January 21, 2011

Cold Creek Revival

Cold Creek Pond... all to myself.

Some say communing with nature can be a religious experience. I, for example, find that everything in nature screams of the Creator. I don’t worship nature, but I find that the Lord’s hand is everywhere to be found in it. In the Bible, Job retorts in his defense against his so called friends, “But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or ask the birds of the air, and they will teach you. Speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea tell you. Every one of these knows that the hand of the Lord has done this” (Job 13, 7-9). So, today I went to speak with Mr. Trout.

We recently started a new four-day, ten-hour work schedule that frees up Fridays. The new four-day workweek was a cost saving measure for some employees who are working four, nine and one-half hour days which is a five percent cost reduction. I suspect it will eventually go away when the economy recovers enough to return to a five-day, eight-hour schedule. For now I will enjoy it as long as it lasts. Today, for example, I was able to sleep in a little and then accompany my wife Denise and our foster child to visit the birth mother at Child Haven. Afterwards we hung my certificates and pictures in my new office, which was then followed by a late brunch for the three of us. When we got home about 1:30 pm I could hear those Cold Creek trout talking all the way down from my house. Denise graciously allowed me a run up to Cold Creek to see if the warmer weather had melted the ice off the pond.
Trout Truck at Cold Creek
Some of you FisherDad followers were disappointed when the pond froze over shortly after it was stocked due to a cold snap. This past week was unseasonably warm and with my new found Friday freedom I decided to check it out. And speaking of Friday’s off I was surprised to hear a voice message from my good friend and co-worker David who passed me on U.S. Highway 95. He had taken his family up into Mount Charleston to enjoy the winter snow (and perhaps try out the new four-wheel drive vehicle). They were returning from the winter playland when he noticed the Trout Truck heading in the opposite direction. David has great powers of deduction and instantly knew I was headed to fish Cold Creek. I found the fortuitous passing to be another example of how small the world really is when you pay attention to what is happening around you.

Dude! Got carrots?
Well, I can tell you that the reason I could hear the Cold Creek trout calling me was that the ice had indeed melted off the pond. It was gloriously warm (close to fifty degrees) and there were no other anglers in sight; Cold Creek was all mine for the moment which greatly enhanced my ability to listen to the speaking fish, I might add. But it was not only the fish; there were the omnipresent Cold Creek feral horses (I resist calling them mustangs). As I was assembling gear and putting on my boots two young colts approached my truck. The horses around Cold Creek are pretty tame for the most part, but still not predicable so they are best left alone. These two youngsters sought me out which tells you something about their familiarity with all the Cold Creek visitors that bring them apples, carrots, or whatever. They came right up to the truck and were starting to stick their noses into the door when I shushed them off. Not sure but they weren’t saying, “Dude! Got carrots?  

Denny Rickard's Callibaetis Nymph, one of my favorite stillwater flies...
...and trout like them, too!
I was excited to have the pond to myself. It had been a year or so since that had happened. Despite my anticipation the fishing started off slow. I caught my first trout about forty-five minutes into it. Fortunately over the next seventy-five minutes I caught four more. All five were about eleven inches or so, and they were healthy. They attacked the flies deep. Two were caught on a small scud pattern and the other three on a Rickard's Callibaetis nymph, but all were caught at least four feet down. I was casting my six-foot, four weight fly rod. I only have an intermediate sinking line for that rod, and so I had to count to twenty to give the line a chance to sink deep before I started my retrieve. All the retrieves were slower than usual, by the way.

First trout of day, on scud (freshwater shrimp) pattern

Nice Cold Creek rainbow on Callibaetis
Yummy Callibaetis
Last trout of the day
By 3:50 pm I had enjoyed myself enough to last another month or so, and I knew Denise would be looking for my return before dark. Although a short trip it was a joyous one that lightened my burdens enough to refresh my soul. And the conversation was delightfully praiseworthy.
The Happy Angler, conversant in Trout