The Steptoe Valley Wildlife Management Area is located a few miles south of Ely, Nevada on Highway 93. The Ely Elk Viewing Area is practically located across the street, while Cave Lake State Park and the Ward Charcoal Ovens are nearby, so a full day of touring can be planned for a venture in these parts. Camping is an option in the State Parks too, so doing some angling at Comins Lake in the Steptoe Valley WMA may even cheapen up the dining expenses. In fact, fishing is the prime attraction at this destination, just like at many other Wildlife Management Areas in the west.
Western Wildlife Management Areas like Steptoe Valley are designed to protect wetlands and waterfowl migrations, so these lesser known destinations can present an excellent opportunity to do some seasonal birding. Because of the water availability, herd animals like deer, elk and pronghorn antelope frequent the area too, especially early in the morning. Tag system hunting is promoted to keep the wildlife numbers in check, but because of the proximity to the highway doing some bass fishing is just about as adventurous as it gets at this small body of water. The Steptoe Valley WMA property does extend well up into the hills where the piñon trees grow and this is where the local big game hunting is best.
Comins Lake is actually part of the Steptoe Valley Reclamation Project, which is an interesting topic in itself. As can be seen in the photos, this big pond does attract waterfowl. Because of the human presence, the ducks often skim across the water to maintain a safe distance, which can present some fun photo opportunities. Spending some time at the Steptoe Valley Wildlife Management Area definitely will enhance a complete tour of all Ely has to offer, so be sure to chalk this local hot spot up on the destination list!
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