If you’ve been reading my blog for some time you know I prefer to use a Fish Cat float tube to navigate and fish stillwater lakes and reservoirs. As much as it makes stillwater fishing fun, I always had a couple complaints about the Fish Cat. My most significant complaint about that style watercraft is that your lower legs are always under water which is uncomfortable after six hours fishing in the late fall or early spring. My second complaint, although less serious, is that kick-paddling is too difficult against winds in excess of fifteen miles per hour.
Hey, for those Las Vegans that have been asking about the stocking of Cold Creek I am happy to report that occurred last week. I made a short visit Thursday morning on a hunch that the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) had performed their scheduled deed even though their website had not been updated since last August.
This past fishing season I concentrated more than usual on fishing streams rather than reservoirs. It was a conscious decision to get back to my fishing roots. Fishing the East Walker River for the first time was a rewarding experience, but all the trout I caught were just about twelve inches; respectable but not what I was used to catching in the lakes and reservoirs I frequent (excluding the local Cold Creek pond, of course). This year I made two trips to Mammoth Creek, and one each to Beaver River and Beaver Dam Creek. Those last four stream fishing encounters, while enjoyable, came up a little lame in the “fish caught” category. As the fall season was moving into its final month I thought I deserved a final still water fling with large trout.
The little seven and one-half foot, four-weight rod I built last year was designed for the small rivers and creeks such as I fished in my younger years. It can easily handle fifteen or sixteen-inch trout, but it can also cast a size eighteen dry fly with the proper delicacy. And ten to twelve inch trout will put a respectable bend in the light rod.
They say you can never go back. Especially after you’ve been gone a long time. Things change. You change. Memories live on in your brain, scenes and events immortalized within. They say as you age the short-term memory goes, but the long-term memory lingers. Maybe that bodes well for senile reminiscing on early life adventures. Maybe I won’t remember this most recent trip.
I don’t usually look forward to trout fishing in mid-summer. Trout can be lethargic as temperatures rise, and when algae grows in lower elevation reservoirs it can diminish the oxygen levels which can lead to increased mortality even when practicing catch and release. The warm weather also drops water levels causing them to be skittish. Moving up to the alpine levels can solve those issues as summer comes late at 9,000 feet and higher. But other than very few exceptions like Kolob Reservoir, large fish aren’t often found in the creeks and reservoirs of the high mountains in central Nevada and southern Utah. And then there’s the general unpleasantness of traveling across the desert in 110 degrees or more in order to reach cooler climates; even in a relatively new car the excessive heat can cause one to pause about faulty thermostats and split hoses. Still, the Las Vegas mid-summer heat was getting the best of me. Escaping to higher, cooler ground was appealing even if the fishing might be slower and the trout smaller.
The Reno/Tahoe/Carson area of northwestern Nevada has held my interest ever since I started fly fishing thirty-plus years ago. The Truckee River has always been known as Nevada’s premier trout river. It is historic for many reasons, but for fly fisherman especially it is known for its historic runs of Lahontan cutthroat trout that would run up from Pyramid Lake. But living in Las Vegas, that 450 mile drive was a deterrent to any short trip, and I was never comfortable about week-long fishing excursions taking me away from my family. Back in 1982 I was able to spend a long weekend in the Tahoe area, but I hadn’t been back to fish for 28 years.
Brian has finished his first year at UNLV and is awaiting the end of the primary school year before he starts full time as a YMCA summer camp counselor. He’s also scheduled to start summer school in a couple of weeks; he’s trying to get a head start on a five-year engineering degree. So he has just a few weeks to relax before his summer gets busy. And with our Budget Hearing looming next week I thought it would be a good opportunity for me to take a day, or more accurately an afternoon, to introduce Brian to the trout at Wayne Kirch.
I often wonder how many folks are aware of the elk herds in the Spring Mountains west of Las Vegas. I’ve known about them since I was a teenager, but I have never seen elk in the more than thirty-five years I’ve been tramping through those mountains. That is, until this morning.
I made several visits to Cold Creek through the winter, more than usual. Looking back, those “urban” pond visits were not so much winter depravation fishing as much as I really enjoyed the new seven-and-one-half foot four weight rod I built last winter. It can cast delicately as well as forcefully, and it is light enough that freshly stocked trout put a respectable bend in it, but it also has enough backbone to handle large trout. Put simply, it’s just fun to fish with. Even when I am tubing on large reservoirs, fishing that calls for nine foot rods, five weight or heavier to cast big bugs and mid-size streamers, I’m finding myself grabbing for the new rod to take as a backup. At least that was the case on this trip.