April 20, 2012

Cold Springs Reservoir - Wayne Kirch

Doug tubing Cold Springs, Grant Range in distant background
I admit to enjoying fishing alone. When I am by myself I feel as though I am in control of all the decisions. I can decide to fish shorter or longer, stay overnight or not, even to change destinations without consulting a fishing partner. Of course, I only “feel” as though I am in control. When traveling alone and making changes to the “plan” I always check in with my wife, both to keep her informed of my location and travel itinerary as well as to ask permission when such changes affect her expectations of my presence at home.  

To wax philosophical for a moment, I find it interesting to observe our quest for control in our lives. Life seems to hand us a set of circumstances, some of which were self-inflicted, and we waste much energy trying to change them, correct their path, even rise above them on our own power. We anxiously work at regaining control to change the circumstances, to make things conform to our will. Even Christians often ask the Lord what His will is in their lives. They fret over life’s decisions, hoping to make the right choice since God doesn’t usually speak to us in specific terms. What they fail to realize is that God has them where he already wants them to be, and he merely wants them to open their spiritual eyes to see what He is already doing around them and to join in support of His work. We tend to personalize this question of control in our life as if the focus is on us, not God. So, when we Christians realize the proper question is “what is God’s will” and drop the self-centered phrase “in my life” we begin to see the opportunities to align ourselves with God, and not the other way around. Even Jesus himself, as the man-God, the only perfect and sinless flesh and blood human, stated He could only do what his Father was doing (John 5:19-20). This is the real truth regarding control: seek to do God’s will, not yours, and you shall achieve peace.

Typical trout of the day, 11 inches but very beautiful
So why am I waxing philosophical? I have been waiting so patiently for the right opportunity to fish Wayne Kirch this spring. Looking for that “best” combination of family/work/weather has been frustrating, but Friday April 20 seemed to be the day. But something inside, the Holy Spirit perhaps, suggested I reach out to my son Doug and invite him along for a day of fishing. Doug loves being outdoors as much as I do, and he’s a pretty good fisherman despite only sporadic opportunities to do so. However, inviting him along meant I’d be giving up my control, my “will” for the long awaited first spring fishing trip.

Despite the impacts such a decision would have on my pure fishing enjoyment (yes, a very selfish perspective), I reached out to Doug to see if he was available and interested to join me on this day-trip. He said he was, but he apparently suffered his own anxious night and actually sent me a text message that indicated he changed his mind after a restless night of very little sleep. As God would have it, I never saw the text and was already on U.S. 95 southbound to his apartment when he called to ask me if I had received the text or was I already on my way. When I told him that I was already in route the Spirit in him must have prompted him to acquiesce.

And so we both gave up a little of our will to control the circumstances, and we spent a wonderful twelve hours talking in the cab of the truck, floating the serene water of Cold Springs, catching our share of trout, and simply sharing time together doing God's will for the moment.

Doug catching first trout of the day
Regarding the fishing, it was slightly slow for this time of year.  The weather was unseasonably warm (reaching 80 degrees by 3:00pm) and weed growth was already becoming an issue, especially for Doug who was spin casting with sinkers above a swivel about two feet up from a fly.  I caught just one trout over twelve inches, a healthy fifteen inch rainbow, but I lost an inordinate amount of fish including one large trout that took my fly with him. We landed about twenty fish between the two of us, but admittedly most came from near the boat launch area where numerous rainbows in spawning mode were behaving aggressively, including one or two that looked well in excess of fifteen inches.  I got a hit or two on a bead headed emerger that I mistimed, as well as another lost fly, but nothing brought to hand over twelve inches.  (See last year’s Cold Springs post at  for a fine sixteen-plus incher caught in similar circumstances.)

Fifteen inch rainbow
Small rainbow in spawning dress
Doug displaying a handsome catch 
Healthy 12-inch male rainbow in spawning color
Towards the end of the day, Doug asked to try the fly rod.  As is typical of beginners he whipped it about quite a bit, and I did my best to instruct him on the physics of fly casting and that the proper timing and application of the power snap would allow the rod to do its job.  Despite the predictable beginners frustration, at one point Doug actually caught two pretty rainbows on two succesive casts that were essentially twenty-foot puddle casts… he was nonetheless thrilled with the results (as I was, too).

Doug learning to fly cast
Doug's first trout caught fly fishing
On the way home an unusual incident happened. While driving about 25 mph on a hilly dirt road an animal that looked like a dog appeared and began running parallel to but ahead of the truck on the left side of the road. After a few seconds the animal quickly turned in front of the truck darting across the road, now running perpendicular to the truck. As it crossed the road it was identifiable as a coyote, a dirty coyote that appeared to have been foraging in the muddy shallows of Adams-McGill Reservoir. The animal looked back at us after it crossed the road, maybe to see if we were going to pursue it. I had never seen a coyote in a dead run in the middle of the day, much less one that ran alongside the truck and then abruptly darted across the road. I didn't realize it at the time, but thinking back it was almost as if the coyote symbolized a bad circumstance, or an evil demon, messing with our lives. By choosing not to follow or pursue the beast it was no longer an item of concern to us.  Either that or maybe I simply spent too much time in the bright sunlight of Wayne Kirch.  Regardless, it was a strange set of circumstances that led that coyote across our path.

So my piscatorial friends, my advice is to give up your desire to control your circumstances, and look for ways to join with God who is always doing good works all around you. And for those of you feeling just OK under the circumstances, I am reminded of what my brother Dave says, “What are you doing under there?

FisherDad and FisherSon - God is good