April 3, 2019

Early Spring on Dacey Reservoir

Here's a typically handsome Dacey spring rainbow trout of about 16 inches.
Early spring always brings hope.  For those of us with a keen eye for the outdoors, it can be overwhelming when it floods our senses with new growth.  Maybe it’s the contrast to the gloomy drabness of winter that gives spring all the attention; it seems everyone welcomes its emergence from the fingers of winter.  The flowering and budding of trees give promise of things to come.  Even the floor of the Mojave Desert turns remarkably green in the early spring, followed by its own unique color bouquet.  Songbirds, found even in our most urban environs, start whistling and tweeting before the sunrise, and sometimes throughout the night, perhaps as part of their intense mating and nesting ritual.  All sorts of new life begins to pop.  I have even noticed a bumper crop of baby fence lizards sunning themselves on my backyard stone planter, while butterflies and bees flit about overhead.  And of course, there are those spring-spawning rainbow trout, hungry from the cold of winter and in need of beefing up for their own mating ceremonies.  There’s an energy in springtime, a natural force that can’t be denied and is the fuel that feeds our belief that all things old, or even seemingly dead, can be renewed again.
The size of this trout appears smaller than reality.  The Fishpond Nomad mid-length net is large and
deep. The 15-inch rainbow is burrowing into the bottom which is 12 inches below my hand.
The other net dimension is 13 inches wide by 18 inches long. 
Once our unusually wet Clark County, NV winter subsided, my angling plans began to coalesce around making Dacey Reservoir my first spring angling venture.  Dacey is located in the Wayne Kirch Wildlife Management Area (Kirch) on Nevada Highway 318, about halfway between Alamo and Ely.
Although not the largest, this 13-inch rainbow was deeper into his spawning wardrobe than any
of the other trout.
Dacey is an interesting body of water to fish just after ice-out.  The trout are indeed plumping up with their springtime appetite, but there’s often a mat of dead vegetation floating on the surface.  There is an abundance of open water, unfettered by the coming summer crop of weeds, but the challenge is getting through the nasty entanglement at the launching site.  Of all the fishable reservoirs within Kirch, Dacey has the most north-south alignment.  Its surface length runs about 2,200 yards north/south with an average east/west width of about 400 yards.  The primitive launch area is at the southwest corner of the impoundment, right up against the riprap reinforced dam.  Imagine a persistent northern wind pushing the dead weeds across Dacey’s 1.25-mile longitudinal length into the 700 square yard corner pocket where the boat launch resides.  Add to that the prohibition of motorized watercraft from ice-out through August 15th due to waterfowl nesting and you lose the benefit of larger boats with outboard motors plowing a path for those of us fishing from tubes, pontoons, and kayak personal fishing vessels.
My Toyota Fish Taco got me to Dacey quickly and safely.  Note to the right of the truck bed, between
the tail light and the riprap, lies the loathsome mass of dead vegetation I had to plow through to
reach the fishable water.
When I arrived there was a fly angler in a kayak on the reservoir, which gave me hope that I could also pass over the mass of weeds in the Water Master.  He turned out to be a fisheries biologist for the Nevada Dept. of Wildlife (NDOW).  Before I got setup to launch my Water Master fishing craft he extracted himself for a lunchbreak.  He had been on the water about one hour, catching a nice sixteen-inch rainbow.  When I first saw the NDOW truck I assumed he was a warden, but when I voluntarily proffered my fishing license he said he wasn’t a warden, but rather a biologist.  

I recalled running running into a fisheries biologist named "Mark" on my second trip to Dacey on October 23, 2013. In fact, I snapped a far-off photograph of him playing a large rainbow trout and posted it on that blog.  The fishing was marvelous that day, and Mark and I hollered to each other across the water to celebrate our joy.  I never got a close enough look to recognize Mark on the street, but I could never forget his first name, of course.  So, I asked this guy if his name was “Mark,” and he said “Yes.”  We had a nice conversation about Dacey and other waters in the area he covers (essentially, waters in Lincoln, Nye, and Esmeralda Counties).  He provided some updates about Beaver Dam Creek which will encourage me to make a return visit over the next month or so, possibly with my son, grandson, and daughter.
The temperature was moderate, but the clouds hid the sun from time to time.  Mark, the NDOW
fisheries biologist, can be seen in he distance paddling his kayak.
After our talk I took on the task of rowing the watercraft over the floating morass of dead vegetation.  It took a long time to cross the flotsam of weeds to reach open water, but I did persevere.  Once clear I began casting my 9-foot, 5-weight rod with a full-sink line, a 5x tippet, and a Whitlock damsel nymph.  In that first hour I landed five very nice trout, all in the range of thirteen to sixteen inches (although the second trout might have been close to seventeen inches, but I don’t want to overstate the case).  Biologist Mark had returned to the water by then and noted my luck.  He asked what I was fishing.  I told him, and eventually I paddled over and gave him one of my Whitlock damsel nymphs.  I don’t know how it worked out for him, but I can report that the fishing slowed for me after that first hour causing me to swap out fly patterns several times over the next few hours.  Despite trying a variety if flies, I only caught two more trout over the next two hours.  

Mark finished angling around 1:30 PM, I think.  As an unexpected thank you, he left the damsel nymph fly on the lip of my tailgate... it was the kind of gesture you come to expect from fellow outdoorsmen who cherish and respect their hobbies and the special places they are allowed to practice them

Here's a partial photo, looking north from the dam, of the massive vegetation debris blocking access
from the boat launch area located off the left side of the photo (see next photo).
This is the rest of the blockage.  Note my truck door on the left edge of the photo, which gives perspective
to the size of the riprap rocks (actually, they are more like boulders).  Just to the right of the door,
above the green sage, you can see the other truck parked next to the launch area, about 100 yards away.
About 2:00 PM another couple of kayak anglers navigated through the crud into open water.  I heard one of them tell his partner, “It would’ve been much easier launching from the riprap dam.”  Although I would readily agree that almost all the weed bed was pushed into the launching area, the problem with the riprap dam is the damage to your watercraft by dragging it over the large and sharply-fractured rocks and/or the damage to your body if you fall upon them while stepping up/down with your watercraft overhead.  At age 62 my strength, agility, and balance are nothing like when I was 40, so caution prescribed getting out the conventional way.

Shortly after 3:00 PM, after the fishing action cooled off, I began the battle of plowing through the weed bed blocking my access to the launch ramp.  I noticed that the journey back seemed to require much more effort with much less progress.  I also noticed that the Water Master’s left oar’s rack-and-pinion joint appeared to be getting stressed and that my collapsible aluminum oars were flexing under the weight of the weeds.  I decided to attempt a riprap dam extraction.  It all worked out fine, and it certainly saved me 20-30 minutes, but I wasn’t comfortable going up and down that riprap.  I made several trips in order to remove everything from the Water Master (fly rod, landing net, kick-fins, oars, stripping net, snacks, and fly boxes) before moving the bare raft up the dam’s riprap to the road, whereupon I could walk over to get my Fish Taco truck.  I was very thankful that with everything removed it only weighed about 30 pounds, although it's eight-foot by five-foot dimension was still awkward under my old 5-foot, 5-inch body frame.   

One of the other kayakers who forged through the weeds to fish.  After I got out and was packing the
truck to head home, he also exited over the dam riprap.  When he walked by to get his truck I
told him, "You made the right decision"
Maybe some of the floating debris will decay and fall to the bottom of the reservoir, I don’t know.  I do know that if some pathways aren’t opened through the weeds I think I’ll not try to row through them again.  I’ll leave that to the thirty-somethings in kayaks.

That aside, the fishing was very good in my eyes.  Seven trout landed between 13 and 17 inches in about three hours is a nice afternoon in most everyone's book.  I’ll never get the October 2013 experience out of my mind, but I also realize that experience was an anomaly for Kirch.

Grant  Range touching the clouds.  The cottonwood trees rising above the sage mark the
Dave Deacon campground location.
I am thankful for the arrival of this year’s spring.  Life is good.  God has blessed me far beyond what I deserve, which is judgment for my sins.  But instead Jesus gives me grace, so I have faith in Him, the quintessential model of the promise of spring (after all, He created it).  And may your Easter Holiday be blessed as well.  
It was a satisfying trip.

December 13, 2018

Cold Creek in December

The northwest edge of the 10,000-foot Spring Mountains provides a contrast to the high desert flora
that is unique to the western states.

I seem to have this unfulfilled fantasy of fishing in the snow. There’s something magical about how snow blankets the trees, shrubs, and rocks, hiding their intimate details from our vision. I especially enjoy how it can muffle sound, especially during a calm snowfall. In late November 2013 I tried to fish the pond during an early season snowfall, but instead I became a participating witness to a coyote who was hunting a jackrabbit, a rabbit that seemed to use my truck as a defensive barrier. Of course, my fantasy conveniently ignores the effects cold snow has on my comfort, particularly toes and fingers… but that’s part of the effort-reward transaction that usually comes with any great outdoor adventure.

The Spring Mountains west of Las Vegas have gotten some decent snow these past few weeks, but other priorities like family, Christmas decorations, and work caused me to postpone my outdoor foray. By now I knew the snow had receded to the 8,000 foot elevation, but this Thursday seemed like a fine afternoon to visit my local pond in serenity even if it was without snow.

The first stocked rainbow of the afternoon, caught on my favorite four-weight fly rod.

Although I was the only one fishing the pond, I did have a couple of odd visitors. There was a woman driving a white Toyota 4Runner who came driving down the pond’s bumpy road. I thought she might stop at the pond, but instead she drove right past it and continued down the jeep trail that attaches to the paved Cold Creek Road a couple miles down. It seemed odd, but then she probably lives up in the town and just wanted a scenic bypass drive through the high desert.

The size 16 beaded nymph was able to get deep to where the trout were congregating.

Speaking of Jeeps, there was a guy who appeared in a brand new Jeep Wrangler with a suspension lift, 32-inch tires, and what appeared to be decorative wheels. It was what my daughter would call “fancy.” The guy barreled down the trail to the pond, cut sharply over to the diversion ditch inlet, and stopped. While the motor was still running he jumped out dressed in black clothing and tennis shoes, but unfortunately he miscalculated where the inlet water was flowing. He had a camera in hand and began snapping photos of his new Jeep with me casting in the background. After 60 seconds he hopped back in and tore up the trail from whence he came. In a minute or two I saw him driving back to Vegas on the Cold Creek Road.

The last trout I caught was slightly larger and stronger than the
first three. I was pleased to release it to the pond. 
The trout were small, as is always the case for the Cold Creek Pond, but it was nice to
spend a few hours in the outdoors. 

I also had a female mallard duck that kept me company. I came up for a non-fishing visit just before Thanksgiving at which time I observed a mated pair of mallard ducks, but on this visit the male was absent. These ducks were accustomed to people; they were not afraid. I suspect the Cold Creek residents might be feeding them. But the solo female seemed odd. I wondered if she was injured in some way. I did note a black fungus on her bill.

When I visited in November there appeared to be a mated pair of mallard ducks. This day I only saw
the female. Maybe a coyote got him, or maybe he abandoned the female. I did note the female had
a dark fungus growing on her beak.

I fished for about an hour. It took me a while to discover the recently stocked trout were on the bottom of the deepest part of this tiny pond. I managed to land four, and returned each to its watery world.

The Fish Taco has logged almost 8,000 miles. I very much enjoy driving this truck, on and off road.
(I couldn't let my Jeep Wrangler buddy "best me" on pics of our "rides.") 

It was a pleasant way to spend three hours, including the round-trip drive in the Tacoma. As usual I was listening to Christian radio while driving. I don’t recall exactly what or who I was listening to, but my wandering thoughts began to examine obedience vs. trust, and how they are related or different. I clearly know when I don't follow God's direction, but I always seem to have excuses. I'm either stressed or tired, or the people I'm supposed to "love" seem unworthy, or maybe I just like my sins more than being "good." Of course, my Christian conscience eventually brings on guilt from which I can only find relief by confessing my sins to God and asking for the Holy Spirit's power to eradicate my deliberate and free acts of commission and omission.

Psalm 119 seems to begin with the sobering recognition that the righteous are to obey God’s commands, to essentially follow His divinely inspired words in the Scripture. But we know very well the numerous mortal sins that King David committed, the worst being murdering the husband of the woman he seduced. In light of those heinous sins, David’s opening verses 1 through 6 amazingly focus on his joyful obedience to God's law (NLT version):

Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the LORD. Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts. They do not compromise with evil, and they walk only in his paths. You have charged us to keep your commandments carefully. Oh, that my actions would consistently reflect your decrees! Then I will not be ashamed when I compare my life with your commands.
Being raised in the Catholic religion I can relate to the guilt that builds from disobeying the Lord’s commandments. As a youngster I likely misunderstood what I was taught, but I can tell you my sense was the Sacrament of Confession (now known as Reconciliation) was necessary in order to be absolved of sin and be acceptable to God in heaven. The timing of this Sacrament seemed critical, for if you died with unabsolved sin (mortal or venial) on your heart your eternal destiny seemed to be in question. And if you add to that timing God’s providential control over our lives (which doesn’t negate our free will of thought and action), the whole thing seemed like a crap shoot (pardon the Vegas vernacular).

The north side of the range behind the town of Cold Creek appears more white than the other nearby
slopes due to a forest fire that removed the conifer trees a few decades ago.
Looking towards the town of Indian Springs from the Cold Creek road. The sun setting behind the
Spring Mountains begins to grow its winter shadows towards the northeast side of the mountains. 

It wasn’t until I began to read and study the Bible myself that I began to understand that God loves me (i.e., all of us). The Creator of all loves me and wants what is best for me (1 John 4:7-21). His plans are perfect for me, after all he created me and knows me better than I know myself (Jeremiah 29:11-13, Psalm 139). He doesn’t want me to obey for obedience’s sake, but because I believe and trust in him (Hebrews 11:6). He wants me to obey because I love Him, and because I trust in his promises. I know he will be there protecting me from evil, always (Isaiah 41:10), and that salvation comes from faith in Him, a faith that trusts in His promises (Romans 10:9-10). In short, I want to be obedient to Him because of who He is and what He has done for me through His death and resurrection. I want to love and obey my loving Father in heaven. In my reading of the Gospels, this is the love and trust that Jesus’ disciples grew into during their three years living with and following Jesus. It was a love and trust that gave birth to a new and revolutionary understanding of God.

Some might joke about the “Catholic guilt” that I alluded to above. Today I find much relief 1 John 3:18-24 (NLT)

Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God. Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything. Dear friends, if we don’t feel guilty, we can come to God with bold confidence. And we will receive from him whatever we ask because we obey him and do the things that please him. And this is his commandment: We must believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as he commanded us. Those who obey God’s commandments remain in fellowship with him, and he with them. And we know he lives in us because the Spirit he gave us lives in us.
Returning to David's Psalm 119, after starting it with “obedience” he goes on to explain why he wants to obey God (Psalm 119:137-142):
O LORD, you are righteous, and your regulations are fair. Your laws are perfect and completely trustworthy. I am overwhelmed with indignation, for my enemies have disregarded your words. Your promises have been thoroughly tested; that is why I love them so much. I am insignificant and despised, but I don’t forget your commandments. Your justice is eternal, and your instructions are perfectly true.
As for me, I can’t imagine a world without God. As the creator of it all, how can I deny His existence and His call to me to believe in and love Him? But in my heart, if I don't trust and believe in Him, how can I consistently follow his Word (and of course, Jesus is the Word as so beautifully explained in John 1:1-5)? And that is where I left my thoughts about obedience vs. trust as I drove south on US Highway 95 towards home. Perhaps some day I'll weave my thoughts about God's unmerited grace into those on obedience and trust in Him alone.

May you all feel the love of Jesus this Christmas season!

A FisherDad selfie at Cold Creek Pond.

October 26, 2018

White River Valley's Dacey Reservoir

The flotsam of dead weeds appeared daunting upon launching the Water Master Grizzly, but it skimmed
through fairly easily. The summer and early fall weeds can be quite bothersome on Wayne Kirch reservoirs.  
The cooling temperatures of our early fall season were stirring my angling desires, which is a common malaise for me (somewhat more strident in the early spring, if I were pressed to confess). As is my tendency, I was attempting to balance home, work, and hobby while seeking to remedy my fly fishing affliction. Attempting to be patient, everything eventually seemed to align. The Nevada Day school holiday and a light work load aligned with a practically windless weather forecast for Wayne Kirch Wildlife Management Area (Kirch) on this Friday. Unfortunately, the accompanying high-pressure weather system also keeps out the clouds and usually brings with it higher temperatures. Nonetheless, the weather would be nice even if it wasn’t perfect for angling success.

A lovely late-season rainbow. Dacey continues to produce nice trout, like this one of about 16 inches.

The mid-length Fishpond Nomad composite landing net makes it much easier to net large or difficult fish,
especially when reaching over the Water Master bladder tubes.

As part of the life-balance compromise, I opted to make this a day-trip. I fired up the Fish Taco (i.e., the Toyota Tacoma) at about 5:30 AM and began floating on the reservoir around 8:30 AM. Although the temperature was in the 50s around then, I knew it was going to warm into the low 70s by noon. I fished straight through until about 2:30 PM when I could feel the strong UV rays begin to burn my ears and the back of my hands. I would like to have fished longer, especially with the frequency of fish-strikes picking up both for trout and bass, but there was that pesky commitment to balance “home, work, and hobby”

While it was a slow start, I was able to bring twelve fish to the net. There were but a handful that never saw the net; they were long-distance-releases (LDRs) as the angling vernacular likes to call it when the once hooked fish successfully throws, rubs off, or otherwise pulls out the hook so that your line, rod, and angling excitement all go slack at the very same moment. LDRs are especially annoying when they occur after 15 seconds or longer of fighting to land a yet unseen fish that is presumed to be of larger proportions based on the struggle. Of course, a LDR coupled with an unseen fish always results in an embellishment.

I caught three small bass; this was the first and
smallest. Even these youngsters tug surprisingly
hard. Late in the day I hooked a nice one that
danced on its tail for me before throwing the
hook. The late afternoon temperature reached
over 70 and that seemed to energize bass
feeding in preparation for the cold winter water.
While the subsurface weeds as well as those floating on the water were bothersome, there was some good open water. On this day the trout and bass were usually found down deep or along the edges of the weeds. When completing Nevada Department of Wildlife's Volunteer Angler Survey form at the end of the day, I reported the following results without unreasonable embellishment:

< 10”
10” - 11.9”
12” - 13.9”
14” - 15.9”

Partly because of the weather forecast and partly because expectations are that advancing cooler fall temperatures help to reduce the weed nuisance, I expected to see other anglers. While getting into the reservoir at 8:30 AM I noted two anglers in one boat (with an outboard motor) and two other anglers in float tubes that looked like Fish Cats. By about 10:00 AM the two anglers in float tubes departed, and they were replaced with another two anglers in a boat (also with an outboard motor). We were then joined by two guys in kayaks around 11:30 AM. The two boats eventually left me with the two anglers in kayaks, who were still fishing when I got out of the water at 2:30 PM. When you’re fishing on big reservoirs it’s darn near impossible to keep track of what everyone else is catching while you’re minding your own business at hand, but my impression was that everyone was catching something, although nothing close to 20-inches due to the lack of obvious “whooping and hollering.” Counting me, there were nine of us who fished Dacey between 8:30 AM and 2:30 PM, but it never felt crowded.

I never grow tired of seeing the herons prowling the shoreline, although I wish they'd leave
more trout for anglers.

I will mention that one of the kayak anglers paddled over to me and asked, “Are you FisherDad?” I said, “Yes, I am.” He said, “I thought so. I read your blog, in fact I was reading it before we made this trip. I enjoy reading it, keep it up.” It’s a very rare occurrence when another angler recognizes me when I’m fishing. Maybe it’s happened four of five times over the 10 years I’ve been writing this blog. I don’t advertise my blog, although if one searched the Internet for a fishable water I’ve blogged about they will find me. After that, I suppose word-of-mouth is the next most common way anglers find my website. Recently, my daughter told me “You need to get on it!” when I told her I had but 6 followers, 200-thousand page-views, and 200 to 250 comments (excluding my views and commentaries). So, you can see how rare it would be for someone to mention they read my blog… it’s a very exclusive club (…can you hear the laughter?).

For you angler-holics, I fished all day with my 9-foot, 7-weight rod using a full fast-sink line and a 4x tippet (I was prepared to fight anything I hooked right through the weeds with this heavy outfit). I used a variety of flies, from damsel and beaded nymphs to fancy wooly-buggers and streamers. No one fly pattern seemed to work much better than the next; it was mostly about finding where the fish were, not the fly they were most interested in
I landed three trout in the 15 to 16 inch range. All of them were very acrobatic, which has always been a
trademark of Kirch's rainbows.

The angler in the kayak asked me how long I was camping in Kirch (he and his partner arrived Thursday and were staying through Sunday). When I told him it was a day-trip, he looked at me like I was crazy. He joked that when he was my age he used to make those day-trips, but now he’s too old for them (if you saw him as I did you’d peg him to be at least 10 years younger than me… which is why I laughed at his comment).

Our exchange made me ponder my expectations when planning outdoor adventures. I tend to romanticize my thoughts of these journeys. My memory selectively remembers the good stuff, suppresses the bad stuff. So much so that when planning a trip my mind creates a mosaic of all my best memories of the place I’m revisiting which can often lead to unrealistic expectations. Today’s Dacey trip illustrates this hopeful defect. In my very first Dacey fishing trips (September and October of 2013), I landed 12 trout in total that ranged from 18 inches to 22 inches. You read that right, none of the 12 trout was shorter than 18 inches. We could argue the 2013 fish count was low, but when their size is factored into the equation the anticipation of a repeat would make anyone crazy with desire… which is likely what my kayak blog reader was thinking. Surely you can imagine how a day like today (9 total trout between 10 and 16 inches) fails to measure up to the excitement and pleasure I recall from those first visits in the fall of 2013

One of the smaller rainbow trout of about 13 or 14 inches.
By way of another example, every time I fish Illipah Reservoir, which resides on US Highway 50 between Eureka and Ely, my brain’s Limbic System locates images and feelings from my first earnest angling visit there in the spring of 2004. That trip produced 27 trout in 8 hours over two days, including a 17-inch brown trout… and many of the rainbows were around 14 to 15 inches. The Illipah angling on that day was a Nevada fly-angling pinnacle for me. Since then I’ve had trips to other Nevada destinations that I consider "more successful," but the excitement and pleasure of that day remains, and it conjures up feelings that make me return to Illipah despite its inability to provide a new pinnacle for me. The odd thing is, despite recent Illipah trips that failed to generate the level of feelings I experienced 14 years ago, it remains a very good fishery that routinely gives up trout similar in size caught on the 2004 trip. In fact, I’m not sure I can say that the fishing has deteriorated, but rather my expectations have been elevated.

I suspect that many of you reading this post can relate to what I’m saying. Every year it becomes more obvious to me that my historical experiences continue to build. It should be obvious to everyone that the experiential adulthood memories of a 60-year-old are four-times as many as a 30-year-old (when arbitrarily using age 20 as the adult threshold). The emotions and excitement of those “first experiences” seem hard to top, and we can feel disappointed when the “new pinnacles” are fewer and farther between. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

There was only a slight breeze, which is unusual for the waters of the Wayne Kirch Wildlife Management Area.
I saw two sets of anglers on boats with outboard motors. Two guys in kayaks, and two on Fish Cat type float
tubes. That totaled 9 anglers including myself. It did not feel crowded, and I think we all were catching fish
as far as I noticed.
Solomon, son of David, wrote in Ecclesiastes that there is “a time for everything.” In fact, Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (ESV) was the inspiration for one of the most popular songs of the 1960s: “Turn, Turn, Turn,” written by Pete Seeger and performed by The Byrds, Simon & Garfunkel, Judy Collins, and others. The book of Ecclesiastes was written by Solomon to make us question the meaning of life. King Solomon lacked nothing, and yet he searched for meaning in his life (very much like the richest and most famous of our current day). He proposed that the natural actions of mankind are inherently vain or futile (“Vanity of vanities! All is vanity,” Ecclesiastes 1:2). No matter what Solomon tried or pursued with all his wealth and wisdom, he felt lost and meaningless.

I admit to occasionally feeling the same. Keeping within the angling context, what meaning is there in pursuit of the most and largest fish? What is gained in that endeavor, and is that vanity the reason I feel dissatisfied on occasion? Non-anglers would likely state their belief that fishing is indeed a vain and futile action... but then, they've never tried fly fishing.

You can see Solomon’s point, that continued pursuit of an earthly goal can never satisfy us. Without God in our lives, we become self-centered creatures living to attain our own man-made goals that, much like fishing destinations, grow old and unsatisfying with time. Eventually, time runs out, we die, and the world turns, turns, turns.

But there is hope. What is a worthy pursuit in our lives? I submit being reunited and reconciled with God, through Jesus Christ, is the ultimate purpose in our lives. In Ecclesiastes 3:9-22 (ESV), Solomon goes on to write:

What gain has the worker from his toil? I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God's gift to man.

I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him. That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already has been; and God seeks what has been driven away.

Moreover, I saw under the sun that in the place of justice, even there was wickedness, and in the place of righteousness, even there was wickedness. I said in my heart, God will judge the righteous and the wicked, for there is a time for every matter and for every work. I said in my heart with regard to the children of man that God is testing them that they may see that they themselves are but beasts. For what happens to the children of man and what happens to the beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts, for all is vanity. All go to one place. All are from the dust, and to dust all return. Who knows whether the spirit of man goes upward and the spirit of the beast goes down into the earth? So I saw that there is nothing better than that a man should rejoice in his work, for that is his lot. Who can bring him to see what will be after him?

Our first step must be belief in God the creator. Our lives are destined to remain unsatisfying apart from our recognition of God’s intervention, His divine plan. It only remains to be seen whether we will place our trust in Him, rather than our vain and futile hands. Once we do that, we are freed to enjoy all the pleasures He has created for us to experience in this temporary world. That’s what enables me to enjoy any day in nature, soaking in His creation, regardless of my earthly human perception of the quality of the fishing.
A tired FisherDad at the end of a pleasant angling day on Dacey Reservoir, which is the first in a
series of four fishable reservoirs that total over 1,400 acres.
FisherDad believes that "for everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven."