they are generally pushing five pounds or even larger. Anglers are working most of the morning or afternoon to catch a fish, but when they do most say it was worth the effort. Gold ribbed hares ears seem to be the ticket at Brown Dike, though an occasional fish has been taken with a bugger or a zonker. At the oxbow behind the hatchery chironomids, hares ears, copper Johns and egg patterns have worked on various days.
South Fork has about 11-14 inches of good clear hard ice with an extremely slick surface along with an inch or so of water on top. When that freezes expect it to be even more slippery than before. Take special care when walking here. This is definitely time to use crampons or other strap on devices made to give you traction on the ice. Again, six to ten feet of water is where most trout are being caught and worms, PowerBait, marshmallows and cheese baits are all working. Start to fish about halfway down the water column and if you don’t catch anything start moving down a bit until you find the depth they are at. Change depths about every half hour until you find them. Best fishing still appears to be along Jet Ski Beach, the old river channel at the south end of the lake and in the coves on the east side of the lake from the dam south to Tomera Cove. Early morning or late afternoon seem to be the best times to fish. There is a pressure ridge running from the dam almost to the moat on the west side of the lake and anglers are cautioned to stay away from the ridge.
As the ice continues to grow, fishing has slowed a bit here. Approximately thirteen plus inches of hard clear ice with a crust on top to make travel easy. Anglers are having to work a bit harder to catch a limit of 15 to 18 inch trout now. Most trout are being caught in six to ten feet of water with the presentation placed about halfway to the bottom. With the thicker ice, anglers should start branching out and finding areas that haven’t been fished and may have better success. Fishing did slow a bit off of the State Park, but the rock face south of the boat ramp did provide some nice fish to anglers who moved into that area. Coves and the arms also provided better fishing than the middle of the lake. Bait doesn’t always matter, but the most popular are PowerBait, worms, marshmallows and small grubs tipped with one of the previously mentioned baits. The State Park has cleared a parking area right next to the ice so you don’t have to walk to far from your vehicle to start ice fishing. No word on any perch being caught, but expect to find them in much deeper water, generally more than 20 feet deep. Fish right on the bottom with a small brightly colored jig tipped with a mealworm, wax worm or piece of nightcrawler.
The lake is down to around 5% of capacity and turbid. It is not worth the trip. This fishery is probably gone until we get enough moisture to recharge both it and the surrounding lands.
The outflow has been shut off with the water level at approximately 25% of capacity. The boat ramp is out of the water by 20 to 30 feet and unless it is a car topper, launching a boat here is not recommended. There has been little or no fishing here over the past week. However, chances are the conditions are similar to South Fork and the same techniques should be tried.