On our yearly summer trip to Montana, Zack and I decided than we would travel there through the Boise area, and stop and see my Mom, Dad, and my brother and his family in Emmett, Idaho. Mom, Laura, decided to let the boys take off early and she’d fly in. We decided we would drive to Winnemucca, NV and head north through eastern Idaho and go through Emmett. We would then head through Stanley Idaho, which is the head waters of the Salmon River, go through the town of Salmon, head over the pass to the Big Hole Valley and then on to Bozeman. The trip took us 4 days but the scenery, the fishing, and visiting family was well worth the option of bombing through straight.
So, as for fishing, I decided to stop overnight at Knott Creek Reservoir. I have heard stories about Knott Creek for years, as a top notch stillwater destination, but with disclaimers that the road is pretty rough and that it wasn’t for the faint-hearted. I said to myself, “I’ve got a big Ford diesel, 4 wheel drive, new tires, motor freshly tuned up for a long road trip. It can’t be that bad”. Well in a way it was that bad, especially towing a drift boat raft on a trailer. In retrospect I should have stopped at the end of the gravel road and chained the boat and trailer to a fence post or telephone pole. There aren’t any trees. Problem was that all my fishing and camping gear were inside so that really wasn’t an option.
To get to Knotts Creek Reservoir, at least they way we went, you go to Winnemmuca, Nevada and then head north on Highway 95 towards Orvada. You then take a left turn on Highway 140 going west. You go about 3o miles on a paved road and then the rest is improved gravel road with the last 5 miles single track dirt. That’s the good part. The last stretch is dirt trail and in the last 1 1/2 miles is rutted and you need to maneuver carefully to avoid deep eroded ruts, mainly from previous people 4 wheeling there way in, when it was wet and muddy. Fortunately for us it was bone dry except for a few easy creek crossings. You just had to stick it in low range 4 wheel drive and go slow. Crawl your way through. As a word to the wise, if you’re going to try this when its wet, you’d be best off taking two vehicles, chains for pulling out your partner if you get stuck, shovels, high lift jacks and such. You get the picture?
We finally got our first look at our destination.
Zack was a pretty happy camper when we finally arrived to a final creek crossing. Being we were about 20 miles from the only ranch we had passed I figured that that last creek crossing just was not worth the risk.
Who wants to be stuck in a creek crossing that far from civilization? We decided to camp right there and hike in to fish the next morning.
We saw multiple rising fish at the inlet where Knott Creek enters the lake, so we had a good idea of where to head the next morning.
We got up early had a quick bite and started hiking as the sun was just reaching the ridge tops.
We had not seen anything like these until we got within a mile or so of the lake.
This shot is looking back as we headed to the lake.
This area of the lake is very shallow and the fish coming in to feed last night were in shallow water 1 to 2 feet deep.
The water is crystal clear so we headed to the right side of the lake to fish from the rocks where I expected it to be deeper.
There were weed beds close to shore and in pockets working away from the shore. I noticed fish cruising in and along the weed beds so I decided to try a damsel fly nymph. I had only brought a dry line, as all my stillwater gear was buried in the boat.
I did have one stillwater box available so I just went simple style, a rod, a dry line and one fly box. Just like old times, simple. I decided not to carry my pontoon boat 3/4 of a mile, so fishing from the shore was the best choice.
Although I later took my boots and socks off and waded knee deep too keep out of the weed beds a bit. I was able to take some real nice rainbows using a sort 1″ retrieve.
This lake would be simply awesome in a float tube or pontoon boat. I’ll do that next time when I dedicate a whole weekend for fishing this like.
As Arnold says “I’ll be back!”