Haymeadow Reservoir – Wayne Kirch Wildlife Management Area

Classic coloring on sixteen-inch Wayne Kirch rainbow

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.

Blogger fishing Cold Creek with 7.5 foot rod, photo courtesy of fishin’ buddy Mitch Kolber

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.

11,000 foot Grant Range is actually 20 miles west-by-southwest of Kirch

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.

Nice rainbow on an orange wooly bugger

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.

Another seventeen inch male, spawned out
Sixteen inch male, caught late in afternoon, still in spawning colors
Thirteen inch rainbow on hares ear nymph, barely hanging on

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.

Another view of Grant Range from delay point on Highway 318

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.

Two rainbows (above & below) with what appear to be beak scars… heron or pelican??

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.

Rainbow, indeed!
Seventeen inch male

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.

Happy angler, weary and satiated

Author: FisherDad

I am a Christian who has been married to my wife for over four decades, with six children and four grandchildren so far. I have retired from a string of successful occupations as a certified public accountant, a chief financial officer, and a registered municipal advisor. I have been a fly angler for almost five decades. My one and only article submission was published by Southwest Fly Fishing magazine (now American Fly Fishing). You can learn more about me by clicking on “About” on the top of my blog page.

13 thoughts on “Haymeadow Reservoir – Wayne Kirch Wildlife Management Area”

  1. I'm relaxed and inspired as a result of the read and pictures; thanks for sharing! Welcome back.

  2. Mark,Wow! the fish were hitting good. Sounds like a great time. I especially enjoyed the picture of you in your best fishing duds. You ought to have that one blown up.Had the resevoir just been stocked? David Laman

  3. Dave —

    Not acccording to the NDOW website as of today. The last stocking entry for Haymeadsow was last October 26. However, they stocked it in early March last year and they usually keep their March-October cycles. Maybe they stocked it late March or early April and just didn't update the website. That said, when they do stock they usually dump 9-inch fish. If I hadn't looked at their web site I would have assumed they did because about a third of the 38were in the 9-12 inch range. That still left about 25 over 12 inches… pretty cool trip.

    — Mark

  4. Hello Sir, I stumbled across you site after looking into camping at Cold Creek. I was wondering if you could provide some insight about the camping area there. I'm not bring along a slew of ATV's or bikes, just me in my 30ft motorhome. Any information would greatly be appreciated. My e-mail address is:elecwhit@aol.comThank you for your time.Mike

  5. Mike —

    Although you posted on this Wayne Kirch blog, I assume you really are looking into motorhome camping at Cold Creek in the Spring Mountains northwest of Las Vegas.

    First, I know nothing about motorhomes. I can tell you that on occasion I see several camped in the area. There are no designated motorhome camping areas or services in the area – no hookups – so you must be self contained up there.

    All the best.

    — Mark

  6. Hello Mark,

    I've been very busy lately and haven't had a chance to post or fish. However, my first trip may be in two weeks to Kirch as a celebration of finally finishing law school.

    You have any tips for an early April float tubing at those lakes? Also, which lakes would you recommend and lures? Sounds like from your previous logs, you like Cold Springs and Haymeadow?

    Thanks (again),


  7. Mark,

    Thanks for the tips. I wouldn't have bothered you if I knew you were going to post the new blog. I'll definitely let you know how my friend and I do.

    As for school, yes, I do attend Boyd. However, I have never taken the Municipal Law course. I work full time and go to school part time in the evenings in their 4 year program. Sufficed to say, I didn't get to choose which classes to take. It was dictated. Sounds like the course would have been great though. Hopefully (though I doubt it), I'll have more time to contribute to your blog now that I'll be graduating.



  8. Chan —

    Just returned from a WK/WMA trip with John in LV. See today's post. April Fools day was too warm, but we did fine.

    Stick primarilly to a sinking or sink-tip line. Green, brown, and black wooly buggers perform well there, and large nymphs. Black gnats and Adams dry flies work well when trout are rising.

    Stick to either Cold Springs or Haymweadow on the southern end of WK.

    Best of luck Chan.

    — Mark

    p.s., Are you in Boyd? If so, did you ever take a municipal law class from Jim Lewis?

  9. Chan —

    I was asking about Jim's Muni Law because he usually asks me to teach the muni finance portion of the syllabus; was thinking we might have run across paths there.

    I'm confident you'll do well at Kirch; early spring is always good, and there are usually a good number of stocked trout. Will hope to hear from you afterwards.

    — Mark

  10. Mark,

    I never went last weekend because the weather was terrible. Man, what a let down. Hopefully, I'll have another chance soon.

    I'll let you know.


  11. I ran up to Cold Creek, fished from 4:30pm to about 6:00pm. Just had to get away for a couple hours. About six other fishermen were there. Caught 5 small trout. Looks like someone dumped a bunch of koi in the pond. Enjoyed casting my 7.5 footer.

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