This post is a pictorial essay of a wonderful trip to Ely, NV with my good friend Luis. About a year ago, after Luis retired, he told me of his desire to learn how to fly fish. We had frequented Cold Creek Pond as a starting place for him, and as he gained some experience there I began to set my sights on getting him on Comins Lake near Ely, NV. While the fishing was just “OK” for Comins standards, Luis’s delight to see and explore these parts of Nevada’s Great Basin was the best part of the trip. His infectious enthusiasm was punctuated with all sorts of observations and inquiries. I explained and answered everything to the best of my abilities. I enjoyed being a tour guide for Luis. I have great affection for Nevada, for its statuesque mountain ranges, spacious valleys, and folksy frontier towns, so I relished sharing whatever I knew.
On this trip we took US93 to US318 as a direct route to Ely. Our return route was down US93 the whole way. This circuitous route circumnavigated the Egan and Schell Creek ranges, and it allowed me to introduce Luis to the Snake Mountain Range that is the home of the Great Basin National Park. He also got the “nickel tour” of the Pioche, Panaca, and Caliente towns. Nevada is amazing!
Luis and I met over 20 years ago, perhaps over 25 years. We met through a Promise Keepers (PK) group. We attended a couple of national PK events, but we really developed our personal friendship and fellowship with each other and our other brothers through breakfast meetings every other Saturday. Luis brought a perspective into our men’s group that is often taken for granted by native born United States citizens. Luis and his family legally emigrated to the U.S. over 43 years ago. His family fled El Salvador to escape the devastating Salvadoran Civil War in the 1980s. Not only did his family find peace and safety in the U.S., but they also accessed the bounty of opportunities that the U.S. provided as compared to every other nation in the world. Luis learned the orthotics and prosthetics craft, and eventually became a part owner of a series of local orthotics and prosthetics providers. Luis sees the U.S. from the perspective that he and his family escaped real oppression and succeeded in carving out careers and making a difference in their adopted U.S.
I am a Christian who has been married to my wife for over four decades, with six children and four grandchildren so far. I have retired from a string of successful occupations as a certified public accountant, a chief financial officer, and a registered municipal advisor. I have been a fly angler for almost five decades. My one and only article submission was published by Southwest Fly Fishing magazine (now American Fly Fishing). You can learn more about me by clicking on “About” on the top of my blog page.
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19 thoughts on “Comins Lake in the Spring”
Hi Mark, thank you for yet another wonderful blog post. It was interesting learning about your friendship with Luis and his many achievements in the United States. I’m glad Luis has such a godly and faithful friend in you. You are a blessing to so many, many people. I trust you are healthy and very happy, my friend
Hello Randy! I am doing well by the grace of our Lord. I was just telling a relative that I’m not going to let my health issues prevent me from living a full and abundant life (John 10:10). I pray you continue to serve Him for his purpose. May He richly bless you my good Brother in Christ!
Are Pike edible fish? Just wondering….
I am told they are if large enough and if prepared correctly. Maybe someone will comment on that…
Fishmasters.com says they taste good, but they are pretty boney. Here’s a link to their website on this subject which mostly confirms what I was told:
Mark/Luis— Continue down the road past where you fished. You’ll see an outhouse down by the lake. The weed beds in this area are full of big trout. Guess this is the south or outlet end of the lake. This is where I always fished and had many days of 18″-22″ fish. 15″ of ice this winter so there may be some winter kill. also why water is brown. No more Nevada for me as my wife needs my presence at this time of life. Will have to fish Cachuma Lake in our area from my outboard as no tubes allowed. will use the flyrod on bass, trout and carp. Haven’t been for 3 weeks as the weather is overcast and wet. Catch one for me.
Ron, I was thinking of you while Luis and I were fishing. Thank you so much for your insight on Comins; I may get back up there in the fall.
I was hoping by some miracle that I would run into you, but I certainly understand changing priorities. My family had to make adjustments for me, and I am extremely grateful for that.
I think my brother Bruce has fished Cachuma Lake on his kayak, but maybe I am wrong about that. Do they allow kayaks on Cachuma?
My prayers and best wishes for you and your wife, Ron.
Great post, thanks for all the little details re the peaks and views. Hammer Handle pike like that are fun to catch but not much fun to clean and eat. There is a row of floating v~shaped bones above the spine that keep you guessing if you are dining on them. They taste good. I’ve never caught one on the fly though ~ well done!
Vince, your assist on the edibility of pike is far more informative than the Fishmasters website, thanks for that. I hope your retirement plans are coming together as you hoped they would. May the Lord continue to bless you my friend.
Wow… looks like a great fishing trip!! nice pictures too…like Luis my goal is to learn to fly fish…I was alway a spinning real guy both fresh and salt water. Northern pike is a suprise to me in those waters, invasive species are never good. 🙂👍
Yes, in my lifetime the Comins trout fishery has been shut down three times because of the invasive pike. The last time it took years (maybe 4 or 5) before NDOW decided to take down the pike population and restock the trout. That was in 2017 (see this post: https://www.fisherdad.com/2017/09/30/comins-reservoir-steptoe-valley-wildlife-management-area/), so in 6 years we’re back to a pike problem.
As to fly fishing, now that you’re retired you have the time to learn. The two most common complaints about it are learning to fly cast and the complexity of its components. There are many good instructional books out there on both of those subjects. I once wrote a primer to demystify fly fishing tackle, but I’m, not sure I succeeded in that goal (check out this post: https://www.fisherdad.com/2009/11/12/beginners-gear-guide-to-fly-fishing/).
Learning fly-casting is just practice, like learning to throw a football or playing a guitar. The good news is that even beginning casters will catch fish.
I like to keep things simple; overcomplication can be a drag. Unfortunately the fly fishing industry seems to add all sorts of new tackle advancements that fight against simplicity.
Love to you and June!
Mike, one more thing. Here’s a good Lefty Kreh video on the fundamentals of fly casting: https://youtu.be/57Ux1pqzUKQ
Lefty, who passed away in 2018, was known for his generous and effective fly casting instruction. As an angler, he was one of the most influential fly anglers in both freshwater and saltwater. He wrote countless articles and more than 30 books, as well as published many videos and television appearances, where he translated his vast experience into lucid observations and practical advice for fly anglers at all levels. I urge you to check it out. (I’m a lousy fly casting instructor.)
Do you live in the Las Vegas area? I just moved to Las Vegas. I was looking for places to fly fish in UT and saw your blog. I just had to subscribe!
Hello Nate! Yes, I’ve lived in Las Vegas since 1965.
Regarding your question, at the bottom of my blog is a “Category” section. It lists all the waters I have fished (and other topics). When you click on a “Category” (i.e., water) it will return all the blogposts for that water. So, the “Utah” specific waters I have fished are: Anderson Res., Baker Res., Beaver River, Kolob Res., Little Res., Mammoth Creek, Panguitch Lake, Pine Valley Res., Red Creek Res., Sevier River, and Tropic Reservoir. You will find all these waters alphabetically in the list of “Categories.”
All the best for your Utah fishing, and please post comments whenever the urge strikes. If the comment is on one of these waters, it would be great if you could post it on the latest post for that water.
Awesome and thank you! Maybe someday we’ll get to meet up! I am a snob when it comes to fly fishing. I like moving water (no reservoirs), and I love the mountains where few people are. I’ll hike a mile or two downstream and fish upstream back to the truck. I have heard the runoff right now is making most of the UT streams and creeks un-fishable. I will be sure to comment on the waters I fish when I get a moment. Hopefully, I can get up into the mountains soon. Was planning on this weekend, but the runoff is preventing the long journey. Is there a way for me to post pictures of the fish caught on your blog?
Yes, that was me when I was 20 through about 40. I was a fly-fishing snob pursuing secluded mountain streams only.
Now, 20+ years of peripheral artery disease in my legs, one heart attack while fishing alone in eastern NV, and a new artificial artery to bypass blockage causing damage to my right leg, all restricts me to float tubing with a body about to turn 67. Age and health is as restricting factor to many of us old timers. Be kind to us (LOL).
Happy to respond to any questions you might have. Know that here are some really awesome streams in NV, but the negative is that they’re all 4-6 hours away from Vegas (but so are the better Utah streams, so…). Check for posts on some Nevada streams like East Walker River, Carson River, Mary’s River, Bruneau River, Jarbidge River, and “The Ditch” found in several of my Ruby Mountain Area posts.
All the best!
Thanks of all those suggestions. Sorry to hear about those struggles! If you have any struggles tying knots, I will send you you several of my knot tying tools free of charge! You can email me and I will send them to you.
Struggles are a part of life. I am thankful that I can still fish at all.
I see that you are the creator of the “Knot Kneedle.” Pretty cool. Did you relocate to Nevada for tax reasons (it’s obvious it wasn’t the fishing)? Just curious.
You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I’ve never used a tool before except a large gage nail to tie a “Nail Knot” (I’m old school). I used to build my own leaders using 5 blood knots per leader under the Curtis Creek Manifesto formula. I am really thankful for todays tapered leaders.
But, I am now old enough to appreciate conveniences like float tubes and tapered leaders, so why not a knot tying tool.
Thanks for your generosity.
I missed your last question. My website doesn’t have a vehicle for you to post photos. Sorry about that.