November 17, 2011

Fall Stocking Accomplished at Cold Creek

Resplendent Cold Creek trout and my favorite light rod
My friend Mitch emailed me that Cold Creek pond was stocked on Monday. Then yesterday I had a post from a reader who said he had a great time fishing in the morning before work, which made me feel relieved to learn that I'm not the only fanatic that fits fishing around odd schedules. So by Thursday you can only imagine that I was unable to resist leaving work early to have some fun before the Christmas season and the inevitable ice-over occur.

Healthy little trout
Trout with mangled brown nymph hooked in upper lip
The weather was good. Temperature was about 55 degrees when I arrived at 2:30pm, and dropped to about 40 degrees when I left at 4:30pm. Only a slight breeze now and then, but the bright afternoon sun kept the trout huddled in the deepest parts of the reservoir until twilight. As soon as the bright sun was gone there was lots of surface activity that began to spread out into the shallow areas. 
Bead head nymph hook through the snout
What a handsome trout
When I arrived 
there was a family of five (husband, wife, and three very young children), and soon thereafter their friends, a family of four with similar ages, showed up and parked right next to them. Their children were well behaved, but one of the dads was obviously using his children to pad his limit of fish. He'd hook a fish and then have one of his youngsters reel it in well after he had his limit of three (once you have a limit you cannot fish, even if you intend to release the fish).  Not that big of a deal, but I admit it slightly bothered me.  I sometimes see things only in black and white, truth vs. lies. I can be intolerant like that. I suspect he incorrectly assumed that if his children reeled them in he could keep an additional three each.  I heard him mention the three-fish limit for urban ponds so he was aware of it, but he didn't appear to know that while children under twelve can fish for free, their limits must not exceed 50 percent of the general limit, i.e., one each in this case.  The reason for these limits is to ensure more of the public can enjoy the sport and share in its bounty because hatcheries cannot stock these ponds frequently enough to keep up with the urban demands.

Dad and a couple of moms bait fishing; the one in pink is holding an infant
There was another lone fisherman that arrived later who did quite well.  He was using bait or perhaps a jig, but he seemed to release all that he caught.

Last fisherman standing; this guy did very well and released every trout
As I mentioned, the freshly stocked fish seemed to be congregating in the deepest part of the pond while the sun was still high (an overcast day would have been better). I only caught five in the first hour, usually after the fly had sunk about three feet. As soon as the sun was setting the trout seemed to spread out and start surface feeding. I caught ten in that final hour. A total of fifteen in a couple hours, with about four or five "long-distance-releases" provided some fun, excitement, and peace for my psyche. And the trout were pretty considering they were hatchery raised. They were healthy, in the nine to ten inch range, and most were heavily spotted. Their pectoral fins were intact, indicating that they weren't too overcrowded or aggressive in the hatchery (often hatchery trout bite each other in crowded conditions resulting in damaged or missing pectoral fins).

A combination of a natutal and man-mnade beauty
Typical catch of the afternoon
All in all, a good afternoon away from the office despite the somewhat crowded conditions. Maybe next time up I'll look for an early morning trip. Those of you that have been waiting for the trout stocking will be pleased to read this blog as evidence of the stocking. Tight lines for you all.

Wild mare and her foal

November 11, 2011

Cold Creek Pond, Clark County

Glass smooth Cold Creek pond reflecting
Trout Truck and juniper under a snow dusted mountain
I suppose I should have called the hatchery number to check on the timing of the fall stocking program. But, had I called and been told that it hadn't been stocked yet I might not have gone to Cold Creek. And although it turned out that it wasn't stocked, and I'm glad I went "blind" to discover that on my own.
More Cold Creek Pond reflections
It seemed like a great day to go. The heavy overcast was a good premonition.  The winds were calm, very calm, and the water was low but still draining through the discharge pipes.  It was so still and clear that I could see the detail of the weed beds throughout.  I could also see nary a trout anywhere. 
West end of pond, looking east
But still I cast about with my favorite light fly rod, searching for evidence of at least one summer holdover trout.  Nothing. 
Details of the 4-weight rod and Orvis CFO reel
I practiced casting with my fine, light rod.  Enjoyed the company of two wild horses, and snapped a few pictures of my favorite hand-made fly rod. God is good, always. 
Fly rod in the pond
I will admit that I had another reason for the early morning trip.  Several sisters and brothers from my church small group are going through tough times, some physical, some spiritual.  I needed to pray for them, for the Lord’s strength that they may endure, persevere, and triumph over these worldly tribulations; spiritual warfare battles, that’s what they really are. Driving thirty-five minutes each way, with the radio/CD off, was filled with prayers. 
Nickel silver and cedar spacer reel seat details
My son Brian has come to record cover songs of his favorite Christian artists.  I find it no coincidence at all that he recorded his cover of Matthew West’s “Strong Enough” just a day ago.  West based the lyrics on the troubles of a young mother, but also on Philippians 4:13 – “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.  How often we need reminding that while we are weak and broken, He is strong enough.     
Happy and blessed angler