December 6, 2012

Cold Creek Fall Stocking Completed



Brian fishing Cold Creek at sunset
Brian and I made time Thursday afternoon for a half-day trip to Cold Creek. The last time we fished together was in May 2010. As I recall, on just his second fly-fishing excursion Brian out fished me that day. That was a very good day.
Brian fishing the south side of the pond
Two years is much too long of a time to go without an outdoor adventure with your sons. Brian has been busting his butt in college these past two years and working through each summer, and although my schedule now provides Friday’s off, we just could never seem to connect. Even though Thursday’s trip was just for the afternoon, driving in the truck afforded opportunities for discussion that are different than at home amid the jostling routines and schedules. Yesterday, Brian posted this comment on Facebook to go along with the picture of us at Cold Creek: “I get frustrated and impatient while fishing sometimes (I enjoy hiking or shooting more), but I learned a while back to not take these opportunities for granted.” I suspect he will follow the normal path after he graduates this summer and get a job, move out of the house, and get on with his adult life. I would like to think there will be opportunities to spend more time outdoors with him (even shooting), but I know the reality is there will be less time once he moves out. His comment about not taking these opportunities for granted is profound, for both of us.

No, nothing taken for granted here...
After my Cold Creek reconnaissance trip turned up blank last week, I contacted Doug Anderson, Manager of the Mason Valley Hatchery (MVH) in Yerington, Nevada. The MVH and other Nevada Department of Wildlife hatcheries have been stocking the southern Nevada urban ponds because of the quagga mussel problem in Lake Mead; the concern is about infesting other water when transporting fish from the Lake Mead Hatchery. Anyway, Mr. Anderson reported that the MVH would be stocking Cold Creek on this past Tuesday.

Brian casting from the northern side; spin-caster in the background
I asked Brian about his schedule this week, and his Thursday was clear, but Friday had classes. I thought if we fished on Thursday he would have an opportunity to catch many stocked trout on the fly. I took off Thursday afternoon and we fished for two hours, sharing the pond with a lone spin-cast angler who was also releasing his catch. The newly stocked trout were staying close to the bottom, and their takes were still subtle. Stocked trout must go through a transition from feeding on pellets in a hatchery run to eating natural food. Additionally, being transported 370 miles by truck requires some chemical sedation for the trout, I believe. Not sure how long the effects of that sort of journey last on these little trout, but I suspect it takes more than two days to get back to normal and acclimated to new environs that don’t resemble anything like a hatchery.

The sunset back-lighting the limestone cliffs near Lee Canyon
I lay that foundation to explain why Brian only hooked up with two fish. It took him a while to get back the physics and timing of fly-casting, and these newly stocked nine-inch trout were not taking the flies hard, but rather softly. You really had to feel for the takes through your fingers. He was a little frustrated, indeed. The spin-caster landed numerous trout, and I was able to land sixteen, mostly from the bottom where the “newbies” must have been congregating.  Several were pushing eleven inches, a bonus from the late season stocking.


Yes, Virginia, there are trout in the Cold Creek pond
The weather was just right, a crisp feeling with very little breeze. We had the privileged to observe God’s sunset and the attendant shadows and colors that it brings. Being outdoors, even when things do not happen quite like you planned, is always good in my book. It was an opportunity that neither of us took for granted; I felt blessed to share the time and conversation with my son, Brian. 

6 comments:

Chan said...

I love your yearly post on the first stocking at Cold Creek. It's funny because I think you jumped the gun last year too! Great to see you pulled in 16. Nice.

-Chan

FisherDad said...

Ya, I guess I feel some stupid responsibility to keep the Cold Creek regulars informed. Of the 77 blogs I’ve written, 19 are on Clod Creek (25%). Of the 44,700 page views, 6,200 are on Cold Creek (14%). It's popular in Clark County.

Heidi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
FisherDad said...

Heidi --

I read your comment before you removed it. I didn't see anything wrong with it, so I decided to answer it anyway.

If you don't have a sinking or sink-tip line I'd use a 9-foot fluorocarbon leader (fluorocarbon sinks the best) with a bead-head or weighted nymph, size 10 to 16. Without a sinking line you will not get to or near the bottom, but you'll get deep enough. Count to 10 before you start your slow retrieve to give the nymph time to sink.

You could dead-drift the nymph using a strike indicator or drop the nymph off a large buoyant dry fly. Such a set up will only get down 15 to 30 inches, which will work just fine when they're feeding closer to the surface.

If you go let us know what method you used and how well it worked for you.

All the best!

-- FisherDad

Rick said...

Do you think it's iced over by now, and is there any particular pattern you prefer?

FisherDad said...

Rick --

Well, it looks like the overnight temperatures are well below freezing, and daytime highs are barely reaching 40 degrees for that zip code. Up at Cold Creek I suspect it's even cooler. I would think it is iced over by now, but there is only one way to know for sure...

As to Cold Creek fly patterns, this time of year (late fall to late winter) I would stick to darker nymphs and small buggers in sizes 14 or 16. Fish them deep, preferably with a sinking or at least a sink-tip line. But really, about anything works on the stocked trout of Cold Creek. Dry flies work well in the spring, especially after the spring stocking. The trout do not survive over the summer in Cold Creek, to my knowledge anyway, and so they never really get to grow into that "wild" state that happens when they hold over from season to season. If you want more information, try browsing previous posts on Cold Creek using the “Labels” listing on the lower right of the blog below my background info, as well as their related comments. You might also check out blogs on some of the other waters near southern Nevada that I have written about.

Merry Christmas!

-- Mark