The Cold Creek Salve

Austin and his grandfather Ron, stalking the trout  of Cold Creek Pond

In Robert Redford’s 1992 movie, A River Runs Through It, Norman Maclean is beguiled by his fiancé and family into agreeing to take her prodigal brother Neal fishing.  The family’s transparent hope is that Norman, a preacher’s son, might be able to set Neal on the right path.  Norman in turn solicits his brother Paul to come with them, likely because he realized the enormity of the task his fiancé’s family laid at his feet. Not only isn’t Neal much of an outdoorsman, he’s falling behind in the fight against his own set of demons.  Neal shows up at the river with the town prostitute, inebriated.  Norm and Paul leave Neal with his new-found “diversion” to fish the river on their own, only to return at the end of the day to two naked, sunburnt slabs of flesh.  Insult to injury was they only caught one fish between the two of them (fly anglers always have their priorities in order).  When Norman and Paul got Neal home to his family after dropping off the working gal at the town outskirts, there was some real emotive, verbal and non-verbal, communication going on since the influence of preacher’s son didn’t produce the anticipated effect.  It’s at this point that Paul looks at his brother Norm and says, “Why don’t we go fishing again tomorrow and wipe this day off the books.”

I share this with you because that’s how I feel about my last fishing trip to Wayne Kirch.  I caught one largemouth bass and then promptly had a heart attack.  It totally ruined my trip, not to mention crimping my solo fishing style.  So, I have been thinking about a run up to Cold Creek; the fall stocking should have occurred and casting to and catching a few trout would be a nice remedy for my tattered fishing spirits.

This morning I left the house at 6:20 AM and arrived at the pond by 7:00 AM.  Two other anglers arrived just a minute before me.  We three were the only ones fishing the small pond, so that was a blessing.  When I arrived the temperature was less than 40 degrees according to the Trout Truck, but it was warming as the sun gained its altitude.

This might be the largest Cold Creek rainbow I’ve ever caught. It was just under 12 inches.

I only fished for an hour, but Cold Creek did its job to erase the bad taste of my last trip.  After confirming with the other party-of-two that the pond had been stocked, I quickly hooked seven rainbow trout, of which I landed five (seven hook-ups in 60 minutes is pretty good on any water).  Four were nine inches or less, but one trout was just about the largest trout I’ve ever caught in le petit corps Cold Creek de l’eau… just under twelve inches but with a nice, plump body that was obviously well nourished by the hatchery pellets before being dumped in the Cold Creek pond (see October 30, 2009 post for another Cold Creek trout of close to twelve inches).

The other fishermen were very polite and affable, and they began asking me questions about fishing Cold Creek specifically which evolved into fishing in general.  I could tell that Ron and his grandson Austin enjoyed fishing, and this was a clear case of a loving grandfather trying to spend quality time with his grandson.  Ron could be my age, maybe a little older.  Austin I pegged around 15 years, plus or minus a year or two.  They appeared to be fishing bait, on hooks too large for nine-inch stocked trout.  I offered some suggestions, and even gave them a couple nymphs to try with their spinning outfits.  I left the pond before I could see if my offerings produced any fruit for them.  

I hooked all 7 trout on this little size 16 nymph, which I gave to Austin; this is why I suggested the large bait hooks were too big for the 9-inch stocked trout.

Since my acute myocardial infarction was still fresh on my mind, and since this little excursion was about dulling that pain from Wayne Kirch, I mentioned my heart attack to Ron.  He seemed interested about my experience so I shared what I could.  I then asked Ron some questions about how he came to southern Nevada, and he stated he moved to Las Vegas in 1972 from Nebraska.  He came out west to work for Jackie Gaughan of El Cortez and Gold Spike fame.  Jackie was born in Nebraska, so there was an obvious connection between Ron and Jackie, I’m sure.  When Ron mentioned Nebraska, I took a closer look at his bright red sweatshirt expecting to see “Cornhuskers” emblazoned across his chest, but I was pleased to see it read “UNLV” instead.

Cold Creek certainly delivered today, both in the fishing but more importantly in connecting with Ron and young Austin.  I hope that Austin is able to connect with his game warden uncle in Pioche to get a good lesson in fly fishing.  I think young men like Austin are critical to “passing the torch” in this awesome outdoor adventure we call fly fishing. 

My fingers were more numb than usual in cold weather due to blood thinners, so when I tied the little black nymph on Austin’s line I accidentally sunk the hook into my finger without feeling it; you can see where the point traveled toward my fingernail from the entry point. Being a barbless size 16 there was no real  damage, but I was amused that I couldn’t feel the point penetrating my index finger…

Author: FisherDad

I am a Christian who has been married to my wife for over four decades, with six children and four grandchildren so far. I have retired from a string of successful occupations as a certified public accountant, a chief financial officer, and a registered municipal advisor. I have been a fly angler for almost five decades. My one and only article submission was published by Southwest Fly Fishing magazine (now American Fly Fishing). You can learn more about me by clicking on “About” on the top of my blog page.

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