December 6, 2012

Cold Creek Fall Stocking Completed

Brian fishing Cold Creek at sunset
Brian and I made time Thursday afternoon for a half-day trip to Cold Creek. The last time we fished together was in May 2010. As I recall, on just his second fly-fishing excursion Brian out fished me that day. That was a very good day.
Brian fishing the south side of the pond
Two years is much too long of a time to go without an outdoor adventure with your sons. Brian has been busting his butt in college these past two years and working through each summer, and although my schedule now provides Friday’s off, we just could never seem to connect. Even though Thursday’s trip was just for the afternoon, driving in the truck afforded opportunities for discussion that are different than at home amid the jostling routines and schedules. Yesterday, Brian posted this comment on Facebook to go along with the picture of us at Cold Creek: “I get frustrated and impatient while fishing sometimes (I enjoy hiking or shooting more), but I learned a while back to not take these opportunities for granted.” I suspect he will follow the normal path after he graduates this summer and get a job, move out of the house, and get on with his adult life. I would like to think there will be opportunities to spend more time outdoors with him (even shooting), but I know the reality is there will be less time once he moves out. His comment about not taking these opportunities for granted is profound, for both of us.

No, nothing taken for granted here...
After my Cold Creek reconnaissance trip turned up blank last week, I contacted Doug Anderson, Manager of the Mason Valley Hatchery (MVH) in Yerington, Nevada. The MVH and other Nevada Department of Wildlife hatcheries have been stocking the southern Nevada urban ponds because of the quagga mussel problem in Lake Mead; the concern is about infesting other water when transporting fish from the Lake Mead Hatchery. Anyway, Mr. Anderson reported that the MVH would be stocking Cold Creek on this past Tuesday.

Brian casting from the northern side; spin-caster in the background
I asked Brian about his schedule this week, and his Thursday was clear, but Friday had classes. I thought if we fished on Thursday he would have an opportunity to catch many stocked trout on the fly. I took off Thursday afternoon and we fished for two hours, sharing the pond with a lone spin-cast angler who was also releasing his catch. The newly stocked trout were staying close to the bottom, and their takes were still subtle. Stocked trout must go through a transition from feeding on pellets in a hatchery run to eating natural food. Additionally, being transported 370 miles by truck requires some chemical sedation for the trout, I believe. Not sure how long the effects of that sort of journey last on these little trout, but I suspect it takes more than two days to get back to normal and acclimated to new environs that don’t resemble anything like a hatchery.

The sunset back-lighting the limestone cliffs near Lee Canyon
I lay that foundation to explain why Brian only hooked up with two fish. It took him a while to get back the physics and timing of fly-casting, and these newly stocked nine-inch trout were not taking the flies hard, but rather softly. You really had to feel for the takes through your fingers. He was a little frustrated, indeed. The spin-caster landed numerous trout, and I was able to land sixteen, mostly from the bottom where the “newbies” must have been congregating.  Several were pushing eleven inches, a bonus from the late season stocking.

Yes, Virginia, there are trout in the Cold Creek pond
The weather was just right, a crisp feeling with very little breeze. We had the privileged to observe God’s sunset and the attendant shadows and colors that it brings. Being outdoors, even when things do not happen quite like you planned, is always good in my book. It was an opportunity that neither of us took for granted; I felt blessed to share the time and conversation with my son, Brian.