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.
When I took three days off for the Easter Triduum my plan was to fish on Wednesday, but the weather was much too windy for tubing reservoirs. Weather has been unusually erratic this year, and trying to find predictable fishing weather has been frustrating. But this past Friday made up for it. Trying to decide where to go for the day was the difficult part.
I was thinking of Baker Reservoir near Veyo, Utah, or even Pine Valley or Enterprise reservoirs nearby Baker. I also thought about Eagle Valley near Panaca, Nevada. I’ve never fished Enterprise, but fished Eagle Valley once in late October 2004 (nearly froze my legs off in four short hours, catching four fourteen-inch rainbows that seemed all but identical). But Wayne Kirch has so much more to offer with four fishable reservoirs that consistently give up rainbows in the fifteen to eighteen inch range. The other compelling reason to select Kirch for this trip was that it usually has stiff breezes around fifteen miles-per-hour or more that make fishing seem like work, so when the weather forecast predicts breezes from five to ten miles-per-hours one has to strike while the iron is hot. And so, that’s how I ended up at Wayne Kirch Wildlife Management Area near Sunnyside, about twenty-five miles south of Lund, Nevada, on State Highway 318.
And that turned out to be a very good choice. I’ve had a few twenty-fish days in my lifetime, and one two-day fifty-plus adventure in Fish Lake National Forest near Beaver, Utah. I used to regularly catch twenty trout out of Beaver Dam Creek near Caliente, Nevada, but while they were wild they were rarely over twelve inches in length. But this trip to Kirch was especially blessed as I landed thirty-eight rainbows, and lost another thirteen after they threw the hook while fighting on the line. Fifty-one hook ups in six hours of fishing calculates to one every seven minutes, which is pretty amazing for six straight hours. And these weren’t all twelve-inchers. I’d say that at least fifteen of the thirty-eight were in the fourteen to eighteen inch range, which went a long way to prevent boredom from setting in. The reasonable probability of connecting with a three-pound trout, or larger, on the very next cast can keep a fisherman going for a while.
There were three boats already on the water when I arrived at Haymeadow, the most southern of the four fishable reservoirs, at about 10:45 am. There were another couple of fishermen on the dam. I thought I would arrive at 10:00 am, but the State was performing “shoulder work” on Highway 318, about ten miles south of the Kirch turn-off. I was a little perturbed by the construction, partly because I was so close to the turn off, but mostly because it was one of the longest delays I’ve ever experienced on a highway maintenance project (these are common on Nevada’s two-lane highways, but usually it’s slurry seal, oil and gravel, or repaving that you run across; this work was simply laying new gravel on the road shoulders). One has to have patience to drive Nevada’s lonely two-lane highways, and this was just another lesson on that subject.
The fishing preoccupied most of my thoughts, but I was aware that the waterfowl were abundant. The large birds I noticed were four white pelicans and two great blue herons (at least they looked like herons from afar as they don’t light on the reservoir like the pelicans but rather hide in the mash weeds; you can’t miss them when they take flight along the mashes). Several of the trout I caught seemed to have scars on their sides, and they well could have been escapees from the beaks of these great birds. I didn’t notice other wildlife, and the boaters left the reservoir around 1:00 pm leaving it to me until I exited the water at 5:00 pm. I was so intent on the fishing that I really lost track of everything else. What I did notice the next day were my shore shoulders from fly casting six straight hours.
Ironically, I never used the little seven-and-one-half footer. I fished my latest creation, a nine foot, five-weight fast action rod. I fished it once before but never got used to its rhythm. I left the little rod in its tube so I’d be forced to get more familiar with the big nine-footer. Although not as delicate and fun as the little rod, it could cast quite a distance. The problem with distance is that sometimes it’s harder to set the hook. All that line distance creates opportunities for slack in the line, and that might have been a contributor to the thirteen lost fish. But to tell the truth, when I had those sixteen and seventeen inch trout on the line down deep I was grateful for the extra leverage.
Now that I have that fish carnage out of my system, I’d like to get back to some stream fishing, maybe Mammoth or Beaver Dam creek, somewhere I can take my time, observe my surroundings, and fish at a leisurely pace. I should think early May would be a good time for that.