Dennis Cassinelli: Ice fishing at Nevada state parks

Ice fishing at Nevada State Parks has been a family tradition for many years. Every year, people dedicated to this winter sport watch the Department of Wildlife reports on ice fishing conditions to find out which of the several reservoirs in Nevada have ice thick enough for ice fishing. This is enjoyed by people of all ages who bundle up to try their hand at ice fishing. Nevada is blessed to have three state park reservoirs that usually have ice thick enough for ice fishing.

Wildhorse Reservoir State Park is located 65 miles north of Elko on State Route 225. People ice fishing can catch rainbow trout, brown trout, tiger trout and yellow perch. Harvest lengths of fish caught can be 16 inches for rainbows and 8 to 12 inches for perch. Wildhorse State Park has day use, camping and a boat ramp. The BLM has day use and a campground area near the north end of the reservoir. Wildhorse has a motel, RV hookup, restaurant, bar and a convenience store just south of the lake. Night crawlers, corn and power bait are most commonly used there for ice fishing.

Southfork Reservoir is located 10 miles southwest of Elko off state route 227, then turn right on State Route 228 to reach the reservoir. There is a boat launching ramp that provides access to the ice on years when it is safe for ice fishing. There is a restroom and plenty of parking for fishermen. Some of the largest rainbow trout we have caught were taken from Southfork reservoir. Although my group has never been there, there is also access to the ice at the south side of the lake. After ice fishing all day, we usually dine at one of the fine Basque restaurants in Elko.

The last state park reservoir where we have done ice fishing was at Cave Lake State Park. From Ely Nevada, take U.S. 50 14.4 miles southeast to the Cave Lake Park turnoff. Turn left and go about 10 miles to Cave Lake. The lake features ice fishing, two campgrounds, a Yurt, ice skating, snowmobiling and cross-country skiing. In January, there is an annual fire and ice festival with ice sculptures and fireworks. Since there are no restaurants at the state park, there are several to choose from along U.S. 50 south of Ely.

To prepare for ice fishing, be sure you have a Nevada fishing license, an auger, insulated boots, gloves, layers of warm clothing, food, snacks, a folding chair, short ice fishing poles, bait and a small tackle box. Optimists bring a filleting knife and microbe killer. A plastic storage box or sled is handy to pull your stuff out on to the ice. Be sure the ice is thick enough to support your group. Sometimes worms and beer will freeze. A game warden might pay you a visit on a snowmobile to check licenses and limits. Good luck!

This article is by Dayton author and historian Dennis Cassinelli, who can be contacted on his blog at All Cassinelli’s books sold through this publication will be at a discount plus $3 for each shipment for postage and packaging.


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