October 27, 2008

Cold Springs & Haymeadow Reservoirs - Wayne Kirch WMA


Haymeadow boat launch area
I so enjoy the fall weather. It may be the anticipation of getting past the dreadfully hot Las Vegas summers. It may be the colorful reds, yellows, and oranges that decorate the deciduous trees that typically line bodies of water. Or, it could be the urgent activity that the birds and wildlife seem to exhibit as they prepare for winter. Maybe that’s it. Perhaps it is the renewed energy the trout display as they press through fall obsessively feeding to prepare for winter. Whatever it is, it also compels me to fish one last time before the freeze sets in. October 27 seemed like a good day to take one last sip from the 2008 fishing chalice.

Olive-colored 13-inch rainbow
It has been a long time since I was able to schedule an overnight trip. This outing was not able to break that drought, and so I was limited to fishing within 200 miles of home, which targets Wayne Kirch, Eagle Valley, Pine Valley, Baker, or possibly KolobI picked Wayne Kirch because the action is usually brisk and the trout can reach eighteen inches or better. The other intriguing thought was that there are reservoirs at Wayne Kirch that I haven’t fished, and I was contemplating trying Haymeadow if Cold Springs turned slow.

Fifteen incher from Cold Springs

Small, but richly colored Cold Spring rainbow
I arrived at Cold Springs at around 9:30 am. Since the day was to be short I was hurrying to assemble my gear and get into my waders when a young game warden drove up. He looked to be a young man of thirty-ish (plus or minus five years), from Kansas I believe he said. He asked if I had fished there before, and I said that I had several times with usually great success. He asked what I used, and I told him I normally start my fishing with a green wooly-bugger with flashy tinsel in the tail. He told me that the only trout he ever caught fly fishing was on just such a fly. He then asked if there was any such thing as a fly tied to resemble a blood worm, as he had recently turned over a rock to discover all sorts of blood worms. I told him there was indeed such a fly pattern, and one in particular called the San Juan Worm for its success on the San Juan River in northern New Mexico. I told him I routinely fish various waters in central and eastern Nevada. I mentioned that I hadn’t returned to Cumins Reservoir since the pike obliterated the trout population. Then he asked, “Did you hear the news”, as if I was privy to the State Game Warden’s inner rumor mill. Not wishing to sound foolish by blurting out a wild guess, I simply said, “No”. He informed me that they had found a dead pike on the banks of Cold Springs. Pike are not indigenous to the area, and are known for their love of small trout which they can quickly decimate as they grow quickly to twenty-five or even thirty inches in length. This fact is critical to reservoirs that don’t have stream inlets adequate for spawning trout because it means that to sustain the trout population the reservoir must be routinely stocked, usually with nine-inch trout that fit nicely into the jaws of adult pike. The illegal introduction of pike into the Cumins Reservoir has single handedly destroyed that trophy trout water, and they could easily do the same at Wayne Kirch… an extremely serious and sad situation. He said they did not know if someone was playing a gag by planting the dead pike on the bank to make it appear as if they had illegally introduced the predator into the water, of if any were actually introduced into the water. He said they may get a shock-boat to see if any come up (a shock-boat uses an electroshocking device to stun fish so they can examine them and determine the numbers and species of fish present in the water; it does not harm the fish).

Haymeadow rainbow
Anyway, the conversation with the young warden caused me to forget to put sunscreen on my hands, face, and neck. The weather was sunny and warm, about 78 degrees, and I did get a little reddish even under my felt fishin’ hat.

I fished Cold Springs from 10:00 am to about 1:00 pm, and it was slower than usual. I was the only one fishing the water, and most trout were in the nine to eleven inch range. I did land one of about fifteen inches. The weed growth was starting its fall die-off, but it was still plentiful and close to the surface. I didn’t have trouble navigating on my float tube, but I think the abundance of weeds interfered with the trout’s ability to see the fly in the water (although the water was clear). Most of the strikes came well under the surface, about three to four feet down.

Slightly bored, I decided to try Haymeadow for an hour or so. I had never fished it before; heck, I had never driven down to look at it before. I decided the relocation would address my boredom and perhaps change my luck. Upon arrival it appeared as though Haymeadow was larger than Cold Springs, but that was just an optical illusion as Cold Springs swings back and to the right as you enter the water from the east, giving the appearance that it is narrower.

As soon as I entered the water at 1:30 pm I noted that Haymeadow appeared deeper, or at least the weeds did not rise as close to the surface, which I took as a very encouraging sign. Right off the bat I hooked into three nice fish of fourteen to sixteen inches; which cured any tedium I suffered on Cold Springs. Because of the short time remaining in my visit (I promised Denise I would be home by 6:00 pm to help prepare for our small group church meeting, so I needed to be on the highway by 3:30 pm), I did not explore much else of the reservoir, preferring to stay closer to the boat launch area. I did observe a couple of guys fishing from a boat on the upper northwest end of the reservoir. After a while I got the sense that they were fishing around a natural spring. All the reservoirs in Wayne Kirch are fed by natural springs, and I suspected these guys had found such a spot to be productive as their boat was anchored there for over an hour.

Last of the day in Haymeadow: fourteen inch rainbow
Aerial map of Wayne Kirch Wildlife Management Area
Dusty road headed to Highway 318
Great fishing on Haymeadow!
It was fun to try a new body of water; fishing it instilled a sense of exploration in me. New exploration awakens my senses to hear and see new things. For example, on the far west shore I saw a horse. I don’t know if it was wild, but it was alone and not bridled or saddled; I prefer to think of it as a wild mustang… who knows for sure. I also noted several flocks of snow geese flying very high overhead; they were not stopping at Wayne Kirch on this journey. I was amused to watch the white dots in the blue sky as each seemed to jockey for position in the slipstream of its neighbor.

Unfortunately I had to extract myself from the water by 3:00 pm so I could tear down and pack up for the drive home. But I’ll be back again to fish Haymeadow reservoir and explore more of its secret offerings.

11 comments:

steve said...

I was just looking for some info on sunnyside and ran accross your blog. I don't get to fish much (vacations and 1 or 2 trips to Kolob thrown in) but I have been hearing good things about sunnyside.I read your first post. I haven't thought about Betsy Herbst in a long time. She was my sister in law and a good woman.

FisherDad said...

Wow, it really is a small world. Were you married to Betsy's sister?

Sunnyside is a stange-looking place, but the fishing is productive if you can get out on the water (shore fishing is difficult due to the reeds along the shoreline). If you go, let me know how you do.

Anonymous said...

It was great reading your blog. My wife, son and I have fished Eagle Valley many times, but have never made it to Sunnyside. I heard of a back road from Sunnyside to the 93 that puts you right by Pioche. I think next time we travel north we will check it out, then travel to Eagle Valley to camp. Your article peaks my interest, and I can never pass up a good spot to throw Wooly Buggers.

Thanks for the info.


Tim

FisherDad said...

Tim, that road your refer to is likely the Bristol Wells road. It connects to US 93 about 15 miles north of Pioche, and maybe 8 to 10 miles south of Sunnyside on Highway 318. I believe it passes through Muleshoe Valley and the southern tip of the Schell Creek Range, maybe about 25 to 30 miles in length. Lots of roads back there so bring a good map and compass/GPS.

In my opinion, Wayne Kirch fishing is considerably better than Eagle Valley if you have a boat or float tube to get on the water.

Best of luck.

Tim said...

Thanks for the info on the road. We are actually going to Sunnyside in two weeks, the 13th - 15th of March. We are excited being that we have never been there, and I'm hoping you are right about the fishing being better than Eagle valley. While we always catch a bunch of fish there, they are usually small. Typically we take our 14' fiberglass boat to Eagle, but we are renting a travel trailer for this trip since I know there is little cover up there and it will likely be cold. That said, back to the float tube (I can't tow doubles). My wife and I used to float tube a lot before my son was born. He turns 9 this month so I finally bought him a float tube and some waders. We are looking forward to some good family time.

I am planning of fishing Cold Springs, but Haymeadow will definietly be on the list as well. Any tips for this time of year. I plan to start by throwing some wooly buggers on the fly rod. My wife will be giving it her first go on the fly rod, but I'm sure her and my son will definitely be throwing spinners as well.

Any info is good. Thanks for keeping up the blog. It's really the only good info on the web for Sunnyside, and I always like conversing with others who truly enjoy the whole experience of fishing as much as I do.

Thanks again,

Tim

FisherDad said...

Tim --

Glad to hear you're taking the family. Do some exploring on all the reservoirs in the WMA. I think early spring is a great time to be fishing the Kirch WMA, but the nights will be cold as will the water. Looks like high temperatures will be around 50 degrees with overnight lows in the 20s. I hope your float tubes are the pontoon type as opposed to the round tire-tube type; your wife and son will want to keep their upper legs and fannies out of that cold water.

Last week's NDOW report (see link on my blog) indicated there were patches of water free of ice; perhaps by mid-March it’ll be more open. They did report muddy roads, and I see rain/snow is forecast around this coming weekend. There’ll be a new report posted on the NDOW site on Thursday; you might want to look at that new report when it comes out (http://www.ndow.org/fish/report/index.shtm#kirch).

The earliest I’ve fished Kirch WMA was the first week in April (http://www.fisherdad.com/2008/04/cold-springs-wayne-kirch-wma.html). The action was a little slower than normal, but the trout were large and fat. The best part about the early spring fishing is the weed growth is low. Casting spinners and lures will be easier with the open water, especially for your son. The larger trout should be preparing to spawn, so they might not be so intent on feeding. I think you’ll have good luck if you get your lures down to the 3 to 4 foot range. Start with a green wooly bugger, but brown and black should work, too. Small streamers or large nymphs in green and brown should also work. Experiment a little until you find the depth, speed, and color that seems to work the best that day. It’d be great if you posted a note on the blog of your experience when you get back.

On the spinning rod, for my sons I have attached a small swivel on the end of the spinning reel line, with a 1 - 2 foot "tippet" attached to the other end. I then use a split shot above the swivel and attach a wooly bugger or streamer on the terminal end of the tippet. The swivel presents the nymph, streamer or whatever without it "spinning" around, and makes a good "stop" to prevent the split shot from sliding down towards the fly. So, you can fish a fly with a spinning rod... just something to consider.

All the best!

Tim said...

I have definitely been checking the weather forcast myself. Unfortunatley we do not have the "toon" style setups. I'm hoping the water temp is high enough to at least let us tube for a little while. I know the ice is still coming off but was hoping it was all clear but next weekend. If not, oh well. You still can't beat a weekend spent fishing with the family. If we can't tube to much we'll adventure around the shore, and maybe just do some wading here and there. I'll definitely post some info when we get back.

Tim said...

Well, we are back from our maiden trip to Sunnyside. The weather actually cooperated, except for the early morning lows near 10 degrees. The days were nice, highs almost reaching 50. The breeze did pick up Saturday afternoon but weren't enough to hamper the enjoyment of being out of the city.

We arrived around 2 PM on Friday, and the warm weather prompted us to fill the float tubes and hit the lake. My son caught a trout on his firts cast, which ended up being a misleading look into the fishing forecast. An hour later, we had no more fish, and we couldn't feel out feet due to the low water temp.

Saturday morning we awoke to ice everywhere. The lake was free from the hard stuff, so we began fishing from the Cold Springs damn with some friends. Although I casted my fly rod at least a hundred times, bait fishing seemed the only method drawing any strikes. To say the least, the fishing was SLOW. However, the fish we did catch were large, beautiful and had delicious pink meat.

My son and wife caught new personal bests, with my wife landing a trout just over 20". I ended up with only one fish for the weekend, but it was a beautiful 19" rainbow.

I am planning on going back in about a month when I can stand sitting in my float tube longer. Hopefully the fish are done spawning and a little more active.

Overall it was a great outing. Our group ended up with about 20 people, and time with family and friends around a campfire is hard to beat. Maybe we can meet up there and I can steal some of your "Sunnyside" fishing tips. I'll post some pics when they are ready.

FisherDad said...

Tim --

Overall it sounds like your trip was successful. Frankly, I was a little concerned that you were trying it too early, especially with your wife and children in tow (it can be cold and windy there in the late winter). I, too, am targeting a run up there in early April if I can find a workday to escape (I’m not anti-social, but I so love solitude in the outdoors). It would be great if you wanted to join me. Based on my work schedule I’m targeting April 8th or 9th right now. I’d plan on leaving Vegas at 7:00 am and be fishing by 9:30 am, then leave for home around 5:00 pm (just a day trip). Email me at markvinc@cox.net if you want to connect.

By the way, I had an interesting encounter at a local pond today which you can read about at http://www.fisherdad.com/2009/03/new-fly-rod-on-cold-creek.html.

-- Mark

Tim said...

Mark,


As for a weekday trip to Wayne Kirsch,it is highly unlikely. My work unfortnately does not lend itself to too many days off other than weekends (trust me, I'm not complaining). So although I share in your fondness of solitude I typically end braving the weekend crowd. There is a chance I will be making the trip this coming Saturday, weather permitting. It does not look too promising at the moment, but I will keep my fingers crossed and let you know.

I actually read your Cold Creek post right before I read your response here. I too have spent some time there when I was lucky enough to see they had stocked it. It seems the fishing was just a bonus during your last adventure, and I must honestly say that as I have gotten older I find that to be true on many occasions. The time I spend with my family and the memories of just being together outside the city boundaries is what I cherish the most. Fishing just happens to be the extra little piece of that sparks the adventure. I can remember my son's first trout when he was two years old as well as I remember the last trout he caught, now 9 years old. At 30 years old I know I will learn many more life lessons, but I have a firm grasp on what happiness is...

Tim

Tom k said...

just got back from sunnyside. it was a bit windy for the float tube but i managed to get out in the early morning monday/tuesday. didnt have much luck before the wind picked up, only a few caught on a spinner. shore fishing was good, with green powerbait seeming to work a bit better than the orange and the corn scented i had. had one on my light rod (4lb test trout rod) that started taking my line out as fast as you can say "jesus". broke my leader. i managed to land about a 16 incher on that rod, so my guess is this one was quite a bit bigger. anyway, thanks for all the great reviews on this blog, thought i would give my .02cents - wont be back to sunnyside untill duck season opens! maybe drop a line in while im hunting.

-thomas