October 21, 2011

Cold Springs Reservoir, Wayne Kirch WMA

Cold Springs boat dock; Grant Range on the left side of the horizon
I made a quick getaway to Cold Springs Reservoir in the Wayne Kirch Wildlife Management Area. The KWMA is nestled in the high desert of the White River watershed, such as it is.  As barren as it appears from Highway 318 (thirty miles south of Lund, NV), the KWMA does have quite a variety of wildlife (see brochure: http://ndow.org/about/pubs/pdf/wma/wma_kirch.pdf).  On a previous KWMA excursion I wrote about almost running into a golden eagle that was pursuing a desert cottontail rabbit (http://www.fisherdad.com/2008/04/cold-springs-wayne-kirch-wma.html); that was an awesome experience.  On this trip I again flushed another large golden eagle from the left side of the dirt service road.  This time I got a very close look at the large raptor, and it amazed me that such a large bird can actually fly, let alone attack game from the air.  By the time I stopped the truck, lowered the passenger window, and got the camera into zoom mode the eagle had gotten about 100 yards away and was circling back to the south.  Having a close encounter with such a majestic bird is the highlight of any trip.
Golden Eagle, with Gap Mountain in background
I was hoping for cooler weather, or should I say cold weather.  It had been warm for so long that the weed growth in the reservoir was still right up to the water surface.  Rowing the Outlaw Escape was quite easy, skimming over the underwater "obstructionists", but finding openings to fish between the growth proved somewhat difficult, but very doable by paying attention to the surface complexion of the water as I scanned for open spots (Cold Springs is 275 surface acres).  The temperature was forty-five degrees when I arrived at 9:15am, but it rose to a warm seventy degrees by the time I left at 1:00pm.  The water was very calm and there was not a cloud in the sky; I imagined that all the trout were feeding on the bottom in the cool of the shade provided by the tall weed growth.


Weed growth right up to water surface - thankful for NFO Outlaw Escape's oar system
Lone cattail in the bulrushes 

Calm waters... lots of weeds
I only had three hours to fish the reservoir, violating my self-prescribed day trip rule that fishing time is supposed to exceed round-trip travel time.  I got a late start because I dropped Evan off at school around 6:40am, and then I committed to be home by 3:30pm so Denise could tutor her student without interruption from Emily, our foster daughter.  Still, the trip was worthy of the effort.  But I can tell you that I was really tempted to stay on the water until dusk… the fishing started slow and I was just beginning to figure out the weed arrangement in the reservoir when it became time to pack up and go home.  I think I was about two or three weeks too early; by early/mid November the weeds will begin to clear and the trout will become more active. 
NFO Outlaw Escape sporting unique integrated oar system
As I said, the fishing started very slow.  I caught one trout towards the end of the first hour, then managed four more in the next two hours.  All were in the thirteen to fifteen inch range, which likely means holdovers from the spring stocking.  One trout was deformed or injured; it looked as if the cartilage in its lower right jaw had been ripped out or was never fully formed, and part of its gills were dysfunctional and hanging out.  While the herons and pelicans were gone now, an osprey (I think they range this far south) was still searching the reservoir for a meal; it is possible the injury was from an unsuccessful attack.  In any event, the rainbow was a good fourteen inches long.  All, except the first, were caught on Denny Rickard’s callibaetis nymph using my nine-foot rod with a five-weight sinking line.  Later in the day as I was making my way back to the dock I switched to my smaller four-weight rod, which I enjoyed casting with a sink-tip line, but on which I felt no strikes.
15-inch rainbow trout
Another 15 incher
Rainbow pulled from the weeds
Trout with injured or deformed gill
Denise had been sick all of last week, and I was fairly ill from the night before through the morning of this trip. In fact, I almost turned around before I reached Alamo, but I continued on anyway, for which I am glad. It is fascinating how the mind (or your will) can overcome physical discomfort to pursue that which you desire.  I pondered that as I was driving Highway 318.  I wondered if I was pursuing that which was true, pure, and good in my life. Was I trying to be the husband, father, and friend that God planned me to be with the same vigor?  Was my desire for Christ pursued with the same fervor as I had demonstrated to fish Cold Springs today?  David writes in Psalm 84, “My whole being wants to be with the living God.” Sometimes I have to ask myself, am I behaving like a Christian whose whole being wants to be with the living God?  Apostle Paul wrote in Romans that we all fall short.  Thank goodness for God’s loving mercy through Christ.

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