Cave Lake and Comins Lake Improvements

The Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW), along with Ely volunteers, spent much of 2021 improving lake and boating access at Comins Lake.  Improvements include a concrete boat ramp and sled dock; shade structures, picnic tables, and trash receptacles; a newly graded gravel road and parking for cars, trucks, and boat trailers; stormwater runoff retention ponds to help control siltation in the lake; and installation of electrical power for lighting at the parking lot near the boat ramp.

These shade structures with picnic tables and garbage receptacles are part of a major improvement for boaters and anglers at Comins Lake by NDOW with the help of volunteers and local companies.

Approximately 20 volunteers put in more than 500 hours performing manual labor and operating heavy equipment that was donated by several local companies. NDOW would like to thank Fred Ahlvers, Jon Almberg, John Giesler, Michael Lemich, Mark Lowrie, Rick Makley, Steve Marquez, Andy McVicars, Angie McVicars, Houston McVicars, Hunter McVicars, Mitch McVicars, William Miller, Joseph Pintar, Paul Podborny, Raymond Sandoval, Todd Seefeld, Jeramie Williams, and Justin Williams for all the time and hard work that made this project a huge success.

Companies based in Ely and surrounding areas contributed heavy equipment and cash donations that totaled more than $100,000 towards the project.  NDOW would like to thank Gust Electric Inc., JCR Development LLC, Komatsu America Corp., Wheeler Machinery Co., Q&D Construction LLC, and Reck Brothers LLC for their donations of almost $80,000 in equipment and services. 

NDOW would also like to thank Sportsworld, Bath Lumber Co., Robinson Nevada Mining Co., CoBank, Mt. Wheeler Power Inc., GRP Pan LLC, and KG Mining (Bald Mountain) Inc., for cash donations totaling $26,500 towards the project.

Due to issues with the dam at Cave Lake that require it’s rebuilding, NDOW is draining that lake in preparation for the work.  By draining it, the work can be completed in one year instead of two to three years, as originally planned, and make the location much safer for the contractor which is a priority.  All the water being drained is being sent to Comins Lake to bolster the water level there which has been affected by severe drought. 

 While the lake is being drained, NDOW with the help of Nevada State Parks, salvaged trout from Cave Lake that were taken to Comins Lake. The fish, mostly brown trout with a few rainbows and ranging in size from eight inches all the way up to six or seven pounds, were released into Comins Lake to augment that fishery.

NDOW Wildlife Technician prepares to release a net load of trout, salvaged from Cave Lake, into Comins Lake as Steptoe WMA manager Adam Henriod looks on.

Once the new dam is in place and the water levels re-established, NDOW will be planting rainbow and brown trout back into the lake.  The possibility of adding tiger trout and/or smallmouth bass is being explored to provide Nevada anglers with more fishing opportunities and making Cave Lake even better, as well as safer, than ever before.        

The Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) protects, restores and manages fish and wildlife, and promotes fishing, hunting, and boating safety. NDOW’s wildlife and habitat conservation efforts are primarily funded by sportsmen’s license and conservation fees and a federal surcharge on hunting and fishing gear. Support wildlife and habitat conservation in Nevada by purchasing a hunting, fishing, or combination license. Find us on Facebook, Twitter or visit us at

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