A huge, annual ice fishing derby at Wildhorse Reservoir | NevadaAppeal.com

A huge, annual ice fishing derby at Wildhorse Reservoir

Don Quilici

The huge, highly-popular, annual Dunn’s Wild Horse Resort ice fishing derby will be held at Wildhorse Reservoir on Feb. 19-21 (President’s Day weekend).

Wildhorse Reservoir is in Northern Nevada. If you have never been there, you will need to drive east from Carson City on U.S. 50 to Silver Springs. At Silver Springs, take U.S. Alt. 95 north to Fernley. At Fernley, take I-80 east to Elko. In Elko, take Nevada S.R. 225 (The Mountain City Highway) north for 64 miles to Wild Horse Reservoir. This will be a trip of about 364 miles (one-way).

This huge wintertime, ice fishing event is unbelievably popular.

Last year, it attracted approximately 2,000 ice anglers from all over California, Nevada, Idaho and Utah.

That’s right – 2,000 fishermen who traveled to a remote part of Northern Nevada in the dead of winter to fish!

If you are interested in participating in this very popular winter fishing event, here’s some basic information that should prove useful:

– To fish: Dig a small hole with an ice auger. That hole can not be any larger than 10 inches in diameter, as per Nevada fishing rules and regulations.

The ice covering the reservoir is currently about 20 inches thick.

– How to fish: Once the hole is dug, slowly jig some bait up and down. Your best chance for success is to jig that bait just above the bottom.

Use worms together with either party-sized marshmallows, Power Bait or corn. Or you can do as some fishermen do, try all of them together.

– What you can catch: German brown trout, rainbow trout, Tiger Trout, black bass, smallmouth bass, crappie and perch. For those persons unfamiliar with a Tiger Trout, it is a sterile, hybrid, crossbreed between a male German brown trout and a female Eastern brook trout. Last Saturday, a 4.5 pound Tiger was caught. That was the third consecutive weekend that a trophy-sized Tiger was taken at the reservoir. Most commonly, you will catch a “ton” of perch or an occasional rainbow or brown. So be sure to take plenty of bait with you. You’ll need it.

– Special regulations: The reservoir fish limits are five trout and 15 warmwater game fish, of which not more than five may be black bass (the minimum size for black bass is 11 inches).

– Special fishing note: There is no limit on the perch. In fact, anglers are encouraged to catch and keep as many perch as they can.

– Fishing season: The season is open year round, any hour of the day or night. However, from March 1 through June 30, only “catch and release” fishing is allowed for the black bass.

– Overnight accommodations: Unless you made your room reservations last year at the Wild Horse Resort, you only have three choices:

1. Drive north to Mountain City. As of Feb. 10, there were still some motel rooms available.

2. Return to Elko where many fine hotel and motel rooms are available.

3. Camp in the Wild Horse Resort RV Park. If you have a trailer, RV, camper pickup, etc. the RV park at the Wild Horse Resort still has spaces available. It has electrical hookups and a shower room. Restrooms are also available.

– Weather: The current temperatures have been dropping down to about 15-20 at night and going up to about 35-40 in the daytime. However, remember that Wildhorse Reservoir did not earn its reputation for brutally cold weather for those kind of mild temperatures. Go prepared for bitter cold weather, wind and snow. When packing your clothes, if doubt, take even more!

– Derby information: The registration fee is $15 per day or $35 for the entire three days.

There will be a total of $10,000 awarded if all of the 25 specially tagged trout are caught. The largest amount will be $2,500 for specially tagged rainbow trout

In addition, there will be another $2,000 awarded as a number of cash or prizes to lucky winners.

– Miscellaneous: The Wild Horse Resort sells Nevada fishing licenses. It has unleaded gasoline, diesel fuel and propane gas. The resort’s bar and restaurant hours during the derby are from 4 a.m. until “whenever” in the evening. Be forewarned that with approximately 2,000 people in the area, you could be in for a long wait to eat or drink.

So now that you are armed with all of this helpful information and if you would like to go, plan to spend President’s Day weekend having fun, way up at Wildhorse Reservoir.

Plan to have a great time.

Just remember: Dress warm!

– For information, call Dennis Dunn at the Wild Horse Resort at (775) 758-6472 or you can visit website http://www.nevadaadventure.com