Cast a Line this Fall

Fall is a great time to enjoy the Nevada outdoors and catch a fish whether you are new to fishing or a veteran. Find our guide with tips and tricks to make the most out of your fishing trip throughout the state.

Southern Nevada

With the arrival of fall, cooler weather brings the chance for excellent fishing opportunities, especially in Southern Nevada. If you plan your trips right, you can also get in some hunting along the way. One of the places that offers both angling and fishing opportunities is Kirch Wildlife Management Area near Sunnyside.

Some people say hunts go by so fast because “you head out in the morning and sometimes in the afternoon, and then the trip is over.”  However, you can add more adventure to your outing by filling those in-between hours by fishing one of the reservoirs at Kirch — Adams-McGill, Cold Springs, Haymeadow, and Dacey. Though they each get covered with aquatic vegetation during the warm summer months, which limits access to fishing in July and August, that vegetation starts to dissipate with the arrival of cool fall temperatures and bird hunting seasons.

Bird hunting starts September 1 every year with the opening of mourning dove season. The birds can be seen year-round near the wildflower fields on the management area, which is located west of State Route 318 about 80 miles north of Alamo.  In early October, chukar hunting begins in the hills outside of Kirch. Camping at the primitive campsites on the management area makes it easy to enjoy an early morning bird hunt and then fish for trout, bass, or crappie as hunting slows in the afternoon. 

Until freezing temperatures put them to rest for the season, mosquitos can be bothersome during the fall months at Kirch, especially in the warmer parts of the day. Having a good supply of an effective repellent on hand could make or break your cast- and-shoot adventure.

The Kirch WMA is located far enough to the north that freezing overnight temperatures can show up with little notice. Always check weather conditions when planning your trip and before you leave home. And keep in mind it is always best to go prepared for the possibilities.

Due to the hot springs in the area, reservoirs on the Kirch Wildlife Management Area don’t always freeze solid, and when they do it is generally late in the year. But as  fall progresses, nights grow cold enough to freeze the edges far enough out to limit launching or fishing from shore.

Eastern Nevada

It’s been a long hot summer and the cooling temperatures of fall are welcome relief to the trout waters in Eastern Nevada.  As plants start to go dormant for the winter, expect the extremely low flows from the summer to increase, but only a little, as some of the groundwater is released.  Many of the region’s streams are flowing between 25% and 50% of normal with a few approaching 75% of normal.  While we still have skinny water, it has cooled down and trout are becoming more active.  Dead drifting a worm or a grasshopper (If you can find one) on a light wire hook behind a clear bubble should be effective in the beaver ponds, plunge pools or in streams that have fishable flows.  Fly rodders will do well with elk hair caddis, hopper patterns, ants, beetles and yellow stimulators for dry flies.  Just about anything with red or yellow should work on many of our streams.  For nymphs the usual hares ears, PT’s, copper Johns and soft hackles should all be productive.  Play around with different colors in the copper Johns and soft hackles.  Lamoille Creek, the east fork of the Owyhee and the Jarbidge in Elko County are all good bets for fall fishing. Cleve Creek, Steptoe Creek and Kingston Creek are a few good ones to give a try in White Pine County.

Our reservoirs are seasonally low but levelling off as irrigation is winding down.  Surface water temperatures are in the high 50’s to low 60’s and the algae is dying off.  This is good news for trout anglers who have had to work hard this summer to catch trout in our reservoirs.  As the weed beds start to die off, leeches are expelled from them and fishing the edges of these with leech patterns is a great way to target fish in the fall.  Chironomids (midge larva) are one of the more active fall aquatic insects and they can be as much as 80% of a trout’s diet this time of year.  Fly rodders will do well in our high desert reservoirs fishing chironomid patterns under an indicator.  Bait fishermen should use the smaller worms, like red wigglers on a small red hook fished just off of the bottom.  While the bass bite in reservoirs is slowing down in the fall, this is the time of year to catch the big ones.  These warm water fish are slowing down with the colder water temperatures, so slow down your presentation and fish structure and cover. Just about any reservoir in eastern Nevada will be good fishing, but some of the favorites include Comins Lake, Illipah and Cave Lake in White Pine County.  South Fork, Wildhorse, Wilson Sink and Jakes Creek are all popular Elko County waters.

Western Nevada

Autumn has finally offered some relief to an incredibly hot and dry summer for western Nevada. The Truckee, Carson, and Walker rivers have all began to cool with upper elevation low temperatures finally coming down. River fisherman should look forward to an excellent fall on the Truckee and East Walker rivers. Flows are up on the Truckee river from Verdi downstream through Reno and Sparks as many of the hydroelectric diversions are drained. Prime flow and temperatures should hold on the East Walker until the bitter cold really sets in. Caddis and hoppers can provide fly fisherman with some pretty exciting late afternoon surface activity until flows drop for the winter.

Northern Washoe county reservoirs including Wall Canyon and Squaw Creek reservoir can provide anglers with excellent fishing if you’re willing to make the drive. Both trout and bass are eager to chase down spinners and spoons near the dam or inlets until winter really takes hold. Bass and walleye fisherman willing to cover some water at Lahontan and Rye Patch reservoir are finding warm water gamefish populations concentrated in deeper water. If you’re looking for something a little closer to home, the cooler temperatures have allowed us to get back out stocking many of our community ponds.

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