Dacey Reservoir, Nye County, Nevada

A herd of pronghorn antelope that crossed the southern access road to the Wayne Kirch Wildlife Management Area.

There’s a good reason, actually several good reasons why I like traveling to fishing destinations on weekdays. First, the fishing is always less crowded on a weekday, which enhances the feeling of solitude as well as the susceptibility of the fish to take the lure (trout don’t like boats constantly traveling overhead and the persistent “plunking” of lures into the water). But there’s another aesthetic benefit, at least if you consider wildlife viewing integral to the overall aesthetic experience. Traveling when there are few “other travelers” always increases the chance of seeing wildlife in their natural habitat. Then of course, there’s the guilty pleasure of either being retired or stealing a day off when traveling in the middle of a workweek.

I noted three great herons lurking around Dacey.

My first wildlife sighting was of three large pronghorn antelope bucks near Highway 318 at about the 38°02’ latitude, just north of the White River Narrows. I believe they were planning to traverse 318 from east to west, but when I pulled over and fumbled around to get my camera they had shot off towards the east. I attempted to get a picture, but at first the early morning sun shining into the lens destroyed whatever I shot. I then pulled the camera back deeper into the shade of the truck’s cabin, but by then those bucks we nothing but three little white butts bouncing way off in the high desert. 

However, I got another opportunity when I slid off 318 onto the southern Wayne Kirch access road.  About 500 yards in a large heard of 30 +/- antelope crossed in front of the Trout Truck. This was unquestionably the largest pronghorn herd I’ve ever seen. And with this sighting at around the 38°20’ latitude, I can’t help but contrast their presence so far south when compared to Elko, NV (40°49’) or Casper, WY (42°50’).  At this latitude each degree is about 69 miles, so from a north/south latitudinal basis Wayne Kirch sighting is about 280 miles south of Casper. 

Last of the antelope herd crossing in front of the Trout Truck. Note the sliver of Cold Springs Reservoir reflecting the blue sky from behind the left side of the Kirch WMA directional sign, and the Grant Range looming 20 miles off in the distance.

My point is I don’t think I would have seen such a wondrous sighting on a weekend or holiday.

The weather was sunny, but cool. The temperature upon arrival was about 40°, but it climbed to 60° by mid-afternoon. Winds were slight; I’d say 5 mph or less. The reservoir was about two feet low as they were dumping water into the Adams-McGill Reservoir, likely for the upcoming duck hunting season. Weeds were somewhat of a problem, but there was sufficient open water. As I was launching the Water Master Grizzly a couple guys appeared on the rip-rap dam bank to fish from shore an hour or so.  One guy caught a 16-inch rainbow. They might have caught a few others, I didn’t notice.

Nice male rainbow trout of about 18 inches in length.

I caught all my trout in the morning, most in front of the two shore anglers. One of the trout I hooked was an acrobatic leaper, and based on experience I’d say it would have gone close to 20 inches. Although I was using a 4x tippet (about 7 lbs. test in fluorocarbon) because I knew the weeds would be problematic and the trout weren’t leader shy, I lost two really nice trout in the weeds when they either rubbed off or dislodged the hook. The lesson I learned was to muscle them harder to avoid their burrowing into the weeds, even if it risked a hook pull-out. After losing the high-jumping rainbow one of the shore angers hollered out, “you’re doing pretty good with that fly rod, what are you using as a lure?”  At the time I was using the Whitlock damsel nymph.  I was fishing my 9 foot, 5 weight fly rod with a full sink line with a 9 foot leader.  I caught all the trout in the morning on the damsel nymph, but in the afternoon I switched to a black leech pattern.

A plump hen trout of 17 to 18 inches based on the Fishpond landing net dimensions.
Could the scarring on the back and sides be from herons and other predatory birds?
This Fishpond Nomad mid-length net is very helpful when landing trout in the Water Master Grizzly.
Another fine fall specimen; note the missing right maxilla.

All in all I landed 7 trout (one about 14 inches, four around 16 inches, and two that where close, if not actually at, 18 inches). I landed a plethora of young black bass, most in the range of 9 inches with one or two pushing 11 inches.  As small as they were, they hit the fly with abandon and for a few seconds they really fought nobly. But alas, they were really a nuisance. Although I didn’t keep a precise count, I landed close to 30 fish in six hours of fishing plus 7 or so long distance releases. I could feel the weariness in my casting arm as I made the long drive south on Highway 318. It was a fulfilling type of weariness that comes from focusing so intently on something you enjoy immensely that you fail to recognize the physicality of the task until it is done. It was a very special day.

One of the 20-plus young large mouth bass that were so often disappointing. 
One of three trout that had deformed or injured mouth parts. Not only was this one missing his left maxilla, but his lower jaw curved to the left. Despite these issues, this trout was a healthy 16 inches.
Here was another whose right maxilla was either deformed or injured. Still, he was healthy. One begins to wonder if catch and release works well when it includes hardware lures. I don’t know, but I do know that a high percentage of Dacey trout have mouth wounds, maybe as high as 30 to 40 percent. 

For those not aware, I am retiring from my chief financial officer position effective February 2, 2017. I intend to work part-time for a friend who’s firm provides municipal securities advisory services to Nevada and its local governments, which will generate less stress, provide more time with the family, and just might produce an extra blog post or two… we’ll see. My wife and I have been looking forward to this milestone, and it is because of the blessings of the Lord that I can make this next transition in life at the young age of 60. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying belief in Christ results in wealth. I am saying that everything I have, every breath, every day of health, all my gifts and abilities, my wife and children, my job, absolutely everything I have comes from God. But of all his provisions, His gift of everlasting life with the Lord reigns supreme through the sacrifice of Jesus. I know I am a blessed man to be in a relationship with Christ Jesus, and everything else is gravy. For those interested to learn more of God’s provisions read Psalm 84:11, Matthew 7:11, Luke 12:24, Philippians 4:19, James 4:1-2, and 1 John 3:22.

Resting in Water Master Grizzly boat, enjoying the view of the Grant  Range and Hot Creek Butte in left foreground.
A good view of the expanse of Dacey Reservoir looking over the tops of the tullies.
The satiated FisherDad with trusty Trout Truck in the background.

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.

7 thoughts on “Dacey Reservoir, Nye County, Nevada”

  1. Great blog! Wonderful to see that you are retiring next year. It is great not having to go to work every day, and/or go to work when you want. Say Hello to the family!

  2. Gary –

    Thanks. I've been looking forward to this day, admittedly with a little trepidation. I wasn’t sure what I’d do, but I knew I needed to do something. I wanted more time to be with my wife and daughter and the extended family, and fishing a little more often was attractive while my body is still up to the task. But I needed some purpose outside the home, even for a few days. The untimely death of a financial advisor created an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up. I expect over time I’ll continue to slow down on the “work” side of the equation, but for now it’s a great way to retire from the City job. Thanks again for the encouraging words.

    – Mark

  3. Fisherdad, Good post and nice fish, as always. Thanks for sharing your adventures. Do you by chance know if there is any ice/ ice fishing at the reservoir in winter? I'm wondering how far north I'd have to travel for that.Also, congrats on the retirementRon S

  4. Yes, but the ice fishing season is short in Wayne Kirch: the month of January plus/minus a few weeks. Due to their higher elevations, Eagle Valley Reservoir (US93 near Pioche, NV) and Cave Lake (US93 near Ely, NV) are better choices for ice fishing. I have blogs posted on those waters as well (see "Destination Blogs" on the right-hand side).

    The NDOW site provided on this blog is your best source for weekly updates on the winter ice.

    Good luck!

  5. Fisherdad, Thanks for the ice fishing info. I'm fairly familiar with Eagle Valley Reservoir (camped and fished there in the summer a few times) so that's an easy option. Also didn't know that the NDOW posted ice conditions so that will be a great help. Thanks again.It will probably be next winter (2017-2018) before I can go. My wife and I are expecting a daughter in mid January so that takes priority over a fishing trip. Eventually I'll get here though..Ron

  6. Wow, congratulations on the approaching birth of your daughter. That is indeed a much higher priority, and quite a blessing. I will pray for your family, including your daughter to be (Psalm 127:3-5 in the NIV says: “Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court”).

  7. Hey bud, I apologize, I asked for your contact email once in a post and I know you replied…I would like to share some info with you! I found a place for trout because of you and think its only fair to keep you informed!


    This is my blog, it is a slow work in progress. Hope you like it and look forward to sharing information with ya! Hope all is well, I have been reading your blog for awhile!

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