December 1, 2017

Fall Stocking Completed at Cold Creek Pond

On a day with temperatures in the low 50s and just a gentle breeze, I
was very happy that I had but one other angler to share Cold Creek on
the first Friday of December 2017.
A few weeks ago I read in the local paper the Nevada Department of Wildlife was scheduled to plant trout in the Cold Creek pond.  Today I confirmed they did.  One other angler was fishing bait, but he was doing it well: small hooks enabling him to catch and release five trout that I noticed.  As for me, in about an hour I landed four, but had hooks pulled out of three others.  Awesome weather there today.  I was surprised but thankful only one other angler was on the pond.  Enjoy the photos. 
Feral horses getting their morning drink from the pond. Several small
groups (I hesitate to label them "herds") came through, including a few
mares with young colts from last spring. Doesn't the ribbon of creek
water glistening as it flows into the pond look inviting; often the horses
stop near it to drink, likely because it's cleaner at the inlet.
Little stocked rainbow struggling to free itself from the size 16 nymph.
All four were carbon copies of this one.
One last examination before release back into the pond.

November 22, 2017

Dacey Reservoir in the Late Fall

Trout Truck at Dacey's rustic boat launch site. The sign says: 
These regulations help to keep the Dacey trout fishery in top condition.
This is the time of year elementary students are cutting, painting, and creating all sorts of Thanksgiving papers that their moms and dads will affix to various kitchen appliances and cabinetry in celebration of the things the child is thankful for.  You never really know what your youngster might write on these papers, particularly if their teacher doesn’t attempt to influence their selection so as not to embarrass the parents.  You can imagine parents across the country rhetorically asking, “What the hell are they teaching my kid?

My eight-year-old daughter came home at the break with the ubiquitous turkey paper, and on the backside she listed the three things she was grateful for this season: “God, my parents, and my pets.”  I could only smile when I read her paper; mind you, this was a product of a secular school.

As if the Thanksgiving season weren’t reason enough, my daughter’s choices certainly caused me to reflect upon my own thankfulness.  What is the condition of my heart this year?
This was the largest trout I landed. It was probably 9 inches when
stocked last spring, and is now a healthy 12-13 inches. I landed about
10 trout, but two that suffered hook pull-outs would have adequately
filled the Fishpond landing net.
To give perspective to other blog pictures of 19 inch and larger trout in
my Fishpond net, this is what a 12-13 inch trout looks like inside it. 
Apostle Paul wrote, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).  In this letter to the Ephesians, Paul describes the many blessings we, the church, receive from Jesus (note the lower case “church” connoting believers and not a specific building or religion).  These are blessings we are freely given, but cannot earn. For Christians, the gift of salvation through the redeeming sacrifice of Jesus on the cross is at the top of the list.  But even for non-believers, surely they did not pick their parents, the country or nation they were born into.  Although there are environmental factors at play, our personalities and inherent talents seem to grow out of us from nowhere.  We don’t seem to pick them as much as they pick us.

Put another way, could you be as thankful if you were born to abusive parents who were addicted to their sins, inflicting all sorts of physical and emotional pain on your childhood? What if you were born into poverty, or in a nation where human rights didn’t exist?  What if you were born with a disability, or with a progressive condition that prevented you from enjoying good health? What if you dreamed of a life with talent in areas like music, singing, art, or even areas like mathematics or writing? Certainly these skills can be learned and developed to various levels of proficiency, but real talent is usually something we easily recognize and refer to as “a gift” for good reason.  What about our physical attributes?  While diet and exercise, and dare I throw in surgical procedures, can improve things, we really can’t make ourselves taller or shorter, big boned or thin boned.  If you don’t have the gift of strength, quickness or hand-eye coordination you’ll never improve enough to play a sport at the professional level.

So, for the most part, we are who we are.  Sometimes we focus too much on what we are not, what we don’t have, and not enough on what we do have.  In his letter to the Philippians Paul also wrote, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:12-13).  He wrote this letter while chained to a guard in a Roman prison, confined in a filthy jail, while some “followers” tried to make trouble for him in prison for their own selfish reasons, and although he desired his freedom he was resigned to the fact that he’d likely die at the hands of the Romans. How could he be content in such conditions?
Caught lots of these recently stocked rainbows, all in the 9-10 inch
range. You'll notice I was hoping for much larger quarry based on
this beaded woolly bugger's hook size.
Contentment, being at peace with yourself and your condition wherever you are in life, is also a gift from God.  It’s a contentment flowing from the certainty that you are saved through Christ, and that you are an eternal being who will live within the peace and glory of The Lord after your earthly death just as surely as Jesus rose from His earthly grave to be reunited with his Father in heaven.  This level of contentment, no matter your status or condition in this worldly life, is truly a gift from God.

So yes, I am thankful for all the gifts God has freely given me, even those that I occasionally wish I could return for another.

This visit to Dacey on the day before Thanksgiving was a reminder of the gift of contentment.  I had hopes of at least a few large trout.  I had hopes of peace and serenity while viewing wildlife in awe inspiring conditions.  And although those hopes and aspirations were achieved on some level, I’d be lying if I didn’t confess some level of disappointment.  But I’ve been fishing enough to know that these adventures are always different than my expectations, and that they always offer their own elements of peace and awe if I’m willing to look for them.

While I did not land anything large, I did land many trout.  While I did suffer the fall waterfowl hunters and the report of their shotguns sporadically for a few hours, I did have the reservoir to myself most of the day.  While the dead weeds had jammed up the boat launch and most of the reservoir, they did create interesting channels weaving through the surface that revealed their own secrets when proper levels of patience and observation were practiced.  The snow geese and a few large grey herons peppered my visit with sightings not usually seen every day.  And because I was able to take an extra day off, and because we made dinner arrangements that enabled me to go fishing the day before Thanksgiving, I was able to spend a day alone with my thoughts, prayers, and my favorite hobby… something many others simply cannot do… how could I not be thankful for that gift, regardless of the number or size of the fish?
Closeup of the signage, boat launch, and the rip-rap dam structure. The
reservoir water level was down about 2 feet, and while there were
patches of open water, there was some heavy matting from the dead
water weeds that had risen to the surface and been blown by the
prevailing winds towards the southern end near the dam.
Notice the grey heron peeking at me as I drove
over the dam.  Notice also his size in relation to
the white billed coots floating on the dead weed
 bed to the left of him.
He took flight after I purposely spooked him. These large predatory
birds are magnificent to watch when they take flight... although they eat
their share of the smaller trout and bass. This photo also gives a
perspective of the matted dead weeds floating on the surface that
needed to be navigated by the Water Master fishing craft.
In the mid-afternoon I did hook a couple of large trout that I got to see pretty clearly.  The first one eventually came to the surface and began to tail slap the tippet that held the hook in its jaw.  I’ve seen this action before with large trout, especially in reservoirs.  I could see the length of its body, especially the width of its tail as it slapped at the tippet, and I judged the rainbow trout to be about 16 - 17 inches.  It was about 30 feet away as it thrashed on the surface, and it was successful with the last tail slap.  It became an LDR statistic.  The second big rainbow, not that long after the first, was brought within arm’s reach of the Water Master fishing craft.  I could tell it was large when I felt its head thrashing from the depth of the reservoir, something an angler never forgets from the very first time he experiences the vibrations of a large fish. I immediately spun the slack line onto the Galvin reel with my left hand, hoping the hook wouldn’t pull out.  I got it onto the reel and managed to play it within a net-handle length of the Water Master. I could see its full body, especially its broad, dark green back just a few inches from the surface.  I knew it was at least 20 inches, maybe a lot more.  As I reached back for the handle of the Fishpond landing net… the hook pulled out.  The beast calmly finned its tail and moseyed back into Dacey’s darker depths.  I confess I was angry.

But, it was a magnificent and beautiful fish.  Losing a good fish before you can boat it is one of those things that comes with the territory.  You don’t land every fish you hook, and the odds are worse the larger they get.  You learn to be thankful you could even be on the water, that you actually caught any fish, let alone hook one close enough that you were blessed to witness its awesome beauty and significant size.  Most people never get to experience even a sliver of that angling euphoria.  My disappointment quickly vanished into thankfulness.

It is lessons derived from experiences like today’s Dacey offerings that develop contentment in all things for fly anglers.

September 29, 2017

Comins Reservoir, Steptoe Valley Wildlife Management Area

Admiring the Egan Range from the Water Master fishing craft, with Ward
Mountain as it crown jewel. As early as mid-September they received a
dusting of snow, still visible in this photo. Trout Truck on the far
right bank.  
I would like to have written a title that exclaimed “Comins is Back,” but the truth is that while this fishing trip included a significant number of large trout, they were likely excess broodstock from the Gallagher Fish Hatchery in the Ruby Valley.  Additionally, there’s the reality that 5 to 8 inch northern pike were discovered in the reservoir through Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) electrofishing.  If NDOW cannot eradicate the illegally introduced pike through electrofishing, they will undoubtedly grow, spawn, and feed such that the decimation of one of the State’s best trout fisheries will seem likely for the third time since I started fly fishing in 1977.  While that may seem somber news, this Comins fishing trip can still be described as awesome; the “regular” trout stocking program has already begun to produce results that demonstrate this remarkable fishery that has the ability to grow trout by 1 to 2 inches per month. 
First trout of Thursday evening.  I don't believe this came from Gallagher
broodstock, but rather a regular March 2017 stocking of rainbows. She
was close to 17 inches, and very "girthy." 
Comins is about 400 acres in size.  Like most, if not all, of the State’s Wildlife Management Areas it was acquired through the purchase of ranch property, in this case from the 3-C Ranch in 1999.  It’s less than 10 miles southeast of Ely, NV; you might say nestled at the bottom of Steptoe and Cave creeks.  The typical Nevada panorama is evident here.  From the alluvial plane you have the mountain vistas from which the Spaniards gave Nevada its name (Nevada translates to “snow-covered”).  Massive Schell Creek Range rises in the east with Cleve Creek Baldy standing watch at 10,923 feet, and to the southwest the Egan Range and its 10,936 foot Ward Mountain watches over Steptoe Valley.  But for the US Highway 93 traffic, you’d be hard pressed to find a more serene angling destination with world class potential.
It's not often you see rainbows with dark spotting
patterns well into the belly. Another pretty
rainbow of 16 - 17 inches.
I am not a Comins expert.  In fact, this was just my fifth visit.  My prior trips were almost a decade ago when the trout fishery was booming from the 1989 pike eradication (see Ely, NV - Comins & Cave Lakes and Comins Reservoir - Ely, NV bogs).  I believe pike were present then; there certainly were pictures of pike in every restaurant and gas station I did business with.  By the early part of this decade the pike became so prevalent that they devoured all the planted trout.  Once the trout disappeared the pike started eating smaller pike until all that was left was a stunted pike fishery.  The trout anglers stopped fishing the reservoir.  The fishery, and might I say an Ely “micro-economy,” disappeared.
One of three trout that seemed identical in size and
coloring.  Another large male likely from the
broodstock excess. These large trout burrowed
down into the weeds; tippets of 5x or even 4x
strength are highly recommended.
Most of us trout anglers read last spring’s reports that NDOW was restocking Comins after successfully removing the northern pike remnants. I believe they’ve stocked about 15,000 trout since March 2017.   As evidence, my fly angling friend from Santa Barbara, Ron Wilmot, emailed me last July:

I fished Kirch for 10 days in early June then moved to Comins for 4 days. Fishing was amazing!!!!!  On June 10, my 81st birthday, I quit at 3:45 with a sore arm. All rainbows from 15” - 21”. Fished a #14 beadhead P/T about 4’ under an indicator, cast out and twitched it in. The reservoir has returned to its original fishery after the eradication of the pike. Fished the weed beds on the west side way down by the last bathroom. No one but me and a guy from Long Beach, Ca. GO!
Here is the bulrush section on the northwestern edge of the reservoir.
Both Ron and I heartily recommend this area.
So, I’ve been waiting for the cool fall weather to try Comins myself, and my experience mirrored exactly what Ron wrote.
A 20-inch rainbow that obviously was from the Gallagher Fish Hatchery
broodstock. A male rainbow trout showing some "mileage" on him,
taken late Thursday afternoon. 
I had a business meeting Thursday morning, so I didn’t get on the road until noon.  There was reconstruction work on US Highway 6, so I didn’t arrive at the reservoir until 4:30 pm.  The temperature was in the low sixties; very comfortable.  I fished from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm, landing ten beautifully colored trout (as I’ve written before, these appear to be what the hatcheries refer to as Tasmanian rainbow trout – for more detail on Tasmanian trout read Comins Reservoir - Ely, NV – originating from the southern hemisphere where their solar cycle causes them to be fall rather than spring spawners).  Five of them were in the 17 to 20 inch range.  Although aware of Comins’ prodigious growth rates, I did not believe these could have been from the March stocking of 9-inch trout.  In fact, several looked a little old to me.
Note how this one, also caught Thursday night, is almost identical to the
trout three photos above. It is not he same trout based on the spot
pattern on the gill plate. There was yet another very similar. They all
were really healthy trout.
Remarkably I was the only angler on the reservoir.  But as I was getting out of the water I noted a truck towing a boat to the launching area.  I saw what I thought was an NDOW emblem on the truck, so I decided to drive over and see what was going on.  I chatted with a NDOW warden (or maybe a fisheries biologist; I didn’t ask him) about the fishery.  I told him that my two hours were better than I ever expected, but then I asked about the size of the trout.  He admitted that Gallagher had some excess broodstock, and they decided to salt Comins with a bunch of them to quickly spike fishermen’s interest.  Well, I told him it got my attention.  He also confirmed that they had seen evidence of pike in the fishery, and that they were looking for more in that evening’s electrofishing procedure.  He instructed me to kill any pike I caught and to drop off their carcasses at the Ely office of NDOW so that they could examine the evidence.
Last trout Thursday evening.  Reminiscent of last trout I caught on
October 27, 2005.
Friday I awoke at 6:00 am to a 37 degree temperature.  After breakfast at the Silver State Cafe, I launched the Water Master on Comins by 7:00 am.  I had taken Ron’s advice to fish the bulrush on the northwestern end of the reservoir where trucks zoom by on US Highway 93.  By noon I was simply exhausted after landing 15 more trout, over half of them ranging from 17 to 21 inches.  This time I did note a few stale eggs dropped on my apron which validated their Tasmanian heredity.
Another long Comins rainbow that fought like a hog. Note my fingerless
glove necessary for me to start a day with a temperature of 37 degrees.
Hooked on the outside of the jaw with a bead-headed olive woolly
bugger that had tinsel is its tail.
After excluding all the trout landed over 17 inches, on the premise they were excess Gallagher broodstock and not the normal 9-inch planters, I noticed an interesting pattern: half of those 10 trout were in the 14-17 inch range.  That’s what I would expect from a normal Comins stocking back in March.  If those trout can hold over through the winter, many could be young 20-inchers by late spring.  To me, that’s a great indication of the Comins trout prognosis.
Practically every trout filled my Fishpond Nomad, mid-length landing
net.  Its 37 inch length is perfect for tube and pontoon floating. The 13
inch wide by 18 inch long mouth is plenty big for even the largest trout. 
Another beautiful 16 inch trout I suspect was a normal stocked rainbow
back in March 2017.
I made the below chart as a way to measure what I believe is the distinction between the normal 9-inch stocking program and the excess Gallagher broodstock.  It recaps the results of my two-day, seven-hour fishing experience.  I believe it does validate the remarkable growth rate in Comins, and foretells the success that Comins could experience.  The athleticism of trout that spend a few seasons growing in the Comins fishery will far outclass that of the broodstock.  By the way, I lost about 5 or 6 trout due to hook pull-outs despite the 5 - 6 lbs tippets, and I also caught 8 - 10 baby black bass with the largest being about 9 inches.  As usual, all fish were released to grow larger and allow other anglers to experience.
Excluding what I believe to be the Gallagher broodstock at 17 inches or
larger, of the remaining 10 trout, 5 were in the 14 - 17 inch range. That
is still an impressive growth rate of  5 - 8 inches in just 5 months.  By
next spring the trout in that band could easily be 18 to 22 inches. 
Early Friday morning photo.  It's hard to see, but there was a mist or fog
blowing off the water from right to left in the photo. It's barely visible
against the far bank on the right side of the picture.
Yes, large trout have large teeth.  Getting a little bloody is part of
the deal.
I must say that while the re-introduction of the pike is disappointing news, perhaps NDOW will be able to manage their population such that the trout fishery can return to its lofty status of years past.  And I believe that a highly productive Comins trout and bass fishery will do more for the Ely economy than a northern pike fishery.  So, next spring, as Ron simply advises, “GO!
Last trout landed, just in front of the beach where the Trout Truck was
parked.  I lost a Whitlock damsel nymph and the bead-headed olive
woolly bugger to the weeds when two large trout burrowed into them.
I switched to this olive woolly bugger with a red head.  This trout was
over 20 inches, very close to 21 inches.
Up close and personal with a Tasmanian rainbow trout.
Bringing a trout to the Water Master Grizzly; I am very pleased with
the Water Master so far. 
Last view of the Comins Reservoir expanse before the long drive home.

July 13, 2017

Illipah Reservoir, White Pine County

Launching the Water Master Grizzly on Illipah Reservoir, leaving the
Trout Truck to bask in the shoreline grasses.  It started as a very
tranquil day. 
I took a long day-trip to Illipah Reservoir in White Pine County.  It has been four years since I last fished Illipah, and it has always intrigued me as a fishing destination.  I don’t exactly recall how I came to learn about Illipah.  It may have been my brother Neal who first told me about it, or I could have seen it in the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) brochure and website. I do know that former Las Vegas City Manager, Larry Barton, fished it frequently in the late 1990s.  Several times I heard him describe the Illipah fishing with great enthusiasm.  Larry was a fly fisherman as well, so his commentary seemed to have more significance for me.
One of the healthier, more vividly adorned rainbows of the day.  Note
the ratty Prince Nymph in the corner of his mouth. He was maybe 12
 inches, recently stocked this past spring.
I first fished Illipah in June of 2000.  My sons Doug and Tom were camping with me at Cave Lake State Park outside Ely.  From that base camp we visited Lehman Caves at Great Basin National Park and fished several waters (Silver Creek Pond, Cave Lake, Illipah Reservoir, and the Ruby Lakes Ditch).  On that trip I fished Illipah just an hour or so, catching but one trout.  I don’t know how much the boys recall about that camping trip, but I know they still remember hitting the Silver Creek Pond just after it had been stocked.  We had the farm pond all to ourselves, and Doug and Tom hauled trout out of the reservoir on practically every other cast (everyone’s first fishing experience should be so successful).  My next visit was in May of 2004.  That was my first fishing trip ever with a float tube (Fish Cat), and I described the experience as “unbelievable” in my May 14, 2004 blog post.  (Hopefully, my blogs have become slightly more polished since that post.)
This rainbow fought well, and maybe exceeded 12 inches, but note
how thin he was. The Nevada Department of Wildlife stocked 3,746
rainbow trout in May 26, and he was likely one of them. 
Illipah Reservoir was created in 1953 when Illipah Creek was impounded for irrigation purposes. In an agreement with the rancher to guarantee a minimum pool, NDOW paid for the dam construction.  The reservoir was enlarged in 1981. Although located almost entirely on private land, the adjacent land is managed for recreation by the Bureau of Land Management under a cooperative agreement with NDOW.  The Illipah Reservoir covers 70 surface acres to a maximum depth of 50 feet. Rainbow trout, stocked twice annually, and a self-sustaining population of brown trout currently inhabit the reservoir.  The fishing is good year around, but it peaks in spring and fall.  Illipah is located 34 miles west of Ely on Highway 50, where you turn south (left) at the sign and follow the dirt road 1½ miles to the reservoir. Muddy conditions occur when the road is wet, so use caution.
The view looking south by southwest from where Illipah Creek flows
through the valley between the Moorman Ridge to the east (i.e., left
side) and the Mokomoke Mountains to the west. The historic town of
Hamilton lies on the other side of the Mokomoke Mountains.
No evidence of the thunderclouds in this late morning photo. 
One fascination about Illipah, which I’ve never personally satisfied, is the nearby ghost town of Hamilton. Silver was discovered in Treasure Hill in 1867, two years after the end of the Civil War, which led to the creation of the town of Hamilton. In 1868 the silver rush resulted in over 10,000 people coming to the area. White Pine County was formed in 1869 with Hamilton as its seat. At that time there were almost 20,000 people living in Hamilton, and the town site grew to about two square miles. As was the case with most all of these mining boom towns, by 1870 the mining had come to a halt. A fire in 1873 signaled the coming end for Hamilton, and a subsequent fire in 1885 was the coup de grĂ¢ce, and the county seat was then moved to Ely where it resides today. For a young family wanting to explore remote places in Nevada, Illipah and Hamilton fill the bill.  Although the Illipah campsites are somewhat primitive, the BLM maintains the campground with picnic tables, fire pits, windscreens, vault toilets, and trash barrels. As the crow flies, Hamilton is about 7.5 miles southwest of Illipah.
Another sleek but darkly colored trout. There were a few that I caught
which had mottled discoloring overlaid on their dark pigmentation,
which I assumed was a condition carried with them from the hatchery.
Today’s fishing action was extremely brisk, although no brown trout were landed, and no trout was over thirteen inches. In the six hours I fished, including a 30 minute thunderstorm delay, I hooked 45 rainbow trout, landing 34 and experiencing 11 long-distance-releases. That averages to a hook-up every 8 minutes, and a trout brought to hand every 10.5 minutes. I was pretty busy out there.

The brown trout are the real attraction of Illipah for me. Landing the 17 inch brownie in 2004 on a small emerger nymph in the shallow shoreline was an awesome experience. I hope to replicate that again someday with a larger specimen.

A view towards the northern end where the earthen dam resides.
There are 6 anglers on the shoreline, and 3 in kayaks, although
the yellow kayak is indistinguishable as it floats right in front of the
truck parked on the shoreline.
Another handsome rainbow, caught on Denny Rickard's Callibaetis
Nymph. There is a self-sustaining population of brown trout in the
reservoir, but I did not catch one on this trip.
The first sign of the advancing thunderstorms occurred around 3:00 pm.
Although I did not see lightening, I heard the thunder. I opted to beach
The Water Master and fish from the shore, which turned out to be great
The weed beds were floating on the surface in the shallow portion of the
reservoir toward the inlet. Trout were rising and splashing next to them,
as well as into the ankle-thin water right along the shoreline.
When the mid-afternoon thunderstorm interrupted my tubing I decided to beach the Water Master and fish the western shoreline.  That decision turned out to produce quite a bit of fun.  I switched from my 5-weight to my 7½ foot 4-weight.  Using a floating line with an array of nymphs (frankly, it didn’t seem to matter which ones), I was catching trout just 20 to 30 feet off the bank, and usually nestled up against the weed beds.  It was very similar to dry fly fishing, and the light tackle made playing the smaller stocked trout enjoyable.
Using nymphs (this one is a Rickard's Callibaetis) and a floating line on
my  foot, 4-weight, I duped many trout from the shore along the
weeds, often with splashy sub-surface takes of the fly. Almost like
fishing a dry fly.
Mystery resides below the surface of the water...
...such as rather large crayfish.
A shore-caught trout of about 11 inches.  I so enjoy fishing
the 7½ footer. 
I had noticed what looked to be larger fish jumping on the eastern side of the reservoir, so when there was a lull in the thunderstorm I launched the Water Master again and oared over to check it out. There were larger fish working along the weed beds, and I was still using the light 7½ footer. Based on what I witnessed, I think several of the trout were in the 14 to 16 inch range. They were more wary, and often they’d move down the weed line just beyond my efficient casting range. I did manage to get a few strikes from larger fish, at least they looked like strikes, but I mistimed my reaction. I was enjoying the newly discovered “stalk and shoot” approach to angling when the second thunderstorm arrived (I had been watching the dark clouds approaching). It was then that I decided to get back to the Trout Truck and head home.

Despite the trout being considerably smaller than those in Dacey Reservoir last May, I really enjoyed this trip. Normally the weather at Illipah can be close to 90° by mid-summer, but today's cloudy skies and intermittent thunder showers kept the temperature right about 70°, roughly 40° less than it was in Las Vegas… who wouldn’t appreciate that? And while there were a handful of anglers on this Thursday, I really had my run of the reservoir; for all intents and purposes I was angling in solitude.
FisherDad taking refuge in Trout Truck, waiting for the thunderstorm
to subside.
Speaking of solitude, the driving time was a relished respite from a busy couple of weeks.  For most all of the driving I kept the cab quiet except for my conversation with the Lord.  As much as I try to make quiet time to be fully in His presence, there seems to always be a distraction or an interruption.  I truly savor these trips to simply talk with God, and more importantly, to be able to listen to Him.  John 8:47 says “Anyone who belongs to God listens gladly to the words of God. But you don’t listen because you don’t belong to God.”  I don’t ever want to be in a place where the Word is not with me, or where Jesus says I don't belong to Him.  I want to be like the young prophet Samuel who replied “Speak, your servant is listening” when he heard God call his name (1 Samuel 3:10).  Many are familiar with Jeremiah 29:11 (“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope”), but the Lord in verse 12 goes on to say “In those days when you pray, I will listen.”  Of course, listening to the Word of God is only part of the battle; being obedient to his instruction is where the rubber meets the road.  We must “give heed” to his word (Proverbs 16:20) and “put them into practice” (Matthew 7:24) because “those who hear the word of God and obey it” are blessed (James 1:25).  

So, my prayer is that you can be still and hear the voice of the Lord in your life, and let it guide your ways into eternity.

May 3, 2017

Dacey Reservoir, Nye County, NV

A pair of geese protecting their three goslings on Adams-McGill
Reservoir. In the wild geese bond and stay together for life.  
Ever notice sometimes how those experiences you anticipate often fail to fully come to fruition, particularly if it’s something you're really looking forward to?  Fueled by your imagination you envision how wonderful the experience will be and the pleasure you’ll derive from it, especially when your brain builds upon prior awesome remembrances.
The one smallish bass caught this day, although
I noted several larger black bass preparing for
their spawn in the shallows.
I don’t typically recall details of unpleasant experiences.  When it comes to outdoor adventures I am especially optimistic about what I might observe, what I might witness.  Nature always amazes and inspires me, and when I make my treks to old and new destinations I just expect to be awed.  After all, it is God’s creation that man has never been able to match.
A remarkably radiant crimson spawning stripe on this 18 inch rainbow.
My very first trip to Dacey Reservoir was on September 27, 2013.  I was mildly stunned by the size of the trout in this high-desert wildlife management area, so much so that for weeks my mind would daydream about them.  I immediately followed that with another trip on October 23, 2013 and two trips in April (April 4, 2014 and April 23, 2014).  Those early Dacey angling experiences so influenced me that I wrote my first published article on Wayne Kirch which resulted in yet a fifth trip in eight months for the magazine photo shoot on May 31, 2014.  Although the May trip was a little late into the spring for Kirch trout angling, that string of five fishing adventures still rattles around my hippocampus, believed to be the brain’s sorting center where new sensations are compared with previously recorded ones.  I like visiting new water just because it's a new exploration, but memories from those five trips keep overriding my natural quest for new adventures.

And so here I was, planning my first “real” fishing trip since last October.  I was leaning toward Utah's Kolob Reservoir again.  But, Kolob is a slightly longer drive than Kirch, and there were those Dacey Reservoir re-runs playing through my hippocampus.  The two days spent on Dacey with Bruce and Doug in late April of 2013 were some of my best fishing days ever, including the family bonding.  It can be difficult to override memories like those.  As you already know from the title of this post, Dacey won out again.
Largest trout of the day. This male was just under 20 inches, and he
was plump, healthy, and beautiful.
The large rainbow attempting to avoid the Fishpond net, but the
fly held fast.
I can say that all the trout Dacey gave this day were comparable in size and coloring to those I experienced in 2013/2014.  I can also report that I was the only one on the reservoir all day, which always enhances the sensation of a wilderness experience, even though Kirch isn’t really that remote or isolated.  Yet somehow I came away mildly dissatisfied with the fishing.  Perhaps in part due to the low fish count (five hooked, four brought to the net), or maybe it was the unseasonably warm weather (by the afternoon it was about 80°).  But now that I’m home contemplating the whole of the trip I can honestly say it was in fact awesome.  It was every bit as breathtaking as the first time in September 2013.  How can anyone be disappointed with an outing that produced a fat rainbow just under 20 inches long?  How could I feel slighted after examining an 18-inch male rainbow displaying the most radiant scarlet spawning wardrobe I’ve seen since fishing the Ruby Lake with Bill Bergan in 2015?  Sure, I would have been more pleased with faster action, but more trout would have statistically resulted in most being 12 to 14 inch trout that were stocked just last fall.  I’ve written many times that I’d rather land one old, large, naturally radiant trout than a boatload of recently planted trout. 
A fine looking female of just under 17 inches. I was pleased to
introduce her to the Fishpond net.
So what is it in me, maybe in you as well, that always expects the next adventure will be better than the last?  What is it in our soul that occasionally produces the belief that our experiences are never good enough?  Why do we think we deserve more than what we’ve been given?  Can it be as simple as our sinful nature?

When Paul wrote to the church in Philippi he thanked them for sending gifts while he was in prison (Philippians 4:10-13).  He was there because officials had levied false charges against him; in a way they were “hating” on Jesus through Paul.  Paul already knew that the grace of Jesus was sufficient for him; because of Jesus he lacked nothing.  He needed to thank the Philippi Church for their generosity, but he also needed to teach a lesson in contentment while doing so.  Paul did not mean contentment in the pagan sense of self-sufficiency, but that his sufficiency was in Jesus.  Without Jesus we are nothing, for He created it all and only through Him do we find grace and redemption (John 1:1-18).

When I begin to feel disappointment in this world, I pinch myself and remember that God’s grace is sufficient for me, too.  Every breath, moment, day, and experience on earth is a gift from Him, and I just simply need to snap out of it” just like Loretta Castorini told Ronny Cammareri in the movie Moonstruck.
The Water Master Grizzly angling craft contributed towards another
awesome Wayne Kirch angling adventure. The four fishable Kirch
reservoirs are large, and an oared watercraft is the best choice to
cover them.
This trout harbored a deep wound, perhaps from a heron, but I can
attest that it didn't dampen its ability to fight strong. Kirch attracts all
sorts of wildlife, and fishing birds do abound. Wading birds common
to the area include white-faced ibis, great blue herons, black crowned
night herons, great egrets, snowy egrets and bitterns. Of those
species, black-crowned night herons and great blue herons nest
in the area.
I never tire of this view of the Grant Mountain Range from Dacey.
Could you? The Grant Range is a mountain chain in east-central
Nevada that runs for about 30 miles north-south in northeastern Nye
County. It is west of the White River Valley, home of Wayne Kirch
Wildlife Management Area. The White River Valley drains the eastern
slopes of the range, and used to make its way into the Colorado River.