October 30, 2009

Cold Creek Pond, Clark County, Nevada


Plump Cold Creek rainbow of twelve inches
Being a local government employee, I benefit from the Nevada statehood holiday. Strangely, or not, it coincides with Halloween. Some, mostly those who mispronounce its name, probably think that makes Nevada a scary state. Regardless, I took advantage of the holiday to run up to Cold Creek for ninety minutes of fishing.
Another rainbow on stillwater nymph
From my perusal of the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) website I noticed they stocked the little pond on October 23. I say Cold Creek is little because even when at capacity it can't be over two acres in size... maybe 100,000 surface square-feet at most. Despite the cold front that blew into the valley on Wednesday I decided a quick trip to Cold Creek was needed before all the meat anglers depleted the pond of its little jewels. I tried to cajole my son Brian into going with me to “get out of Dodge” as they say. But he feared it would be cold and windy on Saturday morning. Turns out this morning was calm, but cool. The temperature upon arrival at 8:30am was about 45 degrees. But since there was no wind it was very tolerable.
Healthy ten-inch trout next to my newly built rod
(foul hooked near pectoral fin)
There were two gents slinging hardware (i.e., metal spinning lures) into the pond when I arrived. They were from Las Vegas and were clearly harvesting fish for a meal. They had a few on a stringer that were slapping around near the shore. Unfortunately for them, they did not realize that the average size of these little stocked trout was about 9.2 inches, making it difficult for most of them to get their mouths around the metal lures, assuming they wanted to eat those things. In contrast I had the perfect weapon for these little fish... flies tied to resemble little bugs. Trout naturally feed on aquatic insects. Bugs that live their nymph stage in the water clinging to rocks and weeds. As they transform from nymph to full grown insect they emerge from the water to molt into mature winged bugs that mate and drop their fertilized eggs into the water, starting the cycle of life all over again. The point is that trout eat bugs, and the closer you can resemble the bugs they are eating the more successful you will be. Of course they will eat other food that resembles or smells like something edible (e.g., worms and cheese-ball bait), but there is no debating that they eat aquatic insects.
Fat rainbow on stillwater nymph
Same trout; note barbless hook barely holding onto lip
In ninety minutes I landed well over fifteen trout, maybe even twenty. I lost count. On several occasions I caught three in a row on successive casts, much to the dismay of my fishing company. Most were as advertized on the NDOW website: about nine inches. I did land several close to eleven inches, and two plump ones close to twelve inches. What I found especially nice was that they were deeply colored, and many leaped wildly out of the water. The NDOW website indicates these Cold Creek trout were stocked from the Mason Valley Hatchery near Yerington, NV; looks like Mason Valley produces some healthy, nice looking rainbow trout.  I was using my newly built seven foot, six inch fly rod with a four-weight sinking fly line. It was a blast. I was casting size twelve still-water nymphs. One of them lacked a tail and it sometimes acted as a dry fly sitting on the surface. I noticed a trout rose to the surface to strike it, and for a while I fished it as a dry fly. I took four nice trout using that tactic.


Others had arrived at the pond, and some were catching a few trout, but nothing like what I was experiencing. I caught trout in practically every corner of that little pond. The weather was cooperating nicely, as were the trout. I tried hard not to let my pride swell too much, but I admit to getting a little giddy at times. I think a couple of the other fishermen were enjoying my success in a vicarious sort of way. I heard one older gentleman talking with his wife on the cell phone. “Yes honey, I arrived just fine. I’ll call you when I leave. There are a few guys fishing, and one fly fisherman who’s catching fish on practically every cast.”
My three early-morning fishing buddies
Before I got into my truck to depart, I talked with one of the fishermen who was there when I arrived. He claimed to have loaned his fly rod to his sister or daughter or someone, which made no sense to me at the time. He asked to see the flies I was using. I opened my Wheatley box and showed him the flies. I told him how I would rig up my spinning rods for my sons to fish flies. He seemed sincerely interested, and so I gave him a couple of flies. As I was driving up the dirt road I looked into my rear view mirror to witness him dragging the nymph on the end of a bobber as if it were a spinner. I reckoned that my first impression about the “loaning” of his fly rod to someone else was right on... he clearly was not a fly fisherman.
Awfully pretty for a stocked trout; caught on a beaded nymph
For the past twenty-five years I’ve been practicing catch and release, returning the fish to their environs, hopefully to grow larger and be caught again by another catch and release angler. I was glad to have released all those Cold Creek trout back into the pond. Maybe the fishermen I left behind caught a few of them, who knows for sure. One of them made a disdainful comment or two about my catch and release practices, especially when he saw me release the larger ones. But I always feel a sense of joy returning fish unharmed to the water. The excitement is in the casting and catching, not the killing. And with little ponds like Cold Creek, the stocked fish can be harvested out within a month if the fishing pressure is hard. Putting them back in prolongs the fishing enjoyment, for most of us anyway.
Yes, the cold weather was worth it...
 

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Fisherdad, I have read all your posts and am thinking of taking up fly fishing again.
I have lived in Clark County for 15 years now and am about ready to retire.
I gave up fly fishing years ago because I couldnt stand in the river for hours on end any more. The tube seem to have helped in that respect.
What we need now is a beginers gear list. I have a number of friends tuned into your show also.

Thank you

John in LV

FisherDad said...

John --

In consideration of your request, and several others posting similar inquisitive comments, I am working on a “getting started” blog. Hopefully it will answer most of your questions about gear.

All the best.

-- Mark

Landon M said...

Fisherdad,

Great stuff! I have to make myself stop looking at your website while at work. Its too hard to cope with the butterflies of wanting to fish so bad. j/k lol Thanks for taking the time to post your pics. Maybe one of these days ill organize my countless fishing pics and put something together. Like you, Ive also been fishing the local area for years, and cant get enough. Maybe we'll run into eachother one of these days. Last week I lucked into a 21 inch rainbow out of Daisey at sunnyside. The same day I had an absolute monster break off right before landing it that was well bigger. This coming week ill be heading to Newcastle res. targeting whipers, then to enterprise res. the following morning, and hope to finish with baker on the way home.

Ill be keeping in touch, thanks again for all of your great posts.

Landon

FisherDad said...

Landon --

Wow, a 21-inch Rainbow out of Kirch is a really nice fish. I’ve been watching the T-Storm forecast for southern Utah all week. Just noticed Friday should be clear. I'm backed up at work but thinking hard about fishing Mammoth for autumn Brownies on this Friday. That “skunking” it gave me last November under freezing conditions has got me out for a little revenge... even one nice Brown in spawning colors would make up for November.

I'm glad the blog gets your fishing juices flowing.

All the best!

-- Mark

daniel said...

is it true that they changed the water in the pond and now we cant eat the fish from the pond

FisherDad said...

Daniel –

News to me; I searched the Nevada Department of Wildlife site (see link on my blog) and found nothing regarding your comment.

Cold Creek pond is fed by an irrigation ditch constructed off the main stem of Cold Creek. The Cold Creek source is a spring. There is an overflow outlet on the pond. Your comment about changing the water is likely a misconception; no one changes the water in Cold Creek.

Sometimes the NDOW kills the “trash fish” chemically to give the sport fish a better opportunity to thrive. I don’t think this has ever been done at Cold Creek, and it’s not likely to every happen (I would think it cheaper to drain the little pond and refill it than it is to chemically treat it). I thought perhaps you were referring to that sort of treatment.

Other times folks refer to “water changing” as the natural turning over of the water in stillwater reservoirs. At certain times with the climatic seasonal changes reservoirs can turn murky, and often this might give the fish a muddy taste. Perhaps that’s what you are referring to. Not sure this happens at Cold Creek, at least not that I’ve ever noticed, and certainly not during these spring months.

So, unless you can explain your question further I’m at a loss to provide a reasonable answer. Perhaps something happened in the pond that no one has observed these past few weeks? I can say that I don’t usually eat what I catch, rather I practice catch & release so others can enjoy the sport of fishing… besides, stocked fish don’t taste that great anyway.

All the best on your fishing adventures.

- Mark

Anonymous said...

Say Fisherdad, I practice catch and release only, can I use powerbait, salmon eggs or cheese at Cold Creek? If so what size hook and line do you reccomend?

FisherDad said...

There are no bait restrictions at Cold Creek; you can use the baits you described. Here is the link to the NDOW publication on fishing regulations: http://www.ndow.org/law/regs/fishregs/index.shtm. You might read them rather than rely upon the representation of others; just an observation I’ve developed over the years.

General regulations start on p. 10 of the publication. Southern Region bait regulations start on p. 13 (Cold Creek is in the Southern Region). The limit of 3 Cold Creek fish is indicated on p. 28 of the publication. In Nevada the term “limit” applies to both the “day” and in “possession.”

Not being a bait fisherman I am not the best to answer your question about hook and line size for bait fishing, except to say the trout planed at Cold Creek are just like the trout planted at the Floyd Lamb, Lorenzi, Sunset, and Bolder City urban ponds… what works there will likely work at Cold Creek. Light tackle is what’s called for with these small trout. (BTW, I assume when you say catch & release that includes clipping off the line when bait hooks are swallowed and implanted deep rather than trying to dislodge them.)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info on Cold Creek pond, I wish more people would practice catch and release, like you have said before, it is just the thrill of catching the trout and not it's demise. By the way how often does the NDOW stock the pond and when? Thankyou again

FisherDad said...

They usually stock Cold Creek pond twice each year, November and March. If you’ve seen the pond you know it is small and shallow. Although it sits at about 5,800 feet in elevation, it is so far south that it gets quite warm in the summer. Although I’ve never verified it, my theory is that the trout do not survive in the Cold Creek pond through the hottest part of the summer. However, some of us have caught trout in the pond as late as mid-June (see Jared’s comments on the April 24, 2010 blog: http://www.fisherdad.com/2010/04/cold-creek-nevada.html). Given the record heat this past August it’s hard to imagine any trout survived to September.

As you know, trout are cold water fish preferring water temperature ranging from the low 40s to high 60s Fahrenheit (5 to 20 Celsius). High mortality occurs at temps in the upper 70s Fahrenheit (25 Celsius). Also impacting trout is the level of dissolved oxygen in the water. Although I’ve never measured it and am not sure anyone else has, I would worry that the hot summer weed and algae growth in Cold Creek, a shallow little pond, would consume the oxygen necessary to support trout. It’s these two needs, temperature and oxygen levels, that make cold, running streams the natural habitat for trout.

Sorry for the science tangent; hope I answered your question.