Nevada is not the first state that comes to mind when one thinks of Fly Fishing. It is a state that one drives through on the way to the more famous waters of Montana, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. On one of those drives home last year I looked to the West of US-93 and saw the snow capped peaks of the Ruby Mountains. I then started to research some possible fishing places when I arrived home and finally got a chance to meet some friends from Idaho to check them out.
We left Phoenix at 4 in the afternoon with the hopes that we would be able to find some fish. 11 hours later we arrived at the Ruby Marsh just as the light from the rising sun was becoming visible on the horizon. The Marsh is a huge wetlands and National Wildlife Refuge. There is a large Collection Ditch which are spring fed from the Ruby Mountains. There are also many “ponds” and a bigger main lake area is at the south end of the Refuge. I had talked to a person at the Hatchery the week before and he had warned that the fishing had been poor at the Marsh due to some improvements they were making at the Hatchery. After the all night drive we were just happy to stretch our legs and confirm that the fishing was poor. JG and I walked the Collection Ditch for a couple hours and we did not spot a fish. Beautiful area, but just did not see any fish working in this shallow water. At that point we decided to head up the road to check out a different spot. We headed up to Jiggs Reservoir and found a very shallow weedy lake. There were a couple campsites that looked promising, but for 7 A.M. we expected to see more rising fish. We could always come back to it, but with some good reports coming out of S. Fork Reservoir we did not waste anymore time and headed up the road a bit further.
When we arrived at S. Fork we were a bit intimidated, it is a big lake. As we started to make our way around the shoreline our expectations were pretty low. We were up for 30 hours straight and had found a couple spots that were less than desirable. As we made our way around the lake we found a little road and decided to see where it led. 5 minutes later we were on the West shoreline in a promising spot to spend a few days. We also saw some 20″ trout cruising right in front of camp. Things were definitely starting to look up. We had to meet up with Rawdy and Micah so we headed back to the main highway and when they arrived we led them back to home for the next 4 days. We made a quick camp and within a minute of entering the water I had fish on. It was an extremely strong 18″ rainbow. Game on.
All night drive was worth it!!!!
The next 4 days were just awesome. We estimate we caught well over 200 fish between the 4 of us. Micah was on fire and had a 40 fish day on our second day. A mixed bag of smallmouth and rainbows. The smallies were cruising the shallows and sight fishing was the way we got most of them. The trout were feasting on the many chironimid, damsel, dragon and mayfly hatches. We caught fish on so many different flies, but Micah with the Denny Rickards stillwater nymph proved to be the most effective. We did manage to take some fish on top with frog patterns and dragon flies. Most of our rainbows were in the 18″ range with fish landed up to 4 1/4 lbs. The smallmouth averaged about 14″ with fish up to 3 1/2 lbs taken. Many of our fish were taken with a couple hundred feet of camp which was a nice bonus.
Here are the pictures of the Rainbows. These fish pulled HARD and were jumpers. Our backing was exposed several times and multiple jumps from almost every fish.
The smallmouth were cruising all over the shallows, appeared to be in post spawn. Sight fishing for these fish was a blast. Our biggest came on an Adult Dragon Fly.
We also checked out the S. Fork of the Humbolt below the dam. There were Wipers and Smallies cruising in the pond below the spillway that were very spooky. JG fooled a smallie, but the wipers did not want to play. The river was running high and fast, but Micah landed a very nice 3 lbs cutbow.
Our mid day entertainment involved some hotly contested round robin washer tourneys. Everyone wore the title of Camp Champ for a little bit, some more than others…
What a trip. The slow start at the Marsh and Jiggs had us worried, but we found some great new water and some awesome fish. There are several other places in the Elko hub that need some checking on, can’t wait to get back to the area and do some more exploring. Rawdy, JG, Micah and I had so much fun and laughed about half the time we are there. The best buddies are fishing buddies.