November 17, 2011

Fall Stocking Accomplished at Cold Creek

Resplendent Cold Creek trout and my favorite light rod
My friend Mitch emailed me that Cold Creek pond was stocked on Monday. Then yesterday I had a post from a reader who said he had a great time fishing in the morning before work, which made me feel relieved to learn that I'm not the only fanatic that fits fishing around odd schedules. So by Thursday you can only imagine that I was unable to resist leaving work early to have some fun before the Christmas season and the inevitable ice-over occur.


Healthy little trout
Trout with mangled brown nymph hooked in upper lip
The weather was good. Temperature was about 55 degrees when I arrived at 2:30pm, and dropped to about 40 degrees when I left at 4:30pm. Only a slight breeze now and then, but the bright afternoon sun kept the trout huddled in the deepest parts of the reservoir until twilight. As soon as the bright sun was gone there was lots of surface activity that began to spread out into the shallow areas. 
Bead head nymph hook through the snout
What a handsome trout
When I arrived 
there was a family of five (husband, wife, and three very young children), and soon thereafter their friends, a family of four with similar ages, showed up and parked right next to them. Their children were well behaved, but one of the dads was obviously using his children to pad his limit of fish. He'd hook a fish and then have one of his youngsters reel it in well after he had his limit of three (once you have a limit you cannot fish, even if you intend to release the fish).  Not that big of a deal, but I admit it slightly bothered me.  I sometimes see things only in black and white, truth vs. lies. I can be intolerant like that. I suspect he incorrectly assumed that if his children reeled them in he could keep an additional three each.  I heard him mention the three-fish limit for urban ponds so he was aware of it, but he didn't appear to know that while children under twelve can fish for free, their limits must not exceed 50 percent of the general limit, i.e., one each in this case.  The reason for these limits is to ensure more of the public can enjoy the sport and share in its bounty because hatcheries cannot stock these ponds frequently enough to keep up with the urban demands.

Dad and a couple of moms bait fishing; the one in pink is holding an infant
There was another lone fisherman that arrived later who did quite well.  He was using bait or perhaps a jig, but he seemed to release all that he caught.

Last fisherman standing; this guy did very well and released every trout
As I mentioned, the freshly stocked fish seemed to be congregating in the deepest part of the pond while the sun was still high (an overcast day would have been better). I only caught five in the first hour, usually after the fly had sunk about three feet. As soon as the sun was setting the trout seemed to spread out and start surface feeding. I caught ten in that final hour. A total of fifteen in a couple hours, with about four or five "long-distance-releases" provided some fun, excitement, and peace for my psyche. And the trout were pretty considering they were hatchery raised. They were healthy, in the nine to ten inch range, and most were heavily spotted. Their pectoral fins were intact, indicating that they weren't too overcrowded or aggressive in the hatchery (often hatchery trout bite each other in crowded conditions resulting in damaged or missing pectoral fins).

A combination of a natutal and man-mnade beauty
Typical catch of the afternoon
All in all, a good afternoon away from the office despite the somewhat crowded conditions. Maybe next time up I'll look for an early morning trip. Those of you that have been waiting for the trout stocking will be pleased to read this blog as evidence of the stocking. Tight lines for you all.

Wild mare and her foal

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I must have just missed you. That family had 4 or five kept fish when I left around 130. I did really well fishing deep as well with well over 20 fish brought to hand and lots of LDRs.

Chan said...

Mark,

I went out to Cold Creek right before Thanksgiving. I caught prob 10-15, all released. I tried hare's ear, prince, and woolly buggers. All were successful fished deep and slowly.

However, I had a similar experience as you. There were two older gentlemen, maybe Russian, there and they were catching tons on jigs and powerbait worms of some sort. But what really irked me is them keeping much much more than the limit. Like you, I would love to enjoy the fishing throughout spring but with guys like these over-harvesting, I doubt it will last that long this season.

Had a great time but the experience did leave a bad taste.

-chan

FisherDad said...

Chan –

I know it can be annoying sharing water, especially a popular water, with scofflaw fishermen who seem more intent on stimulating their egos than simply savoring the experience of communing with nature as you do. My experience for the most part, including my own youthful transgressions, has been that “meat” fishermen don’t kill their limit for food, but rather to demonstrate to others they caught a mess of fish. They can’t possibly eat all they catch, and so they often justify their kill by giving fish away to others, who usually politely accept the fish, place them into the freezer, and eventually toss them out due to freezer burn. Besides, hatchery trout taste, well they taste like hatchery trout. The irony is that wild trout taste wonderful, but those of us fortunate enough to catch wild trout value them too much to kill them, but I digress again.

Now, to be transparently truthful I suppose this blog of mine has replaced my own ego needs, but at least I return the fish for the enjoyment of others so it seems to feel a little less selfish.

But, with the urban stocking program the NV DOW treats these ponds as put-and-take; they expect the fish to be harvested quickly. You can’t fight against that, the battle is already lost. You’ll have to learn to accept and live with this sort of brutish behavior and rise above your emotions. And, as much as possible, try to find places and times to fish so as to avoid the conflict of philosophical differences.

Try to think positively about the situation. It would be worse to fish Sunset or Floyd Lamb urban ponds where your backcast is likely to snag a non-fisherman simply walking by unaware, and even worse their urban distractions that dissolve any possible sense of being outdoors. But my most effective “optimism” tactic is to believe that as soon as the stocked trout numbers dwindle, so too will the meat fishermen, leaving more “open” water and solitude for those of us who simply enjoy the experience. Furthermore, whether true of not, I like to think that the trout left behind after the meat grinders finish their gluttony have survived because they were not deceived by the cornucopia of exotic baits and hardware slung by so many. Believing this makes the slower paced late season fishing more enjoyable because I can concentrate on what artificial fly will induce the more “educated” holdovers to take rather than fight my own selfish tendency to concentrate on catching “numbers” to show up the meat fisherman facing me on the other shoreline (I am human after all... smile).

I know we have missed each other a few times at Cold Creek. Maybe we can coordinate something if you’ll email me at markvinc@cox.net. Not sure how our schedules would coincide, but we can discuss that privately.

All the best.

-- Mark

p.s., How is the young law career going? I know the local economy is still wavering through recovery, but I do see positive signs that recovery is strengthening, albeit on the back of tourism, but we are a one-horse town, so to speak. Just letting you know I was thinking about that more important aspect of your life.