Pine Valley, Utah

This Pine Valley mansion overlooks the cattle pasture and the Santa Clara River that flows just below the white fence in the distance.

Holiday weekends don’t usually entice me to travel. I like to vacation between the weekends so as to keep the crowds to a minimum. It’s not that I’m introverted or antisocial, but truthfully, who likes to struggle in crowds on a vacation. Fishing works the same way, but for different reasons. When I venture outdoors I like to pursue the feeling of wilderness (even when it’s not reality). It’s a throwback to my youthful hiking days; always wanting to trek where no one has gone before, to see things as natural and undisturbed as possible. Currently, fishing on weekdays before or after the holidays is the best I can manage to create the sense of solitude and peace.

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Cold Springs Reservoir, Wayne Kirch Wildlife Management Area

Sixteen-plus inch Cold Spring rainbow (note spawning color into caudal fin)

My first trip to Wayne Kirch was on April 1, 2005. It was a cold, windy day as I recall. I was the only fisherman on the water, and it was rough going in my Fish Cat tube. My notes from that day report that I landed just three rainbows. They also record three long distance releases (LDRs, as we call them) and three missed strikes. The notes blamed my poor showing on the cold weather and slow reflexes. Although I don’t recall that trip being particularly enjoyable, it was my maiden voyage to the Kirch WMA.

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Cold Creek Revival

Cold Creek Pond… all to myself.

Some say communing with nature can be a religious experience. I, for example, find that everything in nature screams of the Creator. I don’t worship nature, but I find that the Lord’s hand is everywhere to be found in it. In the Bible, Job retorts in his defense against his so called friends, “But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or ask the birds of the air, and they will teach you. Speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea tell you. Every one of these knows that the hand of the Lord has done this” (Job 13, 7-9). So, today I went to speak with Mr. Trout.

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Beaver Dam Creek, Lincoln County, Nevada

On the road to Beaver Dam State Park

They say you can never go back. Especially after you’ve been gone a long time. Things change. You change. Memories live on in your brain, scenes and events immortalized within. They say as you age the short-term memory goes, but the long-term memory lingers. Maybe that bodes well for senile reminiscing on early life adventures. Maybe I won’t remember this most recent trip.

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Cave Lake & Illipah Reservoir, White Pine County

Moon rising over Cave Lake about 8:30 pm

I don’t usually look forward to trout fishing in mid-summer. Trout can be lethargic as temperatures rise, and when algae grows in lower elevation reservoirs it can diminish the oxygen levels which can lead to increased mortality even when practicing catch and release. The warm weather also drops water levels causing them to be skittish. Moving up to the alpine levels can solve those issues as summer comes late at 9,000 feet and higher. But other than very few exceptions like Kolob Reservoir, large fish aren’t often found in the creeks and reservoirs of the high mountains in central Nevada and southern Utah. And then there’s the general unpleasantness of traveling across the desert in 110 degrees or more in order to reach cooler climates; even in a relatively new car the excessive heat can cause one to pause about faulty thermostats and split hoses. Still, the Las Vegas mid-summer heat was getting the best of me. Escaping to higher, cooler ground was appealing even if the fishing might be slower and the trout smaller.

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Anderson Reservoir – Fish Lake National Forest

Father-son fishing duo

My sons, Evan and Brian, were lined up for an over-night fishing trip to Utah. We had not decided where in Utah, but the Red Creek trip on July 7th was not what I hoped it would be. And although Panguitch was great, it was too technical for a teaching trip for Evan. After giving it some thought I opted to take the boys, Brian and Evan, to Fish Lake National Forest just east of Beaver, Utah. There are numerous lakes such that if one was slow there was another just up the road. And, being a farther drive from Las Vegas there should be less people.

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A New Fly Rod on Cold Creek

The Cold Creek Pond, March 28, 2009.

This past January, in protest of the winter and my new interim job, I built a new six-foot fly rod. It was my first rod building project in about twenty-five years. I still enjoy fishing my old six-footer that I built in the early 1980s for small creeks and stocked trout, but it is a slow action fiberglass blank and I wanted to replace it with a new, faster action graphite rod. I was hoping I could extend my casting range another five or ten feet with a graphite rod blank.

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Cold Creek Pond, Clark County, NV

Spring Mountain reflection on Cold Creek pond

Cold Creek remains one of my fondest places in spite of it becoming overrun with private development and RV campers. Maybe it’s the memory of the delight when I first discovered the place back in the late 1970s. There were no cabins then as the land was owned by the Bureau of Land Management. The creek gushed mysteriously from the cave at the end of the arroyo, and the little jeweled trout seemed to thrive in the creek despite its diminutive stature. I became so enthralled with the area that my college grade point average dropped a whole tenth of a point during my final semester because I frequently ditched the early evening classes so I could explore around Cold Creek in the early springtime. As I mentioned in previous writings, I caught my first trout on a fly in Cold Creek when I was attending the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, forever capturing my sensibilities and birthing the fly fishing passion that still haunts me today (see November Cold Creek 2006 blog).

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