Some nearby fishing waters are set to open for the 2006 season
The Fort Churchill Cooling Ponds, and the fishable waters (Bass Pond, Crappie Pond, Hinkson Slough and North Pond) on the Mason Valley Wildlife Management Area (MVWMA) will open for the 2006 season on the second Saturday in February (Feb. 11 this year).
Those waters will remain open through Sept. 30.
Here is some useful information if you have never fished there, and would like to do so:
Fort Churchill Cooling Ponds
To reach the Fort Churchill Cooling Ponds, drive east on U.S. 50 to Silver Springs.
Take Alt. U.S. 95 south toward Yerington until you reach Wabuska (where the railroad tracks cross the highway).
A very short distance past Wabuska, take Sierra Way, a paved road on your left.
Drive east on Sierra Way until you reach the ponds, which are owned by Sierra Pacific Power Co.
You can only fish from the shoreline. Wading or the use of boats or other floating devices is prohibited. Fishing is prohibited from the center dike and posted areas.
The ponds contain black (largemouth) bass, channel catfish, crappie and bluegills.
The limit is 15 game fish, of which not more than 2 may be black bass. Minimum size for black bass is 14 inches.
Legal fishing hours are one hour before sunrise to two hours after sunset.
For the bass, your best bet will be dark-colored, plastic worms. Cast them parallel to the shoreline.
Bass fishing can be quite good at this time of the year due to the year-round warm water in the Cooling Ponds.
For the catfish, your best bet will be chicken liver, shrimp or worms, with liver rated as best.
Bass and Crappie Ponds
Follow the instructions used to reach the Fort Churchill Cooling Ponds, but when you are on Sierra Way, just before you reach the Cooling Ponds, take the main dirt road on your right.
Drive south on that dirt road to the MVWMA Headquarters Complex. About 300 yards from the complex is a campground with an informational kiosk.
That kiosk has a map of the area to direct you to these waters.
Fishing hours at both ponds are any hour of the day or night.
The limit for these ponds is 5 trout and 15 warmwater game fish, not more than 2 may be black bass.
Minimum size for the black bass is 14 inches.
Follow the instructions to reach the kiosk with the map.
Then, just follow the map instructions, which will direct you to Hinkson Slough.
Your best bet will be to fish from a float tube or a small, inflatable raft, but you can also fish from shore or in waders.
You’ll catch bluegills, largemouth bass, rainbow trout and cutthroat trout.
The limit is 2 trout and 15 warmwater game fish, of which not more than 2 may be black bass. Minimum size for trout is 16 inches and for the black bass, it is 14 inches.
You can only use artificial flies or lures.
Open any hour, day or night.
Follow the instructions to reach the kiosk. Then, just follow the map instructions to direct you to North Pond.
You can fish from shore, a float tube, canoe or a boat.
There is a boat ramp and there is no charge for launching. Boats with motors can not be operated at a speed of more than five nautical miles per hour, which means no wake.
If you bait fish, use worms, nightcrawlers, red salmon eggs, Power Bait, etc.
You can not use minnows.
If you spincast, use small gold-bladed spinners or fluorescent-orange Fire Tiger Roostertail lures.
If you are a fly fisherman, use snail patterns.
If you fish from a boat, troll with very small lures near the surface, due to the shallow depth and the aquatic growth.
You’ll catch mostly rainbow trout and cutthroat trout.
The limit is 5 trout.
If you are fishing any waters that contain trout, you must have a Nevada Trout Stamp on your fishing license.
Call the Nevada Department of Wildlife at 688-1500 in Reno or the NDOW Region No. 1 Office in Fallon at (775) 423-3171 or the Wildlife Area Supervisor’s office at the MVWMA at (775) 463-2741.
• Bet Your Favorite Pigeon
Bet your favorite pigeon that he can’t tell you the minimum size for receiving a Trophy Fish Certificate for a black (largemouth) bass.
If he grins and says, “The minimum size is 5 pounds,” he might have one of the certificates.
• Don Quilici is the Outdoors editor for the Nevada Appeal.