Not much of a blog for this trip. Mostly a pictorial essay.
Hope you enjoy the pictures and accompanying notes.
The moon over Ely, NV. This photo looks west down E. Aultman Street, aka U.S. Highway 50 and Lincoln Highway. The Silver State Restaurant has been an Ely landmark for me since the 1970s, but is under new ownership who will be changing the sign to read Nardi’s Family Restaurant. The Magnuson Hotel (yes, they named it a hotel) is down and across the street where you see the red sign sporting a white star. This is where I rest my body when it desires a bed over a sleeping bag, mostly because it was across the street from the Silver State Restaurant.
My first trout of Monday’s late afternoon session. It was a handsome specimen of 13+ inches and a great start.
This rainbow was caught four minutes after the first, and was an inch or two longer than the first.
A pretty rainbow trout of almost 17 inches. I caught many juvenile largemouth bass, the largest being maybe 10 or 11 inches. In fact, I suspect I caught nearly as many bass as trout over the two days of fishing.
This perspective is from the northern end of Comins looking towards the Schell Creek mountain range. The highest peaks are 7 to 10 miles away. Starting from the left, the humpback-looking mountain ridge is unnamed in Google Earth, but its highest point is about 10,190 feet as it separates the Steptoe Valley from Duck Creek basin. The obvious peak in the middle is Camel Peak slightly lower at 10,078 feet (it’s actually closer to the camera than the humpback ridge). It’s hard to tell from this distance and angle, but I believe the highest point on the right side of the horizon is Cave Peak at 10,744 feel.
Another rainbow close to 17 inches. I noted its darker coloring, which always makes me wonder about the brood stock used in northern Nevada reservoirs. I’ve written many times before that Nevada seems to favor brood stock from Tasmania in the southern hemisphere, which seems to produce rainbows that still want to spawn in the fall rather than their indigenous springtime in the northern hemisphere. Note the very dark trout below as additional evidence of fall-spawning attire.
Around 6:15 PM on Monday a noticeable hatch of mayflies occurred. The larger trout, in slightly deeper water than I was presently fishing, began rolling with the hatch in what I describe as pods. I had been casting larger versions of woolly buggers with my new 5-weight using a sinking line. I didn’t want to change lines, so I snipped off my fly and tied on a size 14 gray/yellow nymph that had some mottled grizzly hackle. That did the trick; keeping up with the pod movement I caught 4 large trout in the span of 15 minutes. I would cast the fly into the pod and was getting strikes before it sank but a few inches. That was as close to dry fly fishing as I’ve come for several years.
Here’s a fine “pod” trout with the grizzly-hackled fly in the corner of his jaw. I can attest to the sharp set of teeth in his mouth. Note the thick 4x tippet (i.e., 6 lbs. test) I was using. This time of late summer the aquatic weeds can be thick. These fish know how to use them to rub off flies and break tippets. I can’t do much about the thrown flies because with catch & release comes barbless hooks, but I’ll be damned if I was going to lose a fish in the weeds with a 6x tippet (i.e., 3 lbs. test). Seems most of the trout weren’t spooked by the 4x size.
Another good trout that was rolling on the hatching mayflies. He had a dark golden-green color that in my mind somewhat resembled pictures that I had seen of South America’s golden dorado.
My June 1 st blog told about how I lost my 8-foot, 5-weight rod at Wayne Kirch. Earlier this month I built its replacement, and I used it exclusively on this trip. I enjoyed its moderate-fast action. It had a little trouble with the larger flies, but I believe it cast slightly better than its predecessor… or maybe that’s just what I want to believe.
Getting prepared for Tuesday morning’s session. I do like the Water Master Grizzly. I suppose many would say it’s overdoing it for stillwater fishing. But at age 62 I feel very comfortable with the water craft, maybe even safer than the small and nimbler Fish Cats, but it’s not that bulky that I have any trouble handling it in or out of the water. My only complaint is that netting 20-inch or larger trout over the side of the bladders with my 5-foot, 5-inch frame is a little cumbersome for me verses the open design of a Fish Cat or NFO Escape (… nothing is ever perfect). The folding stool with my name embroidered on it was a gift from my previous executive assistant. It works well for me when getting in/out of waders and boots. I take it everywhere I fish.
A sleek rainbow of 15 inches, perhaps longer.
I didn’t fish-count, but there was plenty of action both on Monday evening and Tuesday morning. It would not be an exaggeration to say I landed close to 40 fish (plus/minus 5 fish for memory nuances). As mentioned above, it seemed like half of the fish caught were young largemouth bass. As I was packing up to head home later Tuesday morning, I spoke with a man from Oregon who was visiting his brother who lives in Ely. He said they had caught many larger trout in the upper, marshier end of the reservoir, and that one measured 23 inches. I also chatted with another angler who mentioned that someone recently caught and killed two small pike, which means that it might be a matter of time before the Comins trout fishery is ruined once again. Maybe the Nevada Wildlife folks will continue killing the pike discovered during routine electrofishing. Time will tell.
Yet another slender rainbow trout. This one was at least 17 inches. It was a good looking fish.
This was my last fish of the trip. It may have been 14 inches. I was happy to let it go so that l could get back on the road home. Truthfully, my arm was getting a little tired.