May 3, 2017

Dacey Reservoir, Nye County, NV

A pair of geese protecting their three goslings on Adams-McGill Reservoir.
In the wild geese bond and stay together for life.  
Ever notice sometimes what you anticipate can fail to fully come into fruition, particularly if it’s something you look forward to participating in?  Fueled by your imagination you envision how wonderful the experience will be and the pleasure you’ll derive from the it, especially when your brain builds upon prior awesome remembrances.
The one smallish bass caught this day, although I noted several
larger black bass preparing for their spawn in the shallows.
I don’t typically recall details of unpleasant experiences.  When it comes to outdoor adventures I am especially optimistic about what I might observe, what I might witness.  Nature always amazes and inspires me, and when I make my treks to old and new destinations I just expect to be awed.  After all, it is God’s creation that man has never been able to match.
A remarkably radiant crimson spawning stripe on this 18 inch rainbow.
My very first trip to Dacey Reservoir was on September 27, 2013.  I was mildly stunned by the size of the trout in this high-desert wildlife management area that for weeks my mind would daydream about them.  I immediately followed that with another trip on October 23, 2013 and two trips in April (April 4, 2014 and April 23, 2014).  Those early Dacey angling experiences so influenced me that I wrote my first published article on Wayne Kirch which resulted in yet a fifth trip in eight months for the magazine photo shoot on May 31, 2014.  Although the May trip was a little late into the spring for Kirch trout angling, that string of five fishing adventures still rattles around my hippocampus, believed to be the brain’s sorting center where new sensations are compared with previously recorded ones.  I like visiting new water just because it's a new exploration, but memories from those five trips keep overriding my natural quest for new adventures.

And so here I was, planning my first “real” fishing trip since last October.  I was leaning toward Utah's  Kolob Reservoir again.  But, Kolob is a slightly longer drive than Kirch, and there were those Dacey Reservoir re-runs playing through my hippocampus.  The two days spent on Dacey with Bruce and Doug in late April of 2013 were some of my best fishing days ever, including the family bonding.  It can be difficult to override memories like those.  As you already know from the title of this post, Dacey won out again.
Largest trout of the day. This male was just under 20 inches, and he was plump, healthy, and beautiful.
The large rainbow attempting to avoid the Fishpond net, but the fly held fast.
I can say that all the trout Dacey gave this day were comparable in size and coloring to those I experienced in 2013/2014.  I can also report that I was the only one on the reservoir all day, which always enhances the sensation of a wilderness experience, even though Kirch isn’t really that remote or isolated.  Yet somehow I came away mildly dissatisfied with the fishing.  Perhaps in part due to the low fish count (five hooked, four brought to the net), or maybe it was the unseasonably warm weather (by the afternoon it was about 80°).  But now that I’m home contemplating the whole of the trip I can honestly say it was in fact awesome.  It was every bit as breathtaking as the first time in September 2013.  How can anyone be disappointed with an outing that produced a fat rainbow just under 20 inches long?  How could I feel slighted after examining an 18-inch male rainbow displaying the most radiant scarlet spawning wardrobe I’ve seen since fishing the Ruby Lake with Bill Bergan in 2015?  Sure, I would have been more pleased with faster action, but more trout would have statistically resulted in most being 12 to 14 inch trout that were stocked just last fall.  I’ve written many times that I’d rather land one old, large, naturally radiant trout than a boatload of recently planted trout. 
A fine looking female of just under 17 inches. I was pleased to introduce her to the Fishpond net.
So what is it in me, maybe in you as well, that always expects the next adventure will be better than the last?  What is it in our soul that occasionally produces the belief that our experiences are never good enough?  Why do we think we deserve more than what we’ve been given?  Can it be as simple as our sinful nature?

When Paul wrote to the church in Philippi he thanked them for sending gifts while he was in prison (Philippians 4:10-13).  He was there because officials had levied false charges against him; in a way they were “hating” on Jesus through Paul.  Paul already knew that the grace of Jesus was sufficient for him; because of Jesus he lacked nothing.  He needed to thank the Philippi Church for their generosity, but he also needed to teach a lesson in contentment while doing so.  Paul did not mean contentment in the pagan sense of self-sufficiency, but that his sufficiency was in Jesus.  Without Jesus we are nothing, for He created it all and only through Him do we find grace and redemption (John 1:1-18).

When I begin to feel disappointment in this world, I pinch myself and remember that God’s grace is sufficient for me, too.  Every breath, moment, day, and experience on earth is a gift from Him, and I just simply need to snap out of it” just like Loretta Castorini told Ronny Cammareri in the movie Moonstruck.
The Water Master Grizzly angling craft contributed towards another awesome Wayne Kirch angling adventure.
The four fishable Kirch reservoirs are large, and an oared watercraft is the best choice to cover them.
This trout harbored a deep wound, perhaps from a heron, but I can attest that it didn't dampen its ability to fight
strong. Kirch attracts all sorts of wildlife, and fishing birds do abound. Wading birds common to the area include
white-faced ibis, great blue herons, black crowned night herons, great egrets, snowy egrets and bitterns.
Of those species, black-crowned night herons and great blue herons nest in the area.
I never tire of this view of the Grant Mountain Range from Dacey.  Could you?
The Grant Range is a mountain chain in east-central Nevada that runs for about 30 miles
north-south in northeastern Nye County. It is west of the White River Valley, home of 
Wayne Kirch Wildlife Management Area. The White River Valley drains the eastern
slopes of the range, and used to make its way into the Colorado River.

February 17, 2017

Fishin' in the Rain... at Cold Creek

A healthy 9-inch rainbow trout landed on a custom 8-foot, 5-weight fly rod built by FisherDad.
Due to warm conditions late into the fall of 2016, the stocking of Cold Creek pond was delayed until the last day of November.  Adding insult to injury, early December turned very cold, freezing over the pond sooner than expected.  My last fishing day of 2016 was the 6th of October, so I’ve been patiently waiting for warmer weather to melt off the ice, on Cold Creek and all my other favorite reservoirs. 
Evidence of the wet and cold as seen on my ears and nose.
Temperatures in Vegas these last two weeks were in the 60s, and pushed 70° a few days.  Then yesterday’s weekly fishing report from the Nevada Department of Wildlife stated that the Wayne Kirch waters were fairly clear of ice.  I decided to give Cold Creek a try even though the Spring Mountains were forecast to have rain and even snow at higher elevations.   
A wet Cold Creek before the wind and rain enhanced their presence.
I don’t mind fishing in a light rain, and I’ve written before that inclement weather can produce good results if you’re properly dressed for it.  So after I dropped off my daughter at school I drove the 50 miles to the Cold Creek pond.  The entire mountain range, starting at 6,000 feet, was engulfed in low rain clouds.  The light rain picked up a little as I neared the pond, and it was breezy with the occasional 15-to-20 mph gust.  The temperature at Cold Creek was 38° according to the Trout Truck thermometer, so I knew the combination of rain and wind would make it feel like 25°, especially on my exposed face and fingertips (thank goodness for fingerless mittens).  
Another healthy 9-incher with the beaded nymph secured in its lower lip.
The wind was coming from the west, so casting with my back to the wind seemed like a good idea to avoid the cold, wet wind in my face and eyeglasses.  I was wearing new 18-inch rubber boots from LaCrosse combined with my Cabela’s rain resistant jacket and gray Stillwater wool outfitter hat to protect me.  All that got wet was the back of my jeans from my knees to my butt.  I must say, I got wetter than I thought I would. 
I can already tell that this rod is going to be a workhorse in the future.
I took along my 8-foot, 5-weight fly rod.  I thought I’d need the extra push through the wind and the rain, and it turned out I was right.  I tied on a small bead-headed nymph with a wire body and white wings, thinking the white would increase visibility in the murky water due to run-off entering the pond.  Not sure if that was the best choice, but I did hook four trout in 45 minutes, three of which I landed.  All were small, but healthy. 
Just the foothills were visible under the low clouds.
At about that 45-minute mark the wind gusts became more frequent and my fingertips were numb.  I felt like I had accomplished what I set out to do, and despite the rain it was very satisfying to fish in perfect peace and solitude.  Maybe my next trip will be to the Wayne Kirch reservoirs, or maybe Cumins Reservoir. 
Trout released to return to his safe environment...
to be caught again perhaps.
This was also the maiden voyage of the Trout Truck’s new Lear bed cap.  It was very convenient to be able to protect and access my fishing accoutrement under the cap, not to mention using the lifted rear window to protect me from the drizzling rain.  And don’t those new FisherDad decals look nice?
Trout Unlimited combined with FisherDad.com...
and I was compelled to include Matthew 4:19.
Okay, so I was somewhat thankful to get out from the cold wind and rain.

October 6, 2016

Dacey Reservoir, Nye County, Nevada

A herd of pronghorn antelope that crossed the southern
access road to the Wayne Kirch Wildlife Management Area.
There’s a good reason, actually several good reasons why I like traveling to fishing destinations on weekdays. First, the fishing is always less crowded on a weekday, which enhances the feeling of solitude as well as the susceptibility of the fish to take the lure (trout don’t like boats constantly traveling overhead and the persistent “plunking” of lures into the water). But there’s another aesthetic benefit, at least if you consider wildlife viewing integral to the overall aesthetic experience. Traveling when there are few “other travelers” always increases the chance of seeing wildlife in their natural habitat. Then of course, there’s the guilty pleasure of either being retired or stealing a day off when traveling in the middle of a workweek.
I noted three great herons lurking around Dacey.
My first wildlife sighting was of three large pronghorn antelope bucks near Highway 318 at about the 38°02’ latitude, just north of the White River Narrows. I believe they were planning to traverse 318 from east to west, but when I pulled over and fumbled around to get my camera they had shot off towards the east. I attempted to get a picture, but at first the early morning sun shining into the lens destroyed whatever I shot. I then pulled the camera back deeper into the shade of the truck’s cabin, but by then those bucks we nothing but three little white butts bouncing way off in the high desert. 

However, I got another opportunity when I slid off 318 onto the southern Wayne Kirch access road.  About 500 yards in a large heard of 30 +/- antelope crossed in front of the Trout Truck. This was unquestionably the largest pronghorn herd I’ve ever seen. And with this sighting at around the 38°20’ latitude, I can’t help but contrast their presence so far south when compared to Elko, NV (40°49’) or Casper, WY (42°50’).  At this latitude each degree is about 69 miles, so from a north/south latitudinal basis Wayne Kirch sighting is about 280 miles south of Casper. 
Last of the antelope herd crossing in front of the Trout Truck.
Note the sliver of Cold Springs Reservoir reflecting the blue sky from behind the
left side of the Kirch WMA directional sign, and the Grant Range looming
20 miles off in the distance.
My point is I don’t think I would have seen such a wondrous sighting on a weekend or holiday.

The weather was sunny, but cool. The temperature upon arrival was about 40°, but it climbed to 60° by mid-afternoon. Winds were slight; I’d say 5 mph or less. The reservoir was about two feet low as they were dumping water into the Adams-McGill Reservoir, likely for the upcoming duck hunting season. Weeds were somewhat of a problem, but there was sufficient open water. As I was launching the Water Master Grizzly a couple guys appeared on the rip-rap dam bank to fish from shore an hour or so.  One guy caught a 16-inch rainbow. They might have caught a few others, I didn’t notice.
Nice male rainbow trout of about 18 inches in length.
I caught all my trout in the morning, most in front of the two shore anglers. One of the trout I hooked was an acrobatic leaper, and based on experience I’d say it would have gone close to 20 inches. Although I was using a 4x tippet (about 7 lbs. test in fluorocarbon) because I knew the weeds would be problematic and the trout weren’t leader shy, I lost two really nice trout in the weeds when they either rubbed off or dislodged the hook. The lesson I learned was to muscle them harder to avoid their burrowing into the weeds, even if it risked a hook pull-out. After losing the high-jumping rainbow one of the shore angers hollered out, “you’re doing pretty good with that fly rod, what are you using as a lure?”  At the time I was using the Whitlock damsel nymph.  I was fishing my 9 foot, 5 weight fly rod with a full sink line with a 9 foot leader.  I caught all the trout in the morning on the damsel nymph, but in the afternoon I switched to a black leech pattern.
A plump hen trout of 17 to 18 inches based on the Fishpond landing net dimensions.
Could the scarring on the back and sides be from herons and other predatory birds?
This Fishpond Nomad mid-length net is very helpful when landing trout
in the Water Master Grizzly.
Another fine fall specimen; note the missing right maxilla.
All in all I landed 7 trout (one about 14 inches, four around 16 inches, and two that where close, if not actually at, 18 inches). I landed a plethora of young black bass, most in the range of 9 inches with one or two pushing 11 inches.  As small as they were, they hit the fly with abandon and for a few seconds they really fought nobly. But alas, they were really a nuisance. Although I didn’t keep a precise count, I landed close to 30 fish in six hours of fishing plus 7 or so long distance releases. I could feel the weariness in my casting arm as I made the long drive south on Highway 318. It was a fulfilling type of weariness that comes from focusing so intently on something you enjoy immensely that you fail to recognize the physicality of the task until it is done. It was a very special day.
One of the 20-plus young large mouth bass that were so often disappointing. 
One of three trout that had deformed or injured mouth parts. Not only was this one
 missing his left maxilla, but his lower jaw curved to the left.  Despite these issues,
this trout was a healthy 16 inches.
Here was another whose right maxilla was either deformed or injured. Still, he was
healthy. One begins to wonder if catch and release works well when it includes
hardware lures. I don't know, but I do know that a high percentage of Dacey trout have
mouth wounds, maybe as high as 30 to 40 percent.
 
For those not aware, I am retiring from my chief financial officer position effective January 26, 2017. I intend to work part-time for a friend who provides municipal securities advisory services to Nevada and its local governments, which will generate less stress, provide more time with the family, and just might produce an extra blog post or two… we’ll see. My wife and I have been looking forward to this milestone, and it is because of the blessings of the Lord that I can make this next transition in life at the young age of 60. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying belief in Christ results in wealth. I am saying that everything I have, every breath, every day of health, all my gifts and abilities, my wife and children, my job, absolutely everything I have comes from God. But of all his provisions, His gift of everlasting life with the Lord reigns supreme through the sacrifice of Jesus. I know I am a blessed man to be in a relationship with Christ Jesus, and everything else is gravy. For those interested to learn more of God’s provisions read Psalm 84:11, Matthew 7:11, Luke 12:24, Philippians 4:19, James 4:1-2, and 1 John 3:22.
Resting in Water Master Grizzly boat, enjoying the view of the Grant Range and
Hot Creek Butte in left foreground.
A good view of the expanse of Dacey Reservoir looking over the tops of the tullies.
The satiated FisherDad with trusty Trout Truck in the background.