October 27, 2008

Cold Springs & Haymeadow Reservoirs - Wayne Kirch WMA

Haymeadow boat launch area
I so enjoy the fall weather. It may be the anticipation of getting past the dreadfully hot Las Vegas summers. It may be the colorful reds, yellows, and oranges that decorate the deciduous trees that typically line bodies of water. Or, it could be the urgent activity that the birds and wildlife seem to exhibit as they prepare for winter. Maybe that’s it. Perhaps it is the renewed energy the trout display as they press through fall obsessively feeding to prepare for winter. Whatever it is, it also compels me to fish one last time before the freeze sets in. October 27 seemed like a good day to take one last sip from the 2008 fishing chalice.

Olive-colored 13-inch rainbow
It has been a long time since I was able to schedule an overnight trip. This outing was not able to break that drought, and so I was limited to fishing within 200 miles of home, which targets Wayne Kirch, Eagle Valley, Pine Valley, Baker, or possibly KolobI picked Wayne Kirch because the action is usually brisk and the trout can reach eighteen inches or better. The other intriguing thought was that there are reservoirs at Wayne Kirch that I haven’t fished, and I was contemplating trying Haymeadow if Cold Springs turned slow.

Fifteen incher from Cold Springs

Small, but richly colored Cold Spring rainbow
I arrived at Cold Springs at around 9:30 am. Since the day was to be short I was hurrying to assemble my gear and get into my waders when a young game warden drove up. He looked to be a young man of thirty-ish (plus or minus five years), from Kansas I believe he said. He asked if I had fished there before, and I said that I had several times with usually great success. He asked what I used, and I told him I normally start my fishing with a green wooly-bugger with flashy tinsel in the tail. He told me that the only trout he ever caught fly fishing was on just such a fly. He then asked if there was any such thing as a fly tied to resemble a blood worm, as he had recently turned over a rock to discover all sorts of blood worms. I told him there was indeed such a fly pattern, and one in particular called the San Juan Worm for its success on the San Juan River in northern New Mexico. I told him I routinely fish various waters in central and eastern Nevada. I mentioned that I hadn’t returned to Cumins Reservoir since the pike obliterated the trout population. Then he asked, “Did you hear the news”, as if I was privy to the State Game Warden’s inner rumor mill. Not wishing to sound foolish by blurting out a wild guess, I simply said, “No”. He informed me that they had found a dead pike on the banks of Cold Springs. Pike are not indigenous to the area, and are known for their love of small trout which they can quickly decimate as they grow quickly to twenty-five or even thirty inches in length. This fact is critical to reservoirs that don’t have stream inlets adequate for spawning trout because it means that to sustain the trout population the reservoir must be routinely stocked, usually with nine-inch trout that fit nicely into the jaws of adult pike. The illegal introduction of pike into the Cumins Reservoir has single handedly destroyed that trophy trout water, and they could easily do the same at Wayne Kirch… an extremely serious and sad situation. He said they did not know if someone was playing a gag by planting the dead pike on the bank to make it appear as if they had illegally introduced the predator into the water, of if any were actually introduced into the water. He said they may get a shock-boat to see if any come up (a shock-boat uses an electroshocking device to stun fish so they can examine them and determine the numbers and species of fish present in the water; it does not harm the fish).

Haymeadow rainbow
Anyway, the conversation with the young warden caused me to forget to put sunscreen on my hands, face, and neck. The weather was sunny and warm, about 78 degrees, and I did get a little reddish even under my felt fishin’ hat.

I fished Cold Springs from 10:00 am to about 1:00 pm, and it was slower than usual. I was the only one fishing the water, and most trout were in the nine to eleven inch range. I did land one of about fifteen inches. The weed growth was starting its fall die-off, but it was still plentiful and close to the surface. I didn’t have trouble navigating on my float tube, but I think the abundance of weeds interfered with the trout’s ability to see the fly in the water (although the water was clear). Most of the strikes came well under the surface, about three to four feet down.

Slightly bored, I decided to try Haymeadow for an hour or so. I had never fished it before; heck, I had never driven down to look at it before. I decided the relocation would address my boredom and perhaps change my luck. Upon arrival it appeared as though Haymeadow was larger than Cold Springs, but that was just an optical illusion as Cold Springs swings back and to the right as you enter the water from the east, giving the appearance that it is narrower.

As soon as I entered the water at 1:30 pm I noted that Haymeadow appeared deeper, or at least the weeds did not rise as close to the surface, which I took as a very encouraging sign. Right off the bat I hooked into three nice fish of fourteen to sixteen inches; which cured any tedium I suffered on Cold Springs. Because of the short time remaining in my visit (I promised Denise I would be home by 6:00 pm to help prepare for our small group church meeting, so I needed to be on the highway by 3:30 pm), I did not explore much else of the reservoir, preferring to stay closer to the boat launch area. I did observe a couple of guys fishing from a boat on the upper northwest end of the reservoir. After a while I got the sense that they were fishing around a natural spring. All the reservoirs in Wayne Kirch are fed by natural springs, and I suspected these guys had found such a spot to be productive as their boat was anchored there for over an hour.

Last of the day in Haymeadow: fourteen inch rainbow
Aerial map of Wayne Kirch Wildlife Management Area
Dusty road headed to Highway 318
Great fishing on Haymeadow!
It was fun to try a new body of water; fishing it instilled a sense of exploration in me. New exploration awakens my senses to hear and see new things. For example, on the far west shore I saw a horse. I don’t know if it was wild, but it was alone and not bridled or saddled; I prefer to think of it as a wild mustang… who knows for sure. I also noted several flocks of snow geese flying very high overhead; they were not stopping at Wayne Kirch on this journey. I was amused to watch the white dots in the blue sky as each seemed to jockey for position in the slipstream of its neighbor.

Unfortunately I had to extract myself from the water by 3:00 pm so I could tear down and pack up for the drive home. But I’ll be back again to fish Haymeadow reservoir and explore more of its secret offerings.