Comins Lake in November

On the eastern edge of the lower Comins Lake, sort of across from the new boat launch area, is where I hooked and landed my one and only strike of the day. In the distant center of the photo is the western edge of the Schell Creek Range. Camp Success is hidden away on the other side of that ridge.

As autumn strengthened its grip, I perceived there was time for one more angling trip before I laid up the fly gear and prepared for the winter. Yes, even Las Vegas has a winter season, albeit nothing like the northern half of the United States. Regardless of the Vegas winters, for southern Nevada trout anglers the better fishing is farther north at elevations of 6,000 feet and higher. Comins Lake, for example, sits at 6,545 feet just seven miles east of Ely, Nevada. At those elevations farther north the lakes and reservoirs freeze over in the winter, and it does snow in that part of Nevada. By geographical measures, Ely, Nevada is 1,190 feet higher in elevation and just 0° 20´ in lower latitude as compared to Denver, Colorado, so Ely and Denver are comparable geographically but for the massive Rocky Mountains to the west of Denver.

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Yankee Meadow Reservoir

I may be incorrect, but I believe the volcanic ridge to the east of Yankee Meadow (seen here) is on the edge of southern Utah’s Markagunt Plateau, a prominent volcanic field with a high point of over 11,000 feet. These meadows were beautiful on this sunny September day, but I bet they are even more awesome in the spring.

I have known of Yankee Reservoir for many decades. It was my brother Neal who told me about it, but I do not recall ever fishing it with him or anyone else. Yankee Meadow offered Brook trout back then (probably Rainbow trout as well). I suspect our New England roots fostered Neal’s sentimentalism for the Salvelinus fontinalis (the genus Salvelinus is sometimes referred to as a Char because their dark bodies are overlaid with unique light-cream, blue, pink, or red spots as contrasted by darker spots on the lighter body of the other trout genera).

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The Purpose of Mending Your Line

The Fish Taco parked in the reflection of Cold Creek’s 9,967 foot Willow Peak, with snow still stuck to its northeast face on this wonderful May 11th of 2023.

I wish everyone had a hobby or passion they could turn to for its healing powers. Something that allows them to disengage from the thorns and thickets of their earthly life and to catch a glimpse of the joy promised by God. Yes, I recognize that many do not believe in the God of the Bible, but many of those non-Christians acknowledge some spiritual connection to nature, the universe, or humanity in general. Knowing that they turn towards their spiritual beliefs gives me hope. One of my recurring prayers is that many of those who are “spiritual” will someday come to know and understand it was the God of all who placed that sense of spirituality within them. Unfortunately, even Christians like me can grow to idolize our hobbies to the extent that we worship the creation rather than the Creator who designed them for our pleasure. With that idolatry caution out of the way, today I wish to concentrate on the healing and meditative powers of fly fishing, a simple and obscure hobby.

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A Boo Rod

My Sweetgrass fly rod – serial no. 2450, 7′ 9″, 4/5 weight – accompanied by my Hardy L.R.H. Lightweight reel spooled with a #5 sink-tip line. I am old enough to pre-date graphite rods, and I admit that I have longed to own a quality bamboo fly rod since the age of 21. I can finally check that off my list.

Most every serious trout angler has heard or read about the history of bamboo fly rods. Split cane rods replaced wooden poles or bamboo poles for fishing in the early 1800s. Apparently there is some confusion about where split cane rods were invented (France, England, China, or USA), but as for America it is said that Samuel Phillipe of Easton, Pennsylvania, was the first American to experiment with making multisided rods with strips of bamboo glued together. No doubt the industrial age advanced the craft of rod making in the late 1800s.

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Maiden Voyage of Water Master Grizzly Interrupted by Heart Attack

Here’s a Dacey Reservoir rainbow trout that I was trying to bring to net on a previous trip in April 2014.

If you’re a regular reader of my blog you know that I’ve been ignored by NFO Scadden regarding a warranty repair to my Outlaw Escape.  After conducting a little research I contacted Richard Stuber at Big Sky Inflatables to discuss their Water Master Grizzly, and how it compared to what I saw as deficiencies in the NFO Escape.  I first became aware of the Water Master in 2005 or 2006 while watching the Trout Bum Diaries vol.1 that featured these fishing rafts.  Richard said the Water Master would not only provide me with a more reliable boat that will last the next 20-plus years, but that it would hold and row much better in the wind than the Outlaw Escape.  The larger tubes and their 360 degree contact with the water cause the boat to sit much higher on the water while maintaining a large footprint.  Big Sky offered a “real” lifetime warranty on the raft.  I couldn’t resist; I always wanted to be a Trout Bum anyway.

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North Fork Outdoors: Finally Responds to Warranty Claims

UPDATE #2:  Finally had a desire to take two frameless water crafts on an upcoming trip (Water Master Grizzly replaced the Escape as my fishing craft of choice), so I inflated the Escape to test repair effort no. 2… leaks were present in all the same spots.  Utterly disappointed. 

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Evolution of a Fly Fisherman in the Mojave Desert

My good friend Bill fighting a Lahontan cutthroat on Martis Creek inlet. Note the trout porpoising under the leverage of Bill’s fly rod.

In prior blogs I’ve written about the allure fly angling has had on me since my early youth. It is rooted in New Hampshire. My earliest memories are of our home on Benton Road in Hooksett, New Hampshire. Benton is a rural-like road, and Hooksett is just north of Manchester. Our backyard was the New England woods all the way to the Merrimack River. The Merrimack is a large, powerful river, and its upper reaches still support Atlantic salmon as part of the Merrimack River’s Anadromous Fish Restoration Program. There is a small brook, Benton Brook, that is north of our old house towards the Londonderry Turnpike (I believe it is now called Dalton Brook). The brook drains into the Merrimack, and on the way it skirts along the backside of commercial property on the west side of the Turnpike. One of those properties has a little man-made reservoir that contained stocked rainbow trout back in the early 1960s. As the crow flies, the Merrimack was less than a half-mile from our house, and the meandering course of the little brook was about a mile long from where it passed under Benton Road. Also behind our house, in the thick of the Merrimack Valley woodlands, were other shallow ponds and swamps. I recall skating on Maureen’s Pond on double-rail skates in the winter, and that was without adult supervision. As a child I never realized how close we lived to the mighty river; the thick woods made it seem so far away and mysterious.  Images of my brothers Neal and Bruce emerging from the woods with water moccasin snakes, cottontail rabbits, grey squirrels, and even a porcupine are still vivid in my memory.  At the edge of our property, abutting the woods, my father had a dog kennel.  Dad raised Weimaraners, training them for bird hunting.  We had a chicken coop where we harvested fresh eggs, and a garden that grew fresh melons and vegetables.  I recall the wonderful cucumber sandwiches mom would slice up, as well as the trouble I got into from secretly dipping wild rhubarb in the sugar bowl, the pink stain being the convicting evidence.  I may be suffering from selective memory or romanticism, but I think that was a wonderful way to start a life, and I’m thankful for those beginnings. 

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New Watercraft – Wayne Kirch

Adams McGill bay area, looking southwest

BEFORE READING THIS BLOG, READ THIS ONE: North Fork Outdoors: Not Responsive to Warranty Claims

If you’ve been reading my blog for some time you know I prefer to use a Fish Cat float tube to navigate and fish stillwater lakes and reservoirs. As much as it makes stillwater fishing fun, I always had a couple complaints about the Fish Cat. My most significant complaint about that style watercraft is that your lower legs are always under water which is uncomfortable after six hours fishing in the late fall or early spring. My second complaint, although less serious, is that kick-paddling is too difficult against winds in excess of fifteen miles per hour.

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Beginners Gear-Guide to Fly Fishing

21 inch rainbow caught on 8-foot, 5-weight fly rod I built in 1981

“John in LV” recently posted a comment regarding fly fishing gear for someone who wants to get started, or even get back into, fly fishing for trout (bass, too, readily take flies as I previously wrote about on Haymeadow and Cold Springs reservoirs). Other readers appear to have posted comments on other blogs that seemed to skirt around their interest in learning to fly fish. So I decided that I would give it a try. Although I have my specific preferences and prejudices, I’ve done my best to describe what I think would be a good outfit for a beginning fly fisherman.

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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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