November 11, 2010

Cold Creek Pond, Clark County

Approaching the town of Cold Creek on highway 172
Hey, for those Las Vegans that have been asking about the stocking of Cold Creek I am happy to report that occurred last week. I made a short visit Thursday morning on a hunch that the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) had performed their scheduled deed even though their website had not been updated since last August.

Town of Cold Creek from the fishing pond, with just a light dusting of snow
I arrived at about 6:45 AM with the temperature in the high thirties. Two bait fisherman were already there and having good success with worms. After my usual slow start I caught about ten little ones in about two hours. Largest being maybe 10.5 inches (normal average stocking length is about 9.5 inches in NDOW’s urban pond program). Although, the healthier trout that survive the winter and make it to the spring can reach twelve inches or more.

Nice little rainbow about to be released, caught on 7.5-foot fly I built
After the first hour a truck with five fishermen arrived. They were using spinning rods with flies, mostly green woolly buggers. These stocked trout are small, and if you want lots of action here you need to use a smaller fly. Using woolly buggers on Cold Creek will produce the feeling of "taps” when the trout strike, but more often than not they won’t get the whole fly into their mouths, at least not past the hook point. I was slightly amused to hear all their talk about methods and results. And they did get some results with larger fish in the stocking pool, but had more than their share of missed strikes.
Close up of gold-ribbed hare's ear nymph compared to trout mouth

Pretty little trout on small nymph; note missing pectoral fin,
eaten off in the closed, neurotic confines of the fish hatchery

One amusing occurrence, which I suspect was driven by their trout hatchery upbringing, was that every time a cloud impeded the sun’s early morning rays six or seven trout would immediately roll on the surface. As soon as the sun came back they stopped. On this outing practically every one of my strikes was from the depths of the pond (four to five feet down). None of eight of us fishing the pond ever got a strike while the trout were rolling on the surface, despite what one member of the five fishermen predicted. I believe this is because as recently stocked hatchery trout reared in concrete runs, they were seeking the solace and protection of the depths of the pond while acclimating to their new environs, and the shadows of the cloud cover triggered some learned hatchery response... at least that’s my supposition. There where no “hatches” occurring on the pond.  Once accustomed to their new environment they will rise to dry flies fairly well, as my friend Mitch Kobler has often discovered.

Anyway, the trout are there and the fishing is fun. Enjoy the pictures.
Average Cold Creek stocked rainbow
Colorful gill plate on rainbow fooled by beaded nymph


Rainbow on the fly


This guy succumbed to a gold-ribbed hare's ear nymph


This one, too
Another classic colored rainbow on the hare's ear nymph
Looking southwest toward Spring Mountains and Cold Creek


11 comments:

chan said...

Fisherdad,

I just went to Cold Creek today. After my disappointment in early October, I was excited to go back when I know that there are fish. I got there right at 6:15 and on the water around 6:30.

Even though you mentioned that fishing with a sinking line was more efficient, I'm fairly new and didn't have a sinking line. So I just used my floating line with a sinker/BB. I tried all kinds of stuff (variants of nymphs) with different retrieving speeds and couldn't get a bite. Then I tried the hare's ear with a medium retrieve and that did the trick. It was 2 hours before getting my first bite. After that, I caught anywhere between 15-20 (stopped counting at about 5) in about an hour and a half. Of course, they were all safely released back to their home.

Being new to fly fishing, I'm always worried I'm not doing it correctly. Fishing in early October and not catching anything didn't help. Finally, I know that I am at least okay at fly fishing (though the casting needs major work). Can't wait to go back.

Thanks for sharing the pictures and info again. I couldn't make it up to Mammoth Creek and it is probably too cold now. If I do get up there, I'll be sure to update you on that too.

Chan

FisherDad said...

Chan --

Excellent! Sounds like a great learning experience that produced great results! Remember there really isn’t a “right” or “wrong”, there are only techniques that “work” and techniques that “don’t work”, always predicated and shaped by the situation at that very moment. What works on the pond one day may not work on another. That’s part of the allure of the sport. It can feel like playing chess sometimes, even on little ponds with recently stocked fish.

The casting, like everything else, comes with time. You can’t really expect to master it in a year or two. Heck, I’ve been doing this for 35 years and I still have more than my share of “sucky” casts. Sometimes I think I forgot everything I ever knew about casting. Don’t stress it. Enjoy the experience of learning by embracing your mistakes and folly and staying alert to see and feel what works and what doesn’t work.

See my reply to your other post regarding stream fishing. Keep it up; all will come with time. And thanks for putting them back so the season can be stretched out, but more importantly for teaching the little buggers a lesson that will help them be a little harder to fool the next time... nothing quite like the puzzle of knowing the trout are there but being unable to present the right fly in the manner expected by the trout. Way fun! BTW, I may run up to the pond this Friday afternoon...

All the best.

-- Mark

chan said...

Mark,

I really wanted to go out to Cold Creek yesterday but could not get out of work by 1 pm (or else it would have gotten too dark by the time I got home and grabbed the gear). It seemed a bit windy but hopefully you had a great time out there.

Too bad too because I was really looking forward to learning some techniques from you. Next time.

Chan

FisherDad said...

Chan --

I did run up and fish for about 90 minutes yesterday. I needed to be home by 3pm for an appointment. The winds were wild and gusty. After just a few overhead casts I went exclusively to roll casting with my little 7.5 foot 4 weight. It’s amazing how far one can roll cast with a 35 to 40 mph gust behind one’s back and not have to sweat the back cast. I landed three, missed about 4 strikes. One was very healthy and fat. They are still deep. The wind created all sorts of white caps and other riffles on the water and that might have kept them down as well. There were three other fly fishers out there, one was my buddy Mitch. One young guy was killing them in the deep hole to the east of that little submerged peninsula. I’d guess in an hour or so he landed six or seven. I think he was using a floating line with a weighted nymph, but I’m not sure. Although a short trip it was great to get on the water for a bit.

-- Mark

WCS Dancer said...

Fisherdad,

I made a trip up to Cold Creek this morning for the first time after reading about it on your blog. After driving around a bit I found the pond, but it was iced over solid. I got there around 9am. Do you happen to know if it stays iced over for the rest of the winter or perhaps I just need to go at a different time?

Thanks,
Jeff

FisherDad said...

Jeff --

I think it’s a little unusual to be iced over this early. Usually it waits until mid-to-late December. I suspect what you’re seeing so far is skim ice that could melt off later in the day; fishing the afternoons this time of year is best. However, it has been unusually cold and very windy this past week. Let’s watch the temperatures up there (http://weather.yahoo.com/united-states/nevada/cold-creek-23511215/) and see if the overnights get closer to 30 degrees and the days back up to 50 degrees. But, if these temps stay this low it could stay iced over until next March. Sorry, don’t know what else to tell you.

-- Mark

FisherDad said...

Jeff --

I just peeked at the 10-day forecast and it looks like Cold Creek warms back up next week. Let’s hope that melts off the ice for a couple more weeks. Still, I'd stick to the afternoons. Try Thursday or Friday.

-- Mark

Anonymous said...

Fisherdad,

I have been wanting to fish cold creek pond ever since reading your blog last summer. My question is have you ever fished carpenter canyon creek? I have read that it is the only place in southern Nevada with wild Lohantan Cutthroat trout. I have seen many pictures of the creek and it looks very fishy. Also being a spring feed creek it has been said to run year round up the mountain.
Thank you
Bryan
chef_bbom@hotmail.com

FisherDad said...

Bryan --

Yes, I have read a few of those articles on the planting of Lahontan cutthroats in Carpenter Creek. I have caught Lahontans from Martis Creek near Tahoe City, but none from Nevada (I’ll try Pyramid or Walker lakes some day). See my blog at http://www.fisherdad.com/1982/09/kathy-jill-and-billfrom-early-1980s.html.

But, I have not fished Carpenter Creek, although 10 years or so ago I did drive up into the canyon. They suggest 4x4s which I did not at that time, so I never reached the creek. It is quite a long drive from Las Vegas, and as a curiosity I would try it least once. For every-day fishing, though, I still suggest Pine Valley, Mammoth, or Beaver creeks over Carpenter or Cold creeks. As to year-round fishing on Carpenter, the upper reaches of Carpenter Creek are over 7,500 feet on the southwest slope of Mount Charleston... I wouldn’t suggest trying it with snow on the ground. If you do try it, please post a comment as to results.

All the best.

-- Mark

Anonymous said...

I took a sporadic trip to cold creek on 11/29/2010. The pond was completely frozen over. I walked out on the ice about 8 feet. Hopefully the pond will thaw at somepoint this season. If not, there should be some hungry trout in the spring!

Anonymous said...

Unexpectedly I had some free time this afternoon, so a friend and I headed to Cold Creek. As the previous comment notes, the pond was completely frozen over.