November 29, 2013

Pre-Thanksgiving at Cold Creek

Some slushy snow at Cold Creek pond, and across the glass-like water
surface you see the snow-capped Sheep Mountains in distant
I didn’t fish last Saturday when I visited Cold Creek in a light snowfall, although I was able to enjoy the drama displayed by Mother Nature instead.  So, I decided to fulfill my ceremonial pre-Thanksgiving afternoon fishing trip.  I probably shouldn’t have gone since I was feeling under the weather, but I was curious about the snow remnants.  Enjoy the pictures.
Stocked rainbow of about 10 inches, caught on brown
bead-headed nymph
Another 10 inch trout taken by my favorite rod, a 7.5-foot,
4-weight custom fly rod.
A small rainbow fighting against the fly rod.
A white ATV caravan parked near the
pond; seems like an unusual way to
spend the holiday.
A rainbow displaying color
typical of hatchery trout.

November 23, 2013

Cold Creek Coyote Gives Chase

Indian Ridge runs along the the Cold Creek Road to the west.
This day it was draped in a dusting of light snowfall.
Three days of drizzly weather in late fall was producing snow-capped mountains in the Spring Creek Range. The peaks were enticing me to try fishing Cold Creek in the snow, although I wasn’t sure how low the snow got down. Studying Red Rock Canyon and La Madre Mountain from town indicated the snow level was about 5,000 feet. Since Cold Creek Pond was at 5,900 feet I knew I would be driving in the snow. Still, it was worth an early morning adventure.
Another Indian Ridge photo , which from the position of the truck
appears to the north-by-northwest.
When I left the house at 6:30 AM the temperature was about 40 degrees. By the time I got near Cold Creek, around 7:15 AM, my truck thermometer reported a frosty 31 degrees. There was a light but steady rain on the drive up, but as expected it turned into light snow at 5,000 feet.
This is my first photo of the jackrabbit; he's in the middle of the road at
about 5,000 feet elevation.  Unfortunately my camera has just a 3x
optical zoom, so all these "chase" photos are digitally zoomed and
cropped which when combined with the snowfall makes for very
fuzzy images.
I stopped near Indian Ridge to take some snow pictures. The ridge was providing some contrast in the white of the snowfall. About another half-mile up the road I came upon a jackrabbit that ran into the road and stopped. He just sat in the middle of the road for a few seconds. Since my camera was already on I decided to snap a picture. The jackrabbit then took off up the road, and I followed slowly in the truck.
The jackrabbit took off up the road, and the appearance of the
coyote chasing it explained why it bolted.
As I followed the jackrabbit, a coyote suddenly emerged from the snow on the left side of the road and gave chase. At first they ran straight up the road, then the jackrabbit zigged and zagged back and forth, sometimes jumping into the snow-covered high desert scrub, but the coyote never let up.
The perspective from the hood of my truck to the far-off figures of the
coyote and jackrabbit more accurately reflect the distance
between us.
At times I was 50 to 75 yards away, but even from that distance it seemed the coyote was gaining on the jackrabbit. At one point the jackrabbit stopped on the right side just off what should have been the pavement (it was covered in snow). I thought he was done for as the coyote caught up, but his speed and agility allowed him to dodge the coyote's teeth as it pounced at the jackrabbit. Not sure if I or the coyote was more surprised.
After the  coyote's failed pounce at the stationary jackrabbit, the rabbit
changed directions and started down the road directly toward the truck.
I was surprised it was now running at me, but even more so that it
dodged the coyote's teeth at the last second.
To my surprise, the jackrabbit reversed direction and began to run back down the road toward my truck, eventually passing just to the left of the driver's side. I'm sure the jackrabbit thought he could use my truck to somehow shield him from the coyote, or even perhaps frighten the coyote away. The coyote did seem more wary of the truck as he passed about 50 yards off to the right of the passenger side. I marveled at how he bounded and bounced through the snow. If you didn’t know better you might have thought he was playing… but he wasn’t. And while he stayed farther away from the truck than did the jackrabbit, he wasn't giving up the chase. It was a mesmerizing display of reality in the life of the jackrabbit and coyote.
After the jackrabbit passed by the driver's side of the truck while running
down the road, the coyote passed on the passenger's side with a wider
detour as the chase began to move behind the Trout Truck.
The coyote never lost focus of the jackrabbit's whereabouts despite it's
apprehension about getting near the truck.
As they passed by on opposite sides of the truck I looked out my rear window only to see the coyote again chasing the jackrabbit. The coyote switched back from the passenger side to the driver side where he and the jackrabbit seemed to disappear into the snow-covered bushes on the east side of the road. I never saw them again. I do not know what became of the life-and-death chase. Secretly, I was pulling for the jackrabbit although I understand completely about the laws of nature.
The snow began to get deeper at 5,700 feel elevation, so I aborted the
fishing plans.
After the "nature show" I proceeded up the road, getting as far as the large BLM sign. That elevation was 5,700 feet and the snow was now about 6-inches deep. There was another 300 feet in elevation to gain, not to mention the rocky dirt road down to the pond that harbored one or two small boulders that I might not miss due to the snow. So, I decided to abort the fishing and return home. After all, the fishing plans were but a side bar; it was adventure that I was seeking this morning. The coyote and jackrabbit provided plenty of that for me, and the fishing wasn’t going to add anything to that experience. I felt honored to have witnessed a tiny part of God’s natural world that few have ever seen.
No prohibition of coyotes harassing jackrabbits.
The snow was beautiful, but the muffled quiet was haunting,
especially after witnessing the "chase."

November 11, 2013

Cold Creek - Fall Stocking

A view of the town of Cold Creek in the distance
(a little dusting of snow on Willow Peak in the Spring Mountains)
I had received a few inquiries on the stocking of the pond at Cold Creek – my Veterans Day visit confirmed it is so.  An email from my friend Mitch this morning also said it occurred two weeks ago.  Chan will be smiling because I didn’t jump the gun this year.

Speaking of Veterans Day, I want to personally thank all the men and women who have served in the armed forces.  The sacrifices they make to serve our country and keep us safe and free are beyond the imagination of most of us.  I thank God for those who serve, and pray they and their loved ones are blessed by the Lord.
First light of the day on glass-smooth water
First trout of the day
(5 caught in less than 1 hour of fishing)
So, this morning I ventured up there arriving before 7:30 AM; the sun had just begun to crest the Spring Mountains. Although I was the first to fish it this morning, there was a large group of young men and women who were camping below the pond spillway. They were raucous as they were waking up and preparing breakfast. It wasn’t long before a few emerged on the pond and began fishing.

For the record, it was warm, no wind, and I had a blast fishing my 6-foot, 4-weight rod with a Type II full-sink line using a size 14 Prince and a size 16 black, bead-headed nymph.  Both caught several trout, largest being maybe 11 inches.

For the most part the young men were flailing the water. One of them had brought a fly rod, but from the looks of things he had never been instructed as to its use. After about 20 or 30 minutes a white sedan arrived and a father and daughter emerged from the car. The father/daughter duo was fishing small flies on spinning rods equipped with bobbers of sorts. The dad, who told me his name was Brett, caught five that I could see, and his daughter, Brenna, caught at least two. They were having a grand time, despite the vulgarity and crassness swirling between the young men in the group. I found it somewhat amusing that none of those guys ever caught a fish while I was there, and that young Brenna had out-fished all of them!

By about 8:15 AM I was ready to head home before my daughter, Emily, would wake up and blurt out “Daddy!” But I noticed the young man with the fly rod was at it again. I was compelled to offer a little assistance and a very short casting lesson. He accepted the offer and the first thing I noticed was he had his fly (a large size 12 Caddis dry fly) attached to his line via three feet of braided fly line backing using a knot that I couldn't begin to describe. I didn’t have a spare leader, but quickly cut it all off anyway, tying a perfection loop on the end of his fly line. Then I tied a makeshift leader with a 2x butt and a 5x tippet (each 3 feet long) and finished with a perfection loop on the 2x. I showed him how to connect the loop-to-loop, and then I cut off my size 16 black nymph with gold ribbing and a bead head and tied it on the terminal rend of his 5x tippet. I cast his rod a few times demonstrating the benefits of not letting the tip dip low in the forward and backward casts, how to time the power strokes as the line lengthened, and how to use shorter strips of line as he retrieved the small nymph. If it weren’t for my need to get home by 9:00 AM I would have stayed longer to work with the young man. But, I’m such a poor teacher it might not have mattered. 

By the way, for newer readers who have yet to "test the waters" of fly fishing, read this beginners guide blog... it might be helpful and encouraging.  If you need additional help don't be afraid to post a question or two.

It was a fine morning, all in all.  The young campers weren't excessively bothersome, and it is an awfully small public pond after all.  I think what I enjoyed most, though, was talking with Brett; it was the best part of the morning. Watching a loving father spend time with his daughter, teaching her about fishing and nature in general… it warmed my heart. I hope when Emily is old enough to come along with me that I can be as patient and instructive as Brett was with Brenna.
Dad (Brett) and daughter (Brenna) enjoying the fishing and their company
Brett releasing Brenna's trout (she caught 2)

Feral horses coming in for an early morning drink

Wild horses with Trout Truck in background

Young man learning how to fly cast

Feral horses and their excrement - hazards of the road to Cold Creek

October 23, 2013

Dacey Reservoir, Sunnyside, NV

Dacey Reservoir, looking southwest
(Hot Creek Butte on left, 11,000 foot Grant Range in center background)
Sunnyside (now Wayne Kirch Wildlife Management Area) first came into my consciousness in the 1980’s through fish-talk with the EG&G Purchasing Director, Merl Rees.  Merl told stories of large trout, sixteen to eighteen inches, in the Sunnyside reservoirs.  At the time my fishing interests were focused on streams and high mountain lakes.  It wasn’t until April of 2005 that I first visited the Wayne Kirch Wildlife Management Area (i.e., Kirch, a.k.a. Sunnyside). Kirch has four fishable reservoirs. On all four reservoirs the only shore-accessible fishing is from the dam; boats, pontoons, and tubes are the most effective way to fish these reservoirs due to significant bulrush growth along the shorelines.
An anxious FisherDad ready to verify the merits of "catch and release"
I have fished Kirch eighteen times since 2005, but it wasn’t until four weeks ago that I tried fishing Dacey Reservoir, and I really don’t know why.  Perhaps it was because I frequently caught the trout Merl described on Cold Springs and Haymeadow Reservoirs, and assumed that was as good as it gets at Kirch.  The regulation limits on those reservoirs are five trout, and I often noted boat anglers with full limits.  Over the past eight years the largest trout I have caught on Cold Springs and Haymeadow were eighteen inches, but I believed trout up to and over twenty existed.

My Dacey trip on September 27 was an eye opener for me.  Dacey has special regulations: one trout, artificial lures only.  On that day I landed just three trout, all eighteen inches or larger.  The since that trip I had been plotting one more trip before the winter ice-over, and the unusually warm, high pressure weather system that had been over southern Nevada was the final impetus to visit Dacey again to verify that the last trip wasn’t a chance occurrence.

I was the first on the reservoir, but soon a guy on an ATV parked on the dam and began fishing for his meal for the day (he came from the little Sunnyside hamlet just a few miles northeast of Dacey).  While he was fishing the resident NDOW fisheries biologist, whose name was also Mark, arrived and began fly-casting off the dam.  While they were there I caught two twenty-inch-plus trout right in front of them.  Inspired, Mark inflated his tube and fished the southwestern area along the bulrush.  I noted that as soon as the Sunnyside ATV guy caught his trout he pulled out and headed home, no doubt for a meal. It wasn’t long after when Mark hooked up with a very large rainbow from his float tube.
Fisheries biologist, Mark, playing a large rainbow trout
(note leaping trout just below shoreline to the far left)
For the record, this was one of the best fishing days I have ever had since my Henderson Springs trip in November 2003.  I finished the five-hour fishing day with nine trout (largest measuring 17”, 18”, 20”, 21”, and 22”) and three largemouth bass (largest being 15”).  On top of that, I had four LDRs and 5 missed strikes.  I have no doubt that the restrictive regulations account for the larger trout, a testament to the rewards of catch-and-release.  I was using my nine-foot, five-weight rod with a nine-foot, 3x fluorocarbon leader (i.e., six pound test).  I used the same fly all day long: a size eight, olive woolly bugger with copper ribbing and a little flashabou in the tail.  Only half-way through the day did I clip off and replace two feet of leader as a precaution against stress from playing such large fish with sharp teeth.

It was a beautiful day on all fronts. It was truly a Proverbs 10:22 kind of day: “The blessing of the LORD brings wealth, and he adds no trouble to it.
A very thick, 22" rainbow trout
The plump 21" rainbow
The 20" rainbow
The 17" rainbow
The 15" largemouth bass
Playing the 21-incher; can't you feel the pull of his strength
(ATV angler on the dam to the right)
Yes, there is a Sunnyside Creek

September 27, 2013

Dacey Reservoir, Sunnyside (Wayne Kirch WMA)

Here's Dacey Reservoir from dam, looking north with the
Egan Range on the right, White Pine Range in distant left.
Do you notice how sometimes our initial impression of something, perhaps driven by a comment from someone or a story we may have read, sticks with us and clouds our judgment. It can cause us to avoid the person or thing for a long time until we decide to investigate the reality. I suppose belief in God can be like that for some. 

I often wonder what it is that keeps some of us from knocking on heaven’s door. The Bible says “seek and you shall find” (Matthew 7:7). When I think of my own process of coming to the Lord I see many stumbling blocks along the way. In my youth I was often deceived by my ingrained belief that I could control my destiny, that the world was my oyster, so to speak. Sometimes it takes a lot of living to realize all we really control is the way we react to the “stuff” that happens to and around us. Then there was my resistance to the metamorphosis that is required in the sanctification journey (Romans 12:2), the duplicity of having one foot firmly planted in this world (which I’ve come to see that I am “in” but do not “belong” to) while we test the waters with the other. It’s hard to resist the worldly things that bombard us every moment of the day even though in our heart we know none can bring us peace and life. In fact, once we are reborn the world rejects us, which can be somewhat painful (John 15:19). 

I suppose “testing the waters” has application to my fishing adventures. Some of the early material I read on the Wayne Kirch Wildlife Management Area (Kirch) was that the Adams-McGill and Dacey reservoirs were primarily bass fisheries, and that the trout fishing was best on Cold Springs and Haymeadow reservoirs. Consequently, in the decade or so I've been fishing Kirch I've avoided Dacey. But this summer as I read weekly Kirch fishing reports I began to notice that the larger trout were coming from Dacey. The coup de grĂ¢ce, as the French say, was overhearing the salesman at the White River Fly shop in Silverton's Bass Pro Shop talking up Dacey with another customer. While I can be impressionable and stubborn, I'm not stupid. So today I decided to check out the truth about Dacey for myself. 

Free ranging cow and calf on Kirch WMA.
I was a little concerned about wind; weather forecasts predicted winds to thirteen m.p.h., which turned out to be correct. I was going to be tubing on the Escape so I thought I'd be OK. I've been able to row in winds approaching twenty m.p.h., although it's not fun and really hampers the fishing because you can't cast while rowing. I will say that while I was able to fish quite a bit, I did spend about a quarter to a third or my time rowing, and the rest of the time I was kick paddling (finning) to maintain position while fishing. I know it does seem like work, but what worthwhile things in life don't require a level of effort commensurate with the results?

Artificial lures, 1 trout limit.
The first thing I noticed about Dacey was the sign saying that fishermen had to use artificial lures, and the limit was one trout. That seemed very promising as these sorts of limits are associated with catch and release waters that produce larger fish. Why had I not known of those limits before; why did I fail to seek out the truth about Dacey myself?

I launched the Escape from the dirt ramp at the southwest edge of the dam. I came to realize there are two other launch sites among the reeds along the southeastern edge of the reservoir. While they are all dirt ramps, it is safe to launch lighter outboard boats. I was happy to see that the weed growth wasn't too bad, except that some had started to break off and float free on the surface of the water. All in all, but for the wind the conditions were very favorable. 

FisherDad about to launch the Escape,
Egan Range as backdrop .
I decided to fish with my new eight-footer, a custom rod I built this past winter. Usually on large reservoirs I fish with my nine-footer, but since I only cast the eight-footer on Cold Creek without hooking one trout I wanted to give it a more proper workout. I first worked my way into the center of the lower reservoir. After an hour or so I connected with my first fish, a puny 8-inch bass. That auspicious beginning certainly didn't help my pre-conceived notion about Dacey.

I pressed on to the eastern edge of the reservoir to fish along the reeds. The wind was blowing consistently from the north, pushing me towards the dam. I finned constantly trying to slow the pace so that I could cover the edges more thoroughly. A short but strong burst of wind got me near the dam sooner than I hoped. As I was finning hard to get back to where I started I hooked into a large trout. It leaped once and I could see it was one of the better fish I've ever hooked at Kirch. Upon netting it and placing it on the stripping apron I was pleased to see it stretched out to nineteen inches. It was somewhat sleek, maybe 2.5 pounds.

First trout of the day, a 19-inch rainbow.
From tail to nose, just over 19 inches.
I have written before that in still water fishing when you first hook up it often pays to continue to search the area. Oftentimes trout school in pods while prowling lakes. Within thirty minutes I hooked up with her twin sister, although she was an inch shorter. I circled back around giving the area a rest, and within an hour I hooked into my third trout, this time a portly male of nineteen inches that was easily over three pounds. Within two hours I caught three of the largest trout I've ever caught at Kirch. I had discovered the truth about Dacey for myself.
Last trout of the day, a fat 19-incher.

A view of his plumpness...
It was about this time that three trucks arrived with boats in tow. Until that time I had the entire reservoir to myself, which is always a huge bonus. After getting out of the water and stowing away my gear, I watched as the last of the boats departed the launch. All three motored to the upper portion which would be the northeast end of the reservoir. I pondered for a second if they knew something I didn't, but I dismissed the thought as I was extremely happy to finish the day with two nineteen and one eighteen inch rainbows. Novice fisherman can be easily bored with slow fishing, often causing them to pull out and seek faster paced waters. I fished for two and one-half hours before catching my first trout. It could have been easy for me to succumb to my preconceived notions about Dacey and retreat to nearby Cold Springs or Haymeadow, but I chose perseverance. I believe the three large trout were more than ample reward; I would have been pleased to have caught just one of them for the four and one-half hours I fished. 
I'm getting out, they're getting in...
Hot Creek Butte and Grant Range in background.
Heading east from Dacey, looking at the village near
Sunnyside and the Egan Range in background.
First fish of the day, a baby
largemouth (i.e. black) bass

June 20, 2013

Illipah Reservoir & Cave Lake - White Pine Co.

 A fine 16-inch Illipah rainbow trout.
To those of you who read my blog for the fishing, my apologies for my slight diversion today.  But I have to say that God knew what he was doing when he gave man a helper (Genesis 2:18).  

My wife does not fish.  In fact, as we enter into senior citizenship her idea of camping has morphed into staying at a spa resort in the mountains.  Which is not bad, by the way, but is a far cry from “suffering” the elements while bushwhacking a stream or rocking in a float tube all day, rain or shine.

Our four-year-old daughter fuels our very busy household, not to mention the two youngest boys still at home requiring some, albeit minimal care and feeding.  Our daughter is extremely verbal, even for a female, and demands attention from someone almost continually for the thirteen to fourteen hours she's awake each day.  And she's quite imaginative, innovative, and persistent in how she goes about capturing her audience.

The point of all that is during my workweek I'm only home for three to four of those waking hours and so the largest burden falls solely upon my wife. When our weekend comes around she's in need of relief, and our daughter is looking for a fresh body to engage. To get away on a two-day overnight without my wife and daughter so I can spend serious time fishing is a “big ask.”  I try to mitigate the absence by taking vacation time so that it overlaps with the days I'd be at work anyway, but it's still a lot to ask my wife to shoulder alone.
FisherDad playing an Illipah rainbow from the Outlaw Escape.
Apostle Peter instructs husbands to “live with your wives in an understanding way” (1 Peter 3:7, ESV version).  The NIV version says to be “considerate” with your wives.  Peter goes on to say we need to honor and respect them.  And lest you think these are merely suggestions, like “happy wife, happy life,” Peter finishes this verse with the warning that failure to do so will hinder your prayers. To think that failing to honor and respect my wife could cause The Lord to refuse my prayers is a sobering thought.

The balance between honoring my awesome wife and exercising my valued hobby is excruciatingly painful at times. Although there are my bad days when she would challenge it, I'd clearly give up the hobby to serve her needs. So far it's not come to that, but it could in the future. Meanwhile, I have learned the hard way that honoring her by being attentive to her needs and sensitive to the timing of my trips helps quite a bit. And of course, our sacrificial love for each other helps immensely (1 Corinthians 13).  Staying connected in the sense that we anticipate and feel each other's moods and cycles means that I will not even ask for permission to fish when it's clearly bad timing, and conversely that she will OK a trip here and there because she knows its importance to me. Obviously, she approved of this overnight trip to Ely, Nevada.
A wild Illipah brown, approaching thirteen inches.
Although this sounds self-serving, my fishing has nothing to do with running away from my daughter, wife, or responsibility in general. I do have a passion for fly fishing that I was never able to transfer to my family members.  I share it with brothers Bruce and Neal, but Neal has passed on and Bruce lives 350 miles away. I very much enjoyed the adventures I had with my buddy Bill, which included fly fishing, so it was never about going solo in the beginning. (Bill moved to Sacramento over thirty years ago and since then we only have been fishing twice...).  But I do confess that after many years of fishing alone it has evolved that my excursions provide a special quiet time for me. For instance, for the three and one-half hours it took to drive to Ely the truck was quiet (no radio or music) except for the conversation I had with God in my head. I confess that making quiet time at home to read the Bible, pray, or simply meditate is an area of my life in need of improvement. Consequently, the quiet time in the cab of my truck is cherished time devoted to my relationship with Jesus.  I'd like to say that spills over into my time fishing, and it sometimes does, but honestly when fishing I'm mostly concentrating on the task at hand.

OK, speaking of fishing this was my first real trip of 2013. It was extremely late into spring, the day before the northern solstice.  I was anticipating warm weather and weedy conditions, but was surprised to find it better than I thought.  (See, I can sacrifice my fishing cravings during the best seasonal opportunity.)
Here's a andsome Illipah rainbow hooked on
a Callibaetis nymph.
By the time I reached Alamo I needed a pit stop to unload the coffee, so I topped off the Trout Truck’s tank.  I didn’t want any question in my mind about reaching Illipah in the morning, and then driving back to Ely without refueling. I got on the water sometime after 8:30 am, and although it was still cool in the fifties I started out in a t-shirt. There was only one raft on the water, and several shore anglers who were camping at the reservoir. As is common, I was the only angler concentrating on the shallower inlet side of the reservoir.

Illipah gave up over fifteen trout, two of which were brown trout with the rest being rainbows.  There was quite a bit of surface action throughout my time on the water (about 8:30 am to 1:00 pm), with some large fish showing their bodies as they porpoised for the hatching insects.  In short, the fishing was awesome as over half the fish were in the twelve to sixteen inch class.  The larger of the two browns was over twelve inches and in good health. Since they don't stock Illipah with brown trout I'd like to believe they were both wild trout (i.e., not born in a hatchery).  The larger wily trout hung close to the weed beds, sometimes even rising in the pockets between adjacent beds. All manner of small to medium nymphs worked very well, as did the ubiquitous green woolly bugger.  I did not fish a dry fly, but thought it could do very well during the evening hatch.

As the heat of mid-day arrived I decided to visit Eureka for lunch and a respite from the sun, thinking I’d return to Illipah for the evening dry fly fishing. Illipah is just off U.S. 50, about forty miles west of Ely, thirty-five miles east of Eureka.  It might amuse you (it does me) that the stretch of U.S. 50 lying in the heart of the Great Basin was dubbed “the loneliest road in America” by Life magazine in 1986 because of the scarcity of people found on the highway.  Ironically, the designation seems to have attracted all sorts of travelers thirty years later, but I digress.  For reasons I won’t go into, after ten minutes toward Eureka I turned around and headed for Ely.  I wasn’t sure if I’d return to Illipah that afternoon, so I ate lunch and took a nap (I had arisen at 3:30 am to reach Illipah by 8:00 am).
A tired Illipah rainbow ready to be revived and released.
By 4:00 pm I decided to try the evening hatch on Cave Lake, mostly because I was still tired but also because I calculated a Thursday evening would see light fishing pressure.  I miscalculated the “light fishing pressure” prediction, as the lake was very busy.  There was a banner advertising an upcoming bathtub race, and I noted a new swimming platform in the small bay on the north by northeast portion of the lake.  I wanted to fish the tall bulrushes near the boat dock (often browns are feeding near them in positions impossible to reach from shore), but opted to fish the bulrushes at the inlet.  There were several families with young kids fishing the upper end of the lake, and there were two boats that were more or less trolling the entire lake that would pass by.  A little disappointed but undaunted, I put in the Outlaw Escape and fished until about an hour after sunset.  I caught a mess of stocked trout, upwards of twenty I should think, but not one brown trout.  I did fish a black gnat dry fly on the little four-weight and that was fun, making up for any disappointment I may have had in comparison to Illipah.

Tools of the trade:
(1) custom built 9' - #5 on left, 
(2) custom 7.5' - #4 on right 
I have a sentimental connection to Cave Lake that I can’t seem to shake.  It’s a wonderful place to car camp with family, and the fishing is fun for the youngsters, but I enjoy it less and less despite knowing of the brown trout that occasion the creel censuses.  It is simply too close to the city of Ely whose residents continue to give it the look and feel of an urban pond.
The Cave Lake inlet with two herons stalking the edge of bulrushes.
That night I decided to set my alarm for 6:00 am to head for the Wayne Kirch Wildlife Management Area.   I reasoned that the weather would still be cool in the early morning and I could fish for a few hours on the way down Highway 318 to Las Vegas.  Upon arriving at Cold Springs Reservoir I noted several bass boats already on the water, which I took as a good sign.  However, other boaters said the winds showed up with my arrival, seemingly gusting to twenty mph or higher.  I decided to launch the Escape anyway, daring to test the oars against the wind.  The wind won, but not because the Escape failed me but rather because I had lost my mental toughness to fight the wind.  At Kirch the wind always seems to howl down the White River Valley with nothing to break it.  As it slips over the water’s upper end by the time it reaches the lower end, where the boat launches reside, it can raise some serious whitecaps.  This day the swells approached two feet at times.  The Escape handled them fine, but I never got into any fishing rhythm.  Maybe I made five or so casts, but the rest of the time I was rowing to stay in visual contact with the boat launch.  That’s what I mean about mental toughness; I should have rowed out, let the tube drift with the wind while I fished, and then row back to the starting position.  I just didn’t have it in me, and I decided getting home earlier would be a good thing.
Watching the whitecaps on Cold Springs Reservoir
Wayne Kirch Wildlife Management Area
You see, it was a good thing to get home early because I had spent Tuesday and Wednesday in the Reno area on business, so fishing on Thursday and Friday was more impactful on my family than usual.  That’s why my wife’s permission for an overnight fishing trip was so significant.  She is an awesome wife. 

A contented FisherDad at Cave Lake.