November 11, 2010

Cold Creek Pond, Clark County

Approaching the town of Cold Creek on highway 172
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.

Town of Cold Creek from the fishing pond, with just a light dusting of snow
I arrived at about 6:45 AM with the temperature in the high thirties. Two bait fisherman were already there and having good success with worms. After my usual slow start I caught about ten little ones in about two hours. Largest being maybe 10.5 inches (normal average stocking length is about 9.5 inches in NDOW’s urban pond program). Although, the healthier trout that survive the winter and make it to the spring can reach twelve inches or more.

Nice little rainbow about to be released, caught on 7.5-foot fly I built
After the first hour a truck with five fishermen arrived. They were using spinning rods with flies, mostly green woolly buggers. These stocked trout are small, and if you want lots of action here you need to use a smaller fly. Using woolly buggers on Cold Creek will produce the feeling of "taps” when the trout strike, but more often than not they won’t get the whole fly into their mouths, at least not past the hook point. I was slightly amused to hear all their talk about methods and results. And they did get some results with larger fish in the stocking pool, but had more than their share of missed strikes.
Close up of gold-ribbed hare's ear nymph compared to trout mouth

Pretty little trout on small nymph; note missing pectoral fin,
eaten off in the closed, neurotic confines of the fish hatchery

One amusing occurrence, which I suspect was driven by their trout hatchery upbringing, was that every time a cloud impeded the sun’s early morning rays six or seven trout would immediately roll on the surface. As soon as the sun came back they stopped. On this outing practically every one of my strikes was from the depths of the pond (four to five feet down). None of eight of us fishing the pond ever got a strike while the trout were rolling on the surface, despite what one member of the five fishermen predicted. I believe this is because as recently stocked hatchery trout reared in concrete runs, they were seeking the solace and protection of the depths of the pond while acclimating to their new environs, and the shadows of the cloud cover triggered some learned hatchery response... at least that’s my supposition. There where no “hatches” occurring on the pond.  Once accustomed to their new environment they will rise to dry flies fairly well, as my friend Mitch Kobler has often discovered.

Anyway, the trout are there and the fishing is fun. Enjoy the pictures.
Average Cold Creek stocked rainbow
Colorful gill plate on rainbow fooled by beaded nymph

Rainbow on the fly

This guy succumbed to a gold-ribbed hare's ear nymph

This one, too
Another classic colored rainbow on the hare's ear nymph
Looking southwest toward Spring Mountains and Cold Creek