(Secret Spots - 2 of them) - Right before you enter the main camping area about 1/2 mile before, on the west side of the road is an area with aspen trees, a beautiful brook with trout & lots of snapping crawdads with fire pits and... FREE :).
Mosquito’s are prevalent around the creek areas but not at the camp grounds. You can camp in tents or a trailer, there's plenty of flat ground for trailers and easily able to pull in one direction and out the other. If you want wood there is a general store BEFORE you even get to this area, which you'll pass where you can get plenty of great smelling cedar firewood or bait.
This is a shallow type of creek. With the foliage it may not be well suited for Fly fishing unless you float the line and roll it down. Powerbait & worms will be eaten rapidly by crawdads if they are present. The crawdads are great eating, one day we pulled 30lbs of them out of the reservoir, and they are free for the taking. Just boil a bit of water with salt. There are many ways to cook'em!
Spring Valley State Park is located 18 miles northeast of Pioche on State Route 322. The elevation of the reservoir is 5,836'. When driving and if heading North from Las Vegas and as you're just about to pass out of Pioche is a little tiny sign that says Spring Valley Reservoir and EASY to miss - turn right :)
The climate of the area is arid, with hot summers and cold winters. Summer temperatures range from 85°F at midday to 45°F at night. Rainfall is variable and thunderstorms are common. Although open year-round, visitors should be aware of colder winter temperatures and snow. Check the weather for Pioche Nevada for the closest forecast.
EagleValley is about 4 hours from Las Vegas on mostly single lane hiways taking you through various small older towns like Caliente. EagleValley has always been an enjoyable experience for our family with clean facilities including regular flush type toilets and showers.
EagleValleyPark Review Notes:
If you see the park ranger don’t ask any questions or you may very well need to pull out a chair as he proceeds to inform you of every state law, ice-chest fish limits and various other aspects of life. If you are familiar with Barney Fife from Andy of Mayberry you know what I’m talking about. Make sure you pay for the camp site the night before or he’ll be kicking in the side of your tent to get that $14 per vehicle fee before you had a first cup of coffee. We can all be greatful for park services but we're going to bring a dart board with his photo on it for 2005.
We very much look forward to camping here at Eagle Valley and always plan weeks in advance to go and in (2004) we were most disappointed to find ½ the camp sites closed as well as ½ the bathrooms and none of the better burning (cedar) firewood available for a donation. They did have a fellow selling small boxes of pine that burns quickly for $5 per box. Needless to say the part of the park that was closed had the best camping spots which of course was also disappointing. In fact the more I write the more it makes me think of how the resources of this beautiful park are being restrained possibly to keep from having to do extra cleaning and give them time to re-build some the camp sites.
We hope these park restrictions don't become park standards in slower months as we are paying the FULL FEE and not ½ the fee and want a FULL fees worth of enjoyment! Having the bathroom resources cut down like this creates VERY smelly bathrooms and lines in the morning. Between raising the daily rate and now charging per vehicle we could stay at the Hartford motel in Pioche for the same price per night!
Tragedies of this magnitude must be blamed on someone!
A bad day at Eagle Valley is better than a good day anywhere else, lets hope Andy doesn't pass off another bullet to Mr. Fife restricting use of Eagle Valley camping facilites, as there is little left in the way of clean fun for families to enjoy. We'd hate to see Barney shoot himself in the foot.
Pete Gill - Head Ranger
Alias (Barney Fife)
Get Your Wallet Out - Now!
Barney Update: 07-31-2005
Barney Fife was spotted at our camp grounds, as usual collecting fees in 100 degree weather. Just as we tried to do a little kissing up, took a few photos, told him about the great review on Eagle Valley, he got back out of his truck and said, HEY you have 2 vehicles you owe me another $56 for four nights! We brought 2 vehicles because we could not get all our things in one car, so we had to pay $112 for four nights of camping which is the kind of thing that drives you nuts. The fact is, we had to leave one night early because of extremly high tempertures and tempers, we coudn't take any more heat.
Anyways, you owe us one night x 2 vehicles = $28
Small pan size trout - mid summer it seems a bit slow, so if you take a lantern on the dock at night and set it near the edge where the light can shine on the water, you can drop a bate straight down with only a split shot sinker and catch your limit within a few minutes.
Bate - Powerbate, rainbow color with glitter.
Cleaning - We found the cleaning station which includes a garbage disposal and running water was CLOSED the entire year so that meant cleaning had to be done stooping down by water's edge.
Fishing Update: 07-31-2005
Fishing was horrible, we caught 6 fish in four days setting in 100 plus degree weather. Unfortunately, we couldn't do any night fishing due to the lantern being blown to the ground at camp from high winds.
Huh? I was listening to the ranger (Barney) explain the facts of life to one of the neighboring campers as to why fishing was so bad which was being blamed on excessive crawfish. So just a note, we opened 6 fish and found nothing but stomachs loaded with Powerbait, not crawfish, not even one.
Crayfish, Crawdads, Crawfish, Mud-Bugs, Rock Lobsters – All one in the same!
Crayfish Update: 10-05-2005
Millions of them being caught by the buckets full!
Look at the pinchers on this one!
Depending where you're from, they have a variety of names and are most plentiful here; in fact I would hate to step on the bottom of this reservoir, as they have REALLY big pinchers. Catching them is easy and kids love to do it, they look scary and a bit like scorpians. They are a green color from the water and turn red like lobster when cooked.
To catch them, some use only a piece of fresh chicken in a sock tied to a string, where they lower it to the bottom for a few seconds and the Crawdad’s pincher gets caught on the sock. Still others, have a trap tied to a rope where fish guts or fresh chicken is used as bait and secured to an area of the trap (un-accessable to the crayfish). Most Crawdad traps have a small opening where once the crayfish has checked in, they have a hard time checking out. Wal-mart has some of these traps for about $7.
Good to have a little bucket set aside for the keepers.
Crayfish recipes are plentiful on the internet. Basically, bring a good size pot of water to a boil, drop the critters in alive, toss any dead ones, and cook 10 minutes from the time the water starts to boil again. Add salt, 5 teaspoons or so for every 20 or 30, 1/2 onion and 1/2 lemon are optional.
If the pinchers are big enough, snap them for a small morsel but definitely peel the tail (consider de-veining the outer bend of the tail if desired) for a small piece of white meat.
You don't need a license to catch Crayfish...
Raising Crawdads at Home:
After catching many crawdads you may find yourself getting attached to the biggest one in your net as we did and decided to keep a couple as opposed to eating them. I have to be honest; we really couldn’t find much in the way of research as to raising crayfish at home. What do they eat? What temp should the water be? Will they eat our other tropical fish?
Water Temperature: Just to tell you how durable Crawfish are I loaded buckets of them into ice cubes for the trip home. Some where in plastic bags under ice for days and to my amazement were still alive when we got home. So to answer the question, they LOVE cold water, colder the better. Household temperatures that you can endure, they seem to be ok with it too.
What do Crawfish eat? We tried many things at home, some of which just dirty up the fish tank and others the Crayfish demonstrated clearly, it would rather starve to death than eat it. Crawfish do not like hotdogs for the long term, hamburger is a big mess in the tank, they like a little egg white on occasions, they don’t mind a fish head once in a while or even trout steaks. The are ok with blood worms, but the absolutely LOVE frozen shrimp brine and so do Tropical fish.
How to feed Crawfish: I went to a couple of pet stores like PetCo and Petsmart without any success in finding a feeder, or even one we could modify. What I was looking for was a way to anchor food into a hollow ball or floating/sinking devise of some kind and put it in the fish tank. I really couldn’t find anything and I know this stuff is made, I've seen it. They used to make a small floating plastic type of top, where you could pop off the cap, insert frozen blood worms and the fish would nibble along the edges of it’s slots, which was a great way to keep the blood worms contained long enough for the small fish to eat instead of floating all over the tank and making a mess. This would have been ok except that we needed it on the bottom of the tank where the Crayfish could eat as well. So we were going to tie a sinker on the bottom of it for weight but could never find one anyway.
Next: We tried cutting up a small tropical fish net and putting frozen Shrimp Brine into it with a sinker tied to the bottom but the Crawfish have little sharp bumps that get caught on lines that are tied to it and get caught in the netting. The net never did release enough of it’s content to feed it or the other fish.
Success: The engineered Paperclip – Success at last. For the most part this has been a really great way to feed not only the Crayfish but the entire tank of Tropical fish all at once. I would prefer just to feed tropical fish flake food but Crawfish can’t find it fast enough to support their own daily needs. So while flake food works for Tropical Fish, it doesn’t work for Fido (Our Biggest Crawfish). So it looks like our Tropical fish will be on a new diet of shrimp Brine. As you can see from the photo below, one piece of frozen shrimp brine takes care of the whole tank inserted under one of bent arms of the paper clip. Simply twist the paper clip around into a few bends with needle nose pliers and presto – The Crawdad Feeder. As the Crawdad eats the product, it dissolves and the tropical fish swarm the Crawdad for floating morsels. The side benifit is that the paper clip holds the frozen product together and it's weight carries it to the bottom of the tank.
Tank Type: I have one really big Crawfish in 10 Gallon and another one in a 32 Gallon tank living side by side with tropical fish. The smaller tank needed adjustments as we went along, one or two died without having the correct filtration system. Regular under gravel filter systems works and was a needed element but with a power head, NOT stone air bubblers. The stone bubblers do not get enough water traveling through the rocks to make clean water, it was cloudy. If the water is cloudy then the filtration system needs to be better. Once I installed the powerhead with the Power Filter from top fin it was smooth sailing and crystal clear water. You can experiment with the bait type Gold Fish as they are fairly in expensive to work with. For us if our Crawfish died it would be a four hour trip for more, and only able to catch them in the summer months.
I have to be honest with you, would we rather have Crawdads or Tropical Fish? The answer is Crawdads, they are VERY COOL and kids are amazed by them. We can only thank our heavenly creator for such beautiful creatures like the Crawdad!
Home Sweet Home!
Eagle Valley Facilities:
Entrance Fee: An entrance fee is charged to enter the park, with additional fee for camping and boat launching. Current fees are posted at the park entrance. Click here for all individual park fees by region. It is currently around $14 per day, per vehicle.
Eagle Valley Reservoir: Eagle Valley Reservoir is the primary attraction at Spring Valley State Park. The 59-acre reservoir is currently managed as a put-and-take sport fishery. Rainbow trout is the primary species.
Boat launch: Located on the south shore of the reservoir adjacent to the Day Use Picnic Area. A ramp, dock and temporary docking slips are available.
Trails: A developed trail connects the Stone Cabin and Ranch Campground. Walks around the reservoir are popular and allow terrific views of the valley.
Camping: Horsethief Gulch Campground (main campground) is located just west of Eagle Valley Reservoir. It has 36 campsites (each with table, grill and shade ramada) and 3 restrooms-one with showers. Water is also available.
Ranch Campground is located two miles north of the main campground. This facility has 6 campsites with table and grill. Water and primitive restrooms are available.
Picnicking: The Day Use Picnic Area is located adjacent to the boat launch at the reservoir. It includes 12 picnic sites (each with table and grill), a restroom and fish cleaning station.
Group Area: Day and overnight groups are accommodated at the south end of the reservoir. Reservations should be made in advance.
Definitely check the weather before going and make sure the tent can tread water. Just because it’s a tent doesn’t mean it can keep the water out, if it has an overhead tarp it may, but it would be good to check.
Time Frame of Ticket & Hotel Reservation
Availability - During the travel year of 2015 & 2016
January - February - March - April - May - June - July - August - September -
October - November - December