|Fine 16-inch Illipah rainbow trout|
My wife does not fish. In fact, as we enter into senior citizenship her idea of camping has morphed into staying at a spa resort in the mountains. Which is not bad, by the way, but is a far cry from “suffering” the elements while bushwhacking a stream or rocking in a float tube all day, rain or shine.
Our four-year-old daughter fuels our very busy household, not to mention the two youngest boys still at home requiring some, albeit minimal care and feeding. Our daughter is extremely verbal, even for a female, and demands attention from someone almost continually for the thirteen to fourteen hours she's awake each day. And she's quite imaginative, innovative, and persistent in how she goes about capturing her audience.
The point of all that is during my workweek I'm only home for three to four of those waking hours and so the largest burden falls solely upon my wife. When our weekend comes around she's in need of relief, and our daughter is looking for a fresh body to engage. To get away on a two-day overnight without my wife and daughter so I can spend serious time fishing is a “big ask.” I try to mitigate the absence by taking vacation time so that it overlaps with the days I'd be at work anyway, but it's still a lot to ask my wife to shoulder alone.
|Playing an Illipah rainbow from the Outlaw Escape|
The balance between honoring my awesome wife and exercising my valued hobby is excruciatingly painful at times. Although there are my bad days when she would challenge it, I'd clearly give up the hobby to serve her needs. So far it's not come to that, but it could in the future. Meanwhile, I have learned the hard way that honoring her by being attentive to her needs and sensitive to the timing of my trips helps quite a bit. And of course, our sacrificial love for each other helps immensely (1 Corinthians 13). Staying connected in the sense that we anticipate and feel each other's moods and cycles means that I will not even ask for permission to fish when it's clearly bad timing, and conversely that she will OK a trip here and there because she knows its importance to me. Obviously, she approved of this overnight trip to Ely, Nevada.
|A wild Illipah brown, approaching thirteen inches|
OK, speaking of fishing this was my first real trip of 2013. It was extremely late into spring, the day before the northern solstice. I was anticipating warm weather and weedy conditions, but was surprised to find it better than I thought. (See, I can sacrifice my fishing cravings during the best seasonal opportunity.)
|Handsome Illipah rainbow hooked on Callibaetis nymph|
Illipah gave up over fifteen trout, two of which were brown trout with the rest being rainbows. There was quite a bit of surface action throughout my time on the water (about 8:30 am to 1:00 pm), with some large fish showing their bodies as they porpoised for the hatching insects. In short, the fishing was awesome as over half the fish were in the twelve to sixteen inch class. The larger of the two browns was over twelve inches and in good health. Since they don't stock Illipah with brown trout I'd like to believe they were both wild trout (i.e., not born in a hatchery). The larger wily trout hung close to the weed beds, sometimes even rising in the pockets between adjacent beds. All manner of small to medium nymphs worked very well, as did the ubiquitous green woolly bugger. I did not fish a dry fly, but thought it could do very well during the evening hatch.
As the heat of mid-day arrived I decided to visit Eureka for lunch and a respite from the sun, thinking I’d return to Illipah for the evening dry fly fishing. Illipah is just off U.S. 50, about forty miles west of Ely, thirty-five miles east of Eureka. It might amuse you (it does me) that the stretch of U.S. 50 lying in the heart of the Great Basin was dubbed “the loneliest road in America” by Life magazine in 1986 because of the scarcity of people found on the highway. Ironically, the designation seems to have attracted all sorts of travelers thirty years later, but I digress. For reasons I won’t go into, after ten minutes toward Eureka I turned around and headed for Ely. I wasn’t sure if I’d return to Illipah that afternoon, so I ate lunch and took a nap (I had arisen at 3:30 am to reach Illipah by 8:00 am).
|Played out Illipah rainbow|
|Tools of the trade: custom built 9' - #5 on left, 7.5' - #4 on right|
|Cave Lake inlet; note the two herons stalking the edge of bulrushes|
|Whitecaps on Cold Springs Reservoir - Wayne Kirch Wildlife Management Area|
|FisherDad at Cave Lake|