It’s time to get the fishing gear out of winter storage
If the folks at Guinness have awarded records for the speed at which time flies, the world record for the slowest pace must be in 2020. The last 12 months have dragged on as we waded through the deep waters of the unknown and negotiated the challenges of living near home.
As their world suddenly grew much smaller due to social restrictions linked to COVID, people have turned to the outdoors for comfort. As they did, many found their way back to their fishing roots while others discovered the joys of recreational fishing for the first time. Turnout remained high until the onset of winter with temperatures cold enough to cover many Nevada trout waters with patches of ice.
While some seasoned anglers just turn to ice fishing during the winter months, I guess many of these new and reactivated anglers are putting their fishing gear on the ice for the winter. Therefore, to say.
If you’re one of those people who has wintered your trout fishing gear, now is the time to dig it up and get ready for some of the best trout fishing of the year. On our desert reservoirs, this typically occurs between the ice breakout and early to mid-June, when warm temperatures send trout into deeper water and stimulate seasonal weed growth that can make access to difficult fishing in some waters.
Ice has previously broken off from Adams-McGill, Cold Springs, Haymeadow and Dacey reservoirs in the Kirch Wildlife Management Area, although anglers may find skimmed ice along the shores in the morning. Until nighttime temperatures stay above freezing, this is not uncommon, but the ice usually does not last long once the sunlight hits the valley floor.
Rainbow trout planted in these waters in the fall spend the winter growing under the ice and grow rapidly. It is not uncommon to catch 18 to 20 inch fish in the first few weeks after the ice has melted. Once it warms up and the spring trout plants begin, you’ll have to work to get your bait past the planters and down to the bigger fish.
Due to the tule beds that line the edges of these reservoirs, shore access tends to be limited to dams at their southern ends. Fishing can be good from these locations, although a floating tube, small boat, or paddle steamer will greatly increase your possibilities. As spring progresses, fishermen need to be prepared for the midday winds that pick up quickly and give a hard time to floating tubers and paddlers.
Echo Canyon Reservoir is also ice free, and the ice from neighboring Eagle Valley Reservoir won’t be far behind. The ice there is already disappearing. Further north, the ice of Comins, Cave Lake and Illipah loosens a little later, but these are waters worth seeing. Especially Comins, where the trout grow 2 inches or more per month.
Although trout bite throughout the day before the daytime temperatures get too hot, they still tend to feed more actively in the early morning and late afternoon. Once the sun reaches the surface of the water and its temperature begins to rise, trout seek shade or deeper water where it is cooler. Be prepared to change your technique accordingly.
With the exception of Illipah and Cave Lake, which are exclusively trout fisheries, each of these reservoirs is also home to largemouth bass. As the water temperature begins to warm up and the trout bite begins to slow down, the bass bite will resume. Anglers can also try their luck for shit at Kirch WMA, Echo Canyon, and Eagle Valley.
Whatever your preference, spring fishing in central Nevada has something for everyone.
Freelance writer Doug Nielsen is a conservation educator for the Nevada Department of Wildlife. His column “In the Outdoors” is not affiliated with or endorsed by NDOW. All the opinions he expresses in his column are his. Find him on Facebook at @dougwritesoutdoors. He can be reached at [email protected]